WFP Emergency Report No. 11 of 2004

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 12 Mar 2004


This report includes:
(A) Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Azerbaijan, (3) Iran, (4) Iraq

(B) East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) Djibouti, (3) Eritrea, (4) Ethiopia, (5) Kenya, (6) Rwanda, (7) Somalia, (8) Sudan, (9) Tanzania, (10) Uganda

(C) West Africa: (1) Central African Republic, (2) Chad, (3) Guinea, (4) Guinea Bissau, (5) Liberia, (6) Sierra Leone

(D) Southern Africa: (1) Regional, (2) Angola , (3) Lesotho, (4) Madagascar, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Namibia, (8) Swaziland, (9) Zambia, (10) Zimbabwe

(E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea, (2) Myanmar

(F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Colombia, (2) Guatemala, (3) Haiti, (4) Nicaragua

From David Morton, Director of the Transport, Preparedness and Response Division (OTP); available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Carlo.Scaramella@wfp.org, Chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (OEP). 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 Brenda.Barton@wfp.org, telephone +39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

A) Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Azerbaijan, (3) Iran, (4) Iraq

1) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation remained relatively calm throughout the country. UN missions remain suspended to Chimtal and Sholgar districts of Balkh province in the north; Uruzgan province in the south; and Farah province in the west. In Zabul province in the south, armed attacks led to the death of one Turkish construction worker and nine Afghans. The head of Afghan Red Crescent (ARC) was shot dead on the Qalat-Ghazni highway also in Zabul Province.

(b) International Women's Day was celebrated on 8 March throughout the country. The celebration served an opportunity to enhance the awareness of women's role in the recovery and development of the country.

(c) From 4 to 10 March, some 475,700 beneficiaries received 3,436 tons of food.

(d) In Mazari Sharif, a workshop took place on 9 to 10 March to train the staff of the Department of Education in implementation of food-for-education projects. It is expected that the workshop will enhance the Government's efforts to assess needs and to design, contract and monitor development programmes, which will ultimately improve food security in the country.

2) Azerbaijan

(a) PRRO 10168, "Targeted Food Assistance for Relief and Recovery of Displaced Persons and Vulnerable Groups in Azerbaijan", aims at promoting food security among vulnerable groups through targeted interventions, particularly in rural areas with high concentrations of IDPs. A pilot primary school feeding project has been introduced and the recovery component includes activities such as employment-generating schemes, income generation and Food for Training (FFT) activities.

(b) During the first round of food distribution in January and February 2004, a total of 2,088 tons of mixed commodities were distributed to some 127,300 beneficiaries (126,590 IDPs plus 715 other vulnerable groups). WFP undertook regular monitoring of food distributions and of the food security situation.

(c) In February 2004, WFP's sub-office was relocated from Masalli to Imishli (38 staff), to facilitate food distribution to IDPs living in the adjoining six districts, in addition to the nine districts previously covered from Masalli base. The Masalli sub-office will be maintained until all food commodities in the warehouse are utilized (tentative closing date is end-March).

(d) As of 29 February 2004, a total of 20,992 tons have been pledged against the 43,087 tons required under the new PRRO. This figure indicates that some 49 percent of requirements have been met, leaving a shortfall of 22,095 tons, or 51 percent, of the total requirements.

3) Iran

(a) UNHCR reported that it has repatriated 742 Afghan refugees from Bam since the beginning of the crisis. Recently, it has received a repatriation request from another 80 Afghan refugees in Bam.

(b) Distribution of WFP commodities under EMOP 10332.0, Food Assistance to Earthquake Victims in Bam, finished on 10 March. WFP's implementing partner, Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), distributed to all 14 zones. To date, 86% of overall commodity requirements (5,604 tons out of the total requirements of 6,512 tons) for the EMOP 10332.0 have been delivered at IRCS warehouse in Kerman or made available through State Organization of Grain (SOG) in Kerman. WFP finished its on-site monitoring of the food distribution process on 10 March. The monitoring report will be ready shortly.

(c) In order to improve commodity handling and warehouse management a crash course storekeeper training was organized in Bam on 10 March for IRCS storekeepers.

(d) CARITAS and Islamic Relief have indicated their readiness to distribute complementary food items to the most needy earthquake victims in Bam. Médecins du Monde (MDM) reported that it is finalizing the result of its limited malnutrition survey in two clinics in zones 2 & 6. UNICEF, MDM and WHO are preparing to conduct a nutritional survey in Bam.

(e) WFP is facing a dramatic shortfall in funding for its emergency operation: as of 4 March 2004, only 48.5 percent of overall necessary funding has been made available. Further contributions are urgently needed.

4) Iraq

(a) Between April and December 2003, WFP delivered more than two million tons of food commodities in Iraq. Ever since, WFP has been actively involved in the preparation of the UN Country Team (UNCT) strategy for assistance to Iraq in 2004, which builds on the findings of the needs assessment exercise presented at the Madrid donors conference in October 2003. This UNCT strategy was presented in the follow-up donor conference in Abu Dhabi at the end of February, and builds on a system of 10 clusters. WFP is the lead agency of the Food Security cluster, in which FAO, WB, Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Health (MoH) participate. The cluster focuses on the promotion of efficient safety nets and the provision of technical assistance to counterparts in managing the PDS. WFP is also working very closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education (MoE), the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the principal UN Partners (WHO,UNICEF and UNFPA) in the health and education clusters. In this context, WFP initiated a range of activities including:

  • Collaboration with the World Bank to address the issue of food security and protection of the most vulnerable groups in the context of a PDS reform;

  • 'Safety Net' activities, including school feeding and supplementary feeding;

  • Continuation of poverty and food security assessment and analysis.

