Sierra Leone

Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit for Sierra Leone: 1999 In Review

1999 began disastrously for Sierra Leone, with the continuation of a rapid decline in security across the country. The advance of rebel forces across the country, highlighted by the fall of the key towns of Lunsar, Makeni, and Koidu, put Freetown under threat. On the 6th of January, RUF and AFRC forces entered Freetown, forcing an ill-prepared ECOMOG to retreat to a line in the western part of the city. For the following few days, RUF and AFRC forces committed a huge number of atrocities, which resulted in the deaths of at least 3,000 people, the abduction of around 4,000 people, burning of homes in the east, mass looting, amputations and rape. Following reinforcements of the ECOMOG force, the rebel force was driven out of the city, and precarious corridors were established to Masiaka, Rogberi and Port Loko. Most of the Northern Province remained in RUF hands, along with parts of the Eastern Province. The Southern Province was untouched by the fighting.

The January invasion was a critical moment in the civil war. First, it became apparent to all that the rebel forces were capable of acting in a concerted manner. The ‘arrival’ of the war in Freetown forced key players to recognise the severity of the problem. Second, the ‘twin-track’ policy that had been pursued up till this point was abandoned in favour of a more proactive approach to negotiating a cease-fire and then a peace agreement. Third, the rebel leadership realised that they would not be able to take control of the state by force, and expect any form of recognition or support from the international community. The experience of the AFRC junta in 1997 highlighted this point.

As the fighting died down in April and May, no major gains or losses were recorded by either side. Instead, attacks began on small communities, resulting in the abduction of civilians, looting, rape and murder. These have continued throughout the year, with the worst human rights abuses centred on the Port Loko District. Neutral observers have documented many of these incidents. RUF and AFRC combatants have carried out the vast majority of these attacks, but in some cases, CDF and other pro-government forces have been accused of illegal actions.

As the year progressed, a split emerged between the members and leadership of the RUF and that of the former AFRC. This resulted in the kidnapping of an RUF delegation in the Occra Hills and their subsequent torture, and eventually outright conflict between the two factions. The tension led to fighting between the two, with the forced eviction of the AFRC faction from Makeni and Lunsar. A split also developed in the RUF at the end of the year, which led to the kidnapping (and subsequent release) of MSF aid workers, and the removal of Sam ‘Maskita’ Bockarie from his position in Kailahun.

For humanitarian agencies, the critical issue of the year was that of access to rebel-controlled areas. The lack of security in areas of much need humanitarian intervention has had a devastating impact on the lives of the civilian population. These negative impacts include a high number of deaths and morbidity amongst children seen especially and other vulnerable groups. The Humanitarian Coordinator and HACU led the way in negotiating an agreement on humanitarian access, working closely with international NGOs. Some success was achieved for a short time, but the outbreak of hostilities between the RUF and AFRC led to a targeted and deliberate looting of humanitarian assets in Makeni. This incident, combined with insecurity in other parts of the country, and the inability or unwillingness of RUF / AFRC leadership to provide a secure working environment, led to the virtual curtailment of humanitarian activities in RUF / AFRC controlled areas.

The Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme was launched on 4 November and by the close of 1999 they had disarmed over 10,000 ex-combatants which was less than a quarter of the estimated 45,000 ex-combatants to be disarmed. 3,724 weapons and 30,144 rounds of ammunition were collected by the close of the year. The DDR programme failed to disarm the estimated 45,000 ex-combatants by 15 December deadline.

The last significant event of 1999 was the decision by the Security Council to deploy peacekeeping troops in Sierra Leone. Six battalions of troops from Nigeria, Kenya, Guinea, Ghana and India have been assigned to Sierra Leone, and are likely to be supplemented by another six, following the decision of ECOMOG to withdraw from the country.

Moving into 2000

The Sierra Leone of 2000 is substantially different from that of 1999 for both its people and for the work of humanitarian agencies.

1. The potential for longer-term security has improved in the last few months. The (albeit uneven) progress on the Lomé Peace Accord, combined with the presence of UN troops and the commitment of many leaders to peace has led to a reduction of concern about an immediate breakdown in security in Freetown. However, it will be a greater challenge to bring security to areas in the North and East.

2. Access to RUF held areas is likely to become easier in the next month or two. The positive steps taken by the parties to the conflict have reduced tension in many areas, while the arrival of UN peacekeeping troops will do much to support the provision of a secure working environment.

3. The withdrawal of ECOMOG is being coordinated with the arrival of UNAMSIL forces.

4. The on-going transition of the RUF into a political party is welcome, as is their participation in the government of national unity. Support is especially needed for the Electoral Commission, to ensure that the forthcoming elections are seen to be fair.

5. The continuing DDR process is a critical factor for the future security of the country. While some success has been enjoyed so far (3,500 combatants registered and encamped), more support is needed to ensure transparency and clarity, to expand capacity, and above all, to ensure that the reintegration process is well supported.

