WFP Emergency Report No. 04 of 2003

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 24 Jan 2003


This report includes:
(A) Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Lesotho, (3) Malawi, (4) Mozambique, (5) Swaziland, (6) Zambia, (7) Zimbabwe, (8) Madagascar, (9) Angola, (10) Namibia, (11) Tanzania

(B) Asia Region: (1) DPR of Korea

(C) West Africa Region: (1) Côte d'Ivoire

(D) Eastern and Central Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Eritrea, (3) Uganda, (4) Burundi

(E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Pakistan, (2) Afghanistan, (3) Iran

(F) Middle East Region: (1) Palestinian Territories

(G) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Cuba, (2) Guatemala, (3) Mexico

(H) Eastern Europe Region: (1) North Caucasus, (2) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

From Francesco Strippoli, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs; 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 Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. 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) Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Lesotho, (3) Malawi, (4) Mozambique, (5) Swaziland, (6) Zambia, (7) Zimbabwe, (8) Madagascar, (9) Angola, (10) Namibia, (11) Tanzania

1) Regional overview

(a) The second mission of the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, Mr. James Morris, is travelling in the region. Mr. Morris and the mission members have completed a visit to Lesotho, and are en route to Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia before returning to Johannesburg. The mission team is reviewing the current response to the humanitarian crisis and following up on the findings of the first Special Envoy mission in September, as well as meeting with government stakeholders on medium and longer term recovery issues.

(b) There have been several reports of theft of WFP food commodities in the region with incidents reported from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe over the past two weeks. Further, there has been an alarming increase in reported deaths and sickness caused by consumption of poisonous tubers and wild fruits in the region.

(c) WFP this week confirmed two contributions to the Southern Africa Regional EMOP totalling USD 137,418. With these contributions, the Regional EMOP is now more than 65 percent funded against requirements through March 2003 with a shortfall of approximately USD 177 million.

2) Lesotho

(a) This week, WFP partners distributed 950 tons of food to 83,950 vulnerable people. Although rainfall patterns have been uneven during the first two weeks of January, it is reported that overall rainfall during January has enhanced the development and growth of the summer crops. Crops that were damaged by the hailstorms during previous weeks appear to be recovering.

3) Malawi

(a) WFP dispatched 8,800 tons of food to its implementing partners during the week. Due to road deterioration caused by heavy rains, WFP experienced delays in food deliveries to the distribution sites.

(b) WFP, NGOs and District Commissioners are undertaking assessments of flood damage caused by tropical depression Delfina. Preliminary findings show that 57,000 households have been affected, including 3,600 houses washed away and 23,500 hectares of crops damaged. WFP and NGOs are organizing emergency relief food distributions for those affected.

4) Mozambique

(a) WFP has contributed 40 tons of emergency food aid in response to flooding damage in Nampula Province, 20 tons of which have has already been distributed. As there is no access by road, the Government of Mozambique hired a helicopter to transport food to the victims. Following reports of hunger deaths in two districts of Tete Province, a joint WFP, NGO, and the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) assessment team have travelled to the affected areas for investigations and immediate emergency food distributions began starting with families in the most critical condition. Meanwhile, the central and southern parts of the country have received minimal or no rainfall, causing concern especially in Gaza Province.

(b) In addition to responding to the emergencies in Nampula and Tete Provinces, WFP dispatched 77 tons of food to its implementing partners during the week.

5) Swaziland

(a) Rainfall has been erratic and poorly distributed in the Lowveld during the week. Mkhweli and Kashoba areas have been affected by a three-week dry spell. Crops in Mandlangempisi Inkundla are reported to be wilting due to lack of rains.

(b) WFP distributed 4,075 tons of food to 187,350 beneficiaries during the week. WFP has so far set up 52 Women's Relief Committees which will distribute WFP food targeted to the most vulnerable at 179 distribution points. WFP and UNAIDS are collaborating on a grass root level workshop on HIV/AIDS through these committees.

6) Zambia

(a) From 1 to 23 January, WFP dispatched 12,000 tons of food to the Extended Delivery Points. Out of this amount, 7,460 tons were donated by the Government of Zambia and transported by WFP using a cash contribution from an external donor. An additional 10,400 tons will be provided by the Government between end of January and mid-February and transported using the same cash contribution.