(b) A pilot school-feeding project benefiting 105,000 students in seven governorates will start in March. MoH and MoE officials from the pilot governorates and WFP staff participated in a workshop on school feeding in Baghdad. A study tour for MoE and MoH officials to Chile and Egypt, where school feeding projects have been in place for a long time, is being finalized. A project proposal on the 'Assistance to Primary School Students and Vulnerable Groups' for the period July-December 2004 is being drafted.

(c) The household data for the WFP/VAM Baseline Food Security Assessment collected in Sulaimaniyah and all the 15 centre/south governorates is being analyzed. WFP staff is liaising with the local authorities in Erbil and Dahuk to ensure the collection of data in these two governorates. A draft report will be ready by the end of March.

(d) At the end of 2003, CPA and MoT formally requested WFP assistance for the continuation of the PDS pipeline - the main source of income for about 60% of the Iraqi population. Until June 2004, WFP will assist with the procurement of urgently needed commodities for the PDS and with technical support and capacity building for Ministry of Trade staff.

B) East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) Djibouti, (3) Eritrea, (4) Ethiopia, (5) Kenya, (6) Rwanda, (7) Somalia, (8) Sudan, (9) Tanzania, (10) Uganda

1) Burundi

(a) During last week confrontations between the army and the Front for National Liberation (FNL) rebels continued in Bujumbura Rural province.

(b) Between 1 and 7 March, WFP distributed over 1,000 tons of food aid to approximately 178,000 beneficiaries through different food aid activities. Under the Seeds Protection Rations (SPR), WFP distributed 607 tons of food to approximately 155,000 persons in Cankuzo, Gitega, Ruyigi, Rutana and Muyinga provinces. However, most of the distributions were carried out without cereals due to the break in the pipeline. The SPR distributions were completed in five provinces (Kirundo, Muyinga, Cankuzo, Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza). Only one commune (Muhuta) was not assisted due to persistent insecurity. The total quantity of food received in the country during last week was 1,300 tons of cereals and oil. The dispatches of cereals are improving.

(c) Following a request for assistance by the administrator of Rugombo in Cibitoke province, WFP carried out a rapid assessment in the area. Findings revealed that erratic rain led to the loss of crops and consequently over 1,770 households were affected. In addition, WFP and FAO jointly assessed the food needs of the four communes hit by hailstorm in Mwaro province. Results indicate that close to 3,000 households were affected, however, only some 1,500 were in need of food assistance. Another joint assessment between WFP, OCHA, Gruppo Volontariato Civile (GVC) and Catholic Relief Service (CRS) was conducted in Mubimbi commune of Bujumbura Rural province to collect information on food security. In the areas assessed, including Gitwe and Martyazo zones, the findings indicated that the population is not in urgent need of food assistance.

(d) WFP received a contribution to purchase over 400 tons of pulses in the region. Another contribution will be used regionally, to purchase 1,500 tons of maize. Finally, WFP received a contribution for the purchase of 477 tons of yellow split peas.

2) Djibouti

(a) The third convoy of the second voluntary repatriation phase of refugees originating from Somaliland left Djibouti on 11 March. All 196 refugees (59 families) from Holl Holl refugee camp were repatriated to Guerissa in Somaliland. During the transfer from Holl Holl refugee camp to the Chebeley transit centre, where the refugees receive their food and non-food items (NFIs), the bus had an accident that resulted in nine refugees being injured. WFP provided all returning refugees with a nine-month food package. The next convoy is scheduled to leave at end of March. Since the beginning of the second voluntary repatriation phase, which started in February 2004, a total of 1,006 refugees have been repatriated. This brings the total number of refugees that have been successfully repatriated to Somaliland, since the beginning of the repatriation exercise in 2002, to 3,361.

3) Eritrea

(a) Security phases in Eritrea were recently altered. The Maekel region is now Phase 1, the Temporary Security Zone remains Phase 4 and the rest of the country has been raised to Phase 3.

(b) Lack of rainfall in the Northern Red Sea region has seriously affected crop production in the Foro sub region. Fodder production is expected to be much lower than in previous years and it is anticipated that the agricultural yield will be minimal. WFP monitors reported increased migration of families from Debub region to parts of the Northern Red Sea. In previous years, it was common for some male household members to migrate with livestock in search of fodder and water. However, this year entire families are migrating in search of food and water.

(c) In Gash Barka, three convoys with a total of over 1,000 Eritrean returnees arrived from Sudan last week. To assist with the repatriation process, WFP is providing food assistance to returnee households until their first successful harvest.

(d) Confirmed pledges for 2004 for the Drought Emergency Operation amount to 64,076 tons of food, which is equivalent to 54 percent of this year's requirement. A total of 37,616 tons of commodities, representing 49 percent of the 2004 requirement, has been resourced for PRRO 10192.0.