6. While it is likely that the ceasefire will hold into the medium term, banditry will continue for the time being, especially in areas such as Port Loko district. The UN presence in these areas will partially address this problem.


The humanitarian crisis following January 1999

Over 5,000 houses and public facilities were burned during the RUF and AFRC invasion of Freetown. More than 3,000 people were killed, and over 4,000 children abducted. The massive scale of violence and human rights abuses that accompanied the rebel invasion of Freetown traumatized the people and left many of them homeless. Large numbers of people became dependent on international assistance for the provision of the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, clean water and medicine. More than 250,000 required such assistance in Freetown alone at the beginning of the year. Others fled the fighting to become refugees in Guinea. UNHCR registered nearly 15,000 during the first quarter of the year, adding to some 480,000 already being cared for in Guinea and Liberia. Up-country, where agencies had been supporting more than 300,000 IDPs, operations were significantly scaled down and in some cases ceased. 500 civilian war-wounded were admitted to Connaught hospital alone, and over one million were left unable to lead normal lives as a result of the direct impact of the escalation of the conflict in the New Year.

Humanitarian Challenges in 1999

  • Food Security: The food production and transport capacity of Sierra Leone has been severely damaged. Production of indigenous food substantially declined, as well as the ability of the country to purchase and distribute food. Food aid was therefore needed in some areas to bridge the gap between demand and supply, as were large-scale agricultural programmes in accessible areas.
  • Nutrition: Linked to food problems, acute malnutrition hotspots were noted in some areas of the country, where large numbers of children are believed to have died. This occurred against a background of almost universal general malnutrition due to the in ability of families to look after their most vulnerable people.
  • Health: Prior to the conflict, around 600 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) were used to provide basic health services, including routine immunization. At this time, the remaining PHUs total no more than 150, and are mostly concentrated in the Southern Province. Immunization coverage has decreased from 75 per cent in 1990 to an estimated 40 per cent for all antigens countrywide.
  • Watsan: access to safe water and garbage disposal (% of population) is 34% and 12% respectively. Regular well chlorination was interrupted or impossible to resume, and town water supplies have all but disappeared in areas outside Freetown.
  • Child Protection: 4,448 children were reported missing, 2,204 were reunified with their families with 2,244 children still missing. These figure show about 50% of the children reported missing still not found
  • Shelter: Thousands of people were made homeless in Freetown following the looting and burning in January. Support is required to re-house people who are currently homeless, as well as to rebuild other infrastructure.

For a more comprehensive review of the humanitarian situation, please refer to the 2000 Consolidated Appeal.

International Missions to Sierra Leone in 1999

  • 19 January 1999 - Leader of the British Reconnaissance Mission to Sierra Leone, Brigadier David Richards - Britain Support to ECOMOG
  • 23 February 1999 - Sadako Ogata UN High Commissioner for Refugees met with President Kabbah expressing concerns for Sierra Leonean Refugees
  • 26 March 1999 - David Pratt Special Envoy from Canada paid a 2-day visit to discuss humanitarian support and funding for ECOMOG.
  • 25 June 1999 - Mary Robinson UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Visited Sierra Leone on a 2-day mission committing her office to document human rights violations in Sierra Leone for future accountability.
  • 8 July 1999 - Kofi Annan UN Secretary-General made a 1-day visit to Sierra Leone after the signing of the Lomé Peace Accord promising the support of the UN is securing lasting peace.
  • 1 September 1999 - UN SRSG for Children in Armed Conflict Olara Otunnu paid a 3-day visit to Sierra Leone.
  • 19-22 September 1999 - World Bank-led donor mission. The objective of the mission was two-fold (1) to assess Sierra Leone’s emergency and reconstruction needs and (2) to assess the implementation status of the on-going DDR programme.
  • 18 October 1999 - US Secretary of State Madeline Albright urged all parties to adhere to the peace Accord.
  • 8-11 November 1999 - Multi-donor mission Led by Ms Carolyn McAskie UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs. The objective of the mission was to demonstrate the commitment of the international donor community to support Sierra Leone’s recovery from the civil war.


The Agriculture sector suffered considerably as increased rebel atrocities resulted in the systematic destruction and looting of agriculture inputs and produce. Fertile land and harvests were abandoned, as farmers were displaced from their land. Preparations for the 1999-planting season were hampered and farming activities disrupted. Most agencies had to shift programmes to safe areas, mainly the Southern province and some parts of the East, and were unable to implement activities until later in the year, particularly in the Northern Province.
  • Vulnerability analysis undertaken by EU-sponsored consultant -- a groundbreaking effort that draws together existing information on food security and other sectors from key informants. The data has been analysed and mapped, to allow for a comparison of all chiefdoms in North and East. This vulnerability analysis will guide decision-making especially for food security, but also other areas of intervention.
  • Agriculture Agencies distributed a total of 3,350 Mt of seed rice to 119,046 farmers in the 1999/2000 cropping season. The figures are below those of previous year (which was 5,000 Mt distributed to 130,000 farmers). More than 50% of the assistance went to farmers in the southern province, while the northern and eastern provinces received 24% and 19% respectively.