(b) 70 WFP/IFRC trucks have been deployed in the East and Southern Provinces of the country. During the week, WFP began food distributions at the Fountain of Hope drop-in centre for street children in Lusaka under an urban intervention.

7) Zimbabwe

(a) WFP partners distributed over 18,200 tons of food to 1.5 million beneficiaries do date in January. Field reports reflect an alarming situation in vulnerable communities. Cases of deaths, theft, children fainting in school, and adults collapsing are on the rise. There has been no improvement in the general fuel supply situation with what arrives in country being exhausted within a few days. The fertilizer shortage is expected to continue, as the shortage of foreign currency impedes ability to import inputs.

8) Madagascar

(a) Recent rains have caused flooding in certain districts of Antananarivo. A meeting was held on 22 January by the National Disaster Response Team to discuss the extent of the flooding as well as response mechanisms. As many as 450 families are believed to be homeless. WFP, in collaboration with its partners, is putting in place an action plan, including a practical disaster response system at decentralised level.

(b) Drought in the south is worsening, now spreading outside the original 13 southern communes. Prices of food staples (rice) are rising. Coping mechanisms of the population are being stressed to the maximum. Substitute food such as algae (Ambovombe) is becoming scarce. Malnutrition levels in Antananarivo are reported at around 45 percent according to a CRS study conducted at the end of last year, using weight for age indicator.

(c) Delays in resourcing and food commodity availability have made it difficult to implement EMOP 1023 beyond borrowings from in-country development activity stocks. As of 22 January, WFP had distributed 630 tons of CSB under the Urban Nutritional Supplementation component of the EMOP 10236. FFW food distribution took place at the end of last year in all 13 communes in the South identified in precarious food security situations. With no food shipment expected to arrive soon, WFP's pipeline situation under its EMOP 10236 is critical. Urgent donor support is required.

9) Angola

(a) WFP, together with various NGO and government partners is currently conducting over a number of rapid food needs assessments in Benguela and other provinces. Prior to these missions, WFP had organised training in Emergency Needs Assessment for the staff of its partner agencies. Most areas currently being assessed were only recently made accessible for UN humanitarian personnel.

(b) WFP continues to strengthen its logistics capacity to increase the delivery of food assistance to vulnerable populations. WFP has established a contingency capacity to start airdropping of food if necessary in locations where food needs are critical. A WFP team has undergone training in air dropping techniques and procedures in Sudan and Kenya.

(c) In Mavinga (Kuando Kubango province), food deliveries are running smoothly thanks to WFP's recently augmented transport capacity. WFP and its partners continue with the verification of the beneficiaries remaining in Mavinga Gathering Area (GA). In Capembe GA, approximately 42,500 people have left the camp. The movement was spontaneous, as the Government has not yet provided transport in this area.

(d) In Benguela province, government sources reported that around 30,600 people, including 4,400 ex-combatants and 26,200 dependants, left the GAs of Malongo, Passe, Chimboa and Chingongo. Most were transported by the Government, while others spontaneously travelled to their areas of resettlement.

(e) In Kuanza Sul, beneficiary verification was concluded at Catofe GA. Results show that 16,090 family members and 2,540 ex-soldiers remain, drastically reduced from the former count of 24,100 family members and 4,940 ex-soldiers. Around 9,800 persons from Catofe have now been integrated to Kibala Municipality. WFP is distributing food in Catofe and Kibala.

(f) In Moxico, the majority of the roads in and out Luena and throughout the Province are still inaccessible due to the rains. The road linking Malange to Luena is still closed to traffic due to work on the Lui River Bridge. Heavy rains are hampering de-mining activities throughout the Province.

10) Namibia

(a) About 18,350 refugees benefited from the January food distribution in Osire camp while 400 beneficiaries received food rations in Kassava transit centre. Refugees continue to enter Namibia seeking family reunification in Osire, also citing inadequate health facilities in southern Angola.

11) Tanzania

(a) Following the most recent review of the pipeline, WFP has reduced the cereals ration once more by 22 percent, bringing the total reduction to 50 percent, and the CSB ration by 25 percent, effective from the next food distribution cycle on 5 February. The new ration for maize/maize meal will be 200 grams/person/day.

(b) This reduction will not affect the other commodities in the food basket and the special feeding programmes in the refugee operation. For the next week, meetings will be convened with the refugee leaders to inform them about these reductions and explain that this reduction is purely due to a pipeline problem and that the ration will go back to normal once the situation improves.

