US embassy cable - 02ROME1011

LIBERIA: INSECURITY COUPLED WITH FOOD SECURITY FOR INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS AND REFUGEES

Identifier: 02ROME1011
Wikileaks: View 02ROME1011 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-02-26 16:27:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: EAID EAGR AORC PREF EU WFP UN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 001011 
 
SIPDIS 
 
HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ4-ID-HA 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 ROME 001011 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FROM AMEMBASSY ROME 
 
GENEVA FOR RMA FOR NANCE KYLOH 
BRUSSELS FOR KFULLER AND KDEBLAUW 
NSC FOR JDWORKEN 
USAID FOR A, DCHA, OFDA, FFP 
STATE FOR AF, IO, DAS/PRM 
USDA FOR FAS/EC/PDD TILLSWORTH AND 
FAS/ICD KRMAER, LEBLANC 
USUN FOR LSHESTACK 
NAIROBI FOR REDSO AND OFDA/ARO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAID, EAGR, AORC, PREF, EU, WFP, UN 
SUBJECT:  LIBERIA:  INSECURITY COUPLED WITH FOOD 
SECURITY FOR INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS AND 
REFUGEES 
 
--------- 
SUMMARY 
--------- 
 
1.  USAID STAFF FROM THE U.S. MISSION IN ROME AND 
FOOD FOR PEACE/WASHINGTON TRAVELED TO GUINEA, SIERRA 
LEONE, AND LIBERIA JANUARY 27 THROUGH FEBRUARY 7 TO 
REVIEW THE FOOD SECURITY SITUATION FOR REFUGEES, 
INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPS), AND RESIDENTS 
OF THESE COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY INFLUXES OF 
EITHER GROUP.  THIS REPORT FOCUSES ON LIBERIA SOLELY. 
SIERRA LEONE AND GUINEA ARE REPORTED IN SEPTELS. 
 
2.  FOR THE LAST YEAR IN LIBERIA, PEOPLE FROM THE 
NORTHERN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY HAVE SUFFERED 
DISPLACEMENT FROM THEIR HOMES.  IN THE LAST MONTH, 
THE PACE OF DISPLACEMENTS HAS INTENSIFIED, WITH SOME 
PEOPLE NOW BEING DISPLACED FOR THE FOURTH TIME.  IT 
IS UNCLEAR WHICH ORGANIZATIONS OR GROUPS ARE 
RESPONSIBLE FOR CAUSING THE DISPLACEMENT.  THE 
HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY IS ENCOUNTERING OBSTACLES IN 
TRYING TO ACCESS SOME OF THE DISPLACED AND TO PROVIDE 
ASSISTANCE. A UNDP RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/HUMANITARIAN 
COORDINATOR IS 
DESPERATELY NEEDED IN LIBERIA TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF 
THE IDPS, AND WFP NEEDS TO EXPEDITE THE PLACEMENT OF 
ITS COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE.  THE U.N. FOOD AND 
AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION (FAO) MUST CONTINUE TO PUSH 
THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL AUTHORITIES TO PROVIDE PARCELS 
OF LAND TO THE IDPS AND REFUGEES SO THEY CAN FARM. 
THE U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAM (WFP) FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS 
ARE GOING WELL, BUT NEED TO INCORPORATE MORE WOMEN 
INTO THE WORK. NO POST-DISTRIBUTION FOOD MONITORING 
HAS BEEN UNDERTAKEN IN THE REFUGEE CAMPS SINCE 
DECEMBER 2000 AND WAS NEVER BEGUN IN THE IDP CAMPS. 
THIS TASK NEEDS TO BE REINSTATED.  CONTINGENCY 
PLANNING MEASURES HAVE JUST BEGUN.  NGOS AND U.N. 
AGENCIES HAVE LITTLE SUPPORT FROM THE DONOR COMMUNITY 
AND MORALE IS LOW.  THE FOOD PIPELINE FOR LIBERIA IS 
DUE TO BREAK IN JULY 2002.  NEW DONATIONS ARE 
URGENTLY NEEDED.  SEE PARA 35 FOR RECOMMENDATIONS. 
END SUMMARY 
 
------------- 
BACKGROUND 
------------- 
 
3.  JANUARY 27 THROUGH FEBRUARY 7, SENIOR EMERGENCY 
COORDINATOR (SEC) IN THE U.S. MISSION/ROME REGINA 
DAVIS AND DALE SKORIC, USAID/DCHA/FOOD FOR PEACE 
OFFICER (FFPO), TRAVELED TO LIBERIA, GUINEA, AND 
SIERRA LEONE TO REVIEW THE FOOD SECURITY SITUATION 
FOR REFUGEES, INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPS), 
AND RESIDENTS WHOSE COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY 
INFLUXES OF EITHER GROUP.  WFP'S DEPUTY FOR THE WEST 
AFRICA REGION, ARNOLD VERCKEN, ACCOMPANIED THE USAID 
TEAM TO ALL THREE COUNTRIES. 
 
