WFP Emergency Report No. 14 of 2003

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 04 Apr 2003


This report includes:
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iraq and neighbouring countries, (2) Iran, (3) Afghanistan, (4) Pakistan

B) East and Central Africa: (1) Eritrea, (2) Ethiopia, (3) Burundi, (4) DR Congo, (5) Uganda

C) West Africa: (1) Côte d'Ivoire, (2) Liberia, (3) Sierra Leone, (4) Guinea, (5) Mauritania

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

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea

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

G) Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: (1) Georgia

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 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) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iraq and neighbouring countries, (2) Iran, (3) Afghanistan, (4) Pakistan

1) Iraq and neighbouring countries

(a) The regional security situation remains a major concern. On 29 March an Iraqi missile penetrated coalition defences and landed in Kuwait, which remained at UN Security Phase IV. UN staff in Kuwait is required to have flak jackets, helmets and gas masks within reach. A bomb scare at the UN office in Kuwait had all staff evacuated from the building. In Iraq's northern governorates security was tense during the previous week, particularly in Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah, where there have been a number of security incidents, including explosions and suicide bombs. The arrival of US forces in Erbil was reported to have unsettled the population. Prices of essential goods, most notably for fuel, rose significantly during the previous week but have now stabilized. On 01 April many shops were reported open in the north of Iraq and prices of essential food commodities were slightly decreasing, but still remained up to 80 percent higher than pre-war prices. Thus far some displacement has been reported but few Iraqis have registered as IDP's. According to available data there are currently 1,796 displaced persons in Dahuk, 145 people in Ashkawtan camp in Erbil and 882 people, mainly from Kirkuk governorate, in Koysinjaq. Some people are said to have crossed from Government of Iraq (GOI) controlled territory into the northern governorates and a number of people have left the three northern cities, but many people in the north are reportedly beginning to return to their homes. Nonetheless, inter-agency preparations for IDP camps continue, in preparation for possible new displacements. On 02 April, a WFP team from Sulaymaniyah went to assess IDP's at Bazyan, 30 km southwest of Sulaymaniyah. The Mayor said that since mid March, 1,000 families mostly from Chamchamal, Kirkuk and surrounding Bazyan had arrived, and were staying with relatives, friends, in schools or in mosques. Of those, some 300 families now remained.

(b) In the centre/south of Iraq the situation regarding displacement is largely unknown, although there were unconfirmed reports of up to between 1,000 and 2,000 people leaving their homes in the Basrah area in the morning and returning at night. Reports from NGO's in Syria and Jordan said there was an influx of Iraqi nationals who had rented apartments. Some 5,000 Iraqis had reportedly returned to Iraq through Jordan. During the previous week, Iraqi authorities requested all UN agencies to hand over 50 vehicles (on a loan basis) through UNOHCI with the agreement that they would be returned when the situation stabilizes. Authorities informed UN agencies that while they respect agreements signed with UN agencies, the situation required them to ask for the vehicles. WFP, however, has independent agreements with each of the three northern governorate authorities and has thus far avoided the de-facto confiscation of its vehicles.

(c) Little is known about the food security situation of the people living in the centre/south of Iraq. Early last week it was indicated that the Public Distribution System (PDS) continued to function but no further information was available. Some humanitarian supplies have reportedly been taken into the southern governorates by the British military, while UNICEF is making attempts to take an unspecified number of water trucks to the Basrah area. The ICRC is providing assistance to hospitals. There are reports of severe water shortages in Wasit, Kerbala and Thi-Qar. WFP is in the process of negotiating with NGO's for possible collaboration. In consultation with UNOHCI, various NGO's have been allocated governorates, where they are encouraged to concentrate their assistance in partnership with UN agencies. In Kuwait, which WFP anticipates will be a significant entry point for food into Iraq, arrangements are being finalised with NGO's, including CARE, Save the Children (US), Mercy Corps International and Goal.

(d) Meanwhile, WFP's current aid efforts inside Iraq continue. The first UN-supervised humanitarian supplies to Iraq, consisting of 77 tons of dried skim milk, entered Iraq on 29 March and were offloaded in Dahuk on 30 March. The supplies were part of an existing contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme (OFFP), which is managed by WFP in Iraq's three northern Kurdish provinces. On 04 April, a convoy of 19 trucks carrying 475 tons of badly needed wheat flour to the northern provinces set off for the Turkish-Iraqi border. WFP staff continued to implement activities in northern Iraq, including an essential nutrition programme for the malnourished and food distribution to health centres and social institutions. By 01 April WFP had distributed almost 5,000 tons of food in Iraq's three northern provinces since the beginning of the war, including more than 2000 tons of rice and more than 1600 tons of sugar. However, in the past few days there has been no food distribution in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah governorates.