(c) This week, WFP received confirmation of a pledge of 11,500 tons of food (mostly cereals). Despite this generous contribution, the shortfall until July 2003 remains at a total of 25,000 tons. The very low stock levels of WFP food in the country and the region would also make it impossible to meet the needs of any large influx. An urgent response from donors is required.

B) Asia Region: (1) DPR of Korea

1) DPR of Korea

(a) Without immediate and significant new contributions, WFP will be forced to continue ration cuts to a significant number of people in the DPRK. In the first quarter up to 2.9 million will not receive food distributions as had been planned.

(b) Those who no longer receive WFP assistance - young children, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly and caregivers in child institutions and hospitals - are nutritionally at risk, as WFP distributions remain suspended. There is grave concern that, if new contributions are not soon forthcoming, the significant gains made over the past several years in reducing malnutrition and levels of stunting risk being lost.

(c) Local Food Production factories, experiencing shortages in powdered milk (DSM) and cereals, have already begun to close down. The considerable effort that led to the doubling of production levels between 2001 and 2002 may be lost if there is insufficient food to keep the operations going.

(d) Immediate pledges of 105,000 tons are required to ensure continued implementation of the complete range of WFP's planned activities throughout the remainder of the first half of 2003. Commodities most in need include 84,000 tons of cereals, 10,000 tons of Corn and Soya Milk (CSM) and 3,500 tons of Dry Skimmed Milk. The latter is critical to avoid long-term closure of most LFP factories.

(e) WFP received the confirmation of cash contribution of Euros 9.5 million for west coast provinces, which will be used to purchase at least 46,000 tons of wheat, instead of the 39,500 tons initially estimated. The additional tonnage, over and above the initial estimate, will be allocated to east coast provinces as food commodity stocks there have also begun to run out.

C) West Africa Region: (1) Côte d'Ivoire

1) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) WFP is very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Danané and Man in the west of the country, which remain inaccessible for humanitarian organisations. The UN's Special Envoy for Cote d'Ivoire, Mme C. McAskie visited the WFP sub-offices in Yamoussoukro and Bouaké on 21 January. During her meting with the Mouvement Patriotic de Cote d'Ivoire (MPCI), the group committed itself to guarantee unimpeded humanitarian access to aid agencies.

(b) A joint mission was undertaken to San Pedro and Touba to assess the situation in terms of humanitarian needs and security following the fighting in the south-western areas. Further to this mission, WFP will assist 400 IDPs registered in San Pedro and Tabou with general rations. High Energy Biscuits will be given to an initial 500 refugees repatriating to Liberia. Further assessment of the situation is required before any intervention is targeted to the border-towns of Grabo and Neka.

(c) WFP continues to monitor the food security situation and emergency distributions along the axe Bouafle-Daloa-Duekue in the west and Tiebissou-Didievi-Bocanda-Prikro-Mbahaikro in the north-east. Due to the absence of sufficiently experience and trained NGOs, WFP is closely working with local authorities, Social Affairs and local Crisis Committees for the registration of IDPs, evaluation missions and food distributions. Close to 20,000 vulnerable IDPs located in 12 different sites in the western and north-eastern areas are being assisted by WFP.

(d) A WFP team carried out an assessment visit on 16 January to Duekoue to verify indications on cases of child malnutrition and monitor distribution of food delivered to the Catholic Mission and Mairie. At the IDP reception centre at the Catholic Mission, 70 malnourished children will be assisted through a supplementary feeding programme implemented by Red Cross. MERLIN will monitor the children's nutritional status. WFP delivered this week 25 tons of food to 3,350 beneficiaries for the three projects in Duekoue respectively with the Catholic Mission, Mairie and Red Cross. Supplementary feeding programmes have been launched in Duekoue and Yamoussoukro for a total of 100 children below five-years.

(e) WFP and CARE are continuing a FFW programme in Bouaké, involving 864 persons. The programme aims to dispose 100 tons of garbage daily, which will contribute greatly to the prevention of disease and epidemics like cholera. The family ration given to the workers will benefit an estimated 4,300 vulnerable people. A WFP mission to Guiglo went ahead on 22 January to undertake food distribution for the month of January in the Nicla refugee camp.

