WFP Emergency Report No. 39 of 2000
From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Adviser. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Zlatan.Milisic@wfp.org. For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org, telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
(A) Asia Floods: Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh
(a) According to the Government (National Committee of Disaster Management), the flooding has created a state of emergency in 14 out of 23 provinces.
(b) WFP is preparing to deliver emergency food aid to some 500,000 people, following the destruction of thousands of homes and nearly 220,000 hectares of rice crop by a historic flooding from Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. WFP is estimating that about 15,000 tons of food will be required to meet the immediate food needs of the flood victims.
(c) WFP is already assisting 30,000 of the worst hit families with food from the contingency reserve of a two-year relief and rehabilitation programme started in January 1999 for 1.3 million people.
(d) Under the new emergency programme being formulated, WFP is planning to assist all 500,000 people for one month and follow this with food rations for 250,000 affected people, to enable them carry out major repair work required in their homes and communities when the flood waters recede. In a third step, in the early part of the next year, some 115,000 people are expected to benefit through participation in WFP-sponsored food-for-work projects on infrastructure rehabilitation.
(e) If the flood waters do not recede by mid-October there are fears that the farmers will not be able to plant on their land and will face prolonged and more serious vulnerability.
(a) The flood emergency in the Mekong Delta continues. At least 145,000 people have been evacuated so far and additional 600,000 who remained in the flooded areas are seriously affected. Some of the worst affected population are trying to survive through fishing, as other agricultural activities are impossible at the moment. There are serious concerns about contaminated drinking water and risks of disease.
(b) Some government sources are predicting that the floods will not subside until late November or early December and that the affected population would require relief at least until that time. Rehabilitation aid would be required subsequently, when the displaced population return to their homes.
(c) Last week, WFP approved an emergency operation to assist 40,000 of the most affected flood victims, over a period of two months. A total of 800 tons of rice is to be provided in three provinces: Dong Thap, An Giang and Long An. The purchase of rice has already been initiated and it is hoped that first deliveries will take place in mid-October. Distributions will be implemented through the national Red Cross and are expected to be completed by mid-December.
(d) WFP maintains close contacts with the IFRC, national Red Cross and the Government's Disaster Management Unit (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), at the central level, and various partners at the provincial level.
(a) In addition to the displacement of nearly one million people, the floods caused destruction of crops and infrastructure, roads in particular. The worst hit are Chuadanga and Rajshahi districts, north-west of Dhaka.
(b) The flood situation is very serious in the affected areas and the population is in a clear needs of relief assistance. However, it is recognised that the situation is fully under control of the Government, whose food stocks are sufficient to cover the current relief requirements without international support. No international interventions are planned for the time being, but WFP and its partners will continue to closely monitor the developments.
(B) West and Central Asia Drought: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Armenia
(a) WFP continued accelerating dispatches of food to Ghor province, from where several thousand people have moved to Herat in search of relief. Around 1,322 tons of wheat have been distributed in Ghor so far, to 13,200 families, in collaboration with implementing partners. WFP has allocated over 14,000 tons of wheat for the western region, through the FOODAC and emergency distribution programme and about 2,400 tons have already reached the province. The movement of food from Herat to Ghor has been disrupted this week, due to resumption of fighting in Farsi district. An alternative route for deliveries is being reviewed, from Kandahar to Chakhcharan, which could reduce the transportation time from six to three days and enable WFP to move 10,000 tons of wheat to Ghor before the winter. WFP is strengthening its team in Ghor to speed up the food distributions.
(b) Following the allocation of 275 tons of wheat for distribution to 5,500 most vulnerable IDP families in Badakhshan and Takhar, WFP has started moving food to Rustaq, Yangikala and Khuja Bahauddin. Deliveries to Dashtiqala have been stopped, as well as distributions there, because the fighting has spread to Khuja Ghor district. People are reportedly fleeing the area and moving further west to Khuja Bahauddin district.
(c) Weather across the whole north-east Afghanistan is changing rapidly and this has a clear implications for the shelter situation of many IDPs. The temperatures are expected to drop noticeably in the coming weeks and the IDPs will have to be provided not only with food but also with tents, blankets and warm clothes, unless they can return home. Agencies are looking into heating requirements of public buildings that could be used to accommodate the IDPs.