In addition to seed rice distributions, all agriculture agencies and their partners provided support in form of Food-for-Ag, Food-for-Work, other agricultural inputs and tools. For example:

  • CRS provided FFW to 15,416 farming families in Bo, Pujehun and Kenema districts through AFRICARE.
  • FAO provided technical support, agricultural inputs, fishing equipment and building materials to vulnerable farming families, fisherfolks and women groups in accessible areas in Sierra Leone. Among the beneficiaries were some 9,500 farming families in 10 districts and 8,000 women members of cooperatives in the Northern districts of Port Loko, Koinadugu and Kabala. FAO was also instrumental in reactivating the agricultural committee, which now meets regularly to coordinate activities in the sector. A monthly newsletter, which highlights the emergency agricultural activities of different agencies in Sierra Leone, has been introduced and is being issued regularly.
  • CARE’s agricultural assistance reached over 8,000 farming families in 15 chiefdoms in Moyamba, Tonkolili and Port Loko districts. Two IDP camps (one in Bo and one in Blama, Kenema district) also received various agricultural inputs.
  • WFP supported a total of 33,360 identified farming families during the rainy season in Port Loko, Bo and Kenema District. In early December, WFP in collaboration with MAFE and FAO carried out an assessment of the crop production in the country.
  • With the support of the SLRCS, the ICRC assisted 36,435 IDPs and resident families who had not received assistance from other agencies in the Western area, and 14 chiefdoms in the Kenema, Tonkolili, and Pujehun districts. This included imported and local vegetable seeds, groundnut seeds, cassava cuttings, potato vines, and hoes.
  • In collaboration with CARITAS, CARE, WFP, and CRS, CAD distributed seeds, tools and food for agriculture to 8,250 vulnerable farmers (50,000) people in Port Loko and Tonkolili Districts. This enabled war-affected farmers to resume productive activities.
  • Africare serviced a total of 18,858 farm families and 436 women’s groups with various seeds and vegetable inputs directly benefiting 150,864 farmers. A total of 578 villages in fourteen chiefdoms of Bo, Pujehun and Kenema were covered by this intervention.
  • WVSL distributed over 1,000 Mt of Food-for-Agriculture to 29,000 farm families in the southern province.
  • Avert further deterioration of the food security situation through provision of production inputs that will enable destitute farmers to produce their food and cash crops.
  • To stimulate the local economy in war affected areas.
  • Increase the supply of animal-based protein by reactivating livestock and artisanal fisheries.
  • Assist refugee and IDP returnees to resume productive activities in their places of origin.



The impact of the war on children was huge - including abductions, displacements, and separation from parents and relatives, forced recruitment into the fighting forces, denial of education, amputations and mutilation, and the cruelty of sexual abuse. Children were also most prone to communicable diseases such as cholera and nutrition-related diseases. Of the 4,000+ children registered as missing, only about 50% had been found/released and reunified, while more than 2,000 remained missing by the end of the year. The RUF had only released 801
  • The Child Protection Network documented a total 4,448 missing children in the Western Area alone, of which 2204 who had returned were traced and reunified with their families. 2244 were still missing by end of year.
  • UNICEF assisted with the demobilization of over 500 child soldiers from DDR camps.
  • 2000 Unaccompanied children (UACs) benefited from relief, psychosocial and reunification activities of the Child Protection Network.
  • Over 1,000 sexually abused girls received free medical care, counseling and reintegration assistance.
  • Interim care centres were expanded to cater for up to 2,000 released children/child combatants.
  • SCF, which began activities in September 1999, supported the data bank of the Ministry of Social Welfare for Family Tracing and Reunification. The backlog of about 4,000 tracing documents will therefore be processed at a much quicker rate.
  • IRC, in partnership in UNICEF ensured psychosocial and education needs and rights of displaced children and adolescents living in IDP centres. They also provided psychosocial activities for children in the DDR Programme in the eastern and southern provinces.
  • UNICEF supported 54 agencies to form the Gross Child Rights Violation Network, which documented and followed up cases throughout the year. More than 3,000 reports of gross child rights violations were documented.
  • Promote the protection of the rights of all children and women, including those associated with the war, by providing interim care, tracing/reunification/reintegration, psychosocial support, and monitoring of and advocacy for child rights.


1999 was critical for the coordination function of OCHA/HACU/NCRRR, as increasing needs and a more complex working environment demanded coordinated, joint and principled action. This has been necessary not just in facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance, but also in highlighting life-saving action by agencies into a secondary role of supporting the growing confidence in Sierra Leone.