4) Ethiopia

(a) Results of the pastoral areas assessment have been finalized for Afar and Somali regions, as well as for lowland parts of Oromiya and Southern Nations Nationalities and People's regions. Weather conditions have been generally better than forecasted in late 2003. Thus the 2004 relief food requirements have been revised downwards to under 900,000 tons. This comprises of 695,000 tons of cereals, 85,000 tons of micronutrient-fortified blended food, 69,000 tons of pulses, 23,000 tons of vegetable oil and 1,300 tons of iodized salt (this includes 14,000 tons of commodities for emergency school feeding). Carryover stocks, 2003 carryover contributions and confirmed contributions for 2004 currently total 486,000 tons; these can cover relief food requirements through to early June. The un-resourced food requirement for 2004 stands at 387,000 tons. WFP intends to cover part of the overall relief food requirements, with the remainder met from bilateral donations to the Government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) or to NGOs. With outstanding cereal and blended food requirements of over 350,000 tons for 2004, there is scope for local purchases to cover part of the shortfall. The recently issued joint "Cereal Availability Study" estimated the amount of maize, wheat and sorghum available for local purchase for humanitarian operations in 2004 as between 300,000 and 350,000 tons.

5) Kenya

(a) The mixed performance of the 2003/2004 short rains is expected to cause a shortfall in maize production, leading consequently to food constraints among the poorest rural households in Kenya during 2004. The Kenya Food Security Steering Group completed rapid food security and nutritional assessments in selected districts, reporting increased food stress. An estimated one million persons will require assistance of some kind between April and December 2004. Districts of particular concern are Turkana and Marsabit where malnutrition rates among children under five years of age have increased over the course of last year.

(b) During February 2004, over 6,700 tons of food were distributed to approximately 1.4 million people including general feeding for refugees and targeted feeding under school feeding and HIV/AIDS programmes.

(c) WFP's support to refugees continues to face a critical pipeline break starting in June 2004. The shortage of food will begin with cereals but will progressively affect all commodities in the food basket. In total, the food requirements for the programme from June to December 2004 are 27,500 tons valued at USD 14 million. The school-feeding programme continues to face serious resource shortfalls for 2004. Current resources are expected to last only until the first month of the second school term (May). WFP urgently requires 34,058 tons of food valued at USD 13.6 million to cover requirements up to the first term of 2005. The negative impact of discontinuing nutritious school lunches in the arid and semiarid areas of Kenya will compound the growing food insecurity.

6) Rwanda

(a) Voluntarily repatriation continued from Burundi and Tanzania with UNHCR registering close to 1,800 returnees countrywide in February. A total of 1,000 returnees from Nyakivale refugee camp in Uganda did not arrive at Gicumbi transit centre as expected due to transportation constraints. To date, Rwanda has received 922 returnees from Uganda as part of the November 2003 repatriation campaign by UNHCR and the Government of Uganda. Returnees were transported to Gicumbi transit centre where they received WFP food assistance and UNHCR non-food packages.

7) Somalia

(a) Since late December 2003, border conflicts between Somaliland and Puntland authorities remained intense with both administrations maintaining strong military presence in the disputed frontline. Reconciliation efforts by the local traditional leaders continued with insignificant impact. In Galgadud region, fighting between two neighbouring clans have been reported with 38 people killed and another 70 people injured. The reasons for the clashes were clan disputes over grassing land compounded with revenge killings. As the current drought prolongs in northern and central regions of Somalia, pastoral movement in search of water and pasture has increased, creating pressure between pastoral communities leading to clan conflicts. Tension also remains high in Beletweyne between the two sub-clans in the west bank of Shabelle River.

(b) During the month of February, WFP distributed a total of 2,300 tons of food commodities reaching some 183,000 beneficiaries in Somalia. WFP humanitarian assistance to the families affected by the drought in Sool Plateau continues in the relatively peaceful areas of the Plateau. In February, a total of 812 tons of food commodities was distributed to 14,000 households in Sanaag and Togdheer regions. The deteriorating security situation in Beletweye has adversely affected WFP's humanitarian assistance to families of malnourished children in Beletweye and the planned Mother Child Health (MCH) distribution for February has been postponed.

8) Sudan

(a) During last week, a Joint UN Humanitarian Needs Assessment team reported a deteriorating security situation in Kass. Tension was reported among internally displaced persons (IDPs) and villagers in all six visited sites in the area. According to the team, the 'Janjaweed' militiamen are very active in the area. They attacked five to six villages and destroyed water infrastructure. The IDPs in these locations, like in many others where there is military activity, are in desperate need of protection.

(b) Following the recent violence in Tawilla, the number of IDPs in El Fasher has risen to 10,000. As a result, the Government is deploying police in Tawilla and IDPs are beginning to trickle back into Tawilla.

(c) WFP distributed a total of 40 tons to over 9,500 IDPs escaping Tawilla to El Fasher, North Darfur. Food distributions for IDPs were undertaken by the Sudanese Red Crescent (SRC) and closely monitored by WFP staff. WFP is planning to dispatch 159 tons of mixed food commodities targeting 10,000 beneficiaries in Delajei in West Darfur. The dispatch of food depends on the security conditions of the area.

9) Tanzania

(a) In February, approximately 10,000 refugees participated in facilitated repatriations and around 700 refugees were spontaneously repatriated. The refugees included Congolese and Burundian nationals.

(b) During February, WFP provided food to approximately 465,000 refugees with over 7,000 tons of various food commodities. A total of 170 tons of food was used for supplementary feeding programmes that reached 23,000 beneficiaries. Therapeutic feeding covered some 5,150 beneficiaries. The 3,700 refugee host area beneficiaries received close to 55 tons of various food commodities. To date four regions including Singida, Dodoma, Shinyanga and Mtwara have received relief assistance. In addition, the following districts have also received food aid: Magu district in Mwanza, Ruangwa district in Lindi and Uyui district in Tabora. Distributions are ongoing in Tabora, Mwanza, Mara, Arusha, Manyara, Lindi, and Iringa. Some 29,000 tons of WFP food commodities have been resourced, out of which 20,000 tons have been distributed.