4.  IN LIBERIA JANUARY 31 THROUGH FEBRUARY 2, THE 
TEAM MET WITH WFP/LIBERIA, FAO, THE U.N. HIGH 
COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR), THE U.N. SECURITY 
OFFICER, NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOS), GOL 
OFFICIALS, AND VISITED IDP CAMPS IN BONG COUNTY AND 
KLAY JUNCTION, AS WELL AS THE SINJE REFUGEE CAMPS, 
LOCATED VERY CLOSE TO PUJEHUN DISTRICT OF SIERRA 
LEONE. 
 
5.  INTERNAL DISPLACEMENTS BEGAN IN LIBERIA ONE YEAR 
AGO IN FEBRUARY, WHEN TOWNS IN UPPER LOFA COUNTY WERE 
THE TARGETS OF SPORADIC FIGHTING AND CROSS-BORDER 
INSURGENCY FROM GUINEA AND SIERRA LEONE.  THE 
IDENTITY OF THE PERPETRATORS OF THE ATTACKS WAS 
UNCLEAR.  THE IDPS FLED EAST AND SOUTH AND SETTLED IN 
BONG COUNTY IN MAY, IN ONE OF FOUR CAMPS:  CARI I AND 
II, TV TOWER, AND BELEFANAI.  CURRENTLY, THESE ARE 
THE ONLY IDP CAMPS RECOGNIZED BY THE GOL.  LAST 
SUMMER ADDITIONAL OUTBREAKS OF VIOLENCE OCCURRED IN 
GBARPOLU COUNTY (FORMERLY KNOWN AS LOWER LOFA COUNTY) 
AND AGAIN IN LOFA COUNTY.  NEW IDPS GROUPED AT 
JENEMENA AND BOPOLU.  THOSE CAMPS SUBSEQUENTLY 
EMPTIED LAST FALL WITH THEIR INHABITANTS FLEEING 
FURTHER SOUTH. 
 
6.  ON SATURDAY NIGHT, JANUARY 26, CAMP POPULATIONS 
IN SAW MILL, LOCATED IN WESTERN LIBERIA, ACCOMPANIED 
BY THE TOWNSPEOPLE OF TUBMANBERG (ALSO KNOWN AS BOMI 
HILLS) FLED TOWARDS KLAY JUNCTION.  BECAUSE THE 
MOVEMENT OCCURRED DURING THE NIGHT AND WAS EXTREMELY 
RUSHED, MANY ARRIVED WITH VERY LITTLE.  THE EXACT 
IMPETUS FOR FLIGHT IS AGAIN UNCLEAR OTHER THAN THE 
STATED SOUND OF GUNFIRE.  THE TEAM VISITED KLAY 
JUNCTION ON FEBRUARY 2 AND TALKED WITH IDPS, WHERE 
ABOUT 9,000 HAD GATHERED.  FIVE DAYS LATER, ON 
FEBRUARY 7, KLAY JUNCTION WAS ATTACKED, FORCING THE 
RECENT ARRIVALS TO TAKE FLIGHT ONCE AGAIN--THE FOURTH 
TIME FOR SOME.  MOST FLED TOWARDS MONROVIA. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
SITES OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS 
------------------------------------------ 
 
7.  AT LEAST 28,500 IDPS ACCOMMODATED IN THE FOUR 
CAMPS IN BONG COUNTY (SEE PARA 5 ABOVE) RECEIVE 
MONTHLY FOOD ASSISTANCE FROM WFP.  THE OPERATION HAS 
BEEN ONGOING FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, AND THUS FAR, HAS 
BEEN RUNNING QUITE SMOOTHLY.  DURING THE TEAM'S 
VISIT, THERE WERE REPORTS OF AN ADDITIONAL 5,291 IDPS 
THAT HAD ACCUMULATED NEAR THE TOWN OF GBONOTA, WEST 
OF BELAFANAI.  THERE WERE UNCONFIRMED REPORTS OF 
OTHER SMALL GROUPINGS OF IDPS IN OTHER VILLAGES CLOSE 
TO GBONOTA, AND IT WAS THOUGHT THERE WERE ADDITIONAL 
IDPS NORTH OF THE LARGE GROUP MOVING SOUTH.  THE NGOS 
AND U.N. AGENCIES WERE BEING DENIED ACCESS TO THESE 
NEW POPULATIONS; THE IDP FIGURE CAME FROM A CONCERNED 
CITIZEN WHO HAD DECIDED TO REGISTER THEM.  THERE WERE 
ALSO REPORTS THAT GOVERNMENT TROOPS HAVE BEEN 
PREVENTING IDPS FROM CONGREGATING IN OR TRAVELLING IN 
LARGE NUMBERS.  IN THE PREVIOUS THREE WEEKS, CARI I 
AND II HAD ABSORBED MORE THAN 1,000 IDPS.  ACTION 
CONTRE LA FAIM (ACF) AND MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES 
(MSF) ARE WORKING IN THE TWO CAMPS. 
 
