A WATSAN assessment mission was organized to Buchanan on Friday, September 5th 2003.

The purpose was to evaluate the community wells allegedly containing dead bodies and graves in the close vicinity of some of them. The team comprised of Mr. Cheik Ndiaye, the WHO Consultant and Mr. Jimmy WILSON of the Cartoon an NGO. The WATSAN officer of the Red Cross in Buchanan also accompanied the team.

The following were the major findings:

  1. On 3 sites, the Red cross Officer and the local population pointed out 4 wells as containing dead bodies. The height of the water table didnít permit the verification of the bodies. One of these wells is still being used. The 3 others have been abandoned.
  2. At another site, dead bodies were buried less than 3 meters from a well, which is abandoned but not sealed.
  3. At other sites, the distances from the wells and the graves did not constitute a significant risk for contamination. Nevertheless, a psychological constraint may prevent the population to use these wells, knowing that graves are in the neighbourhoods.
  4. On one site (Traditional court), a dead body in an advanced state of decomposition is still left in the open. The dead body constitute no menace for water in this site. The Red Cross asked for some chemicals and tools to bury the body.

The Red Cross Officer provided a list of the other sites where wells have been identified as containing dead bodies. Time constraints didnít permit visits to those other sites. A copy of the list was given to the team.

At the end of the visit the team formulated the following recommendations:

  1. A proposal will be sent to WHO by CARTOON to verify and get the bodies out of the wells for burial.
  2. The issue of graves must be addressed more thoroughly in consideration of legal implications. Wells near graves, which are less than 30 metres, must be closed.
  3. A mass chlorination of community wells in Buchanan must be conducted as early as possible.

A report of the trip was presented at the Humanitarian Coordinating meeting in the evening and a decision was made to conduct a follow-up joint mission (UNICEF and WHO) to Buchanan on Saturday, 6 September for further assessment.


UNICEF, WHO and an NGO (ACT international) formed the team. The purpose was to follow-up on the assessment, which began the previous day. Red Cross personnel in Buchanan again accompanied the team.

The team tried to identify more wells containing dead bodies. Unfortunately, the Red Cross staffs capable of identifying all the sites were not present. In addition, the time at the disposal of the team was too short (1hr 30mn). The team therefore decided to revisit the wells already observed by the WHO Consultant the previous day.

The conclusion of the team was that there was no real evidence of the presence of dead bodies in the wells though the local population leaving in the concerned communities insist on it.

The team formulated the following recommendations:

  1. A mass chlorination of wells must be organised, taking into account the presence of cholera in Buchanan. This campaign may be organised with the Liberian Red Cross and other NGOs working in Buchanan. WHO will prepare a draft proposal and budget for this purpose.
  2. During the chlorination campaign, wells identified as containing dead bodies will be checked. In case of presence of dead bodies, they will be taken out by the RED CROSS, the NGO, CARTOON and the communities for burial.
  3. The campaign will also be used to update the database of wells, their state, and their environmental health conditions.



This meeting was held at the UNDP Conference room at 10 am. Participants included Heads of UN Agencies and the Focal points for the CAP preparation from the Agencies. WHO was represented by Drs Omar Khatib, Komla Siamevi, James Teprey and Mr.Eric Johnson. It was chaired by Mr. Ross Mountain, the Humanitarian Coordinator.

The chairman pointed out that even though this document is for Liberia, it should be developed taking into consideration global and regional contexts. The technical committee comprising the focal persons will develop the draft for consideration by the UNCT.

There was a presentation on the format for the next CAP Appeal. The group then discussed elements of the presentation, the context and contents. Finally the group did a brainstorming session on scenarios development.

The technical committee will meet on Tuesday.



Meeting was held in WHO (WHO being the chair of the taskforce on Nutrition Assessment) with UNICEF, World Vision, and MOH (Director of Family Health Services and a Nutrition Officer) to discuss the nutrition assessment planned in Tubmanburg covering 1500 children under 5 years. A refresher training for 20 enumerators was organized for Saturday.

WHO visited TFCs run by ACF to get information on protocols and monitoring indicators used.


Refresher training on rapid nutrition assessment was carried out with WHO and World Vision as the trainers. The assessment of the prevalence of acute and chronic malnutrition in Tubmanburg will be carried out on Monday and Tuesday. Qualitative data on the underlying causes of malnutrition (infant and young child feeding practices, environmental conditions, access to health services will also be collected). World Vision will open TFCs and SFCs depending on the outcome of the assessment.

WHO visited TFC run by MSF (H) and the TFC in the hospital run by MSF (F). There is a need to standardize the protocols on the treatment of severe malnutrition.


Meeting was held in WCO with UNICEF nutritionist from NY to discuss collaboration.

Meeting was also held with USAID/DART on needs in nutrition.


The morning meeting on Saturday 6, September, among other things, discussed on the possibility of mounting cross-boarder missions to Harper and Zwerdu late next week. WHO expressed willingness to be part of such missions especially as earlier reports from ICRC indicated that health is a major problem there.

The evening meeting on Saturday among other things, heard the report of Buchanan WHO/UNICEF/NGOs mission to assess water and sanitation in light of the serious cholera outbreak reported and confirmed there.

There were no meetings on Sunday 7 September.