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DATE=1/8/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-243935 TITLE=U-N / SIERRA LEONE (L-ONLY) BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-N AID AGENCIES SAY THEY ARE UNABLE TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE RECENT UPSURGE OF FIGHTING IN THE WEST-AFRICAN COUNTRY OF SIERRA LEONE. LISA SCHLEIN IN GENEVA REPORTS THE U-N AGENCIES SAY RESUMPTION OF HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS IN AND AROUND THE CAPITAL, FREETOWN, WILL BE POSSIBLE ONLY IF THE CEASEFIRE ANNOUNCED THURSDAY BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND REBEL FORCES HOLDS. TEXT: UNICEF, THE UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND, CALLS THE CONFLICT IN SIERRA LEONE ONE OF THE MOST SAVAGE AND POINTLESS IN AFRICA'S HISTORY. IT SAYS THE WAR HAS CAUSED PARTICULAR MISERY TO CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN FORCED INTO ARMED COMBAT AND HAVE BECOME TARGETS OF HORRIFIC ATROCITIES. UNICEF COMMUNICATION'S OFFICER, PATRICK MC CORMICK, SAYS THE AGENCY HAS BEEN FORCED TO SUSPEND ITS ACTIVITIES IN FREETOWN AND OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE FIGHTING IS UNDERWAY. BUT HE SAYS DURING THE PAST FIVE DAYS, NATIONAL UNICEF STAFF MEMBERS HAVE CONTINUED TO PROVIDE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO HOMELESS PEOPLE AND LOCAL POPULATIONS IN THE TOWNS OF KAMBIA, BO, AND KENEMA. /// MC CORMICK ACT /// THIS ASSISTANCE IS IN THE FORM OF VACCINES, CHILDREN'S HEALTH KITS, BLANKETS, CLOTHES, SHELTER MATERIAL, AND CHLORINE FOR PURIFYING WATER SUPPLIES. /// END ACT /// THE UNITED NATIONS ESTIMATES 330-THOUSAND PEOPLE IN SIERRA LEONE HAVE BEEN DISPLACED BY THE ONGOING CIVIL WAR, AMONG THEM ARE THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE. THE U-N WORLD FOOD PROGRAM SAYS IT HAS PLENTY OF FOOD IN FREETOWN. BUT SPOKESPERSON, CHRISTIANE BERTHIAUME, SAYS THE FOOD CANNOT BE GIVEN TO PEOPLE IN NEED BECAUSE OF THE DANGEROUS SECURITY SITUATION REIGNING IN THE CITY. /// BERTHIAUME ACT /// WE HAVE IN FREETOWN MORE THAN TWO-THOUSAND TONS OF FOOD, BUT WE CANNOT DISTRIBUTE IT. THAT IS THE PROBLEM BECAUSE OF THE SECURITY CONDITIONS. AND LOCAL STAFF HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO STAY INDOORS BECAUSE IT'S TOO DANGEROUS. /// END ACT /// THE U-N HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES, SADAKO OGATA, SAYS SHE WELCOMES THE NEWS OF A CEASEFIRE IN SIERRA LEONE AND BELIEVES A POLITICAL SOLUTION IS THE ONLY WAY TO PUT AN END TO THIS TRAGIC CYCLE OF VIOLENCE. U-N-H-C-R SPOKESMAN, KRIS JANOWSKI, SAYS THE AGENCY HAS NOT SEEN A MAJOR NEW OUTFLOW OF REFUGEES FROM THE COUNTRY. /// JANOWSKI ACT /// NONETHELESS, IF THE VIOLENCE CONTINUES AND UNLESS A STOP IS PUT TO THE VIOLENCE NOW, VERY SOON, WE MAY SEE MORE REFUGEE FLOWS AND THE DANGER IS VERY REAL AND VERY MUCH THERE.L /// END ACT /// THE UNITED NATIONS ESTIMATES THAT THERE ARE ABOUT 440-THOUSAND SIERRA LEONIAN REFUGEES IN NEIGHBORING GUINEA AND LIBERIA. THIS MAKES THEM THE SINGLE LARGEST REFUGEE GROUP ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT. (SIGNED) NEB/LS/RAE 08-Jan-99 8:43 AM EST (1343 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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