8.  ADDITIONAL GROUPINGS OF IDPS LOCATED AT KLAY 
JUNCTION, SINJE REFUGEE CAMP, AND IN HAINDII AS OF 
FEBRUARY 2 WERE ESTIMATED TO TOTAL 14,300.  GIVEN 
RECENT ATTACKS, IT IS BELIEVED THIS NUMBER HAS RISEN. 
 
9.  IT IS UNKNOWN WHERE THE GOVERNMENT'S LIBERIA 
REFUGEE, REPATRIATION AND RESETTLEMENT COMMISSION 
(LRRRC) WILL RESETTLE THE NEWLY DISPLACED RECENTLY 
PASSING THROUGH KLAY JUNCTION AND POINTS ONWARDS. 
THERE IS DISCUSSION OF PUTTING THEM INTO AN OLD CAMP 
IN A SUBURB OF MONROVIA KNOWN AS PERRY TOWN.  IDPS IN 
HAINDII AND GBONOTA (LOCATED IN BONG COUNTY) MAY BE 
ACCOMMODATED IN THE CURRENT FOUR IDP CAMPS IN THE 
BONG AREA, OR IN AN ALTERNATIVE SITE THAT 
ACCOMMODATED REFUGEES DURING THE EARLY 1990S, NEAR 
THE TOWN OF TOTATA.  THE LATTER IS NOT PREFERRED BY 
WFP OR OTHER NGOS DUE TO ITS DISTANCE FROM THE 
CURRENT LOGISTICS SET-UP IN THE BONG AREA AND POOR 
ROAD ACCESS. 
 
--------------------------------- 
LIMITATIONS IMPOSED ON THE IDPS 
--------------------------------- 
 
10.  THE GOL MINISTER OF PLAN TOLD THE USAID TEAM 
THAT THE IDPS IN BONG COUNTY HAD ACCESS TO LAND FOR 
PLANTING.  HOWEVER, WHEN THE TEAM ARRIVED IN THE BONG 
CAMPS, THE AMOUNT OF LAND AVAILABLE TO THE IDPS 
SEEMED TO BE QUITE SMALL.  CARI I AND II CAMPS ARE 
LOCATED AT THE SITE OF THE ONCE-FUNCTIONING 
AGRICULTURAL STATION AND THE IDPS ARE FARMING SOME 
BITS OF LAND HERE AND THERE INSIDE THE CAMP.  THE 
LRRRC HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN NEGOTIATING WITH THE LAND 
OWNERS TO PROVIDE PARCELS OF LAND TO THE IDPS FOR 
FARMING, BUT ITS EFFORTS HAVE YIELDED LITTLE PROGRESS 
THUS FAR. 
 
11.  WFP SHOULD WORK CLOSELY WITH FAO TO FOLLOW UP ON 
THE ACCESSIBILITY OF FARMLAND TO IDPS IN BONG COUNTY. 
IF IT IS FOUND THAT LAND HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED TO THE 
IDPS IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITIES, WHICH THE USAID TEAM 
STRONGLY SUSPECTS, FAO SHOULD LOBBY STRONGLY WITH THE 
LOCAL AND NATIONAL AUTHORITIES TO ATTAIN THE 
NECESSARY LAND.  DISCUSSIONS ARE UNDERWAY; IT IS JUST 
NOT CLEAR HOW SOLID THE COMMITMENTS HAVE BEEN.  AS 
THE PLANTING SEASON FOR THE MAIN RICE CROP BEGINS IN 
MAY, THE NEED TO SOLIDIFY COMMITMENTS IS CRITICAL. 
THE TEAM MADE THIS POINT WITH THE FAO REPRESENTATIVE 
BEFORE ITS DEPARTURE.  FAO IS IN THE PROCESS OF 
DEVELOPING AN EMERGENCY PROJECT TO PROVIDE SEED RICE, 
ASSORTED VEGETABLE AND GROUNDNUTS SEED, AND CASSAVA 
PLANTING MATERIALS TO IDP FAMILIES IN BONG COUNTY. 
 
12.  IN ADDITION, THE LOCAL POPULATION IN BONG IS 
DEVELOPING HOSTILITY TOWARDS THE IDPS, AS IT WAS 
REPORTED THAT LOCALS HAD RECENTLY TAKEN 50 MACHETES 
FROM THE IDPS IN AN EFFORT TO STOP THE IDPS FROM 
CUTTING DOWN TREES.  THE U.N. SECURITY OFFICER ALSO 
TOLD THE TEAM THAT THE GOL SECURITY FORCES IN THE 
AREA, OF WHICH THERE ARE SEVERAL VARIETIES, SEVERELY 
RESTRICT FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT OF THE IDPS OUTSIDE THE 
CAMP, ESPECIALLY THE MEN.  IF A PERSON WANTS TO 
TRAVEL FAR FROM THE CAMP, IT MUST BE DONE 
CLANDESTINELY.  THE TEAM ALSO HEARD REPORTS OF IDPS 
BEING BEATEN WHO WERE FOUND OUTSIDE THE CAMP.  IT 
SHOULD BE NOTED THAT PRESIDENT TAYLOR'S FARM IS IN 
CLOSE PROXIMITY TO CARI AND TV TOWER CAMPS. 
 
