Afghanistan + 6 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 05 of 2000

This report includes: A) Kenya - drought B) Somalia C) Uganda D) Angola E) Indonesia - East Timor F) Afghanistan G) Colombia - war displaced.
From Jean-Jacques Graisse, Assistant Executive Director. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at or by electronic mail from or (fax 39 06 6513 2854). For information on resources, donors are requested to contact or at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

This issue of the Emergency Report was prepared by Natasha Nadazdin.

(Details below in Part II)


1. Drought operation - information as of 2 February, plus update 7 February

a) On 31 January WFP appealed to donors for USD 43.4 million for 75,000 tons of food for 2.7 million Kenyans affected by drought; duration of operation is five months; emergency operation (EMOP 6203) will also allow expansion of school-feeding programme, raising the number of children fed from 257,000 to more than one million in the drought-affected areas in northern and eastern regions; food shortages particularly acute in Turkana area.

b) WFP working closely with Government, other UN agencies; joint Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) founded as new advisory body on issues of drought management and food security.

c) Update as of 7 February: KFSSG has reassessed food security following recent improvements caused by short rains in January; general distribution areas and expanded school feeding programme areas reprioritized; situation remains fluid, will be closely monitored; long rains due late March/early April.


1. Update - information as of 2 February

a) WFP convoy, delayed in November and December due to bad road conditions, reached Bay and Bakool in late January; approximately 1,300 tons of food aid distributed to close to 130,000 people.

b) FSAU estimates a total of 130,000 tons of sorghum and maize will be produced during Deyr season; despite good prospects for irrigated maize, final production figures will depend on prospects for rainfed sorghum.

c) In Bakool, near Ethiopian border, virtual crop failure raises concern over food security prospects for some 70,000 poor agro-pastoralists.


1. Update - information as of 2 February

a) On 25 January WFP distributions to Bundibugyo district resumed; Government gives security guarantees; WFP delivered food from Fort Portal, Kabarole district, under military escort due to insecurity.

b) Since resumption, a total of 220 tons of WFP food (maize-meal, pulses and oil) delivered to 21,800 displaced in ten camps.


1. Update - information as of 2 February

a) Security situation tense in Angola; fighting reported in Huambo, Kuando Kubango, Kwanza Sul and Uige; outflow of refugees continues from border areas of Alto Zambeze and Bundas-Lumbala Nguimbo into Zambia.

b) Huambo: a new WFP-sponsored supplementary feeding centre open by SCF in Caala to feed 2,500 persons.

c) Kwanza Sul: inter-agency mission to verify reported massive movements of populations to Gabela, Conda and Seles and assess humanitarian needs.


1. Update - information as of 27 January, update as of 1 February

a) WFP completing general distribution of monthly ration of cereals (10-12 kg per person) in whole East Timor started in late 1999; in areas where it has been completed, it has been replaced by vulnerable group feeding.

b) WFP continues to provide monthly rations of cereals to over 4,500 teachers now registered in East Timor and food for school feeding programmes, based on UNICEF-provided data.

c) Contract for WFP-chartered helicopter extended until end March, to deliver relief to remote areas inaccessible due to poor road conditions.

d) UN peacekeeping operation (UNTAET) starts officially on 1 February in Eastern part of East Timor.


1. Update - information as of 3 February

a) WFP activities continue in Jalalabad despite shelling on 31 January.

b) Emergency distribution under way in Khoja Gar, Takhar province; to date 240 tons of wheat distributed to some 4,900 families; distribution continues.

c) In Ghor province 150 tons of wheat recently distributed to approximately 3,000 families in Cheghcharan, Shahrak, and Tulak districts; further quantities planned.

d) New UN representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, begins first visit to region on 3 February.


1. Assistance to war displaced - information as of 2 February

a) Due to lack of funding, WFP postpones operation (PRRO 6139) to assist war-displaced populations in Columbia; WFP appeals again for USD 8.9 million for two-year programme to provide necessary food assistance for 227,000 Colombians affected by civil war.



1. DROUGHT OPERATION - information as of 31 January

1.1 On 31 January WFP appealed to donors for USD 43.4 million for 75,000 tons of food for 2.7 million Kenyans affected by drought over the next five months, in response to an appeal by the Kenyan Government in December. The funds for this new WFP emergency operation (EMOP 6203) will also allow the expansion of WFP school-feeding programme, raising the number of children fed from the 257,000 currently fed to more than one million in the drought-affected areas.