(e) Like other UN agencies WFP will work to support the existing food distribution system inside Iraq wherever and whenever security conditions permit. On 02 April, WFP concluded contracts to purchase an unprecedented 400,000 tons of food, including wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, pulses, cheese and milk, to help support the Iraqi food distribution system. It is hoped that these supplies can reach the region by late April or early May. WFP is planning to buy 60,000 tons of wheat flour from Syria, beginning on 03 April at a rate of 1,000 tons per day and as of 15 April at rate of 2,000 tons per day. A loan from the Government of Syria to WFP of 100,000 tons of wheat flour in tranches of 25,000 tons/month has been approved but not yet put into action. In Syria, preparations also continue on refugee camps at Albu Kamal and Tanf border crossing points. El Hol refugee camp is already operational. Food release modalities are still being finalized by WFP and UNHCR. 160 tons of high-energy biscuits (HEB) have been pre-positioned in Kuwait, after being airlifted from Turkey via Iran and the Persian Gulf. WFP has also concluded agreements with local Kuwaiti contractors to procure 10 million pieces of bread and on 31 March WFP started milling 4,000 tons of locally purchased wheat. In Jordan WFP is providing bread to third-country nationals (TCN's) living in transit camps, the majority of which are Sudanese.

(f) On 28 March, WFP launched a USD 1.3 billion appeal for its new emergency food aid operation in Iraq, EMOP 10259.0 ''Emergency Assistance to the Public Food Distribution System in Iraq and to Iraqi Refugees, IDP's and Vulnerable Groups''. The request is part of the overall USD 2.2 billion UN appeal for humanitarian assistance to Iraq over the next six months. The WFP operation will be a phased response, depending on unfolding needs. With the majority of Iraqis set to exhaust their food reserves by May, WFP plans to support a food distribution system capable of meeting the needs of up to 27.1 million Iraqis. Initially, WFP's six-month operation is designed to address a range of possible developments. This includes feeding a potential total of 2.1 million people through cross-border operations and emergency assistance in border areas. However, within a month, WFP hopes that security conditions will allow its international staff back into Iraq to deliver food and support the Public Distribution System (PDS), used to distribute food to all Iraqi citizens under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme (OFFP). WFP is also getting ready to provide for Iraqis who may no longer have access to their monthly rations, such as IDP's, refugees and, particularly, vulnerable groups such as the elderly and handicapped. A special programme will focus on helping malnourished children, pregnant and nursing women as well as residents of hospitals and orphanages. 22.1 percent of children in south and central Iraq suffer chronic malnutrition and a supplementary WFP food basket will be provided for these children. After four months, WFP hopes Iraq will be in a position to relaunch its own supply chain, allowing WFP to scale down its operation.

(g) The entire operation would see 1.6 million tons of food moved into Iraq over the coming six months through a series of overland humanitarian corridors. WFP's Iraq appeal includes operational and support costs, a planned information network in Iraq and a fleet of 184 vehicles. It also covers the cost of transport, staff and equipment currently funded under the OFFP. To help facilitate a rapid regional response to the Iraq crisis, WFP is launching other special logistics' operations, which include a humanitarian air service, small-scale demining and securing emergency fuel supplies. The WFP appeal has already received a record level response of more than USD 250 million. However, with about USD 1 billion still required , WFP is working to review food contracts already approved under the OFFP to see which ones can be delivered to Iraq by the 12 May deadline set by last week's Security Council resolution, which authorized a revision and a 45 day continuation of the OFFP.

2) Iran

(a) Iran, which already hosts over two million Iraqi and Afghan refugees, has announced that its western borders with Iraq have been sealed, in order to prevent a massive influx of Iraqi refugees. The "Bureau of Aliens and Foreign Immigrant Affairs" (BAFIA) has informed that Iraqi refugees are to be sheltered in buffer zones near the border with Iraq and that only those Iraqis, whose life is deemed to be in danger, would be allowed into the country. WFP and other UN agencies have pre-positioned relief supplies for thousands of people in preparation for a possible outflow of refugees from Iraq. The security situation along the border with Iraq was reported to be quiet during the past week and as of 02 April no refugee flow was observed. However, this situation could change dramatically with increased military operations in Northern Iraq or wide scale humanitarian problems in Basra. UN Staff in Tehran is currently under UN Security Phase II, while border areas are declared to be in Phase III.