13.  AS BONG AND LOFA COUNTIES ARE CONSIDERED THE 
BREAD BASKETS FOR THE COUNTRY, THE UPROOTING OF THE 
POPULATION IN THESE TWO COUNTIES WILL MOST LIKELY 
HAVE LONG-TERM RAMIFICATIONS ON THE FOOD SECURITY OF 
THE COUNTRY.  ALL EFFORTS NEED TO BE MADE TO DIMINISH 
THE IMPACT TO ENSURE THE COUNTRY DOES NOT SLIP BACK 
INTO FOOD AID DEPENDENCY. 
 
----------------------------- 
LACK OF ACCESS TO NEW IDPS 
----------------------------- 
 
14.  AS STATED IN PARA 7 ABOVE, THE GOL HAS BEEN 
DENYING ACCESS TO NEWLY DISPLACED POPULATIONS, UNDER 
THE RUBRIC OF SECURITY, SAYING THE GOL IS RETRIEVING 
STOLEN ASSETS OR THE AREA IS TOO INSECURE TO ALLOW 
HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES ACCESS.  IN THE LAST FEW 
MONTHS, THE GOL SECURITY FORCES ALSO REPORTEDLY 
PREVENTED MOVEMENT OF IDPS FROM THE BOPOLU AND 
GBARPOLU CAMPS TO AREAS FURTHER SOUTH.  THE IDPS 
DESIRED TO RELOCATE BECAUSE OF RUMORS OF THE FRONT 
LINES MOVING THEIR WAY.  THESE ACTIONS, OF COURSE, 
VIOLATE THE TENETS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW. 
THE NGOS AND U.N. AGENCIES ARE EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED 
BY THE GOL'S POLICIES AND FEEL THEY ARE BEING 
MANIPULATED.  THEY ARE CAUGHT IN THE DILEMMA BETWEEN 
THE GOL'S HESITANCY/UNWILLINGNESS TO ESTABLISH CAMPS 
AND THEIR DESIRE TO TRY TO ASSIST VULNERABLE 
POPULATIONS. 
 
15.  COORDINATION MEETINGS CHAIRED BY THE LRRRC ARE 
TAKING PLACE IN MONROVIA.  THE USAID TEAM MET WITH 
ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SAMUEL BROWN, AND MET MANY 
LRRRC STAFF WHILE MAKING CAMP VISITS.  ALTHOUGH LRRRC 
STAFF SEEM TO BE MAKING AN HONEST EFFORT TO ASSIST 
THE IDPS, THE TEAM WAS TROUBLED TO LEARN THAT THE 
LRRRC FALLS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE MINISTRY OF 
JUSTICE (MOJ).  THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE SERVES AS THE 
CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT SECURITY COMMISSION THAT MAKES 
THE DECISIONS REGARDING ACCESS.  THE TEAM FOUND THIS 
TO BE A SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST FOR THE PLIGHT 
OF THE IDPS.  ANY DECISION RELATED TO HUMANITARIAN 
ACCESS IS DEPENDENT UPON THE MOJ, WHILE AT THE SAME 
TIME, THE LRRRC IS SUPPOSEDLY LOBBYING ITS BOSS FOR 
ACCESS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CAMPS.  THUS FAR, THE 
GOL HAS BEEN UNWILLING TO ESTABLISH IDP CAMPS NEAR 
MONROVIA. 
 
------------------------------------ 
FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS FOR THE IDPS 
------------------------------------ 
 
16.  WFP'S IMPLEMENTING PARTNER IN BONG COUNTY FOR 
THE DISTRIBUTIONS IS THE LIBERIAN NATIONAL RED CROSS 
(LNRC).  THERAPEUTIC AND SUPPLEMENTARY FEEDING IS 
PROVIDED BY ACF, TARGETING APPROXIMATELY 450 
MALNOURISHED IDP CHILDREN.  WFP PROVIDES THE FOOD 
COMMODITIES TO ACF.  WFP HAS DETERMINED THAT THE IDPS 
IN BONG COUNTY HAVE SOME COPING MECHANISMS AND ARE 
THEREFORE PROVIDED WITH A GENERAL MONTHLY RATION OF 
APPROXIMATELY 1,800 KILOCALORIES (KC) PER DAY PER 
BENEFICIARY, RATHER THAN THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD 
OF 2,100 KC. 
 