· HACU and NCRRR played a key role in highlighting humanitarian needs, leading assessment missions and coordinating the formation of a sixty-day emergency action plan a the beginning of 1999. Since then, efforts have been concentrated on the twin goals of helping those most affected by the war, and implementing the Lomé Accord / agreement on humanitarian access in difficult circumstances.
· Following the January crisis and the evacuation of international personnel, NCRRR played a crucial role in establishing an inter-agency Humanitarian Coordination Committee to kick-start and oversee the overall emergency response to the crisis. They also facilitated and enhanced the work of agencies through liaison with relevant government and security bodies. They facilitated the selection and establishment of IDP campsites in the Western Area and up country.
· Through the UNDP-supported coordination structures of the NCRRR and UNHACU, the needs in the provinces were assessed and response mobilized accordingly.
§ HACU supported the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the drive to negotiate humanitarian access across the country. This involved conceptualising and agreeing on the approach, supporting the Humanitarian Coordinator in his negotiations in Lomé with the parties to the conflict, working closely with the NGOs and their efforts to start humanitarian programming in rebel-held areas, and travelling into rebel held areas to arrange and prepare for humanitarian activities. HACU also:
§ Supported the continuing use of ‘principled’ approach to humanitarian aid, based primarily on the Code of Conduct; Provided new support for organisations working in conflict resolution.
§ Collected and disseminated information on the humanitarian situation in the form of situation reports, updates, the Consolidated Appeal Process, and information / analysis for the Secretary General’s reports; and mobilised resources for humanitarian aid and development by consulting UN agency heads and NGOs and coordinating the Consolidated Appeal Process.
  • To ensure and facilitate an effective joint response to the humanitarian emergencies, by supporting the field coordination structure, planning and leading assessments, and taking new initiatives focused on the challenges posed by the peace agreement;
  • To strengthen the ability of the United Nations and NCRRR to gather, analyse and disseminate information, primarily by drawing on existing sources of data;
  • To facilitate the transition from humanitarian aid to support for resettlement, reconstruction and reintegration activities;
  • To develop and strengthen the link between humanitarian aid, human rights, and conflict resolution.
  • To continue promoting a ‘principled approach’ to operations in Sierra Leone under International Humanitarian Law, including efforts to promote advocacy for the needs of Sierra Leonean people, to extend access in a consistent and safe manner, and to consolidate the role of the Code of Conduct in supporting agency operations;
  • To act as a link between the international and national actors involved in the sectors of operation covered in this appeal, and with political and military actors who are responsible for building other elements of the peace.


UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, PLAN INTL., IRC, MCSL, IMC, CRS One of the most neglected sectors during the year, largely due to lack of funding. More than 70 per cent of school buildings in Western Area destroyed or badly damaged, in addition to the comprehensive damage in up-country areas. Many children are unable to return to school due to lack of facilities and materials. 1999 saw the emergence of NGO partners to tackle needs in the sector.
  • UNICEF directly assisted 70,000 displaced and other disadvantaged children with packages of learning materials;
  • UNICEF constructed temporary classrooms, which accommodated 6,400 displaced children living in local communities.
  • Summer school for 2,800 children in Makeni was completed in September, assisting them to catch up with school time lost during the war;
  • UNICEF supported the strengthening of the non-formal sector, and the establishment of a coordination mechanism and a standardised monitoring system. They also gave training and workshops for teachers and inspectors;
  • Technical assistance provided to the MYES by UNFPA, Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE), UNESCO and Plan International in developing new subject areas for curriculum, including Human Rights, reproductive health and AIDS prevention.
  • WFP renewed commitment to assist with school feeding programmes, food-for-training and food-for-work for rehabilitation of roads.
  • Coordination in sectors still weak due to low capacity at the MYES. However, regular coordination meetings resumed toward the end of the year, resulting in more transparent programming.
  • ActionAid rehabilitated two secondary and 6 primary schools.
  • CRS provided facilitator training, food aid, and medical care to 33 Urban Youth Centres in Freetown and Bo, assisting over 5,000 youths attending the centres.
  • National and International NGOs such as IRC supported the repair and maintenance of school facilities for children living in displaced camps.
  • There is a working lack of funding in this sector.
  • To enable up to 300,000 children to re-start school within their communities;
  • To respond to the emergency needs of war affected children, adolescent girls and boys and youths in formal and non-formal institutions;
  • To strengthen the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and other partners to provide basic education for children, adolescents, youths and adult women.