(d) During August, 3,516 tons of food aid provided by WFP were distributed to 35,160 families in Afghanistan. An additional 3,000 tons of food were distributed to around 30,000 drought-affected families in the last three weeks.
(a) WFP approved a new emergency operation in Tajikistan this week and is expecting to mobilise 126,000 tons of food in order to assist over 1.16 million people who are facing a very serious situation, with no employment or other opportunities to obtain food elsewhere.
(b) This operation, expected to last nine months (October to June 2001), is a response to the dramatic decline in cereal production caused by the drought, which is affecting nearly half of the 6.2 million people in the country. Several steps have been taken by WFP to start the new relief operation as soon as possible.
(c) Some reports were received and are currently being verified that the residents of southern Khatlon province are moving across the borders in search of food, potable water and employment opportunities.
(a) Rains continued in most parts of eastern Georgia, but land preparation has been slow due to a low purchasing power of farmers to buy adequate supplies of fuel and implement agricultural activities such as ploughing. Potato and wheat seeds are not available at the local markets. Prices of basic food commodities have increased by 20-25 percent, since last month.
(b) WFP visited the conflict area of South Ossetia, where the 'de facto' authorities reported that more than half of the crops, mostly wheat, have been lost due to the drought and expressed fears that the supply of livestock fodder will be insufficient during the winter. There are concerns that the existing food insecurity of the population, IDPs in particular, will deteriorate further with the effects of the drought. The rural households interviewed by WFP mentioned food as their priority need during winter and seeds for the current planting season.
(c) In western Georgia, no land preparation is underway for the spring planting of the main crops, maize and beans. There are shortages of maize and beans at the local markets and their prices have risen by 60 percent (beans) and 12 percent (maize) since the last month. Prices of other food commodities remain stable.
(d) WFP is currently preparing an emergency operation to assist the drought victims.
(a) A long dry spell is threatening the sowing of the winter wheat crop. USDA has provided 1,600 tons of winter wheat, which are expected to be distributed in the most affected areas next week. WFP has offered assistance with storage and handling of some of the wheat.
(b) Initial findings of the consultants deployed to assist the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission confirm that the agricultural losses are higher than originally anticipated by the Government. Livestock in the northern regions is highly affected as well. It is feared that some animals will have to be slaughtered due to the lack of affordable fodder. The prices of basic commodities have gone up by around 20 percent since June. Reports from the southern region indicate that the situation is generally better than in the north, though some drought-affected pockets have been found there as well.
(c) WFP is currently preparing an emergency operation to assist the drought victims.
(C) DPR Korea
(a) WFP is very concerned that the severe drought followed by the recent typhoons could further negatively affect the harvest this year. There are growing indications that the harvest may be even less than previously expected. WFP and FAO intend to send a mission to the country to assess the damages.
(b) Last month, WFP expanded its emergency operation in DPR Korea, to provide a total of 876,933 metric tons of food to 7.9 million of the most vulnerable people, including children in school, at a cost of USD 358 million. The 18-month operation began in July 1999 and will run through December.
(D) Latin America Drought: Nicaragua and Honduras
(a) The Governments and WFP estimate that approximately 234,000 persons in Honduras and 696,000 in Nicaragua and El Salvador have been affected by drought. The affected population is located in the border region of the three countries.
(b) Last week, WFP approved an emergency operation aimed at addressing food aid needs of the population most affected by the drought. This EMOP aims to assist 180,000 people, 86,280 in Honduras and 93,720 in Nicaragua. Other affected population have either already been receiving assistance through the ongoing WFP protracted relief and recovery operation, launched following the devastation caused by the Hurricane 'Mitch', or do not need food aid but other types of support. Most relief agencies working in the affected areas have also been increasing their activities.
(c) The net food requirements for this emergency operation, expected to last four months, is for 12,204 tons of food, at a total operational and support cost to WFP of USD 5.09 million.