17.  THE TEAM WAS RATHER SURPRISED TO FIND THAT 
REGISTERED IDPS RECEIVE RATIONS USING THE CLUSTER 
METHOD, WHEREBY A GROUP LEADER RECEIVES THE FOOD ON 
BEHALF OF HIS/HER GROUP AND FOOD COMMODITIES ARE 
DIVIDED AMONG THE GROUP.  A GROUP IS COMPOSED OF 
SEVERAL FAMILIES, UP TO A MAXIMUM OF 17 FAMILIES. 
WFP HAD BEEN SCOOPING SEPARATELY TO FAMILIES, BUT IN 
JANUARY DECIDED TO SWITCH TO THE CLUSTER METHOD. 
(NOTE:  INTERESTINGLY, WFP/GUINEA HAS JUST MADE THE 
OPPOSITE SWITCH BECAUSE OF THE FRAUD THAT HAD BEEN 
TAKING PLACE USING THE CLUSTER METHOD IN THE REFUGEE 
CAMPS IN GUINEA.  END NOTE.) 
 
18.  IN STABLE SITUATIONS WHERE THERE IS REASONABLE 
SOCIAL COHESION, THE CLUSTER SYSTEM USUALLY WORKS 
WELL AND CAN BE VERY EFFECTIVE AND INEXPENSIVE. 
HOWEVER, IT REQUIRES TRAINING AND SUPERVISION. 
FOLLOWING A DISTRIBUTION ASSESSMENT BY THE SEC AND 
FFPO IN BONG, THIS DOES NOT SEEM TO BE THE CASE. 
WHILE NOT CHAOTIC, IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER ACTUAL 
DISTRIBUTIONS ARE MADE ACCORDING TO HOUSEHOLD SIZE OR 
IF THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE ARE RECEIVING THEIR 
ENTITLEMENTS. THE USAID TEAM RAISED ITS RESERVATIONS 
ABOUT THIS SYSTEM WITH WFP, AND THE WFP ACTING 
COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE PROMISED TO REVIEW ITS 
EFFECTIVENESS FOLLOWING THE MARCH DISTRIBUTION AND 
REPORT TO THE TEAM. 
 
19.  FOR ACCOUNTABILITY PURPOSES, THE PRESENCE OF 
MONITORS DURING DISTRIBUTION NEEDS TO BE AUGMENTED, 
POST-DISTRIBUTION MONITORING NEEDS TO BE INITIATED, 
AND REGULAR REPORTING NEEDS TO SYSTEMATIZED.  AT THE 
SAME TIME, NEW BENEFICIARY CARDS, POSSIBLY LAMINATED, 
NEED TO BE ISSUED AS THE CURRENT ONES ARE OLD AND ARE 
DETERIORATING. 
 
20.  IT WAS RECOGNIZED BY THE TEAM THAT WOMEN WERE 
NOT EQUALLY REPRESENTED AS GROUP LEADERS NOR AS HEADS 
OF HOUSEHOLDS ON BENEFICIARY LISTS.  WFP NEEDS TO 
ENSURE THAT GENDER CONSIDERATIONS FIGURE PROMINENTLY 
IN ITS FOOD ASSISTANCE TO IDPS.  TO WFP'S CREDIT, 
THIS UNDER-REPRESENTATION WAS ALSO ABUNDANTLY CLEAR 
TO WFP'S WEST AFRICA REGIONAL DEPUTY, VERCKEN, WHO 
POINTEDLY CLARIFIED WFP'S GENDER POLICY TO THE 
LIBERIA WFP TEAM.  WFP AND ITS IPS NEED TO 
SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE THE NUMBER OF WOMEN WHO ARE 
SERVING AND ARE RECEIVING THE FOOD IN RECOGNITION OF 
THEIR ROLE IN HOUSEHOLD FOOD MANAGEMENT. 
 
21.  TO LOWER THE LIKELIHOOD THAT NEWLY DISPLACED 
RESIDING OUTSIDE OF GOL-RECOGNIZED CAMPS WILL BE 
ATTACKED, WFP HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTING WEEKLY FOOD 
RATIONS TO NEW IDPS, WHEN POSSIBLE, UNTIL THEY CAN BE 
RELOCATED TO MORE SECURE SITES.  ONCE THEY ARE 
RELOCATED TO A SECURE SITE, FOOD RATIONS WILL BE 
REGULARIZED AND PROVIDED MONTHLY BY WFP, AS THEY ARE 
FOR IDPS LOCATED IN THE FOUR CAMPS IN BONG COUNTY. 
REMOTE AREAS AND DIFFICULT CONDITIONS MAY REQUIRE 
THAT ASSISTANCE BE PROVIDED TO NEWLY DISPLACED BEFORE 
DETAILED NEEDS ASSESSMENTS CAN BE COMPLETED, AS FOOD 
WILL REMAIN A HIGH PRIORITY.  SUCH AN INITIAL 
RESPONSE WOULD NOT OBVIATE THE NEED FOR SUCH AN 
ASSESSMENT AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE TIME, HOWEVER. 
 
