Central America - WFP Bulletin #9: Hurricane Mitch Emergency
Note for Users: The Bulletin is prepared by the OLC Regional Bureau in Managua, based on inputs from the WFP Country Offices in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador and will be released once a week. The Emergency Report produced by WFP's ODT (Technical Support Service) will include some information from the Bulletin.
The EMOP is available on <http://www.wfp.org/OP/Countries/honduras/mitchemop.html>
PPRO Approved: The Protracted Relief and Rehabilitation Operation (PRRO) for Central America was approved by the Executive Board on 21 January 1999 for a two year period and for a total of US$ 73 million. The rehabilitation plan is designed to be executed by the end of May 1999 following the phasing out of the on-going emergency operation.
Contributions: A total of US$ 6,561 has been donated through private Japanese contributions to the Hurricane Victims in Central America.
Evaluation Meeting: An inter-agency meeting organised by OCHA on 'Evaluation of the Preparedness for and Response to Hurricane Georges and Mitch' is scheduled from 16-19 February in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. WFP's participation will focus on addressing 'Food and Nutrition' situation in the region.
Regional Pipeline: The current pipeline shows large pending quantities scheduled to arrive. Out of the initial 117,650 mt committed for this emergency, only about 28,000 mt have been received so far by Nicaragua and Honduras. If the committed quantities do not arrive within the coming weeks, a breakdown in the pipeline is expected in early March by which time even inter-project borrowings will be difficult as there will be few resources left.
Resource Mobilisation: Additional resources need to be mobilised not only to meet the immediate basic needs of the victims, but to start the rehabilitation process for the region. So far, only 72% of resources have been provided. The balance of the commitment is still urgently required. The receipt of commodities has been very slow creating serious food shortages, therefore beneficiaries have not been receiving their full ration. The WFP Executive Director, Ms. Catherine Bertini, has recently expressed her concern to the European Commission regarding the under-resourcing of the emergency.
Earthquake in Colombia: The WFP Bureau in Managua sent a team from the Monitoring & Evaluation Unit and a Logistician to assess the damages and to identify the most immediate food needs.
A one-day emergency training course was organised by WFP in Tegucigalpa. Food Aid Monitors and the UNVs working in the field were trained on their roles and responsibilities during an emergency. Subjects presented and discussed were: role of food aid, food for work strategy and implementation, reporting methodology and requirements, coordination with implementing partners, logistical arrangements (transport, costs).
WFP is planning to distribute a total of 11, 453 mt of food during the month of February. Out of this quantity 7,424 mt will be used for direct and free distribution to the 650,000 beneficiaries and 4,000 mt will be used for Food for Work activities.
This distribution includes maize, rice, beans/ canned fish, vegetable oil and will be directed to the seventeen municipalities covered and monitored by WFP.
Stocks of beans remain low and the next arrival of pulses is planned by the end of this month. WFP plans to borrow some 400 mt of beans from CARE. Canned fish is not available either. Some 130 mt of canned fish from Canada are expected to arrive but so far no exact arrival date has been set. If these commodities don't arrive on time, a break in the pipeline is expected by the beginning of March.
In a coordination effort with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) , some 5,520 people will be transferred to the macro shelter built in Tegucigalpa area. IOM is responsible for their transport and WFP will provide food.
The construction of a third shelter was not possible because the people in the neighbourhood did not allow access to the site. As a result, some 6,000 people will have to stay in schools and other buildings until the government finds land to build a third shelter in the capital.
WFP is in constant contact and coordination with NGOs such as World Vision, Save the Children, local NGOs, churches, mayors of the municipalities and with some private firms to try to construct additional shelters or to rehabilitate existing ones.
Puerto Cortes is facing serious congestion problems for aid items. Out of seven cranes available in the port, only one works at the moment causing a bottleneck of containers. In addition, the port received some 1,200 containers during the Christmas period, an exceptional amount. WFP Regional Logistics Officer and the Port Captain are discussing solutions to resolve this congestion problem.
New Donation: The Argentinian Government has donated USD 2 million for the purchase of 7,100 MT of bulk maize.
WFP Beneficiaries: Food aid was delivered to a total of 311,231 beneficiaries. This corresponds to 78 % of the 400,000 beneficiaries targeted under EMOP 6079 in Nicaragua. Currently some 8,400 people living in shelters are receiving WFP food aid.
Distribution:18.79 mt of baby food have been distributed by COPROSA at Vida Nueva and Tipitapa.
A meeting with SIDA (Swedish Development Co-orporation) was held with WFP. A logistics assessment of the Atlantic Coast was undertaken10 February. All of the EDP warehouses are functioning and fully staffed.
Resource Mobilisation: The current EMOP 6079 in country stock balances are: rice 907,64 MT; maize 1,281.36 MT; beans 197.09 MT; vegetable oil 109.91 MT; CSB 589,54 MT; pulses 6.47 MT WFP began to update information on overall food aid imports to Nicaragua (INTERFAIS). The first report covering imports from Nov. 98 through January 1999 should be ready by end of February.
Current stocks of cereals, 3,849 mt, cover the February demand only. There is a shortage of beans; CSB is used to ensure protein content in the food basket.
The Memorandum of Understanding for food distribution with ADRA was signed 2 February for Nueva Segovia.
