Report on the Nutrition Situation of Refugees and Displaced Populations - Issue No. 27
RNIS Update - July 1999 HIGHLIGHTS
Angola. The recent insecurity in Angola continues to create massive humanitarian needs. Surveys and assessments have confirmed the critical nutritional situation. Humanitarian assistance is severely hampered due to reduced access caused by insecurity. Many of the cities in the Central Highlands are experiencing near siege-like conditions. An influx of IDPs into the provincial capitals has created public health crises affecting both the resident and displaced populations.
Great Lakes Region. A lack of funding is jeopardising the entire GLR programme. The situation in Brazzaville has reached "catastrophic proportions" as a result of a large influx of people in a very poor nutritional state. WFP is able to move food from Pointe Noire into Brazzaville, but funding is seriously constraining this operation. Access remains problematic to rebel-held areas of DRC, but relief programmes are operational in some areas. The general nutritional situation in Rwanda and Burundi is improving. In Tanzania, despite a very large influx of refugees from DRC, the nutritional status of the refugees is good, although the funding problems may alter this.
Ethiopia. The failure of the belg rains has led to huge increases in estimates of the numbers of people requiring assistance in Ethiopia. The conflict-affected population in the north of the country continues to be at increased nutritional risk and the WFP appeal for this group remains under-resourced.
Liberia/Sierra Leone Region. A cease-fire agreement in Sierra Leone has resulted in humanitarian organisations obtaining increased access to parts of the country, thus WFP has been able to deliver food to IDPs in areas which it could not previously reach. The nutritional situation in Liberia is improving, but much of the newly resettled population remains food insecure. The nutritional situation in Guinea-Conakry and Cote d’ Ivoire remains stable.
Somalia. The nutritional situation is improving in much of Somalia. However, there are still isolated pockets of very severe malnutrition. The authorities in Puntland have declared a state of emergency as a result of the prolonged drought in this area.
Sudan. The situation in Southern Sudan has generally improved. As the hunger season approaches there are concerns as to how the population will fare, although the very high prevalences of malnutrition seen in 1998 are not expected this year. Insecurity in the transitional zone has increased the risk of malnutrition for the population living in these areas as humanitarian organisations are unable to provide assistance to them. A UN mission was granted access to the Nuba mountains for the first time since the 1980s.
Uganda. The situation of the IDPs in North-west Uganda is stable, however the IDPs in the south are affected by the Great Lakes Regional conflict. Displacement has created serious overcrowding and concomitant public health problems with sanitation and water in Bundibugyo.
Afghanistan. A survey in Kabul reports that the prevalence of wasting is slowly rising and that the population is becoming increasingly food insecure. Assessment missions to other parts of the country report similar findings.
Nepal. Although the general nutritional situation of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal is satisfactory, there has been a recent dramatic increase in the incidence of angular stomatitis (vitamin B2 deficiency) since December 1998. This has raised concerns about the quality of the rations given to the refugees - in particular, the removal of the blended food component of the ration and the shortfall in the provision of vegetables.
Kosovo crisis. There is no apparent problem of acute wasting in this area. Although considerable human and financial resources have been allocated for this crisis, there have been serious problems of standardisation and co-ordination of food assistance programmes.