1.2 Food shortages remain critical in the northern and eastern regions of Kenya where inhabitants are suffering from the effects of three successive crop failures, drought and flood. More food aid is required for the populations in drought-affected areas after recent seasonal rains failed to alleviate the dire effects of the drought in large parts of the country, particularly in the pastoralist area of Turkana.

1.3 Drought-monitoring reports compiled by the Government and aid agencies indicate that over 50 percent of the Turkana population suffer severe food shortages. Malnutrition rates amongst children in the region are rising.

1.4 Towns and villages in the worst affected areas have witnessed drastic drops in school attendance. Food shortages have started to force parents to send their children to towns to look for work, where many end up as street children. Hunger in arid districts is a critical element in whether parents send their children, particularly girls, to school or not. WFP's school-feeding programme is crucial to keep the children at school.

1.5 WFP is working in close collaboration with the Government of Kenya, other UN agencies and NGOs to combat hunger across the country. Agencies have together founded the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) to act as a think-tank and advisory body on the issues of drought management and food security. As a direct result of this group, WFP and other aid agencies will distribute food aid using one common system managed by the local communities with the help and support of the international agencies.

1.6 In collaboration with the international community, the Government is in the process of establishing a management structure, from national to community levels, to determine and address specific requirements. The Government indicates that it has made available approximately USD 7.5 million for the procurement of additional maize for famine relief purposes.

1.7 Update from WFP Country Office, Nairobi - information as of 7 February:

a) The Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) has reassessed the food security situation taking into account recent improvements caused by the short rains. The results of the KFSSG exercise have been the prioritization of areas and populations in need of food assistance. In terms of general distributions, immediate assistance will be prioritized to the northern districts of Turkana, Marsabit, Moyale and Mandera, and assistance will begin to a further five marginal districts - Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Mwingi and Tharaka - after they finish harvesting their minimal crop production in March. The districts for the expanded school feeding programme have also been reprioritized so that the programme will now cover the five marginal districts that will be receiving general distributions and some food insecure divisions of Kajiado District that are not covered under the regular programme.

b) While this reprioritization reflects the current situation, the situation is still fluid and must be closely monitored in the other nine general distribution and six expanded school feeding districts in the original appeal. The critical long rains are due to begin in late March/early April in these areas, and the KFSSG will lead an analysis of whether the long rains have begun at the end of April. If it is determined that the long rains have failed to start, all 18 general distribution and expanded school feeding districts may potentially require immediate food aid.


1. UPDATE - information as of 2 February

1.1 A convoy scheduled for southern Somalia during the months of November and December arrived in the regions of Bay and Bakool in January. The 58-truck convoy carrying approximately 1,300 tons of food aid, was distributed to close to 130,000 people in the regions of Bay and Bakool, badly hit by drought. Earlier on in November, the convoy was re-routed back to Mogadishu after poor road conditions due to rain rendered the route impassable.

1.2 The WFP's Food Security Assessment Unit estimates a total of 130,000 tons of sorghum and maize will be produced during the upcoming Deyr season. The cereal production is almost 40 percent higher than the pre-war average and 85 percent higher than the post-war average. While irrigated maize production accounts for some 62 percent of this total, the final production figures are heavily dependent on the uncertain production prospects for rainfed sorghum, particularly in Bay region.

1.3 Bakool and other drought-affected areas:

a) In spite of overall situation in Somalia, in Bakool region bordering with Ethiopia virtual crop failure is raising concern over food security prospects for some 70,000 poor agro-pastoralists. Maize production is forecast to be zero and rainfed sorghum production is only 60 tons. This is less than five percent of last year's Deyr season cereal harvest in Bakool region and less than three percent of the post-war average.

b) As a consequence there is growing concern over the lack of food, water and pasture especially among the poor pastoralist group. Signs of malnutrition are beginning to emerge and a growing number of children are now weak and more susceptible to disease. Local health workers observed an increase in the malnutrition rate over the past month. Although no major outbreaks of diseases have been reported, the deteriorating nutritional status of children and lack of adequate health services put them at greater risk.

c) Livestock, particularly cattle, which are the main livelihood of the agro-pastoral community, have also been affected and more are expected to be at risk from shortages of pasture and water especially during the coming dry Jilal season up to March.