(f) The School Feeding Programme (3358.2) has resumed, and 400 canteens have been opened for displaced children in government-held regions. Deliveries of various food items started on 20 January to an initial 7,500 children in 50 primary schools.

(g) The in-country stocks are sufficient for the planned activities up to April based on the current caseload, except for rice and CSB. Starting from May 2003, WFP's pipeline will only be covered for oil, salt and sugar. Therefore, additional contributions are needed for the purchase of rice and CSB.

D) Eastern and Central Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Eritrea, (3) Uganda, (4) Burundi

1) Ethiopia

(a) WFP Executive Director James T. Morris, paid a five-day visit to Ethiopia on 17-21 January to view the impact of and responses to the current humanitarian crisis. He met with government officials, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as representatives of donor countries and relief agencies. While welcoming the many new contributions that have been announced recently, Mr. Morris called for continued support. Cereal loans against confirmed pledges can be taken from the Emergency Food Security Reserve, but repayments to the reserve must be made without delay in order to avoid breaks in distribution. Rapid action is also necessary in order for food to arrive and be delivered ahead of the June rains when roads to many remote areas will be cut off from assistance. During his visit Mr. Morris visited drought-stricken communities in Arsi zone. He also visited food-for-assets projects in the area to see impressive efforts by villagers to conserve water, to reforest, and to rehabilitate valuable land, which has eroded into gullies. WFP impact studies of these projects, which received food incentives, indicate that those people involved are far more resilient to shocks such as the current drought and thus require less food aid support.

(b) The emergency in Ethiopia has resulted in higher mortality rates both for children and adults, women and men, when compared to other Sub-Saharan countries. While mortality rates in Ethiopia are high even in normal years, drought-induced food shortages can quickly cause increases in mortality, particularly child mortality. In chronic food-insecure areas such as West Haraghe, at the peak of the crisis in September 2002, under-five child mortality rates were substantially above the 1/10,000 population/day threshold, which would indicate a serious situation. Since then mortality rates have been controlled through significant food interventions including fortified blended food. Fortunately, the crisis did not spread to the adult population, keeping the adult mortality rate below the 3/10,000 population/day threshold, which for adults would indicate a serious situation. Since November 2002, food aid distributions and some harvest have largely contained the problem. However, as production was substantially below normal (21 percent below average nation-wide and up to 75 percent below average in worst affected areas), households will quickly deplete their food stocks. Adequate food distributions must continue in order to stop the food security situation from deteriorating in both the pocket areas and the rest of the affected areas of the country.

2) Eritrea

(a) This week, the National Union of Eritrean Women in Anseba formed a Drought Committee that will visit the most vulnerable areas across the region. The Committee's mandate is to determine the impact of the drought on women in Anseba and to recommend specific interventions. WFP will meet with Committee members following their assessment in order to determine possible collaborative activities.

(b) The Emergency School Feeding Task Force composed of representatives from the Ministry of Education, Mercy Corps and WFP confirmed that wet feeding activities are now underway in almost 200 schools across the country, providing food to 71,400 girls and boys. Main problems reported included the lack of water, especially in the drought-affected regions, which is negatively affecting the preparation of meals and sanitation/hygiene practices in many schools.

(c) WFP and UNICEF undertook a joint mission to several countries in Northern Europe to raise awareness among donors of the urgent need to assist with the drought crisis in Eritrea. The two agencies have requested additional resources to address the food shortage and combat malnutrition. WFP, along with representatives from UNICEF, OCHA and the Government of Eritrea will also attend a Donor Meeting in Geneva on 27 January. WFP Eritrea urgently requires 200,000 tons of food valued at about USD 78 million to address the needs of the most vulnerable people in 2003. UNICEF urgently requires USD 8.13 million to cover immediate water, health, nutrition and sanitation concerns.

(d) On 15 January, WFP handed over to the Government equipment for the use in the port operations of Massawa, worth over 137,000 USD. Items included a bobcat, a small payload machine for cargo consolidation to expedite discharge of bulk shipments and a generator as an alternative power supply. Additionally, a ground breaking ceremony was conducted to mark the start of the construction of WFP funded prefabricated warehouses in the Port of Massawa worth over 515,000 USD.