------------------ 

REFUGEE OPERATIONS 
------------------ 
 
22.  WFP CURRENTLY PROVIDES FOOD ASSISTANCE TO 
APPROXIMATELY 38,000 SIERRA LEONEAN REFUGEES WHO ARE 
ACCOMMODATED IN SIX CAMPS - SINJE 1 & 2 ALONG THE 
SIERRA LEONE AND LIBERIA BORDER IN GRAND CAPE MOUNT 
COUNTY AND FOUR CAMPS IN MONTSERRADO COUNTY NEAR 
MONROVIA. 
 
23.  WFP, THROUGH THE LIBERIAN ISLAMIC UNION FOR 
RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT (LIURD), PROVIDES A 
RATION OF APPROXIMATELY 1,800 KC PER DAY PER REFUGEE. 
DISTRIBUTIONS TO THE REFUGEES ARE ALSO USING THE 
CLUSTER SYSTEM (SEE PARA 17 ABOVE).  THE DISTRIBUTION 
SYSTEM WAS RECENTLY CHANGED FROM SCOOPING TO CLUSTERS 
BASED ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE BENEFICIARIES 
THEMSELVES TO THE REFUGEES' CENTRAL MANAGEMENT 
COMMITTEE (CMC) COMPOSED OF REFUGEES. 
 
24.  BOTH WFP AND UNHCR SEEM COMFORTABLE WITH THE NEW 
DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM AND THE USAID TEAM GOT A VERY 
POSITIVE RESPONSE WHEN IT ASKED THE CMC IF THE 
WEAKEST IN THE CAMP WERE RECEIVING THEIR RATIONS.  AT 
THIS POINT HOWEVER, THERE IS NO WAY OF REALLY KNOWING 
IF THE MOST VULNERABLE REFUGEES/HOUSEHOLDS RECEIVE 
THEIR ENTITLEMENTS BECAUSE NO POST-DISTRIBUTION 
MONITORING (PDM) HAS BEEN DONE SINCE DECEMBER 2000. 
THIS POSES SOME SERIOUS CONCERNS TO THE USAID TEAM. 
IT WAS RECOMMENDED THAT PDM BE REINSTATED AS SOON AS 
POSSIBLE, AND THAT INDEPENDENT MONITORING BY WFP AND 
NGO PARTNERS DURING AND AFTER DISTRIBUTION BE 
IMPROVED.  WHILE THE GLOBAL MEMORANDUM OF 
UNDERSTANDING (MOU) BETWEEN WFP AND UNHCR DOES NOT 
SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT A TRIPARTITE AGREEMENT IN THE 
CHOICE OF IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS (IPS) FOR PDM IS 
REQUIRED, THE TEAM RECOMMENDED THAT IN LINE WITH THE 
SPIRIT OF THE MOU, A JOINT AGREEMENT SHOULD BE 
REACHED SOON IN CHOOSING AN IP FOR PDM. 
 
25.  AS WITH THE IDP FOOD DISTRIBUTION, IT WAS 
RECOGNIZED THAT WOMEN WERE NEITHER EQUALLY 
REPRESENTED AS GROUP DISTRIBUTORS NOR AS HEADS OF 
HOUSEHOLDS ON BENEFICIARY LISTS.  AGAIN, WFP AND 
LIURD NEED TO ENSURE THAT GENDER CONSIDERATIONS 
FIGURE PROMINENTLY IN ITS FOOD ASSISTANCE TO 
REFUGEES. 
 
26.  AN EARLIER SURVEY BY UNHCR HAD SHOWN THAT UP TO 
70% OF THE SINJE REFUGEE POPULATION MAY WISH TO 
RETURN TO SIERRA LEONE.  WITH THE RECENT ATTACKS ON 
KLAY JUNCTION, THE DESIRE TO REPATRIATE TO SIERRA 
LEONE SOONER RATHER THAN LATER HAS INCREASED.  THOSE 
PROVIDED WITH FOOD ASSISTANCE IN JANUARY IN SINJE I 
AND II TOTALLED 16,280.  ON FEBRUARY 4, UNHCR STARTED 
AN ACCELERATED REGISTRATION PROCESS FOR THOSE 
REFUGEES WHO MAY WISH TO RETURN TO SIERRA LEONE. 
 
27.  FOR THOSE REFUGEES WHO CHOOSE TO REMAIN IN 
LIBERIA, FAO AND WFP SHOULD JOINTLY UNDERTAKE AN 
ASSESSMENT TO EXAMINE COPING MECHANISMS, ASSET LEVELS 
AND FACTORS AFFECTING ACCESS TO FOOD AND LOCAL LAND 
FOR THE RESIDUAL REFUGEE POPULATION.  THE RESULTS MAY 
INFLUENCE THE LEVEL OR TYPE OF FOOD ASSISTANCE 
REQUIRED FOR THIS CASELOAD. 
 
--------- 
STAFFING 
--------- 
 
28.  ALTHOUGH THE WFP SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER IS DOING 
A FINE JOB AS THE ACTING WFP COUNTRY DIRECTOR IN 
LIBERIA, WFP NEEDS TO PLACE A MORE SENIOR 
REPRESENTATIVE IN THE COUNTRY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. 
 