(d) This EMOP follows two rapid small scale WFP emergency operations initiated in Honduras and Nicaragua through the Immediate Response Account, in August, which addressed the initial food aid needs of the population most affected by drought.
(E) Horn of Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea
(a) WFP emergency operation is currently targeting over 2,4 million drought-affected people in nineteen districts. Around 430,500 children under five, pregnant and nursing mothers will also receive supplementary food commodities. In addition, over one million children will be targeted through the Expanded School Feeding Programme.
(b) New donor contributions were confirmed by the Governments of Canada (823 tons of pulses) and the USA (6,900 tons of wheat, 1,500 tons of peas and 2,000 tons of oil). The European Community announced a decision to finance a further shipment of 25,000 tons of cereals, but this contribution has not been confirmed yet.
(c) Fairly heavy rainfall was reported by FEWS in the western, coastal and central areas of Kenya during August. A 'near normal' to 'above normal' rainfall is predicted for the period September to December in these districts and in certain areas of the southern rift valley and districts adjacent to Mount Kenya. There seems to be little relief in sight, however, for the severely affected northern and eastern pastoral districts, that will most likely receive 'below normal' rainfall. The same FEWS report highlighted the alarming decline in the welfare status of pastoralists. Rising livestock mortality, falling livestock prices, increasing livestock banditry and worsening malnutrition have combined in affecting their precarious food security situation.
(d) WFP has started taking steps to prepare for a possible further expansion of the drought emergency operation. It has been planned to use all secondary information available in collaboration with the findings of four multi-sectoral rapid assessments facilitated by WFP. Four teams were sent on food security assessment missions on 21 September to do rapid assessments of Isiolo, Moyale, Marsabit, Narok, Koibatek and Makueni districts.
(e) PRA conducted by WFP in Marsabit district found that the new community based targeting distribution system is being very well received by the relief committees and beneficiaries.
(f) Banditry activities were reported to be on an increase as a result of power shortages.
(a) Several NGOs are closing their therapeutic feeding centres in Somali region in view of the reduced severe malnutrition. Supplementary feeding projects still continue, but numbers of enrolled children are decreasing and several centres have started issuing dry (take-home) supplementary rations instead of cooked meals.
(b) A major blow to the prospects of recovery in the Somali region occurred on 19 September, when Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary ban on imports of livestock from the Horn of Africa, due to the recent deaths from Rift Valley Fever. A similar, year-long ban in 1998 seriously affected the economy of the region and led to the build up of abnormally large cattle holdings, which in turn resulted in a very high numbers of cattle deaths in the recent drought.
(c) Reports have been received that the 'deyr' rains have started in Jijiga and Degehabur zones in Somali region.
(d) Emergency Food Security Reserve uncommitted stocks (as of 27 September) are 192,211 tons with a further 29,231 tons under withdrawal and 173,460 tons of loans to be repaid.
(e) Tripartite agreements have been signed between WFP, DPPC and seven NGOs for supplementary feeding projects involving a total of 2,048 tons of blended food.
(f) WFP resumed discharging food in Djibouti Port on 20 September after a two-week break in incoming shipments.
(g) WFP emergency operation targeting persons displaced by the war with Eritrea is currently funded at 57 percent of the requirement.
(a) A total of 4,358 tons of food have been distributed to 222,034 beneficiaries during the week. The distributions included 200,953 war-affected persons in Debub, Gash Barka and the Northern Red Sea regions and 21,081 drought-affected persons in Anseba and Northern Red Sea regions. A total of 6,672 tons of WFP supplied food has been distributed during September (as of the 26th), to 324,316 beneficiaries.
(b) Two Household Food Economy Training exercises are scheduled in Mendefera, Debub region (9-13 October) and Keren, Anseba region (16-20 October). A total of 60 participants from WFP, other UN agencies, ERREC, Government line ministries, local administration and NGOs are expected to be trained in this assessment methodology.
(c) WFP food monitors in Keren reported that the number of malnourished children in a clinic near the Mekete camp, Northern Red Sea region, has dropped this week.