WFP, CRS, CARE, WVSL, Canadian Food Grains Bank, and implementing partners. More resources than planned were channeled towards emergency vulnerable group programmes and less for rehabilitation projects; Increased humanitarian access later in the year revealed extensive emergency food needs in newly accessible areas. WFP, CRS, CARE, WVSL assistance to vulnerable civilians in AFRC/RUF – held areas was only possible when military groups in the same areas had access to similar support through a parallel independent source

§ During the year, the four food pipeline agencies including WFP, WVI, CARE and CRS distributed approximately 26, 000 Mt of food aid to a monthly average of nearly 200,000 people in different parts of the country. Of this total, WFP provided over 14,000 Mt.
§ Support went to vulnerable group feeding, agriculture assistance, education/training activities, shelter construction, health and road rehabilitation.
§ Assistance targeted IDPs registered and sheltered in camps, although exceptional distributions were effected for vulnerable groups in severely affected areas such as Makeni where nearly 100,000 people were fed during the month of September.
Some specific examples:
§ WFP provided food-for-training to 4,000 persons for a range of vocational skills training and literacy programmes, targeting in particular, disabled, amputees, street youth and urban poor, especially women.
§ In the Western Area, Bo and Bonthe districts, WVSL distributed more than 200 Mt to some 140,000 beneficiaries for various work activities including road maintenance, brick-making and clearing sites for camps.
· WFP worked to strengthen Government capacity to manage, analyse and direct food aid, through its relationship with Food Aid Secretariat (FAS), within the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning. This included a computer literacy training of FAS staff, the provision of a vehicle, a computer and all equipment necessary for an Internet connection. FAS has been represented in the CFA and NTC meetings and has been involved in the planning and monitoring of WFP activities, particularly in the agricultural and education sectors.
· Ensure food aid agencies’ capacity to anticipate and respond to nutritional emergencies;
· Identify and target vulnerable groups, including IDPs, with appropriate targeted food assistance;
· Increase food production and household food security levels in war-affected areas of Sierra Leone;
· Contribute to reconstruction and rehabilitation of homes and physical community infrastructure;
· Enable IDPs/refugees to resettle in home areas, by providing a temporary ‘safety net’ to those newly returned, in an integrated way with other inputs;
· Support enrolment and retention of children in primary schools in targeted areas, particularly girls;
· Contribute to informal education of youths and adults by supporting vocational skills development, literacy, numeracy, and other training programmes;
· Strengthen food aid agencies’ knowledge and use of information related to the nutritional and food security situation throughout the country, as a basis for monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.


CRS, Handicap, ADRA
Given the massive destruction and looting of health facilities, and increase in morbidity, health agencies prioritized emergency assistance: strengthening satellite clinics, operating mobile clinics, urgent support to MOHS, deployment of health staff including surgical teams, rehabilitation of PHCs and immunization campaigns. Assistance benefited both IDPs and war-affected populations living within communities.

Support to PHUs, clinics and government hospitals: UNICEF supported the MOHS and Health NGOs in providing assistance to PHUs and clinics in all accessible areas, covering - supply of essential drugs, basic medical equipment, personnel and immunisation facilities; Main hospitals in FTN and district hospitals in Kenema, Koinadugu, Port Loko, Bonthe and Bo were also rehabilitated and supplied with drugs and medical equipment. 73 of the targeted 80 PHUs were fully re-equipped in the 8 accessible districts. MSF rehabilitated health structures in Bombali, Kambia and Tonkolili districts, though activities often suffered disruptions. Some specific examples of impact of intervention on beneficiaries:
§ In Bombali and Tonkolili districts, MSF resumed operations in August 1999; re-establishing health structures closed down during the months of conflict. They provided a mobile clinic for other areas in the districts. In Bo, they maintained support for 12 clinics. And in Koinadugu, they supported 5 health centres and one hospital.
§ In Port Loko, CAD provided over 80,000 people with access to primary health care.
§ IMC provided medical access to the 14,000 people living on the devastated islands of Tasso and Kakum.
§ In Kenema district, following the influx of some 80,000 IDPs in December and January, MERLIN started four emergency clinics at IDP centres. Working through 18 PHCs, they undertook about 170,000 consultations, and a monthly average of over 2,000 antenatal checks and 8,000 vaccinations.
§ At the PCMH hospital where ICRC resumed activities in October 1999, up to 40 surgical interventions were carried out. Over 30,000 patients were treated in ICRC-supported clinics in the depressed communities of Kroo-Bay and George –Brook, Clay Factory Camp, and Rina Health Centre in the Western Area. Reported cases ranged from malaria to cholera, measles and acute respiratory infections.
Effective management of epidemic and communicable diseases: According to UNICEF, 1.1 million people were covered in mass immunization programmes in 7 major urban centres for the 6 antigens. 70,000 U5 children were immunised in Freetown, Kenema and Bo against measles; UNICEF, WHO and Rotary Intl supported the MOHS in undertaking 3 rounds of NIDs for Polio Eradication. The third round, which took place on 11-12 December, covered a total of 776,673 U5s (95% of target pop). Vitamin A was also distributed during the exercise.
Assistance to amputees and war wounded: over 500 amputees and war-wounded benefited from relief aid, surgical intervention, physical /psychosocial rehabilitation and occupational therapy, mainly carried out by MSF-F and Handicap International in Freetown. At the Kenema hospital, ICRC surgical team provided corrective and reconstructive surgery to war-wounded victims and other vulnerable groups. 169 operations have been preformed since September.
Institutional Support – WHO provided support to Epidemiological surveillance for disease control. Epidemiological surveillance tools have been refined and training of health care workers from district level in disease surveillance and epidemic control was undertaken on a small scale. UNFPA supported the provision of contraceptives countrywide and the delivery of Reproductive Health services in the Western Area. They financed the procurement and distribution of medical equipment and the training of health service providers in management of obstetric emergency and life saving skills.
· Enhance the prevention, control and management of diseases.
· Support nation-wide EPI mass campaigns including measles and NIDs and the surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis, neonatal tetanus and household food security.
· Support reproductive health programmes and safe blood transfusion in four districts.
· Assist war-affected populations including sexually abused and traumatised.
· Provide assistance to amputees and war wounded countrywide – relief, rehabilitation and resettlement.
· Advocate and promote policies for effective programme implementation


