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2003 Chronology

3 Jan - The voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees from camps in northwestern Tanzania is complete, with only about 150 remaining in the country, Ivana Unluova, the spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), says.

20 Jan - As Western countries warn their citizens travelling to Zanzibar of possible terror attacks, Tanzanians say tourism on the archipelago has already been affected, even though no attack occurred.

27 Jan - The Independent Monitoring Group (IMG), a body set up to analyse government-donor relations in Tanzania, says that following the "dire situation" in the mid-1990s, "major improvements" have been made in recent years. In its first report, the IMG says donors now have greater trust in the government, which has responded in various ways to improve its policies and practices in the management of the US $1 billion in annual foreign aid.

31 Jan - The government signs an agreement with Sweden under which Sweden will provide 455 million kronor ($50 million) to support Tanzania's 2003-06 Primary Education Development Plan.

3 Feb - The UNHCR will not provide assistance or international protection to Rwandans moving from Tanzania to Uganda, the UNHCR public information officer in Uganda, Bushra Malik, says.

3 Feb - Starting this week, refugees in Tanzanian camps will have their rations cut by up to 50 percent due to the lack of any "major food contributions" over the last six months, Mario Leeflang, an employee of the World Food Programme (WFP) says.

12 Feb - The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UK Department for International Development embark on a $9.6 million three-year programme to support poverty reduction in Zanzibar. UNDP says more than half of Zanzibar's people are living in poverty.

13 Feb - Tanzania is to receive €24 million ($26 million) from the EC in 2003 to help meet the humanitarian needs of Burundian and Congolese refugees in the country, the EC Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) say in a a statement issued in Brussels.

13 Feb - A tripartite meeting on refugees is held in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, for the governments of Rwanda, Tanzania and the UNHCR.

14 Feb - Japan signs an agreement to grant the local equivalent of $2.9 million in debt relief to Tanzania. Officials at the Japanese embassy in Dar es Salaam say half of the money would be used for budgetary support, while the other half would be used for imports.

19 Feb - The remaining 2,000 Rwandan refugees in Tanzanian camps will leave "within two weeks", according to UNHCR officials. At a meeting held on 13 February, it was agreed that there would be a period of two weeks for "sensitising" the remaining refugees on the situation in Rwanda in order to try and persuade them that it is safe for them to return, they say.

19 Feb - Lack of funding to feed the 500,000 refugees in Tanzania's refugee camps is leading to a "dire" situation, the UNHCR and WFP say. Both agencies describe the situation as the "worst ever".

21 Feb - A Rwandan government delegation is in Tanzania to brief Rwandan refugees on voluntary repatriation. The delegates are in the Ngara and Kibondo districts in the northwestern Kagera Region, where about 2,600 Rwandans live in refugee camps.

26 Feb - The German government will, through its technical and financial cooperation bodies, provide Tanzania with €80 million worth of aid over the next three years. At least half the money will be spent on water and sanitation projects, Detles Mey, the Tanzania country director of the German government's aid agency, the Gersellschaft fuer Technische Zumsammenarbeit (GTZ), says.

27 Feb - The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Zanzibar, signs a $781,220 agreement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to introduce modern anti-malarials in the islands and train its doctors and nurses.

13 Mar - Mkugwa refugee camp in western Tanzania is to remain open, despite recent reports that it would be closed by the end of March, the UNHCR says.

13 Mar - The UNHCR begins the integration of more than 3,300 Somali Bantu refugees into the local community in Tanzania, the UN agency reports.

17 Mar - In a bid to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), known as MONUC, is now using Tanzania as the staging post for transporting supplies to its peacekeepers in eastern DRC, MONUC officials say.

21 Mar - Tanzania has fuel stocks to last 35 days, Deputy Energy and Minerals Minister Ibrahim Msabaha says.

27 Mar - Tanzanian army engineers destroy 9,837 antipersonnel mines, in compliance with the international landmines treaty that the country signed in 1997. Field engineers of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces destroy the landmines at Msata in Bagamoyo District, about 110 km northwest of Dar es Salaam.

28 Mar - The severely depleted food rations of refugees living in camps in western Tanzania are to be increased slightly by mid-April, WFP announces.

3 Apr - Actress Angelina Jolie, the UNHCR goodwill ambassador, thanks Tanzania for its continuing hospitality towards refugees. Jolie followed a group of 91 newly arrived children, separated from their families in the DRC, from their registration in Kigoma, to the Lugufu refugee camp in western Tanzania.