(b) WFP is preparing for trans-border operations into Iraq and has tendered for 50,000 tons of food to be transported by Iranian transporters into all 18 governorates of Iraq, once security conditions permit. In addition, WFP has concluded a stand-by agreement with the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), according to which the IRCS will cover the immediate food needs of up to 150,000 Iraqi refugees for a period of one month, after which stocks will be replenished by WFP. Given the expected deterioration in the nutritional situation of the Iraqi population, WFP plans to supply vegetable oil enriched with Vitamins A and D, while also looking at ways of fortifying wheat flour. The need for supplementary feeding and/or therapeutic feeding is currently being discussed with key partners, including UNICEF, UNHCR, IRCS and NGO's. On 29 March WFP signed an agreement with the State Organization for Grain (SOG) and BAFIA for the pre-positioning of 10,000 tons of wheat flour from Government stocks in exchange for 12,500 tons of wheat grain to be supplied by WFP. WFP is expanding its existing infrastructure by establishing sub-offices in the western provinces of Khusestan, Kermanshah, and Orumieh.

(c) The UN Task Force, led by UNHCR, met on 27 March to plan further for any influx of refugees. WFP is leading the Working Groups on Food, Trans-border Operation and Telecommunications. The working group on trans-border operation focuses on cross border procedures, including customs requirements for Iranian trucks, air operations and the situation at the ports and mainly involves WFP, UNICEF, ICRC and UNJLC.

3) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation remained volatile, especially in the Eastern, Northern and Southern provinces. UN missions through the Salang pass and to Nangarhar and areas of Saripul province continue to be suspended. The UN security office advised all missions to Kunar and Nuristan provinces to travel with two vehicles. Missions of international staff to Kunar province were avoided during the week. Military operations continued in several localities in the South. From 27 March to 02 April, 12 people were killed in explosions and attacks, including one International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) international staff member. Missions to the Southern provinces, except Nimroz province, were suspended. A meeting with DSRSG Nigel Fisher and the Heads of UN Agencies was held in Kandahar to discuss the security situation following the murder of the ICRC staff member. It was recommended that relationships and information sharing with local communities should be strengthened and that local leaders' willingness to assure protection of humanitarian actors should be encouraged.

(b) From 27 March to 02 April, WFP distributed 1,400 tons of food to 382,000 beneficiaries: 28,936 beneficiaries received 310 tons of food to under the Food for Work/Food for Asset Creation scheme; 125,461 beneficiaries received 296 tons of food under the Food for Education scheme; 83,621 beneficiaries received 495 tons of food under the Relief and Resettlement of IDP's and Refugees scheme; 139,100 beneficiaries received 268 tons of food under the Urban Vulnerable Bakery Projects and 4,818 beneficiaries received 29 tons of food under the Supplementary Feeding scheme. The final report on the Winterisation programme is under preparation and distribution figures will be reported shortly.

(c) WFP and implementing partners identified and registered flood affected families in need of food and shelter in Mazari Sharif. In addition, the Department of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, WFP and aid agencies established emergency food and non-food stocks for better preparedness for natural disasters. On 26 March, WFP and UNICEF signed an agreement to outline respective roles and responsibilities for effective and efficient utilization of resources in nutrition projects in Afghanistan. The agreement covers supplementary, therapeutic and institutional feeding, child feeding and micronutrient related activities. UNICEF-supported supplementary feeding programmes will begin to be phased out in early May and will end by 30 June. WFP will continue to support targeted supplementary feeding projects recommended by UNICEF.

4) Pakistan

(a) There are currently two WFP emergency operations in Pakistan, Drought EMOP 10171.0 and EMOP 10028 "Food Assistance to Afghan Refugees".

(b) Following the recent spate of winter rains, the severity of drought in many parts of the country has subsided somewhat. WFP has received an additional contribution of 2150 tons of wheat for EMOP 10171.0, which will be distributed with remaining vegetable oil to 50,000 individuals in Kharan district in Balochistan. However, the distribution of food has currently been suspended for security reasons in the wake of the Iraq war. No donor has come forward to provide additional resources for the caseload recommended by the 2002 WFP/FAO food and crop assessment mission. It is likely that EMOP 10171.0 will terminate with the distribution of in-country stocks.

(c) A nutrition survey by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) was completed at four refugee camps in Chaman, Balochistan Province. The initial results are currently being analyzed. Based on these findings, WFP in collaboration with UNHCR and NGO Implementing Partners are expected to launch a Supplementary Feeding Programme for malnourished and vulnerable people at the above mentioned refugee camps.

(d) Recent donor contributions amounting to USD 3.7 million, which will be used for the procurement of vegetable oil, beans and wheat, will improve the resource situation of EMOP 10028. However, the risk of pipeline breaks persists and WFP has had to borrow wheat and vegetable oil from WFP-contracted millers.