------------------------------------- 
MORALE OF THE HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY 
-------------------------------------- 
 
29.  THE USAID TEAM WAS QUITE TAKEN WITH THE LOW 
MORALE OF THE HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY.  THE U.N. 
COUNTRY TEAM AND THE NGOS SEEM TO BE COMPLETELY 
DEMORALIZED FROM LACK OF FUNDING, LACK OF DONOR 
INTEREST, LACK OF ABILITY TO IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS, AND 
NOW BY THE DETERIORATING SECURITY SITUATION COUPLED 
WITH THE ONGOING DIFFICULTY OF WORKING WITH THE 
GOVERNMENT.  WITH THAT SAID, HOWEVER, THE LEVEL OF 
COMPETENCE AMONG THE WFP, FAO, AND UNHCR IS QUITE 
ACCEPTABLE, AND THE USAID TEAM ENCOURAGED THEM TO 
CONTINUE TO PUSH THE GOVERNMENT ON HUMANITARIAN 
PRINCIPLES.  LACK OF VISITORS AND DONOR SUPPORT DO 
HAVE THEIR EFFECT, HOWEVER, IN HOW ENTHUSIASTICALLY 
AND AGGRESSIVELY THEY APPROACH THEIR WORK. 
 
30.  IT SHOULD BE NOTED THERE IS NO/NO UNDP RESIDENT 
REPRESENTATIVE/HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR IN LIBERIA TO 
WORK WITH THE GOL IN ADDRESSING THE HUMANITARIAN 
NEEDS OF THE IDPS.  THE U.N. PROPOSED TWO CANDIDATES 
WHO WERE BOTH REJECTED BY THE GOL.  A THIRD HAS NOW 
BEEN APPROVED.  THE NEED FOR THE SWIFT ARRIVAL OF THE 
NEW RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE AT THIS PERILOUS MOMENT 
CANNOT BE OVERSTATED. 
 
-------------------- 
CONTINGENCY PLANNING 
-------------------- 
 
31.  DURING THE SEC'S AND FFPO'S VISIT, IT WAS 
RECOGNIZED THAT THERE IS A TREMENDOUS NEED FOR 
CONTINGENCY PLANNING AND PREPAREDNESS AS THE CURRENT 
CRISIS DEEPENS AND POPULATION DISPLACEMENT INCREASES. 
IT WAS RECOMMENDED TO THE UN COUNTRY TEAM THAT 
CONTINGENCY PLANNING MEASURES BE UNDERTAKEN 
IMMEDIATELY TO ENSURE READINESS FOR POTENTIAL 
EMERGENCY SITUATIONS AND AN ABILITY TO COPE WITH A 
VARIETY OF SCENARIOS. AN ANALYSIS OF THE REGIONAL 
DYNAMICS AND AN EXAMINATION OF RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS 
SHOULD BE INCLUDED.  SUBSEQUENT TO THE TEAM'S VISIT, 
THE U.N. OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN 
AFFAIRS (OCHA) DEPLOYED AN OFFICER TO LIBERIA TO 
BEGIN THE CONTINGENCY PLANNING PROCESS. 
 
------------------- 
FOOD SECURITY FORUM 

------------------- 
 
32.  AN INTER-AGENCY FOOD SECURITY FORUM (FSF) HAS 
BEEN ACTIVE IN MONROVIA WITH THE AIM TO DEVELOP 
COMMON APPROACHES TO FOOD INTERVENTIONS, FOOD 
SECURITY ASSESSMENTS AND MONITORING.  THE FSF MEETS 
ON A MONTHLY BASIS WITH A ROTATING CHAIR OF 
PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS.  GIVEN THE CURRENT IN- 
COUNTRY SITUATION, THE FSF WILL PROVIDE A GOOD VENUE 
IN WHICH TO PLAN, TARGET, AND EVALUATE EMERGENCY FOOD 
INTERVENTIONS AND SHOULD BE SUPPORTED AS SUCH. 
 
--------- 
PIPELINE 
--------- 
 
33.  UNDER ITS CURRENT PRRO, WFP/LIBERIA REQUIRES 
25,637 METRIC TONS (MT) FOOD AID TO PROVIDE TARGETED 
FOOD ASSISTANCE TO A MONTHLY AVERAGE OF 108,550 
BENEFICIARIES (JANUARY - DECEMBER 2002).  FY 2002 
USAID/DCHA/FFP TITLE II EMERGENCY CONTRIBUTIONS TO 
LIBERIA CURRENTLY AMOUNT TO 2,650 MT FOOD COMMODITIES 
OR 1.4 MILLION USD, REPRESENTING ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF 
THE TOTAL PRRO FOOD REQUIREMENTS.  WFP/LIBERIA FACES 
AN 83 PERCENT SHORTFALL OF ITS TOTAL FOOD PROGRAM 
REQUIREMENTS FOR 2002.  AS IS, THE WFP/LIBERIA 
PIPELINE WILL START TO RUN DRY AS OF JULY 2002. 
ADDITIONAL DONATIONS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED. 
 