3) Uganda

(a) The food pipeline for WFP's operation in Uganda is at a very critical point. Over 800,000 IDPs in northern Uganda remain completed isolated and rely entirely on WFP for covering their food requirements. Due to pipeline break, no cereals have been distributed to IDPs in northern Uganda in January and cereal rations for 150,000 refugees have been cut by 50 percent. Following a recent pledge, cereal distributions will resume in February. However, WFP will again experience shortfalls of cereals, vegetable oil and blended food in March and pulses in April.

(b) WFP is appealing to donors for immediate cash contributions to buy locally produced food commodities to speed up the delivery of urgently required food aid and to support the local market. Immediate pledges of 47,500 tons are required to ensure continued implementation of the complete range of WFP's planned activities through July. WFP's pipeline situation will improve from June onwards with the arrival of a generous pledge of 24,000 tons of cereals and 1,000 tons of vegetable oil.

(c) Due to insecurity, WFP is travelling with military escort and remains the only humanitarian agency with access to the IDP camps. WFP convoys are being used by the district health services to deliver drugs to their units. Continuing insecurity raises concerns about whether the IDPs will be able to access their homes and fields to cultivate food crops for the next planting season. Preparation of fields should begin in February. The food security situation in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts continues to deteriorate with the onset of the dry season. The displaced and resident populations in the drought-affected areas of Kitgum District remain in need of urgent food assistance.

(d) According to a recent WFP assessment of the Karamoja region of Eastern Uganda, 2002 harvests were below normal. On average, WFP predicts that crop stocks may not last more than two to three months (from November) in wetter Labwor and Dodoth Counties while households in drier areas of Pian, Chekwi, Matheniko, and Bokora Counties may run out of stocks by as early as January 2003. Consequently, many households have reduced their consumption to one meal a day and many are resorting to eating wild foods, nuts and berries to cope with diminishing crop supplies.

4) Burundi

(a) WFP recently received confirmation of an in-kind donation of 11,450 tons of food for the Regional PRRO 10062.1 starting on 1 February. Despite this large contribution, the pipeline remains insufficient to cover the needs especially in cereals and pulses that are basic commodities for distributions. WFP expects to face a complete pipeline break for cereals, pulses and CSB from March. More donors are encouraged to contribute resources in order to cope with the increasing needs.

(b) Fighting continued in Ruyigi and Bubanza provinces and other confrontations resumed in Muramvya and Gitega provinces. Twelve people were killed in Bujumbura Rural province (Isale commune) and an ambush was reportedly carried out in Ruyigi province during confrontations between the army and an armed group.

(c) The joint Crop and Food Needs Assessment Mission conducted by WFP, FAO and UNICEF and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock completed field visits in 7 out of 9 provinces planned. The mission could not be carried out in the communes of Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza provinces due to insecurity. The joint team is analysing and compiling data for the related report expected at the beginning of February. The results of the mission coupled with the data from nutritional centres will determine FAO and WFP planning figures for the Seeds Protection Rations for the next agricultural season.

(d) Based on a food security assessment in four provinces in the north of the country, WFP's Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping indicated that almost 387,000 persons representing 20 percent of the total population of those provinces were at high risk of food insecurity. Following the completion of a joint verification last week, WFP and UNHCR confirmed the presence of 8,500 Congolese refugees in Rugombo transit site and Cishemeye camp (Cibitoke province).

(e) After analysis of the food security situation in Kayanza province, WFP reported that 120,000 persons living in nine communes were in need of food assistance as well as seeds for the next agricultural season. As admissions in nutritional centres were increasing, the team recommended the resumption of assistance for those that were formerly closed in three communes (Rango, Muhanga and Gahombo).

(f) Last week, WFP, in collaboration with CARE, conducted targeted and emergency distributions of 1,450 tons of food for 106,750 vulnerable persons in Gitega, Bujumbura Mairie, Kirundo and Bujumbura Rural provinces. In addition, 222 Congolese refugees hosted at Kinama camp in Gasorwe commune (Muyinga province) as well as over 600 returnees who repatriated from Tanzania and were temporarily hosted in transit sites in Ngozi and Muyinga provinces, received WFP assistance. Finally, WFP provided 86 tons of food to over 1,100 workers involved in Food For Work (FFW) projects in three communes of Ngozi province.