10) Uganda

(a) Rebel infiltration and activity in northern Gulu district is reported by security forces to have increased markedly in the past week. More rebels have re-entered from Sudan, following the announcement of the Equatorial Defence Force (formerly linked with the LRA) that they were joining the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in anticipation of a peace agreement in southern Sudan, and would henceforth fight against the LRA. The humanitarian situation in the northern Acholi sub-region continues to deteriorate as a result of the protracted Lord's Resistance (LRA) rebel insurgency. In the Acholi Sub-region (the three districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader), over 900,000 persons are displaced in congested camps, with inadequate water, health, sanitation and education facilities; in the neighboring Lango sub-region, over 80,000 persons are displaced in Lira municipality, with an additional 200,000 persons displaced in camps in rural Lira district.

(b) WFP, joined by UNICEF, FAO, OCHA, Government of Uganda (GOU), Lira District Department for Disaster Preparedness and NGOs, continues to lead an emergency response assessment to determine the level of humanitarian assistance required in rural camps in Lira district. The assessment is in response to increasing displacement, following the massacre of over 200 civilians in Barlonyo IDP camp by LRA rebels in February 2004. A number of rural sub-counties are reported by the mission to be virtually depopulated, with the exception of the displaced camps, and abandoned villages burned by rebel forces.

(c) The March planting season, for the July 2004 harvest, appears likely to pass with minimal planting possibilities for most of the displaced persons in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Lira districts due to presence of rebels. In northern Lira district, the countryside has been almost emptied after the Barlonyo massacre of last month. People fled into protected settlements, and planting will be limited.

(d) WFP food distribution continues to reach over 1.5 million displaced persons, 145,000 refugees and other vulnerable persons. During the week of 1 to 6 March, WFP distributed approximately 2,000 tons of food to over 145,000 persons including IDPs in the northern Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts and eastern Teso region; refugees in settlements in Arua, Moyo and Yumbe districts, school children in refugee and IDP hosting schools and vulnerable persons at feeding centres.

(e) WFP, GoU, district authorities and NGO partners are presently conducting an Emergency Food Needs Assessment in IDP camps in the northern Acholi sub-region in order to adjust ration levels for the coming four months. It is unlikely that rations will be reduced below the current levels that vary from 50 to 65 percent of minimum basic human dietary requirements of 2,100 kilocalories per person per day and may need to be increased to avoid heightened levels of hunger and malnutrition.

C) West Africa: (1) Central African Republic, (2) Chad, (3) Guinea, (4) Guinea-Bissau, (5) Liberia, (6) Sierra Leone

1) Central African Republic

(a) In the provinces, insecurity incidents are reportedly increasing due to attacks from highwaymen and uncontrolled armed soldiers against vehicles, traders, farmers and cattle herders. The insecurity situation is still preventing the populations from having access to their fields for cultivation, planting and harvesting. As a result, there is little food on the local market. Coffee and cotton which constitute the main cash crops for the populations are not purchased to enable them to have cash for food purchase.

(b) Under PRRO 1O189.00 "Food Assistance to the Populations affected by Armed Conflict", during February, about 407,240 tons of commodities were distributed to 32,152 individuals among whom women and children attending health and nutritional centers, HIV/AIDS affected people, returnees, abandoned elderly and people receiving FFW or FFT.

(c) Two joint monitoring missions of WFP and the Ministry of Education took place in the Prefectures of Ouham Pende, Kémo and Nana Gribizi from 18 February to 2 march 2004 in order to assess school attendance rates, the effective delivery of commodities in the schools and food security. The missions have reported a tripling in the number of school children since the activation of school canteens for school feeding.

(d) Ramiro Lopez da Silva, Special Humanitarian Envoy, was on a UN mission in CAR from 22 February to 10 March, to assess the humanitarian situation in the areas affected by armed conflicts. Also a World Bank mission was in Bangui from 16 to 27 February 2004.

2) Chad

(a) The security situation remains volatile in areas close to the Chad/Sudan border. Insecurity is reported to have deteriorated in some locations especially in Adre.

(b) The rainy season begins in May and lasts until September. Many of the roads will become impassable and what are now dry river beds will become raging torrents, isolating the refugee camps for days or weeks. WFP is therefore seriously concerned to have food stocks pre-positioned in Abeche by April 1st, in order to quickly ensure deliveries to the EDPs/FDPs established near the refugee camps.

(c) Finding water remains another challenging issue. The size and location of a refugee camp is determined by the availability of water. Investigation on water availability in Mille (a fourth camp) will start next week. When water is found, the refugee transfer operation to this camp will start. UNHCR hopes to move between 40 and 60,000 refugees into camps by the end of April. In the first week of March, transfers to Kouloungo have continued, bringing the total population of that camp to 1,902 persons. Refugees have also been moved to Farchana and Touloum where the camp population is now 2,100 and 5,300 respectively. The total refugee number in the three camps is 9,302.

(d) From 1 to 7 March, under EMOP 10327.0 "Emergency Assistance the Sudanese Refugees in North-East of Chad", a total tonnage of 33,6 was distributed to some 2,660 persons in two camps (Touloum and Kouloungo). Current stocks in Abeche total 1,885 tons of food commodities

(e) The humanitarian community is worrying about a possible deterioration of food security situation of both the refugees and the host population during the lean season (from April/May to September). In collaboration with UNHCR and NGOs, WFP is planning to improve the household food security of the refugee and host population through the construction/rehabilitation of community assets through FFW and income generating activities. Some 31,000 beneficiaries have already been identified for these food-aided activities. Further identification of beneficiaries and implementing partners is ongoing.

(f) Three rubb halls are already installed near Farchana, Guereda and Kounoungo. A fourth one will shortly be established in Touloum. Five others have been received and sent to Abeche, this will bring total storage facilities to 9 wiikhalls.

(g) More contributions were confirmed this week, and other contributions are under negotiation.

3) Guinea

(a) The situation was reported as generally calm throughout the country.

(b) HCR statistics as of 4 March, indicate that 107,817 refugees reside in the 7 refugee camps in Guinea. Eight convoys transported 1,312 refugees from the camps in Kissidougou to Sierra Leone. To date 4,352 Sierra Leoneans have been repatriated. A team of UNHCR workers and Sierra Leonean civil society visited the camps of Albadaria in Kissidougou to encourage refugees to register for repatriation before the deadline of 15 March. More than 100 Liberian refugees passed through N'Zerekore from Ghana on their way home. Around 200 Liberian refugees were prevented from crossing the border from Mali into Guinea. UNHCR is investigating the issue. Discussions between WFP and UNHCR are ongoing on the forthcoming verification and registration exercise.

(c) Under the PRRO, during the period from 23 February to 7 March, some 64,960 beneficiaries received 985 tons of food.

4) Guinea Bissau

(a) During February, WFP approved an Immediate Response EMOP following the Government's emergency appeal to support rural farmers severely affected by floods during the 2003 rainy season.

(b) During the same month, 829 tons of food commodities were distributed under the school feeding, health and nutrition and rural rehabilitation programmes.

(c) Only one contribution has been received so far for PRRO 10148.1, due to start on 1 June 2004. Other contributions are urgently needed so that the implementation can start as planned.

5) Liberia

(a) With the expansion of UNMIL's deployment up-country, an increasing number of Liberians refugees in Sierra Leone is returning to Liberia. UNHCR has recorded over 10,000 voluntary returnees from Sierra Leone to date. Of these, an estimated 3,400 people are sheltered in the already overcrowded IDP camps. Last week, WFP provided food assistance to nearly 1,000 returnees in Perry Town IDP camp in Montserrado. UNHCR is carrying out an assessment of the situation and developing contingency plans with supporting agencies to meet the needs of those repatriated.

(b) From 4 to 10 March, WFP assisted 86,103 people with 1,495 tons of food. Some 193 tons of food commodities was delivered during the week to 190 schools in Montserrado County for 65,000 school children. Delivery is also in progress for 168 tons in Montserrado.

(c) On 9 March, WFP fielded a rapid vulnerability assessment mission to Fishtown, River Gee County. It is the first mission conducted by WFP in this South-Eastern County since the end of the war last August. The mission was prompted by reports of increasing food insecurity in the entire region. The mission recommended that a more extensive food needs assessment be conducted in Fishtown and surrounding villages as soon as UNMIL troops are deployed in River Gee County. WFP could subsequently plan a food distribution for returnees and vulnerable people under targeted or general food distribution programmes.

6) Sierra Leone

(a) The security situation in the country remained calm

(b) Countrywide, WFP supported a total of about 97,010 beneficiaries with 869 tons of food from 23 February to 7 March, through vulnerable group feeding programmes (refugees, resettlement of returnees, amputees and war wounded), emergency school feeding, therapeutic feeding, supplementary feeding, mother and child health, food-for-training and safety net programmes. Monthly pre-positioning of food items to the refugee camps commenced.

D) Southern Africa: (1) Regional, (2) Angola, (3) Lesotho, (4) Madagascar, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Namibia, (8) Swaziland, (9) Zambia, (10) Zimbabwe

1) Regional

(a) Recent South African industry estimates predict that the 2003/04 maize crop will total 7.3 million tons, down from approximately 9.4 million tons in the previous year. The SAFEX white maize price peaked at USD 216/mt in early February, but by 11 March it had fallen to USD 160/mt, as a result of improved rains in February and March.

(b) WFP Southern Africa Bureau is continuing to give high priority to local purchases of food in 2004. In the first two months of 2004, a total of almost 90,000 tons of food have been purchased locally by the bureau at a cost of USD 20.3 million. The focus of regional purchases has, however, changed. To date, in 2004, the largest purchases (36,500 tons) have been in Zambia. South African purchases have been relegated to second place with 29,000 tons. (South African maize prices in February 2004 were 21 percent higher than the corresponding month in 2003, due to the early season drought conditions in that country.) WFP is working to strengthen its procurement capacity especially in Zambia and northern Mozambique.

2) Angola

(a) WFP remains unable to remove 1,798 tons of pulses and oil from Luanda and Namibe ports. The payment of port clearance charges, which is a Government responsibility, remains unpaid. These commodities, particularly pulses and vegetable oil, are urgently required for provincial deployment and subsequent distribution to beneficiaries. Elsewhere, heavy rainfall and the presence of landmines are also hampering WFP distributions to thousands of beneficiaries in Huambo, Huila, and Kuanza Norte Provinces.

(b) In Huambo Province, reports from a recent joint assessment carried out by WFP, FAO, FEWS NET, World Vision, Concern, CIC, and OIKOS reveal that approximately 60 percent of the maize crop was seriously damaged due to excessive rains during November and December 2003. This will have implications for a large number of beneficiaries who will require continued food assistance from the harvest period in April until the following harvest in April 2005. Once the rains have tapered off, a further assessment will be carried out in April/May to confirm these findings. The excessive rains have come at a critical time when the majority of people are struggling to regain self-sufficiency during the post-war recovery process.

3) Lesotho

(a) According to the Lesotho Meteorological Services, March started with good rains, especially for the western, northern and central areas. The northwestern part of the country received the highest rainfall registered at 30-38mm, 25-30 percent of their average monthly rainfall. Western and central areas received 20-25mm, while the eastern and southeastern part received the lowest rainfall of 5-9mm.

(b) A FAO supported Snapshot Assessment of the agricultural season in late February found that late and below average rainfall combined with reduced access to inputs led to delayed planting, as well as a major reduction in planted areas. Following two poor seasons in succession and the cessation of a subsidized inputs scheme, farmers have not had the resources to finance planting. In addition, poor rainfall has resulted in a lack of forage for livestock, resulting in significant numbers of livestock losses. Remittances from family members working in South Africa have been declining for years and overarching all of this is the devastating effect that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has had on the country.

(c) Subject to receipt of a Government request, a regular FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment will be carried out in May, just before harvest. It is still too early to speculate on the precise harvest out-turn, but it is expected that the production of cereal crops in 2004 will be well down on previous years. The Snapshot Assessment estimated production for maize, wheat and sorghum in 2003/04 is as low as 20% of the recent 5-year average, with the latter being itself only 70% of national needs in this chronically food-deficit country.

4) Madagascar

(a) A devastating cyclone struck northeast Madagascar on 7 March. On 9 March, the government of Madagascar issued a preliminary report on the damage caused by Gafilo, described as one of the worst cyclones to hit the country in the past twenty years. Initial findings show that the cyclone (400km in diameter) hit many towns, severely affecting infrastructure and crops (rice and vanilla) and cutting electricity and telephone lines. Preliminary findings indicate that as many as 100,000 people were affected and 50,000 were made homeless. Initial estimates suggested that 50,000 people will require emergency food assistance for about six months. However, further study is required before definite numbers can be confirmed. Gafilo was reported to have left Madagascar on 11 March.

(b) On 10 March, a joint WFP/CARE/ECHO/USAID assessment team reported that, in the severely hit north-eastern town of Antalaha, 3 to 4,000 people have been temporarily displaced and are being accommodated in schools. Reports indicate that 95 percent of the buildings in the town were destroyed by the storm. WFP's implementing partner in the area, CARE, will commence distribution of WFP pre-positioned food as soon as possible. Pre-existing stocks will cover immediate needs, however, attention will now focus on mid to long-term needs, as the April harvest rice crop has been lost and the next (main) harvest will only be in November. WFP is working with CARE to further assess the number of people who will require assistance in the post-emergency/recovery phase for the next six months and expects to prepare a Budget Revision to EMOP 10236 to cater for their needs.

5) Malawi

(a) As reported by the 10-Day Rainfall & Agromet Bulletin Department of Meteorological Services on 8 March, by the end of February 40 percent of the agrometerological stations in Malawi had received less then 75 percent of normal rainfall, while 10 percent of stations reported less than 50 percent of normal rainfall. According to the February 2004 Joint Food Security Assessment Report, although rainfall has improved in most parts of the country since mid-January, there are areas where the crop is very young and may not produce if rains do not extend beyond end March to mid April.

(b) During the reporting period, WFP and implementing partners distributed about 1960 tons of food.

6) Mozambique

(a) At least 600 hectares of crops have been inundated in the districts of Dondo and Nhamatanda, in the central Sofala province, by flooding of the Pungue River. The Sofala provincial public works directorate warns that continuing rainfall upstream may lead to further deterioration of the situation. Provincial authorities are preparing to dispatch monitoring teams to assist residents, and a Red Cross team has been positioned in the area.

(b) The number of cholera patients continues to rise at Mavalane General Hospital in Maputo. Health authorities fear that continuing rainfall and poor sanitation conditions may worsen the situation, not only in Maputo, but also in Beira (Sofala province). Last week, the northern city of Nampula recorded its first cases of cholera this year.

(c) In February, WFP and implementing partners distributed over 5,290 tons of food to a decreased number of 343,000 beneficiaries. This decrease was due to the lack of available food for distribution and inaccessibility of certain areas due to the heavy rains.

7) Namibia

(a) As a result of erratic weather, severe poverty and the worsening HIV/AIDS epidemic in Namibia, WFP approved EMOP 10334 on 5 March to help 111,000 orphans and vulnerable children. WFP will provide approximately 8,000 tons of food to those rural children and their families in the six northern districts during the next six months of the emergency operation. At the same time, a complementary UNICEF appeal to assist 360,000 women and children has been launched.

8) Swaziland

(a) The snapshot assessment of the current agricultural season, undertaken in mid-February by FAO, shows that rainfall in the Lowveld and dry Middleveld has been below average for the past three years. This has led to lower crop yields, as well as livestock deaths due to lack of forage. Even the best-case scenario for 2003/04 production is only 87 percent of the recent five-year average of around 98 500 tons of maize. The worst-case scenario is estimated to be equivalent to only 65% of recent five-year average production.

(b) According to the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) update of March 2004, almost 350,000 people, a third of the population, are unable to meet their full food needs in drought-affected areas this season. Income/food gaps of between 20 and 63 percent are estimated for populations in the dry Middleveld, Lowveld, and Lubombo Plateau. The analysis found that levels of vulnerability have worsened considerably due to three consecutive years of depressed food production and rural incomes, as well as the growing impact of HIV/AIDS. Notably, in comparison to previous VACs, 100 percent of households in the Lowveld and the Lubombo Plateau will experience a deficit of some degree.

(c) Shocks affecting rural livelihoods at this time include: poor to extremely poor expected maize harvests; livestock deaths with serious effects on income; the continued poor levels of cotton production and employment; and, significantly, very high continued maize meal prices.

(d) During the reporting period WFP and implementing partners distributed 645 tons of food to 64,031 beneficiaries, including about 37,160 women.

9) Zambia

(a) The food security situation in the country has remained stable with marginal increases in the prices of maize meal and grain. Price increases of maize will continue to be gradual until new crops are readily available on the market in May/June.

(b) Feeding has been resumed in 24 of the 107 sites previously closed due to the cholera outbreak. Implementing partner, Project Concern International, is in the process of conducting a review of all affected sites in consultation with local health authorities to see what further action can be taken to resume feeding.

(c) The continuing shortfall of WFP grain continues to affect the provision of the take-home rations. Using the previously identified criteria (child-headed households, households headed by an unemployed female over the age of 65), take-home rations have so far only been provided to 1,972 vulnerable households hosting orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Previously, 38,580 households benefited from the take-home ration.

(d) During last week WFP and implementing partners distributed 1,244 tons of food under all Programmes.

10) Zimbabwe

(a) Rains continue to fall in most parts of the country. In Kwekwe and Gokwe districts of Midlands Province, the late-planted crop is reported to be improving. The pattern seems to have changed in the last three years with most of the rains now falling from mid January. The late rains have, however, brought a new set of challenges. In Buhera District of Manicaland Province, they have resulted in the rotting of cotton and paprika crop. Most communities rely on such cash crops to supplement their incomes and buy food. Water logging remains a major threat to the prospect for a good harvest this season, while the maize stalk borer is a eopardizing hopes for a successful farming season in parts of Manicaland Province.

(b) Food availability has generally improved countrywide as people begin to eat early maturing crops. In Mutoko District of Mashonaland East the state-run Grain Marketing Board has reported a decline in sales of maize. However, despite the availability of most food commodities, prices have remained unchanged and beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans.

(c) The urban supplementary feeding programme for growth-faltering children under the age of five is progressing well. WFP and partner NGO Help are currently working with 40 clinics in the major cities of Bulawayo, Harare and the dormitory town of Chitungwiza. More than 80,000 children receive food aid under the programme.

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea, (2) Myanmar

1) DPR Korea

(a) Since the cereals pipeline of EMOP 10141.02 was repaired in February, 2.6 million out of 3.8 million core beneficiaries (children, women and elderly people) have been receiving WFP cereal rations. With the arrival of scheduled shipments over the coming weeks, all but 600,000 core beneficiaries will receive rations in April. However, without additional pledges soon, the situation will deteriorate again thereafter.

(b) Cereal allocations for food-for-work (FFW) projects during the spring season have had to be reduced from a planned 24,000 tons to 8,000 tons.

2) Myanmar

(a) Starting 15 March, EMOP 10345.0 will provide food assistance to 180,000 ex-poppy farmers and their families for a period of one year. Under this EMOP, WFP plans to supply 9,855 tons of rice with a total budget of about USD 3.7 million. Both international and national staff are being deployed, establishment of Sub-offices in Kokang, Pang Sang (Wa) and Lashio are in process, and negotiations for procurement of 3,000 tons of rice have started. Before the rainy season starts (mid-May), WFP intends to supply rice to Kokang and Pang Sang Extended Delivery Points (EDP). WFP has sent a preparatory mission to the region (from 10 to 20 March) to discuss with regional authorities and NGO partners about the implementation mechanism. The regional authorities have assured WFP to provide office space and warehouses, free of cost, for this operation.

(b) WFP signed a new contribution agreement for PRRO 10066.1 in Northern Rakhine State (NRS). Food distributions under this PRRO in NRS are continuing. A total of 980 tons of rice was delivered to NRS during February. During that month, 55 returnees (11 families) from Bangladesh and 68 TB patients were provided with relief food. Food coupons for 2,400 tons of rice were issued to 52,000 school girls from 345 schools and 363 vocational trainees, mostly women and 246 primary teachers were also provided with food.

F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Colombia, (2) Guatemala , (3) Haiti, (4) Nicaragua

1) Colombia

(a) Twenty-five displaced Colombian people were repatriated to Colombia from Panama last weekend. The process was followed by Red de Solidaridad Social, (a Colombian Government agency coordinating assistance to internally displaced people). According to Panamanian authorities, more than 700 Colombian displaced people have settled in Panama in the last few years.