3 Apr - A curfew imposed a month ago after several nights of violence in two camps for Burundian refugees in western Tanzania continues although calm has returned to the Mtabila and Myovosi refugee camps, near Kasulu. The 20:00 to 06:00 local time curfew is still in place.

4 Apr - The World Bank praises Tanzania for making concerted efforts in poverty reduction, saying its push to harmonise donor efforts in the country should be seen as a model for other developing nations. "What stands out is the strong government leadership in the whole effort," Judy O'Connor, the World Bank country director for Tanzania and Uganda, says.

15 Apr - Some 1.6 million of the 4.7 million children in Tanzania are labourers, according to the country's latest labour force survey. Most of the children, aged between five and 17 years, work for more than four hours a day and are not attending school due to poverty, the Integrated Labour Force Survey 2000/01 says.

22 Apr - The government of Japan will send $5.2 million worth of food aid to Tanzania, an embassy spokesman, Joram Rugemalil, says.

25 Apr - The death rate for children in Tanzania has fallen by more than 25 percent following the implementation of a pilot three-year community project aimed at curbing malaria, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

2 May - Sweden has given Tanzania 350 million kronor in budget support over three years (2003 to 2005), the Swedish embassy in Dar es Salaam announces, quoting Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation Jan Karlsson.

5 May - WHO announces that it will provide technical support to Tanzania for the commercial production of a plant-based medicine reported to have the "highest cure rate" for malaria. The medicinal plant of Chinese origin, whose scientific name is artemisia annua, is grown in Tanzania's southern and northern highlands.

9 May - A group of donors pledges $26.5 million in aid of health services, including the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. The technical adviser with the Danish embassy in Dar es Salaam, Finn Schleimann, says the pledge by Denmark, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the World Bank is for one year.

18 May - Voters on Pemba, the semi-autonomous island off Tanzania, overwhelmingly demonstrate their support for Tanzania's main opposition party, the Civic United Front, in a by-election, which, despite speculation to the contrary, is held in an atmosphere of calm and order.

26 May - Tanzania's national food crop production is likely to decline by 10 percent this year compared to last year, the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) predicts in its May report.

27-30 May - An assessment team tours Burundian refugee camps in western Tanzania and recommends that communal markets around the camps be reopened to stem rising insecurity. The team, comprising officials from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red Cross, also recommends that the refugees' access to arable land should be increased.

29 May - The World Bank announces that it will provide $250 million to support efforts by the government to reduce poverty through three main operations: a Poverty Reduction Support Credit, a water supply and sanitation project for Dar es Salaam, and an agricultural development project.

29 May - The government rejects applications by 931 Rwandan refugees seeking to stay in the country because they fear that the security situation in their own country is not conducive to their return. Ngara District Commissioner Samuel Ndomba says Home Affairs Minister Omar Ramadhani Mapuri dismissed the applications on the recommendation of the National Eligibility Committee.

6 Jun - Germany and the EU agree to donate €44 million to provide safe drinking water to "almost 1 million water users" in three Tanzanian towns. Residents of Mwanza, Iringa and Mbeya are to benefit from affordable water supply and wastewater management services.

18 Jun - Action by Churches Together, a network of churches and humanitarian agencies, appeals for $150,208 to help thousands of Burundian refugees said to be spontaneously going home from camps in western Tanzania.

26 Jun - Tanzania will favourably consider applications for citizenship from about 3,000 Somali Bantu refugees who have lived in the country since 1992, Deputy Home Affairs Minister John Chiligati says.

7 Jul - The World Bank approves a $77 million grant for Tanzania to support its HIV/AIDS reduction efforts, the Bank reports in statement issued from Washington DC.

7 Jul - People living in remote areas in Tanzania are due to benefit from a $5.4 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a public-private partnership formed in 2002 to attract resources to fight the three diseases. The Fund reports that the grant will cater for HIV preventive education in the country over five years.

9 Jul - The African Development Fund gives Tanzania $22.16 million to finance its vocational education and training projects, the Fund reports in a statement issued its headquarters in Tunis.

11 Aug - Tanzania is among 58 participants eligible for trade in rough diamonds with the US in accordance with the Clean Diamond Trade Act, the US Department of State announces.

20 Aug - The governments of Burundi and Tanzania have agreed to try to open more border crossing points to facilitate the voluntary return of Burundian refugees living in western Tanzanian camps, UNHCR reports.

22 Aug - The government has appealed for 45,000 mt of maize to meet part of the 77,500 mt food aid requirement identified during a recent vulnerability assessment, FEWS NET reports.

27 Aug - The World Bank approves a $70-million grant for Tanzania's multisectoral HIV/AIDS project, aimed at reducing the spread of the disease through working with government, NGOs and civil society and community organisations.