--------- 
LOGISTICS 

--------- 
 
34.  SINCE 2001 WFP HAS REDUCED ITS TRANSPORT, 
STORAGE AND HANDLING (ITSH) RATE FOR LIBERIA BY USD 7 
PER MT.  IT IS HOPED THAT GIVEN THE WFP REGIONAL 
LOGISTICS EXERCISE TO BE CONDUCTED IN MARCH 2002 THAT 
THE ITSH RATE COULD BE REDUCED FURTHER. THIS TAKES 
INTO CONSIDERATION THE REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF 
NATIONAL LOGISTICS STAFF, THE POSSIBLE CLOSURE OF THE 
EDP LOCATED IN HARPER, AND THE PARTIAL RELEASE OF THE 
WFP DEDICATED FLEET NOW OPERATIONAL OUT OF THE PORT 
OF MONROVIA. 
 
------------------ 
RECOMMENDATIONS 
------------------ 
 
35.  RECOMMENDATIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS: 
 
-  THE U.N. NEEDS TO SPEED THE DEPLOYMENT OF A STRONG 
UNDP RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR 
WHO CAN SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE IDPS WITH THE GOL.  A 
WHOLE RANGE OF HUMANITARIAN ISSUES AND PRINCIPLES 
REGARDING THE IDPS ARE IN QUESTION. 
 
-  WFP SHOULD DO ALL IT CAN TO SEE THAT THE PROPOSED 
COUNTRY DIRECTOR BE APPROVED POST-HASTE BY THE GOL SO 
HE CAN BE DEPLOYED SOONEST. 
 
-  WFP NEEDS TO DEVELOP A CLEAR POLICY ABOUT WHEN AND 
HOW IT PROVIDES FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS TO NEWLY-DISPLACED 
POPULATIONS.  THIS POLICY SHOULD BE SHARED WITH ALL 
RELEVANT PARTIES. 
 
-  GIVEN CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS, WFP SHOULD CONTINUE TO 
IMPROVE ITS STRATEGIES AS THE LEAD AGENCY FOR FOOD 
COORDINATION REGARDING THE EMERGENCY SITUATION AND 
CONTINUE TO BASE ITS INTERVENTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL 
FOOD AND NUTRITION ASSESSMENTS INVOLVING OTHER 
ORGANIZATIONS.  IN THIS REGARD, THE FOLLOWING NEEDS 
TO BE INCORPORATED INTO THE FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS: 
 
A.   POST-DISTRIBUTION MONITORING NEEDS TO BE 
REINSTATED IMMEDIATELY IN THE REFUGEE CAMPS, GUIDED 
BY A TRIPARTITE AGREEMENT AMONG WFP, UNHCR, AND THE 
IP.  WFP SHOULD BEGIN PDM IN THE IDP CAMPS, AS WELL. 
 
B.   WOMEN NEED TO BECOME A MORE INTEGRAL PART OF THE 
DISTRIBUTION PROCESS. 
 
C.   USE OF MONITORS DURING THE DISTRIBUTION NEEDS TO 
BE INCREASED. 
 
D.   THE CLUSTER METHOD OF DISTRIBUTION NEEDS TO BE 
ANALYZED AFTER THREE TO FOUR MONTHS OF USE IN THE IDP 
AND REFUGEE CAMPS TO ENSURE THAT THE WEAKEST AND MOST 
VULNERABLE ARE RECEIVING THE INTENDED RATION. 
 
E.   WFP NEEDS TO CONDUCT AN ASSESSMENT TO EXAMINE 
COPING MECHANISMS, ASSET LEVELS, AND FACTORS 
AFFECTING ACCESS TO FOOD AND LOCAL LAND FOR THE IDPS 
IN BONG COUNTY AND FOR THE REFUGEES.  APPROPRIATE 
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE RATION LEVEL SHOULD THEN BE 
IMPLEMENTED. 
 
-  FAO SHOULD LOBBY STRONGLY WITH THE LOCAL AND 
NATIONAL AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE LAND FOR AGRICULTURE 
PRODUCTION FOR THE IDPS IN BONG COUNTY AND REMAINING 
REFUGEES IN SINJE IS PROVIDED.  AS THE PLANTING 
SEASON FOR THE MAIN RICE CROP BEGINS IN MAY, MOVING 
SWIFTLY WITH SOLID AGREEMENTS IS CRITICAL. 
 
-  A DEMARCHE TO KEY DONORS HIGHLIGHTING THE 
DETERIORATING SITUATION IN LIBERIA MIGHT BE HELPFUL 
IN FILLING THE ANTICIPATED PIPELINE BREAK IN JULY. 
 
36.  MINIMIZE CONSIDERED.  HEILEMAN 
 



Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04