UNAMSIL/HR, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, other NGOs Sierra Leone witnessed the worst human rights atrocities in 1999, recording thousands of civilian deaths, amputations, mutilations and sexual assaults, as well as abductions. Whole settlements were destroyed and widespread looting prevailed. Rebel forces were responsible for most of the abuses. Their terror tactics also resulted in massive population displacements, a primary cause of the humanitarian emergency.

· UNAMSIL Human Rights, in collaboration with local and international NGOs operating within the framework of the Human Rights Committee, effectively monitored, reported and channeled international advocacy regarding the SL human rights situation throughout 1999.
· UNAMSIL also provided technical assistance for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Human Rights Commission.
· The Release of Prisoners of War Committee has continued to advocate for the release of abductees.
· The Human Rights Unit implemented a series of technical support activities to the human rights community, including skills training, capacity building, professional advise and international partnership building.
· Throughout the year, UNAMSIL Human Rights conducted training workshops for the SL Police
· Human Rights Watch played a critical role in crosschecking reports of human rights abuses, and providing a systematic report of the Jan 6th invasion of Freetown. They have also endeavored to keep the ongoing conflict in the public eye through the production of reports and other advocacy action.
During her visit to SL on 24 June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights negotiated the adoption by Sierra Leone of the Human Rights Manifesto, which contains wide-ranging commitments for implementation of a human rights Plan of Action.
· Support the implementation of the human rights elements of the Lome Peace Accord by addressing the needs of the civilian victims and facilitating the process of reconciliation;
· Support the comprehensive implementation of the Sierra Leone Human Rights Manifesto
· Implement the human rights mandate given to UNOMSIL by the Security Council through comprehensive and systematic human rights, monitoring, reporting and delivery of sustainable technical assistance.


SLRA, WFP, WVSL Provision of logistics assistance is a critical for effective implementation of relief programmes. All food aid agencies rely on road transport. Emergency relief supplies to newly accessible areas suffered considerable delays due to impassable roads and destroyed bridges. The needs also apply in traditionally accessible areas. Extremely poor road conditions if not addressed will continue to hinder food aid and convoy movements in 2000. While road access is vital, helicopter service proved crucial in providing increased access to remote areas.

Helicopter operations
§ The helicopter managed by WFP on behalf of the humanitarian community facilitated the provision of emergency food and medical assistance to remote and isolated areas of the country. As of the 30th of November, it transported a total of 309,955 Mt of relief supplies and medicine, and 7663 passengers (2,306 UN and 5,357 NGO staff). The helicopter also undertook several evacuation flights, two in Liberia (April and August) and one in Sierra Leone.
Rehabilitation of key security and tertiary roads in specific areas of the country
§ As some war-affected parts of the country were re-opened, WFP started to address the urgent need for rehabilitation of key secondary and tertiary roads. They provided substantial material, equipment and food for work in order to rehabilitate roads and bridges in the Bo-Nitti, Lunsar and Daru areas, in conjunction with Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and in collaboration with World Vision. While aimed primarily at facilitating humanitarian access to populations in need in south, east and north, these interventions have also contributed to the improvement of commercial food trade.
· Improve rural communities’ access to basic services, and road accessibility for food aid and commercial trade, by reconstructing identified secondary and tertiary roads and bridges in five districts.
· Facilitate timely and safe food aid convoy movements in areas of poor road condition, by providing an independent, mobile workshop and vehicle recovery capacity.
· Ensure the provision of efficient and secure facilities at the Port of Freetown for food aid agencies and all port users.
· Provide a safe and reliable means of air transport for humanitarian assessment in remote or isolated areas and delivery of essential, high-value food and medical items.


1999 marked one of the worst years for malnutrition in the country. The nutrition status of U5s deteriorated nationwide following the January crisis, from May to September. NGO-run TFCs and SFCs ran beyond capacity.