1. UPDATE - information as of 2 February

1.1 WFP resumed food distributions to the internally displaced in Bundibugyo district, western Uganda, on 25 January. This follows assurance from the Government to provide adequate security to WFP staff operating in the area. WFP food from Fort Portal in neighbouring Kabarole district is delivered under military escort due frequent rebel attacks along the main transport routes and on IDP camps.

1.2 During a meeting held on 24 January with local and camp authorities, it was agreed that WFP would distribute food to camps outside of Bundibugyo town. This would facilitate the IDPs' return to their homes to cultivate their farms and limit the movement of people into town where water and sanitation pose a major problem.

1.3 Since the resumption of WFP operations a week ago, a total of some 220 tons of WFP food commodities (maize-meal, pulses and oil) has been delivered to 21,800 displaced persons in ten camps. WFP plans to distribute 800 tons of food commodities per month to IDPs. Prior to 12 December, when Bundibugyo operations were put on hold, the IDP caseload stood at 105,000 persons spread over 33 camps. Reports from Bundibugyo indicate that the caseload is increasing as some of those who had crossed into DR Congo are returning to camps near the border.

1.4 The general security situation within Bundibugyo town is calm, however the populations on the outskirts fear further rebel attacks. During the last week of January, rebels attacked Hakitegya IDP camp and abducted two persons. In a similar incident, rebels attacked Bundiwerume camp and killed 15 persons, abducted nine others and burnt several houses.


1. UPDATE - information as of 2 February

1.1 The general security situation in Angola remains tense. Skirmishes are reported in Bailundo area and Ekunha in Huambo, and in Kuando Kubango province, while car ambushes were reported in Kwanza Norte. In Kwanza Sul and Uige fighting is causing further population displacements. Insecurity is also reported on the road Lubango-Caconda and Benguela-Lubango in Huila. Of particular concern are areas of Alto Zambeze and Bundas-Lumbala Nguimbo bordering Zambia from where UNHCR reports a continued flow of Angolan refugees to Zambia. Over the past six weeks UNHCR estimates that more than more than 16,000 persons have fled to Zambia from Moxico and Kuando Kubango.

1.2 Huambo: In order to decrease the incidence of malnutrition and ease the burden on the supplementary feeding centre run by MSF-France, SCF-UK opened a new supplementary feeding centre in Caala to feed 2,500 people. Both centres receive WFP food. ICRC is completing the registration of the population in need of food aid in Caala and will start general distribution shortly. A nutritional survey will be held three months after the beginning of the distribution to establish whether any supplementary action is needed from WFP. The large number of elderly persons attending the MSF-F supplementary feeding centre is of concern and negotiations are under way with MINARS to open a kitchen for this category of beneficiaries in Caala.

1.3 Kwanza Sul: Tension in the province, especially in Amboiva and Cassongue, in the south of the province, has caused massive displacements of population, as reported by the local authorities and NGOs operating in the area. In Gabela, SCF/US indicates the presence of approximately 5,000 IDPs. In Conda, Caritas and the local authorities indicate that there are more than 3,500 IDPs. In Seles, German Agro Action (GAA) reports that 8,000 IDPs have arrived in the last two months. A joint mission is being organized to verify these numbers and take appropriate humanitarian action.

1.4 Bie: Following the recent recommendations made by the nutritionists from WFP, UNICEF, MSF-B and ICRC to add 100 g of enriched food products to the rations to correct the niacin deficiency, WFP is carrying out a survey in Kuito to assess the acceptability of CSB by the beneficiaries. CSB would be ideal as a product as it has a high niacin content as well as a high vitamin content. Once the results of the survey are known, the choice of the commodity to be used will be made. In the meantime, WFP continues to distribute dried fish to families of children attending supplementary feeding centres. According to MSF-B, who is preparing a report on the subject, this initiative has proven successful in reducing pellagra.


1. UPDATE - information as of 27 January with update 1 February

1.1 WFP is presently completing a general distribution of a month's ration of cereals (10-12 kg per person) which commenced in late 1999 in East Timor. In areas where distribution has been completed, it has been replaced by vulnerable group feeding. In Baucau District and remote villages in Bobonaro and Ermera vulnerable groups feeding will be phased in by the end of January.