(d) The rainfall has been decreasing throughout the country and in many locations it has completely ceased. This abrupt cessation of the rainy season has raised concerns about the continuation of the drought and reduced crop yields in drought-affected regions
(a) WFP approved a six-month extension of its emergency operation, started in February following the worst floods on record. The new extension aims to assist some 172,000 people who are still facing severe food shortages due to the floods. The extension is expected to cost an additional USD 6.8 million, bringing the total funding need for the WFP emergency feeding operation (since February) to USD 42.8 million.
(b) WFP is currently feeding over 150,000 people per month. With the current agricultural outlook in the affected areas, the number is very likely to increase towards the lean period, at the end of the year. Tens of thousands of farmers are unable to grow their own food, largely because the agricultural land is still under water. The rainy season, which normally starts in December, could further worsen the farming conditions, particularly in the low-lying areas. Many farmers who had been able to plant have harvested crops of poorer quality than usual and will not collect enough food to cover their needs until the next harvest.
(c) At the height of the crisis, WFP was feeding 650,000 people per month. As the situation gradually improved and the emphasis shifted away from free food distributions towards food-for-work programmes aimed at helping local communities rehabilitate and reconstruct damaged infrastructures, that number has sharply decreased.
(G) Sierra Leone
(a) Following the inter-agency mission to Lokomasama chiefdom, where returnees from Guinea and IDPs from Kambia have been seeking refuge, WFP distributed a two-week ration to 5,198 returnees and 2,002 IDPs. A local NGO, IIYL has been registering all arriving returnees and IDPs and WFP has been addressing their food needs. WFP also verified the presence of 300 returnees in the Waterloo Transit Camp in Freetown and will assist them with food shortly.
(b) OCHA, WFP, NCRRR and UNHCR met with the Paramount Chief and local officials in Lokomasama chiefdom to identify villages where the returnees and IDPs could settle, as most entry points into Lungi peninsula, Konakrydee and Babara are over populated. Some 49 villages in 5 sections of Lokomasama chiefdom were identified.
(c) The highway leading from Freetown to Port Loko and to Bo and Kenema has been opened and commercial vehicles are using it without any military escorts.
(d) WFP completed a distribution to 20,000 IDPs residing in Port Loko camp and public buildings. Food was also delivered to the newly opened therapeutic and supplementary feeding centre for 550 beneficiaries and six 6 rapid response educational programmes involving 1,671 schoolchildren. Resumption of commercial traffic from Freetown is expected to improve the food security situation in Port Loko.
(e) During the week WFP distributed 300 tons of food to 24,906 beneficiaries in the country.
(f) In view of the heightened tensions in the region, a sub-regional UN meeting is to be held in Abidjan, on 4-5 October, to review and formulate a sub-regional humanitarian strategy and inter-agency contingency plans of the UN. WFP will attend this meeting.
(g) In light of the food pipeline problems faced by WFP, the agencies partners in the food aid sector have agreed to join efforts in the areas of high vulnerability. WVI and CRS will provide 2,700 tons of food up to December in support of IDPs, food-for-agriculture and school-feeding programmes, with logistical and staff support from WFP.
(a) WFP is very concerned about the dire state of the airstrip at Kuito and fears that the absence of its reparation might halt vital humanitarian supplies to this city, where 70,000 vulnerable people rely on food aid. Around 3,400 tons of food is required each month, to feed a continually expanding number of food insecure IDPs and residents. Further deterioration of the only supply route could aggravate the level of malnutrition in the city. At the beginning of the year, humanitarian agencies in Kuito raised the problem with the provincial government, but the rehabilitation work has not begun yet.
(b) During the week, WFP transported by road from Luanda a total of 1,150 tons of food to N'dalatando, Sumbe, Malanje, Luanda and Bengo. WFP also air-lifted, from Catumbela, Lobito and Luanda, a total of 2,340 tons of commodities (2,147 tons of food and 193 tons of non-food items) to various locations including Kuito, Balombo, Menongue, Ganda, Cubal, Huambo and Luena.
