Regional Consolidated Situation Report for the Southern Africa crisis 10 Feb 2003
WFP AND UNAIDS JOIN FORCES AGAINST HIV/AIDS
On 6 February, a formal agreement was signed between WFP and UNAIDS to join forces in addressing the growing links between HIV/AIDS, regional food shortages and chronic hunger, especially in Africa, South-East Asia and the Caribbean. "Food plays a pivotal role in responding to HIV/AIDS. The first thing poor families affected by AIDS ask for is not cash or drugs, it's food. And food has to be one of the weapons in the arsenal against the disease," said James T. Morris, Executive Director of WFP. Seven million farmers have lost their lives to AIDS in Africa, dramatically affecting food production. The two agencies are calling for a radical and urgent approach to address the fatal links between the disease, chronic food shortages and malnutrition. Under the agreement, the two agencies will direct their joint efforts to emergency situations with a special focus on pregnant women and orphans, among the most vulnerable to the impact of HIV/AIDS. At the same time, they will strive to make food security an integral part of the battle waged by governments and partner against HIV/AIDS. WFP and UNAIDS will seek a wide range of partnerships with other UN agencies, governments, bilateral donors and with international NGOs and civil society groups to build a massive global response to HIV/AIDS.
Due to the "extremely patchy" rainfall since mid-December, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association has warned that at best the country can only expect a tobacco yield of 75,000 to 80,000 tons compared with last year's production of 165,000 tons, threatening the single biggest source of foreign currency and largest employer in the country.
Botswana is having difficulties coping with the massive flow of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe. According to a recent estimate, some 125,000 Zimbabweans legally enter Botswana every week, but many stay behind after their permits expire. Botswana and South Africa are the richest countries in the region and both are magnets for people fleeing food shortages, political instability and economic difficulties in Zimbabwe. Matabeleland, the region bordering Botswana, is among the worst hit by the food shortages.
The South African Department of Agriculture continues its ban on livestock products from Zimbabwe and Botswana. The ban will remain in force until authorities are satisfied the risk of contamination from foot and mouth disease (FMD) has been eliminated. Products from Zimbabwe were banned on 12 April 2002 and Botswana on 10 January 2003 following reported outbreaks of FMD in these countries.
The health authorities in Sofala Province, Mozambique, have reported outbreaks of cholera in Beira city and Caia and Maringue Districts. The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) has formally requested WFP Beira Sub-Office to provide food assistance to cholera patients. WFP is analyzing the request and will be looking into possible ways to provide suitable assistance.
WFP OFFICES - COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS
LESOTHO: Parts of Lesotho continued to experience periods of good rainfall during the reporting period, with hailstorms affecting some areas of the country.
MALAWI: WFP has noted a reduction in the willingness of commercial transporters to handle the volume and demands of the emergency dispatches. While commercial transporters had already rejected many routes in the dry season, the onset of the rains has seen them refuse to travel to 15 out of 27 districts. A WFP contracted commercial transporter conducted a road assessment during the last week of January and found 75 percent of the roads impassable in four districts. WFP logistics unit is seeking the best solution to ensure continued deliveries for the operation.
MOZAMBIQUE: The joint assessment of the food and nutrition security situation in Magoe and Zumbo Districts (Tete Province), undertaken by WFP, representatives from the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and Ministry of Health (MISAU), was completed during the last week of January. The assessment found that the administrative posts of Chinthopo, Marere and Chioco are facing extreme food insecurity and recommends three months of free food distribution and supplementary feeding for children and vulnerable groups. WFP and Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have implemented registration of beneficiaries. High temperatures and little rainfall continue to affect the southern parts of the country. Severe loss of maize crops was reported from Manica Province (Central Region).
SWAZILAND: WFP has so far formed 174 Women's Relief Committees which will distribute WFP food targeted to the most vulnerable, especially female and child-headed households and those affected by HIV/AIDS, at 179 distribution points. The committees will also be trained in basic nutrition and corn soya blend (CSB) recipes to help targeting of children under five. WFP is looking to train a counsellor's group on sexual exploitation within the committees. WFP Food Aid Monitors reported poor and erratic rainfall affecting most parts of the Lowveld during the week.
ZAMBIA: WFP continues to dispatch sorghum and yellow maize arriving from South Africa. Distribution of donated sorghum has started, and the commodity is being well received by beneficiaries. WFP has started dispatching a second allocation of 10,354 tons of GRZ maize under a transport funding agreement with DFID, and discussions are ongoing to finalize a local contribution agreement to purchase high-energy protein supplement (HEPs) produced in Zambia. As of 10 February, WFP had dispatched 7,878 tons of the total 17,658 tons of GM food out of Zambia to Malawi and Mozambique. As part of the capacity building for NGO and Governmental partners, WFP is handing over 38 motorcycles to its Implementing Partners and providing a 4x4 vehicle to the Government's Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit.
ZIMBABWE: Field reports indicate grim prospects for the coming harvest. The erratic and low rainfall this season has wilted crops in many parts of the country. Hunger during the planting season has led some households to eat their seeds which will affect planting outputs. Where maize is doing well, some households are consuming it green, meaning a lower harvest of dry grain. The maize crop in Matabeleland South Province and the south of Midlands Province has been affected by lower than normal rainfall (30%-50% of the long-term average). Mashonaland West Province is typically among the highest maize producing areas in Zimbabwe, but this year erratic rainfall, seed shortages and insufficient draught power has reduced the area planted to 56% of the norm. The total area of maize planted in the country is 86% of what was planted last year according to the latest Agricultural Research and Extension's Fortnightly Crop and Livestock Report. Livestock disease such as bovine anthrax and foot and mouth continue to decimate herds in the southern part of the country. To cope with the situation, communities in Buhera District (Manicaland Province) are reportedly illegally selling mopane trees, aggravating deforestation.
12 - 14 February
WFP Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop, Johannesburg
SADC Regional Workshop on Draft Regional Interactive Strategic Development, Johannesburg
13 - 14 February
WFP Regional EMOP Logistics Workshop, Durban
Launch of the Mid Term Review of Consolidated Appeals (Rome, Geneva, Johannesburg)
RIACSO Stakeholders meeting at Indaba Hotel, Johannesburg
23 - 28 February
USAID workshop of Agriculture, Food For Peace, and Environment and Private Sector officers (AEPS) at the Balalaika Hotel, Sandton (Johannesburg)
MISSIONS TO THE REGION
9 Feb. - 7 March
GIEWS-FAO Early Warning and Crop Status Mission in the region
Visit to the WFP Regional Bureau in Johannesburg by delegates of European Parliament
Last week, WFP received confirmation of a donation of approximately USD 9.2 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to the regional EMOP. With this contribution, the EMOP is more than 71% funded with a shortfall of USD143 million.
Current Resourcing Status - WFP EMOP 10200.0
(as of 10 February 2003)
Total EMOP Requirement
(against 31 March 03)
With the confirmation of a contribution from South Africa of 100,000 tons, the cereal pipeline for the Region is looking generally healthy for the coming months. Considering this, the main longer-term effort will be to boost the non-cereal component of the pipeline, with a special focus on CSB for various nutritional programmes. However, Mozambique and Malawi could experience some shortfalls during February.
Heavy rainfall continues to affect the Nacala Railway line which remains closed for repairs. Latest assessments of the line estimate traffic to resume by 14 February. The IFRC/WFP 6x6 M6 trucks are operating at full capacity in Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia.