Afghanistan + 18 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 09 of 2002

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
This report includes:
(A) Eastern and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe

(B) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Democratic Republic of Congo

(C) West Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Liberia, (3) Sierra Leone

(D) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Bolivia, (3) Guatemala

(E) Asia Region: (1) Sri Lanka

(F) West and Central Asia region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Afghanistan, (3) Pakistan, (3) Tajikistan

(G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Georgia

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) Eastern and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe

1) Regional overview

(a) On 26 February, the WFP Executive Director, Catherine Bertini, warned that severe food shortages now sweeping through southern Africa will worsen the level of hunger and chronic poverty felt by millions of people in Africa. Continued drought, floods and economic hardship in the southern Africa region have prompted WFP to start or expand food aid operations to help what are normally self-reliant people. WFP is currently targeting 2.4 million people in southern Africa, however the number of needy people could easily rise if the April harvest is poor as expected.

(b) In Zambia, more than 1.3 million people need urgent assistance, while similarly in Malawi, the situation worsens each day for thousands of rural and urban dwellers who cannot afford the high prices of increasingly scarce staple foods. In both countries, people are starting to consume green, immature maize, which will exhaust the eventual harvest production months earlier than normal.

(c) As the needs in southern Africa grow, WFP is still feeding more than six million people in the Horn of Africa, most of whom are still reeling from the devastating effects of chronic and severe drought two years ago. While pastoralists in Ethiopia and Kenya struggle to recover from repeated losses of livestock and income opportunities, unabated conflict in drought-prone Somalia exacerbates the suffering of countless thousands of people.

(d) In the Great Lakes region, frequent population displacements caused by insecurity, and localized food shortages mean that 1.2 million people rely on food aid.

(e) WFP Regional Bureau for East and Southern Africa, which oversees 16 countries, plans to feed 19 million people in the region in 2002, which is one-quarter of WFP's global target of 74 million people. Amongst these are almost three million refugees and two million IDPs. WFP requires more than one million tons of food, valued at USD 564 million, to cover the food and non-food requirements in the region.

2) Zimbabwe

(a) More than half a million people face severe hunger, as stocks of basic food stuffs are being exhausted and inflation soars. Months of dry weather have withered fields of maize, and the April harvest is bleak. WFP last week started feeding families in the worst-affected areas.

(b) On 25 February, WFP in collaboration with World Vision started distributing food, targeting 37,400 beneficiaries in Gwanda District (Matabeleland South Province). Between 300 and 400 tons of maize meal had been distributed by ORAP and World Vision by the end of February. The maize meal ration given for beneficiaries is for one-month consumption and the distributions have proceeded smoothly without any security incidents. Due to the presidential elections taking place 9-10 March, the distribution will be suspended, starting from 1 March.

(c) The current maize stocks in the country are at extremely low level. Official maize stocks, which at the beginning of the marketing year in May 2001 stood at 390,000 tons, were by the first week of February 2002 estimated at 10,000 tons, corresponding to less than one week consumption.

(d) Severe food shortages are indicated in southern, western and extreme northern parts of the country. However, the situation is particularly serious in the drought-prone Matabeleland South Province. Maize meal and other food staples are scarce in rural and urban markets, where there are long queues at stores. Some retail outlets have completely run out of maize meal and others are now rationing maize meal selling only in 5 kg bags. The price of maize per kg has increased from ZD 22.22 in October 2001 to ZD 44.00 in February 2002.

(e) The preliminary estimates from FEWS NET of maize production range from 760,000 to 1.3 million tons for the 2002/2003 agricultural season. The lower end of this range in production is expected to occur if the current dry weather conditions continue to the end of February. Based on this, Zimbabwe would need to import at least 500,000 -1.2 million tons of maize for the 2002/2003-consumption year to meet the shortfall in production.

B) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Democratic Republic of Congo

1) Angola

(a) The UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was killed during combat in the Moxico province. Savimbi's death raised hopes this week for a negotiated end to the Angolan conflict in the near future. However, the intensification of the military activity in the interior of Moxico province led to a new influx of persons to the provincial capital, Luena, as well as to Kamacupa and Kuito, in neighbouring Bié province.

(b) Following reports by the government authorities of influx of thousands of IDPs, WFP, UNSECORD, UNICEF, OCHA, Catholic Relief Services and UTCAH undertook a joint mission in Bocoio (Benguela province). The mission estimated that at least 10,000 persons arrived in Bocoio city over the last three months and undertook a quick nutritional screening of children under five years. WFP assisted over 1,400 malnourished children admitted in Therapeutic and Supplementary Feeding Centres (TFCs and SFCs) in Benguela, Ganda and Balombo Municipalities.

(c) On 22 February, WFP, OCHA and UNSECORD carried out a joint security and needs assessment in Cuemba (Bié province). A preliminary survey showed high levels of malnutrition amongst resident and displaced populations. As a consequence of insecurity, more than 10,000 persons arrived in the last three weeks in Kamacupa, coming from Ringoma-Umpulo areas. The high number of admission in the MSF-B nutritional centre indicates that their nutritional and health status is poor. Despite the difficulties to access the camp due the bad condition of the road, WFP in collaboration with CARE is providing immediate food assistance to the newly displaced people once they are registered. However, IDPs are also in great need of shelter, non-food items and sanitation facilities.

(d) Newly displaced people continue to arrive on a daily basis in Caconda (Huila province). An estimated 5,000 people arrived last week and are being registered. Over 2,100 new IDPs were registered in Caluquembe municipality and over 3,550 persons are waiting for registration in Matala. In addition, 18,000 new IDPs are reported to be concentrated in Cassongue (Kuanza Sul province), according to the Catholic Church.

(e) Due to insecurity in Moxico province last week, approximately 2,250 new IDPs were registered and assisted with WFP food in Luena. The nutritional situation of the incoming IDPs is considered poor and the number of admissions in the TFCs and SFCs administered by MSF-B and the ministry of health has been increasing. MSF-B is planning to open a new nutritional centre, with WFP logistical support.

(f) No further contributions have been confirmed for WFP's Angola Programme last week. Urgent contributions are needed in order to meet the increased requirements.

2) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) Scientist from OCHA and the Volcanic Observatory of Goma have observed an increase in seismic activity in the Nyamurigira volcano, located 45-km northwest of Goma. The volcano may erupt over the coming days or weeks, thus threatening populations living in the surrounding areas.

(b) As of 26 February, WFP had assisted approximately 445,700 vulnerable people, providing them with 3,100 tons of food since the beginning of the emergency operation in Goma. Under EMOP 10166, WFP is now assisting 7,350 displaced persons in Gisenyi, 148,600 people in Goma area and 25,800 IDPs in Bukavu region.

(c) Despite prevailing insecurity in parts of South Kivu, North Katanga and Mbandaka provinces, WFP regular operations continue in the country. WFP has been assisting 3,100 floods-victims in Mbandaka area since December 2001 and will provide an additional 125 tons of food to facilitate their resettlement in collaboration with the National Red Cross. For the month of February, WFP was targeting 94,600 vulnerable people in Kinshasa, including IDPs and malnourished persons, as well as 8,800 Angolan refugees and 1,400 vulnerable women in Katanga province. In addition, over 36,100 refugees and 2,600 residents in Equateur-Mbandaka province are expected to receive WFP assistance.

(d) Due to low food stocks in its Extended Delivery Points, WFP was forced to significantly reduce its planned food distributions in Kinshasa. Food distribution to refugees in Kisenge has also been postponed in the hope that stocks of pulses will be replenished by the following week.

C) West Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Liberia, (3) Sierra Leone

1) Regional overview

(a) On 1 March, the WFP Executive Director, Catherine Bertini, warned the international community not to forget West African countries, where the survival of hundreds of thousands victims of war in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone depends on international assistance. The situation in the region is still very fragile. Recent armed incursions in Liberia have caused important internal displacement and cross-border refugee movements into Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

(b) In Sierra Leone, over 47,000 ex-combatants, including hundreds of child soldiers, have handed in their weapons. As the situation gradually improves, more refugees are expected to be repatriated from Guinea and Liberia, many of them after a decade of asylum. If people returning to their war-ravaged villages are not assisted to start a normal life, communities may soon fall back into chaos.

(c) For its regional emergency programmes in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2002, WFP requires 105,000 tons of food, valued at USD 56 million. If pledges for humanitarian aid are not received now, operations in these countries will run out of food by the month of June.

2) Liberia

(a) No major displacements of populations have been reported since last week. WFP is currently assisting 75,000 IDPs throughout the country. This caseload includes approximately 35,000 people in Monrovia camps, 5,000 people in Sinje, 5,000 people in Kakata and 30,000 people in Bong Camps. The UN/NGO consortium is planning to undertake a verification exercise in Kakata IDP camp before the end of the week.

(b) In addition, 10,000 IDPs are reportedly located in Gbonota, Salala and Totota (Bong county). However, insecurity prevented WFP and other humanitarian agencies from registering them and assessing their needs.

(c) Following the request of the UN/NGO consortium, the Government has identified two sites for the resettlement of IDPs in Monrovia, in addition to Ricks Institute and Jah Tondo Town. The two sites (Blama VEE and Wilson Town) will need to be completed before the relocation of the IDPs takes place from VOA and Zuannah Town.

(d) UNHCR continues to repatriate Sierra Leonean refugees from Sinje and Monrovia camps to their country of origin. 600 refugees from Sinje and Monrovia were reportedly repatriated on 26 February. Before the start of the repatriation exercise, 40,000 refugees were registered in Liberia, including 18,000 in Sinje.

(e) Under both PRRO 10064.0 and LIR 6239.0, WFP distributed 1,460 tons of food to 200,500 beneficiaries in January. This includes 92,200 refugees, IDPs and vulnerable persons.

3) Sierra Leone

(a) From 11 to 24 February, WFP assisted over 148,000 vulnerable people, providing 850 tons of food under various programmes. This includes the assistance to 100,400 children, who received 250 tons of food under the Emergency School Feeding programme. WFP also assisted approximately 2,700 malnourished people through its SFCs and TFCs as well as 4,400 women and children through the MCH programme.

(b) Due to the late arrival of a shipment carrying over 8,000 tons of cereals originally expected in November 2001, WFP is facing serious cereals shortfalls. As a result, WFP was forced to suspend or postpone its support to some programmes. As of 24 February, WFP had only distributed approximately one third of its planned distributions for the month of February.

(c) WFP is particularly concerned since its monthly food requirements are expected to increase significantly following the latest influx of Liberian refugees and Sierra Leonean returnees from Guinea and Liberia. As insecurity prevails in neighbouring Liberia, WFP continues to assist both Liberian refugees and Sierra Leonean returnees repatriated by UNHCR. WFP provides hard biscuits and a 10-day food ration to returnees and refugees during their relocation from the border area to safer camps. In addition to this emergency food assistance, WFP also pre-positioned one month food ration at each camp to be distributed at the end of the first 10-day cycle.

(d) UNHCR intends to organise on a weekly basis 3 to 5 convoys from Sinje (Liberia), one convoy of Liberian refugees from Kailahun to Kenema and 6 convoys from Gendema to Blama Way Station camp. An average of 300 to 350 people are relocated by convoy. Additionally, 500 returnees via boat and 500 returnees via land are being repatriated from Guinea each week.

D) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Bolivia, (3) Guatemala

1) Colombia

(a) The Peace Process in Colombia broke down after the FARC kidnapped one of the presidential candidates. The international community has condemned this action and has urged FARC to release all hostages.

(b) The Government agency, Red de Solidaridad Social (RSS) is providing emergency assistance to over 200 people recently displaced from the areas affected by the renewed insecurity. A health and food crisis is forecasted in the coming weeks due to scarcity of food, medicines, and water, unless the government is able to guarantee normal air and road transportation. RSS, PAHO/WHO and Médecins sans Frontieres, are taking the necessary measures to guarantee health conditions for the population. ICRC is now present in all five municipalities of the former enclave.

(c) WFP staff is moving only by air due to recent road travel restrictions. WFP development activities were suspended in the former enclave. Nonetheless, on 21-22 February, WFP food was distributed under Food For Work (FFW) activities in the border areas of the former enclave. WFP=B4s contractors continued to deliver food with some delays in the areas targeted under the PRRO 6139, despite a transportation strike.

(d) WFP will support nutritional feeding programmes but is also prepared to respond to the needs of a continuous flow of IDPs into urban areas. However, there are no new requests so far for WFP emergency food assistance from the Government. WFP stocks are also sufficient to address activities being considered by the UN Humanitarian Action Plan.

2) Bolivia

(a) On 19 February, La Paz was severely affected by rain and hail; 59 people were killed, 130 wounded and are 30 missing. Around 51 homes and buildings were affected in the city's historic centre, 18 have been destroyed. Roads, water drainage systems and dykes have been severely damaged. The Ministry of Education reported 50 schools affected. The Bolivian president declared state of emergency in La Paz and surrounding areas.

(b) Estimated costs of structural repairs and mitigation measures for the damaged infrastructure are around USD 10 million. The UN through the Resident Coordinator upon request by the government is coordinating donations. A UNDAC mission arrived to assist in the coordination of international actions and to provide technical assistance.

(c) WFP together with FAO and the UNDAC mission jointly assessed the damages in the affected rural areas. WFP also participated in joint FAO, USAID and Ministry of Agriculture assessments. Some 450 families were affected in rural communities. In addition to the crops lost, these families continue to be threatened by weakened dykes and continuing rain.

d) The main shelter for flood-affected persons has been hosting 200-350 people, who receive food and non-food items donated by the international cooperation and by the public. WFP has provided canned fish to complement their ration. WFP provided tools to the community of Huayhuasi and will further help communities in the area to protect their crops and homes from new floods. WFP support will be provided, using resources from development projects. Some USD 20,500 has been allocated. WFP is closely liaising with UNDMT/UNDAC, CARE, FAO, the National Civil Defence Service and donors in order to coordinate efforts.

3) Guatemala

(a) A Government meteorological report has recommended the adoption of preventive measures in anticipation of an emerging situation related to El Niño. This phenomenon is expected to either cause droughts and/or extend the raining period. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, El Niño could affect the 2002 agricultural cycle, particularly of basic grains (maize, rice and beans). In the case of a drought, the last growth phase of crops would be affected, reducing production. In the case of over-abundant rains, the second planting season would be affected. In the western region of the country, low temperatures have been reported to affect the season's crops, particularly fruits.

(b) WFP is finalising an EMOP to assist malnourished children and their affected-drought families. Meanwhile, WFP continues to provide assistance through the PRRO 6089. The third WFP food distribution for drought-affected persons will take place from 26 February to 09 March. Over 1,450 tons will be given to 330 communities in 7 provinces. The PRRO will need to borrow oil and pulses from the development projects in order to complete this distribution.

E) Asia Region: (1) Sri Lanka

1) Sri Lanka

(a) On 28 February, WFP appealed to donors for support to the conflict victims in Sri Lanka. 77,000 people living in government welfare centres, who were displaced by fighting in the north and east of the island nation, have stopped receiving WFP food assistance for the last three months because donor support has fallen off sharply.

(b) Out of an estimated 15,000 tons of food required this year, only 2,500 tons have been firmly committed by donors. These 2,500 tons will be delivered in April or May. In the meantime, the current stocks of 2,000 tons, which arrived in February, are insufficient to cover the needs of all the recipients. The Government does not have the financial resources to cover adequately the needs of the most vulnerable groups.

(c) WFP, which has been assisting IDPs in welfare centres since 1992, was scheduled to start a new phase of assistance in January 2002 for a period of three years. However, the operation has been frozen until enough donor pledges are made. That means that significant new components under the new phase have been shelved.

WFP needs urgent donations in order to institute the new activities, which include work schemes, job training and resettlement into permanent homes, all designed to give the conflict-affected people self-reliance.

F) West and Central Asia region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Afghanistan, (3) Pakistan, (3) Tajikistan

1) Regional overview

(a) According to the Annual UNHCR Agreement, assistance will be provided to some 500,000 refugees in Iran and Pakistan and IDPs within Afghanistan. Provision has been made to increase the targeted caseload to 1,200,000. 150 kg wheat will be provided as a 'return' package per household.

2) Afghanistan

(a) As of 21 February, WFP had delivered 322,500 tons of food into Afghanistan since October. WFP partner NGOs have confirmed the distribution of 263,700 tons to more than 6 million vulnerable people.

(b) Rapid Helicopter Assessment missions in northern Afghanistan are ongoing. As of 21 February, WFP has completed assessments in 12 vulnerable and isolated locations in Dar-e-Suf district of Samangan province. This week, WFP teams are moving into Belcheragh district (Faryab province), some 220 kilometres southwest of Mazar, to assess food security and health conditions of families living in hard-to-reach mountain villages. Assessments in Saripul province will begin next week. Two additional helicopters arrived in Mazar earlier this week and flied to Bamian and Chaghcharan to identify possible locations for the expansion of the rapid assessment mission into vulnerable western, central and northeastern regions of the country.

(c) From 14 to 20 February, WFP in collaboration with its partners distributed 6,300 tons of food to vulnerable people in Mazar-i-Sharif area (Northern Region). This includes the distribution of biscuits to 31,800 schoolgirls and 1,300 teachers.

(d) As of 21 February, over 9,700 tons of food had been dispatched from Hirat (Western Region) for the month of February. On 20 February, two private trucks carrying WFP food to Badghis had separate accidents on the Sabzak Pass road. One truck turned over, killing three passengers. The recent rains have made the roads, which were already narrow, even more difficult to use.

(e) Last week, WFP monitored food distributions at Surkhurd, Rodat, Shiwa, Jalalabad city and Khogyani districts in Nangarhar provinces (Eastern Region). Approximately 250 tons of food were distributed through Food for Asset Creation and FFW projects, general distributions and hospital feeding. 3,250 vulnerable families have received WFP food.

(f) The security situation in Kandahar city (Southern Region) is relatively calm. WFP has started supporting a pasta making project in Kandahar city, providing food to 235 most vulnerable women and assisting 1,350 persons in the girls nursing school (MOPH). WFP's general urban distribution in Kandahar city will begin on 14 March and will target some 360,000 people with 3,000 tons of food. WFP is currently providing food to over half a million people in Kandahar province. WFP in collaboration with its partner has distributed 175 tons of wheat to 3, 500 families in Nawa district. WFP also completed the distribution of 437 tons of food to 8,000 displaced families in Spin boldak.

3) Pakistan

(a) On 19 February, 370 persons were relocated from Peshawar to Barkalay camp in Bajour Agency. There was no relocation of refugees after this date due to the Eid Holidays. The population of Barkalay has risen up to 1,443 individuals.

4) Tajikistan

(a) The Canadian Avalanche Unit is currently working with ACTED to insure the road closure stays in effect until the road has been cleared and a proper avalanche assessment has been done. The Canadian Avalanche Unit and ACTED are alerting drivers on the dangers of carbon Monoxide.

(b) The Swiss Federation for Mine Action (SFMA) destroyed 200 items of UXO this week. Plans are underway to be operational in Qala e Naw (Hirat), Maimana (Mazar), Bamyan and Shomali (Kabul). It is hoped that SFMA will have a presence in Kandahar by the later this week. SFMA continued with the clearance of UXO at Mazar airport. SFMA Mazar has undertaken preliminary assessments in Maimana and identified the area as not clear for mines and UXOs. SFMA in close cooperation with HALO Trust is clearing the WFP warehouse area in Hairaton.

(c) The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) team in Ghor has cleared the passes to Chaghcharan and Pasaband from snow. Once the snow problem is solved they will be deployed to improve mountain passes and to clear areas from mud on some of the main roads in Badghis and Ghor where cars and trucks get easily stuck.

G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Georgia

1) Georgia

(a) Under EMOP 6302, 92 out of 179 community-based FFW projects have been completed, in six drought-affected regions. The majority of the projects focused on the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and feeder roads. The projects will be completed by April 2002, with an estimated 37,200 participants receiving family rations amounting to 7,600 tons of food. During the period October 2001 to January 2002, approximately 3,800 tons of food have been distributed for the works carried out.

(b) Following a second consecutive year of drought in the Imereti region of western Georgia, last year WFP, with NGO participation, conducted a drought assessment. The mission recommended a fifth round of food distribution for drought-affected people not able to participate in community works (elderly pensioners, single headed families). The distribution commenced on 12 February. 1,250 tons of food, equivalent to a three-month ration, will be distributed to 30,400 beneficiaries. To date, 12,450 beneficiaries have received over 500 tons of food.

(c) Under PRRO 6122.1, WFP has been providing food assistance to Chechen refugees and other vulnerable people hosted in social institutions. During the last distribution, covering the period January-March, 12,450 beneficiaries in 116 institutions received 450 tons of food. In January, WFP, in collaboration with UNHCR, distributed a two-month ration, consisting of approximately 240 tons of food, to 7,570 Chechen refugees in Pankisi valley, eastern Georgia.

(d) The recovery component of the PRRO supports FFW activities in the Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi regions of western Georgia, which were affected by drought in 2001. New FFW projects involving an average of 3,500 daily workers started in those regions on 1 February. Additional project proposals are being assessed and are planned to start in mid-March 2002. FAO appealed for more than USD 1.5 million to help over 77,000 farmers in western Georgia with seeds and fertilizers. Without external assistance this year, fields will go unplanted or will be planted late, leading to a poor yield.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 9)