(b) On 4 March, the Colombian army frustrated an attack and deactivated four "bomb-cylinders," a combination of gas and explosives, placed in an electric distributing tower in a southern Bogota neighborhood. Three civilians died and eight more were severely injured by land mines located in rural areas of Taraza, Province of Antioquia. Five members of the same family were murdered by illegal rebels in Argelia, province of Antioquia. On 5 March, Colombia's armed forces chief reported that the illegal groups persist in putting teenagers on the front lines resulting in 44 minors killed so far this year, out of which 35 fought with illegal armed groups and nine were part of common criminal groups.

(c) According to Colombian Government's peace negotiator, Luis Carlos Restrepo, the peace talks with paramilitaries could collapse unless the right-wing militias concentrated their forces in specific areas. The paramilitaries also demanded the government to guarantee they will never be extradited to the United States for drug charges.

(d) In the context of the PRRO 10158, from 1 to 7 March, WFP distributed in 5 provinces 109 tons to some 19,260 beneficiaries, through school feeding, FFW and FFT activities.

2) Guatemala

(a) Several hundred members of the Coordinadora Nacional Indígena Campesina (CONIC) blocked the road connecting the municipalities of Cobán and Chisec, in the 251st km. The protest action aimed at calling a halt to evictions of occupied country estates. Criminality and violence continue at alarming rates, posing security risk, particularly to women. It has been reported that in 2003, an average of one woman a day was killed by violence.

(b) During the previous week, the Ministry of Environment launched the "National Report on the State of the Environment in Guatemala 2003". This report shows that desertification and drought are advancing rapidly in the country, and by that reinforces the pertinence of WFP's intervention through PRRO 10212, which focuses on the drought zone. Through its rehabilitation component, the PRRO provides FFW rations as an incentive to reforestation, soil and water conservation activities, among others.

(c) Mirta Roses, the Director of WHO's Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), visited Guatemala and expressed concern about the country's high chronic malnutrition rates. She also praised the government for the high priority given to the fight against hunger.

(d) Due to a sharp increase in the number of rotavirus cases in the province of Huehuetenango, the red alert declared last week is still in force.

(e) Continuing increases in the price of gasoline may result in higher transport costs for upcoming food distributions.

3) Haiti

(a) This week, a council of leading Haitians appointed former Haitian Foreign Minister Gerald Latortue as the country's new interim prime minister. A UN mission with WFP participation, made up of political, military, police and logistics experts, visited Haiti in preparation for a peacekeeping force, due to be deployed in three months. The UN appealed for USD 35 million to fund emergency humanitarian relief operations to help stabilize Haiti.

(b) Security situation remains volatile in the country, with continued looting and killing reported; the US Marine Corp (USMC) is patrolling the capital city, Port au Prince. The curfew remains in effect. WFP assessed the security situation in Port de Paix, where the situation remains tense with no civil authority present and armed gangs acting as police officers. According to same assessment, the security situation was considered relatively calm in Cap Haitien, however the civil administration has not been re-established.

(c) WFP staff in the Cap Haitian sub-office has returned to work. Monitors are assessing the current needs of schools and health centers, in and around Cap Haitian. Hospitals and health centers have resumed activities, and public and private transport is starting up again; however public transport prices have doubled due to scarcity of fuel. Positioning of food for March distributions to 75,000 school children and some 60,000 beneficiaries in health centers, continues to be delayed as a result of the looting of WFP's Cap Haitian warehouse, lack of fuel, and prevalent insecurity. Schools and health centers are without stocks since the end of February. Most public schools in Cap Haitian remain closed, and only 10-15 of the Congregationalist schools are open. Most of the schools in the North East Department are closed.

(d) Despite logistics and security constraints, WFP delivered on 4 March 20 tons of food to a health centre in Canapé Vert and a nearby orphanage in the eastern part of the city and 20 tons of WFP food aid was delivered on 8 March to a health center and an orphanage also in Port au Prince. On 5 March, a WFP convoy expert arrived in Port-Au-Prince to arrange an overland convoy from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitian as soon as security allows. A small convoy of light vehicles is being planned as a test run from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitian to assess security conditions along this overland route. As of 8 of March, WFP had in pipeline 5,364 tons of commodities from which 5,129 in Port-au Prince.

(e) WFP approved a Special Operation (SO) on 8 March for a total cost of USD 3.2 million to cover a five-month period. The SO will provide WFP as well as partner organizations with essential logistics, communications and security support needed to promptly resume humanitarian assistance in Haiti, especially in the northern part of the country. Furthermore, WFP is preparing an Emergency Operation Project (EMOP) to assist about 140,000 people in the northern departments of the country. Priority will be given to food insecure families in cut off areas, children, expectant and nursing mothers.

(f) Plan International remains not operational in the Northeast, and Caritas office in the same region has been burned. Médecins Sans Frontiers is conducting a need assessment.

(g) A flash appeal coordinated by OCHA, including WFP's Special Operation (logistics) and new EMOP, have been prepared to ensure the additional equipment, food, and financial resources required in response to this emergency.

4) Nicaragua

(a) A total of 57,510 pre- and primary school children in flood-prone areas of the Northern Atlantic Region of the country and 11,522 pre- and primary school boys and girls in the municipality of Matagalpa continue to be assisted through PRRO 10212.0. Food rations include rice, beans, CFI, CSB, and vegetable oil.

(b) Food assistance to vulnerable groups also continues under the same PRRO, in those areas of the country affected by the coffee crisis. A total of 16,401 women and children under the age of two are currently being assisted.

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

(END WFP Emergency report No. 11, 2004)