29 Aug - President Benjamin Mkapa repeats his accusations that refugees are to blame for the increase in small arms in the country and says the problem can be solved by creating safe havens for civilians within their countries of origin.

2 Sep - The authorities expel 910 Rwandans who have been living in Kagera Region, humanitarian workers and government officials say. The government says the Rwandans have been screened and denied refugee status, and are therefore in the country illegally.

11 Sep - Donor organisations and the government are making contingency plans following several warnings of an imminent food shortage for some 2 million people. "We are still finalising our emergency appeal document in response to the prime minister's request," Matthew McIvenna, a WFP programme officer, says.

11 Sep - Tanzania reopens its embassy in neighbouring Burundi after a nine-year closure it attributed to "financial constraint". Ambassador Francis Mndolwa presents his letters of credence to Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye.

15 Sep - Existing refugee protection laws and conventions are outdated and the international community should urgently explore the possibility of setting up "safe havens" within countries in conflict, Home Affairs Minister Omar Ramadhan Mapuri says. Calling for a new approach to the refugee phenomenon, labelled "a potential threat to international peace and security", Mapuri says refugees are a heavy burden on African countries, most of which are very poor.

22 Sep - The African Development Fund will lend Tanzania $19.6 million and grant it an additional $2.2 million for a project in support of the country's Strategic Action Plan for Vocational Education and Training, the African Development Bank Group announces.

26 Sep - A Tanzanian company has begun producing mosquito nets treated with a long-lasting insecticide with the potential to slash malarial morbidity and save millions of people. UNICEF and WHO announce a partnership with the Acumen Fund that enables African countries to manufacture innovative anti-mosquito bed-nets.

2 Oct - Nearly 85 percent of maize, sorghum and groundnut crops in Tanzanian's northern district of Shinyanga are affected by drought, leaving thousands of people without enough to feed their families for the next six months, the Presbyterian World Service & Development Agency says.

3 Oct - The Tanzanian government has released 7,215 mt of maize from its Strategic Grain Reserve to sell at a highly subsidised price to people suffering from severe food shortages in 16 districts, FEWS NET reports.

9 Oct - The US government has given UNICEF a $1.5-million grant for humanitarian work in Tanzania, the US embassy in Dar es Salaam announces. UNICEF will spend the money on programmes in refugee camps in western Tanzania, where an estimated 400,000 people live.

10 Oct - Oct 2003 (IRIN) - The Commonwealth, in its capacity of coordinator of the political reconciliation process on Zanzibar, urges reform of the judiciary and faster implementation of the Muafaka Agreement signed between two leading political parties on the Tanzanian island. The call follows a visit to the island by Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon.

20 Oct - The repatriation of about 20,000 Rwandans living illegally in Tanzania will be a gradual and voluntary process, Maj Tumainiel Kiwelo, the commissioner for Kagera Region, where the Rwandans are living, says. Roughly 600 Rwandans have applied to remain in Tanzania as residents, while the rest have not done so because they want to go back, he says.

22 Oct - WFP appeals to the international community for $17 million to help feed 2 million people facing severe drought in central and northern Tanzania.

24 Oct - Tanzania is among five countries scheduled to receive EC funding to help eradicate poverty, the EC announces in a statement. It will provide Tanzania with €114 million.

10 Nov - UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers appeals to the government to persevere with its tradition of hospitality to refugees by reviewing its new policy restricting the their movement.

11 Nov - The EU and the government sign an agreement under which the EU will provide €114 million in budgetary support for the government's work in basic education, primary health, rural roads, water, HIV/AIDS, agriculture and the judiciary over the next two years.

17 Nov - The UN appeals for $38.7 million for its 2004 operations to look after refugees and promote development in western Tanzania. "The 2004 CAP [Consolidated Appeal Process] makes a strong appeal to donors to ensure the provision of adequate humanitarian assistance in order to meet international minimum standards, reduce future vulnerability and simultaneously promote conditions leading to sustainable development in western Tanzania," the UN says in its 2004 CAP for Tanzania.

24 Nov - Due to its improved performance in vaccinating children against diseases, the government is due to receive some $20 million over five years for immunisation against preventable diseases, the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation announces.

17 Dec - The government of Japan, through UNICEF, gives $711,263 to support a basic education project targeting out-of-school children, the Japanese foreign ministry reports.

22 Dec - Government health officials express growing concern over the impact water shortages are having on health in Dar es Salaam. The lack of water is hampering health care providers' efforts to maintain normal services and has already led to an increase in the number of cases of cholera, officials say.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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