E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Pakistan, (2) Afghanistan, (3) Iran

1) Pakistan

(a) With no donor pledges received so far, the food pipeline for WFP's EMOP 10228 for Afghan refugees remains very critical. An additional USD 1 million contribution has been made available from WFP multilateral funds and is being used to purchase 3,300 tons of wheat and 360 tons of vegetable oil. However, the stocks of wheat (which is the major commodity) will only last through March distributions, and a pipeline break of nearly all commodities will start immediately after that. Without immediate contributions from donors, WFP will be unable to feed 222,000 Afghan refugees settled at 16 new camps, located in remote and harsh frontier areas of Baluchistan Province and North West Frontier Province. This would have serious implications for the refugees, who are totally dependent on WFP food assistance for their daily survival.

(b) Under its EMOP 10171 targeting drought-affected populations in Baluchistan and Sindh, WFP plans to start distribution in Sindh province in the next few days. Distributions to 15,300 individuals in Pishin District was completed on 23 January. The situation was reported by the media to be alarming as a result of the drought at Aranji in Khuzdar District. However, an assessment by Islamic Relief and other sources confirmed that conditions in that area are no different from other parts of Baluchistan which are also experiencing severe drought. According to the UN/WFP crop and food assessment mission, Khuzdar district is not classified as the most severely affected.

2) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation was calm across the country, except for the Eastern region where UN missions to Kunar, Nuristan and Laghman provinces, and to the poppy cultivation districts of Nangarhar province remained suspended. Also UN missions to the Kahmard district of Bamyan province was suspended due to the tension between the local commanders and the Coalition Forces.

(b) From 15 to 21 January, 290,100 beneficiaries received nearly 1,960 tons of food commodities through various WFP activities, including 111,300 persons involved in FFW and Food for Asset Creation (FOODAC) projects who received over 1,300 tons of food. In addition, 7,000 school children, 35,000 IDPs and refugees as well as 52,500 malnourished persons were supported by WFP. Finally, WFP reached 84,300 beneficiaries through its urban vulnerable bakery projects. As of 19 January, over 24,000 tons (equivalent to 51 percent of the planned food commodities) were distributed to beneficiaries under the winterisation programme. Food distributions will continue during January and February 2003 by implementing partners, in accordance with agreed plans.

(c) In Kabul, the nutritional status of 800 malnourished children and 1,000 expectant or nursing mothers in Logar province improved with WFP assistance under the Supplementary Feeding programme. In Paktia province, 20 km long trade routes connecting to Pakistan were rehabilitated through WFP-supported FFW and FOODAC projects, bringing to the local communities easy access to market places. Also in Paktia province, ten underground irrigation channels were rehabilitated, increasing water flow by an estimated 60 percent. In Hirat, under the two completed FOODAC projects in Badghis province, community assets, including roads and irrigation systems, were rehabilitated.

(d) The United Nations Joint Logistics Centre reported that all major mountain passes in the Central Highlands were open earlier in the week, except for Hajikak Pass on Bamyan - Behsud corridor which was closed due to ice and snow accumulation on the southern side.

3) Iran

(a) Under its PRRO 10213 targeting Afghan and Iraqi refugees, WFP is facing an imminent pipeline break. As a result, WFP is forced to reduce the number of people benefiting from the PRRO by providing food assistance to only 5,000 non-encamped Afghan women and girls students/ teachers in Sistan-Baluchestan province out of the 40,000 initially targeted. WFP still requires 75 tons of wheat four and vegetable oil to cover the needs of these 5,000 beneficiaries.

(b) To avoid a pipeline break in February, WFP is borrowing 2,500 tons of wheat from the State Organization of Grains of Iran, which are to be repaid after the arrival of a confirmed contribution of 2,670 tons of wheat. Urgent needs are vegetable oil and pulses. WFP urgently required additional donor support.

(c) As of 21 January, UNHCR facilitated the repatriation of 261,800 Afghan refugees, whereas a further 121,865 returned spontaneously, making a total of 383,656 returnees since April 2002.

F) Middle East Region: (1) Palestinian Territories

1) Palestinian Territories

(a) The FAO-WFP Food Security Assessment Mission is scheduled to start at the beginning of February. The work plan and logistic arrangements are being established.

(b) Agricultural land was confiscated by the Israeli authorities in Tulkarm governorate (West Bank) for the building of a security wall that will create a military zone between the green line and the area where 20,000 Palestinians now live. New procedures have been imposed by the IDF restricting the movement of Palestinians. No Palestinian below the age of 35 is allowed to travel abroad.