Western Area – A total of 1,741 severe cases admitted to the TFCs in 1999. The death rate peaked in March and April at 13% and 9% respectively, but declined to an average of 5% from July to December due to improved access. Of the total, an average of 80% cases was cured. A monthly average of over 2,000 were serviced at the SFCs.
Northern Province: Deterioration of nutritional status confirmed in Masiaka, Port Loko, Makeni and Magburaka. Lack of a stable security environment foiled ACF’s attempts to establish a TFC in Masiaka, but supplementary food distribution was carried out with support from WFP. Most severe cases were transferred to the TFCs in FTN, about 500 cases between September and December. ACF gained access to Makeni in July 1999 and found the nutritional status of those screened alarming, with widespread severe malnutrition associated with complete lack of commercial or humanitarian access for over 8 months. They opened 3 SFCs and two TFCs in August, treating a total of 1,047 severe cases in August and September alone and serving 5,419 moderate cases. In September, the death rate at the TFCs stood at 11,1%. Despite the seriousness of the problem, both activities had to be suspended due to insecurity. In Magburaka, where the situation was also poor, ACF opened a nutrition unit, a wet feeding centre and later a TFC in October. These units have continued activities within the hospital with over 1,000 cases in charge at the SFC and 647 new admissions at the TFC between October and November. The death rate rose from 4.9% in November to 10.6% before the end of December.
Southern Province
A cumulative total of 1760 severe cases were admitted at the TFC in Bo town, with an average 85% cured. By end of December, ACF was maintaining seven distribution points in the province serving a total of 4,123 beneficiaries.
Eastern Province:
Nutritional support by MERLIN benefited both IDPs and resident population in Kenema Town. The TFC was moved to the Hospital site for security and another one set up in Blama. By the last quarter of the year, 4,487 children had been treated for severe malnutrition. Throughout the year, only 104 deaths were recorded at all the centres. A parallel programme of supplementary feeding for moderately malnourished children in both locations distributed weekly emergency rations to 10,549 children. In Konta, Kenema District, with about 10,000 IDPs, ACF has opened a SFC with 200 in charge by end December and currently transfers severe cases to TFC in Bo.
· Alleviate micronutrient deficiencies in all districts including displaced people’s camps.
· Save Lives through the position of emergency support
· Work to improve overall nutrition situation to support of food aid agencies


IAS, CARE, ACF, World Vision.
The signing of the Lome peace agreement in July was expected to provide UNHCR with an opportunity to support the return of some of the 480,000 Sierra Leonean refugees currently in exile. As the year drew to a close, constant denial of access to the main returnee zones prevented UNHCR and partners from playing a role in assisting spontaneous returns.

· During 1999, in spite of disturbances in the Lofa County of Liberia, UNHCR continued to promote the return of Liberian refugees from various countries in the sub-region. Providing general relief assistance to some 7,000 Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone, including food assistance and health care.
· UNHCR organised the return by sea and by air of over 600 Liberians in 1999. While affecting the provision of relief assistance to refugees, the deterioration of the security situation following the January 1999 attack did not result in a significant increase in the number of those refugees willing to repatriate.
· UNHCR is now in the process of determining whether, in spite of the evolution of the situation in their country of origin, some Liberian refugees may still be in need of international protection. Thereafter, assistance will primarily aim at achieving the highest possible degree of self-sufficiency through the promotion of income generating activities while maintaining assistance and counselling for the most vulnerable.
· There were reports of spontaneous repatriation to Pujenhun in the South from Liberia at the end of 1999.
· Provide access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation in selected schools, PHUs and for IDP and refugee returnees, in order to prevent occurrence of diarrhea diseases.
· Promote positive hygiene practices to enhance behavioral change.
· Return of Refugees in Guinea?


The January crisis led to the burning and destruction of over 5,000 residences and public facilities in Freetown. According to CRS, prior to 6 Jan, some 28,000 people lived in Calaba town, occupying a total of 1232 houses. 948 of them were burned down, displacing 21,425 people. At the beginning of the year, temporary shelter and non-food assistance targeted up to 50,000 families in Freetown, Bo and Kenema. Throughout the year agencies, assisted by NCRRR, managed and maintained 25 officially established IDP camps in accessible districts catering for over 130,000 people. Nine of the camps were located in the Western Area. In additions, some bush camps were discovered in the south and assistance provided to the displaced occupants. To enable families to settle in their home areas, CARE, WVSL and CRS focused their assistance on reconstruction of permanent structures.

§ Emergency assistance for shelter and non-food targeted an estimated 50,000 families in relatively accessible areas, including Freetown, Kambia, Kenema and Bo. During February, US-OFDA provided 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting and 50,000 blankets, which provided for some 10,000 families. CCSL also received and distributed 300 rolls of plastic sheeting, while OCHA provided some 90 rolls and some other NFIs, which met critical needs up-country.
§ ICRC with the cooperation of the SLRCS provided plastic sheeting for 8,442 families in the western area, Kenema and Tonkolili Districts. A total 36,575 beneficiaries were assisted in the Western area and Kenema district with NFIs. SLRCS/ICRS distributed NFIs to 25,173 beneficiaries in Lower Yoni, Malal and Kholifa Mobang chiefdoms in the Tonkolili district.
• CWW provided emergency shelter, kitchen and fuel-efficient stoves for approximately 26,000 IDPs in Government approved IDP sites between Freetown and Waterloo in collaboration with OXFAM and ACF. They also constructed a rehabilitation clinic for war victims in Murray Town camp.
§ CRS provided building materials and FFW rations for housing reconstruction projects in Calaba Town, Masiaka and Kissy Town, enabling residents to complete construction on 674 houses, and allowing over 10,500 displaced persons to return to their homes.
§ WVSL provided materials for the rehabilitation of a total of 670 shelters at Wellington – an area assigned to World Vision following the invasion of Freetown in January. A first set of 356 shelters were rehabilitated in May and another set of 320 in October.
· Continued provision of temporary shelter where necessary
· Assistance to rehabilitation and reconstruction of permanent structures to war affected populations
· Provide shelter for IDP’s to facilitate resettlement programs.



