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Liberia: ICRC activities January to June 2007

14-08-2007 Operational Update

In postwar Liberia, where people continue to suffer the lasting effects of the conflict, the ICRC's activities include visiting detainees and reuniting families separated by the violence, promoting knowledge of humanitarian law, and numerous health and assistance projects.

 PROTECTION AND FAMILY LINKS  

In the first six months of 2007, the ICRC:

  • reunited 12 children with their families in Liberia and neighbouring countries;

  • visited 890 detainees in 16 places of detention throughout the country to assess their living conditions and treatment, and restore contact between them and their families; 33 detainees used Red Cross messages to write to their relatives;

  • started a prison garden project, providing seeds, tools and technical advice for prison authorities and detainees; distributed basic hygiene items and other necessities to inmates; completed the construction of a well at the Zwedru Correctional **Palace;

    

    

 PROMOTING HUMANITARIAN IDEALS AND ACTION  

Knowledge of IHL and awareness of the ICRC's work are important factors in facilitating humanitarian action and ensuring the protection of civilians. In the first six months of 2007, the ICRC:

  • gave briefings to 412 new police recruits; held regular meetings with the UNMIL (UN Mission in Liberia) police training team;

  • briefed 21 Liberia National Police officers in Sinoe;

  • organ ized 10 briefings on IHL for 340 high-ranking UN military observers and UNMIL officers in Monrovia;

  • gave four briefing sessions on the ICRC and IHL to 81 UN military observers and staff officers in Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Nimba and Lofa counties (Ethiopian, Chinese, Senegalese and Pakistani battalions);

  • organized briefing sessions for 100 local authority staff in Sinoe and Nimba counties;

  • held a press conference in Monrovia to describe the ICRC's activities in Liberia and its priorities;

  • carried out six briefings on the ICRC's mandate, principles and the emblems of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement for 320 members of the public, including leaders, in Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Maryland and Lofa Counties.

The new ICRC promotional video " Liberia: Hope At Last " was shown to more than 4,500 people in many rural areas across the country. The film explains the ICRC's activities in postwar Liberia.

    

 COOPERATION WITH THE LIBERIAN NATIONAL RED CROSS (LNRCS)  

    

The ICRC provides technical and financial support to help the Liberia National Red Cross Society fulfil its humanitarian mandate. In the first six months of 2007, with ICRC support, the LNRCS:

  • arranged the transmission of more than 400 Red Cross Messages (RCM) and replies, providing a vital link between separated families, and dealt with 28 tracing cases;

  • distributed some 7,000 items of assorted agricultural tools and 109 MT of seed rice to 1,900 farming households in River Gee and Gbarpolu counties;

  • chlorinated 33 wells to prevent the outbreak of cholera in Montserrado county;

  • distributed sets of household items (blankets, mats, kitchen sets and tarpaulins) to 80 flood-affected families in Grand Kroe and 116 families affected by fire caused by communal violence;

  • conducted three trainers'workshops for 105 staff members in Bong, Bomi and Grand Gedeh chapters, and trained 20 ICRC employees in Harper;

  • explained the Movement’s principles and activities at its 93 Red Cross school clubs around the country and engaged members in sporting and social activities, as well as community work to strengthen their motivation.

    

In other specific instances, the ICRC:

  • opened a youth centre in Bong County where 185 young people take part in games and sports as well as various leisure activities, helping them to get back into normal living (centre run with the LNRCS);

  • helped the LNRCS complete the construction of Nimba chapter office and the renovation of Grand Kru chapter office;

  • donated four motorbikes to boost Red Cross tracing and dissemination activities in Sinoe, Lofa, Nimba and Margibi Counties;

  • provided more than six tonnes of used clothes for use in disaster response.

    

 ASSISTANCE  

    

 Water and habitat  

    

To facilitate access to safe water and sanitation facilities for both residents and returnees and to improve general hygiene in the communities, the ICRC:

  • built 26 wells and restored or repaired 90 others, for the good of more than 28,000 people;

  • dug 80 latrines, serving 41,000 people in Lofa, Grand Kru and Montserrado counties;

  • established 43 water and sanitation committees, composed of community members; 205 people were trained as hygiene promoters and others as pump mechanics;

    

 Health  

    

The ICRC seeks to support the Ministry of Health and local health workers in their efforts to provide basic health care for the population of Lofa and Grand Kru.

Support is being given to a new government health facility in Lofa County. This brings to 13 the   number of facilities (including four laboratories) supported by the ICRC, mainly through the provision of medicines, medical items and laboratory equipment . During the first six months of 2007, 120,000 people had improved access to well-equipped facilities, with motivated staff. Children aged under five were vaccinated against measles.

The ICRC   also supported the national immunisation campaign for measles (organised by the ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF and WHO) in the two counties, transporting all vaccines and staff to vaccination sites . Measles coverage for children of this age group was 88% in Grand Kru and 92% in Lofa, according to figures provided by the Ministry.

    

 Relief  

    

The ICRC helps the resident and returning population in the most vulnerable communities to rebuild their homes, resume farming and earn a living.

Lofa County:

  • in Voinjama and Kolahun districts, nearly 5,000 farmers were given vouchers, each for 50 kg of rice seeds, to be redeemed at local markets; 246 MT of rice seeds were directly distributed to farmers;

  • almost 10,000 households were each given 50 kg of rice seeds and a kit of agricultural tools; they also received a kit of vegetable seeds;

  • more than 4,000 farmers were given butter rice in exchange for their rice seeds;

  • the beneficiaries also received building materials, including nails, hinges.

Grand Kru:

  • work began on 18 micro-economic projects, with deliveries of seeds and tools, manual food processing machines, training and technical support.

The ICRC in Liberia has 294 national and 41 international staff.