Food for work activities
Memorandum of Understanding was signed with "Fondo Canada" for 80 families in Ciudad Dario/Sebaco on house construction.
The NGOs implementing Food-for-Work operations will receive food from WFP warehouses in February. Other Memoranda will be signed in the next few days.
Monitoring & Evaluation
A databank is being developed to manage and update figures compiled in the sub-offices. The independent audit for the WFP emergency operation accounts is underway. An internal audit is scheduled for March for EMOP 6079.
A joint WFP/UNICEF team with assistance from the Swedish Rescue Services Agency is installing the communication equipment.
Distribution process: The new distribution strategy recently agreed upon is working well. Beneficiaries are increasingly self-organised. NGOs are providing the necessary support and WFP Food Monitors as well as regular WFP staff is supervising the distribution process at community level. A third Food Monitor has been contracted for the central region of the country. As a training expert she will support the other regions in gender issues.
It is estimated that 1,115 mt will be distributed to hurricane Mitch beneficiaries during the month of February.
Food supply: So far total food distribution of 1,984 mt has been borrowed from development project stocks. To date, WFP El Salvador has received only 9 mt of biscuits and 30 mt of baby food. About 60 mt of pulses (beans) are expected to arrive in the course of the month.
Target Population: Over the reporting period, WFP reached 10,255 families in 30 municipalities in 8 targeted departments of the country. Special emphasis has been given to Usulutan, San Vicente, La Paz and San Miguel.
Stocks availability: These stocks pertain to the development projects and can only be borrowed for the emergency.
White Maize: 75 mt
Yellow Maize: 2,531 mt
Rice: 3,438 mt
Pulses: 1,273 mt
Vegetable oil: 637 mt
CSB: 200 mt
Baby Food: 30 mt
Logistics & Monitoring: The logistics component has been improved with the direct involvement of both NGOs and communities. Food is reaching the targeted beneficiaries faster and in line with the plan of distribution.
WFP regular staff and Food Monitors are monitoring the activities on a daily basis through regular visits to the distribution sites and to the affected communities. Feedback meetings are taking place on a weekly basis. WFP, NGOs and the government are meeting every two weeks for updates.
Food for Work activities: Most of the accomplished activities are related to environmental sanitation, road rehabilitation and agricultural activities.
Coordination & Resource Mobilisation
The Government (GOES) continues to support NGOs concerning warehousing and delivery of commodities.
The government is negotiating bilateral agreements with other donors to mobilise additional resources for the emergency. WFP and GOES are negotiating future alliances with GTZ projects.
WFP country office will attend the OCHA 'Post Hurricane Evaluation' meeting to be held in Santo Domingo/Dominican Republic.
A cold weather front and strong winds still persist especially in the region of Jutiapa, Jalapa and El Progreso. Subsistence farmers in these remotest areas of the country are particularly affected.
Great concern persists among the authorities regarding the delays in the WFP scheduled arrivals. The EMOP project is still borrowing from the on-going development projects. It is urgently necessary that the committed quantities arrive as available resources will be soon exhausted.
In land prices of maize fluctuate between $170/mt in places where readily available (Peten) to $ 203/mt in remote areas where damaged roads only allow for the circulation of small trucks. Prices of black beans vary between $1,180/ mt to $1,300/ mt showing the shortage of this commodity.
Distribution: During the reporting period, a total of 687 mt of maize has been distributed (equivalent to 244,642 family rations). The family ration still lacks rice and CSB which are not yet available in the country.
Available stocks in the country total 8,782 mt as follows:
Maize: 5,540 mt
Pulses: 1,463 mt
Canned fish: 388 mt
Veg. Oil: 1,391 mt
From the maize stock, 1,500 mt have been borrowed to assist the emergency operation. The rest of the commodities is already committed to run on-going development projects in the country.
Logistics & Monitoring: WFP is organizing a training course on Food Management designed to systemize the flow of information and to apply indicators for the implementing NGOs. 20 people involved in food management will attend this course.
Coordination: In coordination with UNICEF, 2,000 new women will be assisted in the project 'Promujer' which is under the auspices of the First Lady. These women belong to the communities of El Estor, Morales (Izabal), Rio Hondo, Cabanas in Zacapa and Chiquimulla in Santa Rosa.
Food rations will allow them to participate in disaster mitigation training, environmental protection and food and nutritional security. Techniques like small scale fish farming, etc. shall ensure food security within the household and encourage the women to manage their household economy in times of crisis.
FUNDAECO, a specialised NGO, presented a request to implement environmental sanitation activities at the community level in the province of Izabal. Communities in this area shall be enabled to protect the biodiversity of their ecosystem. WFP food is expected to reduce/ prevent animal hunting for consumption.
The 'Plan of the 100 Days' designed by the Government is scheduled to be finalised by 22 February. Small farmers have received limited attention mainly due to limited access to reach the most affected areas.
Heavily damaged, small and medium size irrigation systems are being rehabilitated thanks to technical support from the Government.
Food for Work activities:
In line with a program of activities and according to the beneficiaries' requirements, the implementing unit assisted for the implementation of the following activities:
Revised February 18, 1999
©:1999, World Food Programmme. All rights reserved.