WSD, UNICEF, ACF, MSF-F, MSG-B, MSF-H, SLRCS, ADRA, IAS, IMC, CES, CARE, WVSL, OXFAM The events of Jan placed enormous demands on Watsan facilities. Corpses littered the streets and garbage accumulated for weeks, contaminating some water points, whilst pre-existing structures were damaged, destroyed or overwhelmed by concentrations of IDPs. Outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera occurred, in spite of gains made in previous years to control these diseases. Response was rapid: ranging from cleaning the streets of copses and rubble to rehabilitation, construction and chlorination of wells. Community Health and hygiene education programmes complemented infrastructure construction.

· UNICEF trained 2000 “Blue Flag” volunteers for cholera prevention. They rehabilitated 470 wells and constructed 64 large diameter wells in their operational areas.
§ ACF trained 359 community Hygiene promoters from displaced communities in the Western Area, Northern, Southern and Eastern provinces. They distributed 70,000 bars of locally made medicated soap to 3,328 beneficiaries in Blama displaced camp and constructed/rehabilitated 862 Emergency VIP latrines providing facilities for 42,200 beneficiaries. Water provided served 42,650 beneficiaries with 677,200 litres per day.
· Oxfam established Watsan facilities in 7 IDP camps in Freetown. With support from UNICEF and WFP, Oxfam provided improved water and sanitation facilities for IDPs and their hosts in village communities in Kaffu Bullom chiefdom, Lungi. 20 new wells were constructed and 16, rehabilitated. 15 latrine blocks were constructed in schools and public areas and Blue Flag volunteers trained.
· Watsan agencies, led by Oxfam and ACF promoted Sphere Minimum Standards to the authorities in Bo in order to close SLPMB IDP campsite and to reduce the numbers in other camps by relocating IDPs to new sites. The new camps provide much higher health and safety standards.
· In Kenema district, Oxfam provided water for approx. 3500 IDPs in Niawama camp, Kenema district; established and maintained two gravity water systems for IDPs in Lebanese School and Nyandiama camps providing water to 18,000 IDPs and constructed latrines. They also undertook an intensive hygiene promotion programme to improve the health status of IDPs.
· WVSL rehabilitated 65 wells in three chiefdoms in Bonthe district. Most of the wells are fitted with hand pumps and few with pulleys. Chlorinators have been trained within the chiefdoms to handle the periodic chlorinating of the wells. Government medical staff at the various health centres indicated a decline in the high incidence of diarrhea dysentery resulting from the drinking of contaminated water.
· Provide access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation in selected schools, PHUs and for IDP and refugee returnees, in order to prevent occurrence of diarrhea diseases.
· Promote positive hygiene practices to enhance behavioural change.
· Enhance cholera preparedness


ACF : Action Contre la Faim

ADDO: Arch Diocesan Development Office

ADRA: Adventist Development and Relief Agency

CAD: Children’s Aid Direct

CARE: Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere

CCSL: Council of Churches Sierra Leone

CES: Christian Extension Services

COOPI: Cooperazione Internationale

CORD-SL: Community Organisation for Rural District- Sierra Leone

CRS: Catholic Relief Services

CWW: Concern Worldwide

GOAL: Score Against Hunger

IAS : Initiative Pour Une Afrique Solilidaire

ICRC : International Committee of the Red Cross

IFRC: International Federation of the Red Cross

IMC : International Medical Corps

IRC: International Rescue Committee

KDDO: Kenema Diocesan Development Office

MAFE: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Environment

MCSL: Methodist Church Sierra Leone

MERLIN: Medical Emergency and Relief International

MOHS: Ministry of Health and Sanitation

MSF: Médcins sans Frontiéres (France, Holland and Belgium)

MSWGC: Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs

NAFSL: National Association of Farmers Sierra Leone

NCRRR: National Commission for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation

PHC : Peripheral Health Centre

SCF : Save the Children Fund

SFC: Supplementary Feeding Centre

SLRA: Sierra Leone Roads Authority

SLRC : Sierra Leone Red Cross

TFC : Therapeutic Feeding Centre

WVI : World Vision International

WVSL: World Vision Sierra Leone


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