1.2 The Nutrition Working Group, in which WFP participates, met on 27 January to discuss reports on increasing incidences of malnutrition among returnees from West Timor. The major cause is illness and not so much food shortages. ICRC noted that of all undernourished children admitted to their hospital in Dili only two cases could directly be attributed to lack of food (more than 1,800 children under the age of five are treated for various illnesses). The Nutrition Working Group noted that poor health is primarily found among those spontaneously returning by land from Atambua. ACF noted no cases of malnutrition in transit camps in Dili receiving organized returnees.

1.3 As of 26 January, approximately 132,500 persons have returned to East Timor or 48 percent of the total of 277,000 East Timorese who were reported to be at one time in West Timor. This figure it is expected to increase further, as the Indonesian Government expressed its intention to stop supporting the refugee camps in West Timor at the end of March.

1.4 WFP continues to supply 50 kg monthly rations of cereals to over 4,500 teachers now registered in East Timor, providing in total 225 tons of food per month. In addition, WFP has been providing food for school feeding programmes, based on a UNICEF survey. Latest figures from UNICEF indicate that there are approximately 93,000 students in some 530 schools throughout the country.

1.5 The contract for the WFP chartered helicopter has been extended until the end of March. The helicopter is used to deliver relief food to villages which are difficult to access because of deteriorating road conditions, a result of the rain.

1.6 Since the beginning of its operations in East Timor in September 1999, WFP has been providing essential food packages to both unescorted and escorted returnees, working in conjunction with UNHCR. Main implementing WFP partners are CARE, WVI and CRS/Caritas. WFP also co-ordinates the overall food assistance provided through other pipelines (CARE, ICRC).

1.7 Update as of 1 February: A UN peacekeeping operation in East Timor started officially in the Eastern part of East Timor on 1 February. The UN peacekeeping force is composed of some 210 Thai, Korean and Filipino troops. The official hand-over by the Australian-led International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) to UNTAET Peacekeeping Force took place in the city of Baucau east of Dili.


1. UPDATE - information as of 3 February

1.1 Security: Two rockets are reported to have landed on the eastern city of Jalalabad on Monday 31 January. Regular WFP programme activities continue uninterrupted.

1.2 Northern Afghanistan: The emergency distribution in Khoja Gar in Takhar province is ongoing. To date 240 tons of wheat has been distributed to some 4,900 families. WFP is planning to distribute a total of 1,000 tons of wheat and 300 tons of CSB.

1.3 Western Afghanistan: The WFP emergency distribution in Ghor province is ongoing. As at 23 January, 150 tons of wheat had been distributed to approximately 3,000 families in the districts of Cheghcharan, Shahrak, and Tulak. WFP has planned to distribute a total of 710 tons of WFP wheat in these areas.

1.4 Compared to prices last October, wheat flour prices remain very high in Kandahar, Ghazni, Jalalabad, Kabul, less so in Mazar followed by Herat and Faizabad. The WFP Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping unit (VAM) is currently conducting surveys to assess the impact of the increase in wheat flour prices on vulnerable households in the rural areas of Ghazni, Ghor and selected northern areas.

1.5 The new UN representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, began his first visit to the region on 3 February to talk to warring Afghan leaders as well as officials in neighbouring countries. The UN Secretary-General had appointed Mr. Vendrell on 17 January as his personal representative for Afghanistan, to bolster the UN political presence in the country and attempt to restart peace talks between the country's ruling Taliban leaders and the opposition Northern Alliance.


1. ASSISTANCE TO WAR DISPLACED - information as of 2 February

1.1 Due to lack of funding, WFP has postponed its protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO 6139) to assist the war-displaced populations in Colombia, which was planned to start on 1 February 2000. As WFP Executive Director Catherine Bertini stated on 1 February, the operation is meant to bring back from the edge as many as possible of farmers, ranch hands or casual labourers made homeless by the conflict. WFP appeals again for USD 8.9 million for a two-year programme to provide necessary food assistance for the war affected in Colombia.

Note: all tonnage figures in report above refer to metric tons

(End WFP Emergency Report No. 05 of 2000 - February 3, 2000)