(c) According to the Ministry of Health, the health conditions in the West Bank and Gaza are very critical. A study conducted by the University of Hopkins (USA) and University of Al-Quds (Palestine) in co-ordination with USAID showed that the health conditions and care services have been seriously affected by the curfews and closures imposed on the Palestinians during the past two months. This study shows that only 33 percent of the people have received necessary emergency services and only 21 percent of pregnant women who required care received it as well as 40 percent of people with periodical and long term diseases, like diabetes and cancer.

(d) During the first half of January, WFP, in collaboration with PARC, CRS and MSA, distributed 575 tons of food to over 5,300 vulnerable families living in Nablus, Jenin, Tubas, Tulkarm, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho Governorates.

G) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Cuba, (2) Guatemala, (3) Mexico

1) Cuba

(a) On 17 January, WFP started providing assistance to the victims of Hurricanes Isidore and Lili in Pinar del Rio and Isla de la Juventud under its EMOP 10239.0. The resources required for this EMOP were taken from WFP's Immediate Response Account. Over 3,700 expectant mothers and 42,350 children under the age of 5 will receive daily rations of rice and beans for one month.

2) Guatemala

(a) Over 31,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition and their families affected by the drought received 1,150 tons of WFP food in December 2002 through EMOP 10174.0.

3) Mexico

(a) On 21 January, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter Scale hit Mexico. According to OCHA, the most affected states are Colima and Jalisco. Preliminary information shows that over 17 persons died and there are more than 100 injured. Electricity and telecommunications are disrupted in the city of Colima. The government has not requested international assistance.

H) Eastern Europe Region: (1) North Caucasus, (2) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

1) North Caucasus

(a) Intensified military operations in central Chechnya, early this year, forced many civilians to leave Chechnya and stay temporarily in Ingushetia. To block access to the military forces, the people of Achkhoi-Martan district blocked the main roads leading to major populated areas in the district. This resulted in a 2-day interruption of food deliveries to schools targeted under the WFP School Feeding Programme in Chechnya.

(b) The situation in displaced tent camps continues to be tense. The IDPs report about regular visits of representatives of the local authorities actively promoting the return of IDPs to Chechnya. At times gas and electricity cuts take place in the camp settlements. Some 1,300 former IDPs who returned from Ingushetia to Chechnya in December 2002, have been registered by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). They will receive food rations for a three-month period, during which their vulnerability status will be assessed. The households identified as poor will continue receiving WFP support in Chechnya. According to UNHCR and Chechen IDP Committee's statistical data, around 850 IDPs returned to Chechnya during the first two weeks of January.

(c) About 2,870 tons of food were allocated by WFP for distribution to 289,400 beneficiaries in Ingushetia and Chechnya during the month of December under EMOP 10128.0. WFP assistance was provided through relief distributions to IDPs and vulnerable people and in through the School Feeding Programme to primary school children in Grozny City and Rural, Achkhoi-Martan, Sunzha and Gudermes districts. Finally, WFP continued implementing FFW projects in collaboration with PINF in all four districts of Grozny City and Grozny Rural district.

2) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

(a) The US Administration stated that US aid to FR Yugoslavia (FRY) could be jeopardized if Belgrade authorities failed to enhance their co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is estimated that in the year 2002, around USD 40 million were provided by the US to FRY. Prior to granting any further financial aid, the US Administration is evaluating the progress FRY authorities have made in their co-operation with ICTY in 2002.

(b) Under its PRRO 10116.00, WFP, in collaboration with UNHCR, IFRC and the national Red Cross, completed food distribution to 123,000 vulnerable people for the month of December 2002. Most of the beneficiaries, despite the bad weather conditions, appeared at the distribution site to collect their food ration. People living in remote areas of Montenegro and selected municipalities in Serbia and beneficiaries of collective centres received a two-month ration.

(c) On 18 December 2002, the findings of the MOSA survey on poverty in Serbia were presented by the Government of Serbia. About 10 percent of the population are poor and around 20 percent of the population hovers just above the poverty line. The most at risk are those people in rural areas, the unemployed, those without education and elderly. Due to the limited number in the sample of the survey no information on the situation of the refugees was made available. UNHCR and ICRC will undertake an IDP Needs Assessment Mission in January 2003, while the WFP/UNHCR Joint Assessment Mission will start on 17 February.

Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons.

(End WFP Emergency Report No 4).