IRIN Update 376 for 17 Mar 98.3.17 M U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

IRIN Update 376 for 17 Mar 98.3.17 M U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

Tel: +254 2 622147 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail:

IRIN Update No. 376 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 17 March 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN predicts success for human rights mission

The UN investigative mission into human rights abuses will fulfill its mandate "with success", the spokesman of Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday (Monday). "It appears the mission will be able to go to the end of its inquiry and present a report, that would satisfy the secretary-general," said Fred Eckhard. "I think we will have a satisfactory conclusion," he told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

TANZANIA: Refugees protest over reduced rations

WFP's latest Emergency Report says the railway line near Kigoma, the main route for food deliveries to the refugee camps in Kasulu, is flooded and passenger services have already been suspended. An interruption in the cargo service is also feared. The weekly report adds that food distribution in Nduta camp was suspended when the refugees violently protested against the reduced cereal ration being distributed. It was later agreed that a double ration of pulses would be distributed to compensate for the half cereal ration. Nduta hosts close to 30,000 Burundian refugees.

Similar incidents occurred in Lugufu camp in Kigoma, hosting approximately 26,000 Congolese refugees, when some of the refugees refused to receive their half rations. The situation was solved after meetings with the refugee community and the distribution resumed the following day. The official refugee caseload in Tanzania at the beginning of March stands at 344,091 persons, including 263,614 Burundians and 69,131 Congolese.

Hundreds of villages inaccessible to food relief

Several hundred villages remain inaccessible to agencies distributing WFP relief food to drought-affected persons in central Tanzania. Although traditionally only white maize is consumed by the villagers, some families are reported to be walking 50 km to collect their yellow maize ration, a sign of the grave situation these families are facing.

WHO confirms Rift Valley Fever in Arusha

WHO is conducting a baseline survey to determine the prevalence of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in northern Tanzania following positive results from blood samples sent to laboratories in the United States and South Africa. According to WHO, out of 184 animal samples analysed, 10 were RVF positive. Two human samples were found to be infected with RVF out of 13 tested. The Arusha region remains under animal quarantine.

"Mysterious" disease is malaria

Despite media reports of a mysterious disease in Muleba district in the kagera region, WHO investigations have determined the outbreak to be malaria. A combination of heavy rains, chloroquine resistance, poverty and a lack of medical supplies has contributed to its severity.

RWANDA: RPF official accuses France, Belgium of "passive" complicity towards rebels

A leading member of Rwanda's ruling party accused France and Belgium of being "passive" accomplices of Hutu rebels operating in the northwest of the country. Tito Rutaremara, a senior member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front's executive committee, told AFP on Monday that "all the people who are anti-RPF are considered by the (Hutu) rebels as potential friends."

Food deficit 20,000 mt more than forecasted

Rwanda's food deficit for the first six months of the year stands at 102,000 mt, according to WFP and FAO. Initially the shortfall had been estimated at 82,000 mt, but this figure was revised following a joint mission of FAO, WFP, donor and government representatives that assessed the impact of heavy rains on the crops.

GREAT LAKES: Transport disruption forces new WFP strategy for food distribution

A WFP survey of the Great Lakes region transport corridors notes that weather-related damage to the Tanzanian transport infrastructure continues to disrupt essential transport links along the southern rail corridor. Over 60 percent of the Tanzania Railways Corporation rolling stock remains trapped in Dar es Salaam. During February, only 57 percent of the 6,000 mt of food planned could be moved from Dodoma to Kigoma, Isaka and Tabora, the agency said. In order to ensure that the required food commodities reach those in need, WFP has been forced to adopt new logistical arrangements, not envisaged in the original regional emergency operation.

These include the immediate airlifting of 700 mt of essential food commodities from Dar es Salaam to Burundi. WFP says it is waiting for clearances from the Burundi government and the Regional Sanctions Committee before further airlift plans can be elaborated. The agency also intends to ship 6,000 mt of food from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa, for onward delivery to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, to take advantage of the greater transport capacity on the northern rail corridor. Critical non-food items, such as port support equipment, will be airlifted from Kampala to Mpulungu in Zambia to initiate Mpulungu barge operations. Also to be airlifted are recovery vehicles and rail car tarpaulins from Harare to western Tanzania to re-activate idle open wagons for cargo movements, and rail spares from Dar es Salaam to Kampala to increase the capacity of the Uganda Railway Corporation on the Mombasa rail line. According to WFP, these new arrangements are estimated to cost just over US $1 million. KENYA: Ban on regional road transportation of petroleum products

Kenya yesterday banned the road transport of petroleum products to Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan in a bid to curb tax evasion bu fuel handlers. Instead all fuel is to be transported by sea from the Kenyan oil refinery in the Indian Ocean coastal city of Mombasa, energy minister Chrisantus Okemo told reporters. He said fuel exporters had been "dumping" onto the local market oil purchased duty-free at the refinery for export to neighbouring countries, thus avoiding taxes. A special police unit is to be established to monitor the movement of road fuel tankers, Okemo added. Only licenced fuel traders will be allowed to tranship petroleum products by road to Tanzania and Uganda, the minister said.

BURUNDI: Team of experts set to go to Ruyigi

Following reports of an outbreak of a mysterious disease in Burundi's Ruyigi region, a ministry of public health/WHO mission is expected to arrive this week for a four-day evaluation mission. The infection causes swelling of the feet to the extent the sufferer is unable to walk. It is said to be very painful. According to humanitarian sources, three scouting trips from Ruyigi hospital have found 110 people infected in Butaganzwa commune. There is speculation transmission is through the soles of the feet.

Nairobi, 17 March 1998 13:45 GMT


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Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 17:13:51 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 376 for 17 Mar 98.3.17 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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