(c) A mission consisting of WFP, OCHA, SCF/US and Jesuit Refugee Service visited Luau (Moxico), to establish the number of people in need of relief and review their situation. The mission found approximately 4,500 persons there, mainly IDPs from Luau and Luacano municipalities and Lunda Sul province. Some 1,029 persons were registered as returnees from Democratic Republic of Congo. Implementation of relief interventions is being discussed among the UN agencies and NGO partners.
(d) Following the presentation of new resettlement areas in Moxico province by the provincial government last week, UN visited these areas for a security assessment. The proposed areas are Sacassanje, Chizuli, and Sachigunga, located within a 30 km radius from Luena. NGOs are currently assisting only the resettlement area in Sacassanje, for security reasons.
(e) A mission composed of the UN Humanitarian Cooordinator and the Representatives of UNDP, WHO and WFP visited Huambo on 23 September, to review the humanitarian situation there. The mission visited Salsicharia, Cantao Pahula, Lepi, and Casseque III.
(f) Two primary schools have been built under a scheme supported by WFP through food-for-work in the province in Benguela. Construction of primary schools in Mifuma (Bengo province) and Cachindombe (Kuanza Sul), also supported by WFP, is progressing.
(g) Food requirements for the implementation of the WFP operation in Angola are covered until November, but WFP is concerned about the food availability after this period.
(h) More Angolan refugees arrived in Osire Camp, Namibia, fleeing insecurity in Kuando Kubango province. The total refugee population in the camp at present is 14,560.
(1) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Kosovo
(a) Phase-down of WFP food assistance continues to be closely coordinated with the establishment of the UNMIK permanent social assistance scheme (SAS). All partners involved in the previous humanitarian effort - WFP, UNHCR, international and local organisations - are collaborating in this transition. The goal is to ensure that as households are de-registered from the existing food-aid roll, the most vulnerable are identified and integrated into the SAS. The first SAS beneficiary category, persons unable to work (including single-parent families, disabled, elderly) have begun receiving cash benefits. They will also receive WFP food rations through March. WFP is playing a significant role in the transition effort, providing not only food but also technical and material support to the Centres for Social Work, local institutions responsible for implementation of the SAS.
(b) In collaboration with UNHCR, WFP is carrying out an assessment of the conditions of minorities in Kosovo and their food and non-food needs.
(2) FR Yugoslavia - Serbia (excluding Kosovo)
(a) WFP operations in Serbia have not been affected by the activities leading up to the elections, held on 24 September. WFP is working closely with the national Red Cross on the campaign of the latter to inform WFP beneficiaries of the revised criteria for eligibility to food aid and the gradual scaling down of assistance. WFP food aid is currently reaching close to 700,000 beneficiaries in Serbia.
(3) FR Yugoslavia - Montenegro
(a) After the Federal Presidential elections, fears of unrest in Montenegro have receded. Nevertheless, tension continues to be high and precautionary security measures are in force. Emergency response planning is given high priority in the inter-agency security co-ordination meetings and WFP-organised food coordination meetings. There have been no interruptions in the implementation of WFP operations.
(4) FYR of Macedonia
(a) WFP recently released the Food Economy Assessment of Social Cases report which details the findings of the mission which assessed food needs of 300,000 social cases registered under a food aid distribution scheme by a consortium of international NGOs. The mission found it difficult to justify provision of food aid to households with able-bodied family members and suggested that even in the most vulnerable categories not all households are in need of assistance. It is the opinion of the mission that the vulnerable households could appropriately be assisted with services other that food aid (i.e. health care and education).
(b) Of the current refugee caseload of some 9,000, WFP continues to provide basic food rations to approximately 7,600. Complementary food items are distributed by CRIC and MPDL. WFP tripartite agreement with UNHCR and the Government, for the provision of food aid to refugees, has been extended for three months.
(a) WFP provided basic food rations to 56,780 beneficiaries during the August with a similar number of beneficiaries expected to be reached in September. Irrigation canal clearing, being performed within the Klos Irrigation Canal food-for-work project, started this month. A pilot project to test food-for-work approach in the Government's Communal Forestry and Pasture Management Project has started.
(b) WFP assistance to Albania during the next year is currently being planned, under a protracted relief and recovery operation.
Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons
(End WFP Emergency Report No 39)