B) East and Central Africa: (1) Eritrea, (2) Ethiopia, (3) Burundi, (4) DR Congo, (5) Uganda

1) Eritrea

(a) The drought situation is worsening. The majority of agricultural areas in Northern Red Sea and Southern Red Sea regions have dried. In Nakfa and Ghe'laol sub zones the problem of drinkable water is becoming worse by the day. The lack of water is expected to hamper wet feeding programmes in the area and in Nakfa sub zone communities are suffering a shortage of potable water. As the wells dry out, people are forced to drink from rivers and other unclean sources, leading to an increase in water borne diseases. Schools have suffered a serious shortage of potable water and some schools are deciding to stop the school-feeding programme unless some assistance is received to track water from other areas. In Nakfa sub zone the Ministry of Local Government is trucking water for the school feeding programme. In Afabet and Nakfa sub zones pastoralists have started to collect a wild fruit called "Gaba" for both livestock fodder and human consumption. Similar findings have been reported in the Debub region, where coping mechanisms also include the sale of chicken and eggs as well as handicrafts, when possible. Villagers have continued to collect the leaves of the wild Mekie tree to supplement other food sources.

(b) Joint Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WFP teams evaluated the ongoing Therapeutic Feeding Programme (TFP) and School Feeding Programme (SFP) in both North and South Red Sea Regions and found that the overall nutritional situation for children under five is worsening, although there has been a fall in moderate malnutrition. In Northern Red Sea region, WFP interviewed villagers in Afabet and reported a steep increase in price for perl millet from Nakfa 4 to 10 per kg. Similar dramatic price increases were reported for tomatoes and potatoes, both currently at Nakfa 18 per kg. The price of grain remains high throughout the country, and continues to rise. It has moreover been reported that oxen, which are normally used for ploughing during this period, are being sold at the market.

(c) The agricultural outlook for the country is not encouraging. There is no sign of Azemara rain and in many regions crops have been scorched. In Southern Red Sea region, all agricultural areas are dry, and only ten hectares have reportedly been sown with sorghum and pearl millet. In Afabet, the cotton crop has been totally destroyed by drought. The limited relief food available in the country is being shared among community members, resulting in households receiving an average of only 4 to 5 kg of wheat per month.

2) Ethiopia

(a) Belg rains continue in various parts of the country. The Belg season prospects are very mixed; although recent rains have been positive, many areas suffered from a dry period of several weeks in early March, and the area planted in some parts of the country is less than usual. The situation will be closely followed, and a mid-Belg assessment will take place as usual in mid-April. Reassessment teams led by the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), which are now in the field, are looking at possible increased numbers of people in need of food aid, but are not assessing the crop situation. Adjustments to requirements will be compiled by DPPC after the current reassessment exercise had finished.

(b) Total requirements for April are 137,530 tons of cereals for 11 million people, using a reduced ration size of 12.5 kg per person per month. Food aid currently available is sufficient to cover all of these cereal requirements, but supplementary food needs of 15,400 tons greatly exceed stocks available, and thus blended food will be targeted at areas of greatest needs. These include emerging hot spot areas where conditions are deteriorating: certain locations in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) such as Sodo Zuria in Wolayita zone and parts of Gurage, Silti and Sidama zones; parts of Tigray Region such as Wukro; and parts of Afar Region, such as Assayta district in Zone 1, all of which are of special concern.

(c) While food distributions have stabilized the nutritional situation in many areas, this is a season of general hardship, and inadequate food supplies are being reported from many parts of the country. The overall pledge situation remains good, with 70 percent of the needs for the year (as assessed in November 2002) covered by confirmed donor contributions to date. A pipeline break in the global pipeline is expected in August and further pledges are required to cover needs for the period from August to October, at which point the main harvest season begins. If crops are poor in the short season Belg-dependent areas, or if there are insufficient rains in pastoralist areas, a number of people will require food aid until the end of the year and into the first part of 2004.

3) Burundi

(a) From 17 to 22 March, talks aiming at ending the civil war in Burundi were held in Switzerland. Following the signing of a protocol on 24 March on the deployment of African Mission observers to Burundi, the government of Burundi and the African Union (AU) on 26 March signed an agreement defining the status of the future AU peacekeeping force in Burundi. On 28 March Burundi's President made a nationwide broadcast and declared that he would hand-over the presidency to the Vice-President on the 01 May, in accordance with the transitional constitution agreed by the warring parties in Arusha in July 2001. Despite these encouraging political developments, the security situation remained unstable during the week with many skirmishes reported in various parts of the country. Fighting continued in the centre of the country, in the west, and in the eastern province of Ruyigi. Fighting factions continued to carry out attacks, violence, robberies and looting of rural and urban households.

(b) From 24 to 30 March, WFP distributed 762.967 tons of food to 58,018 beneficiaries through its various activities. Under the general feeding for refugees scheme, 6,700 refugees in two transit camps in Cibitoke province received 117.75 tons of food. Under the PRRO activities for vulnerable groups, WFP distributed 107.139 tons of food to 19 social centres in 7 provinces, benefiting 5,515 vulnerable people, out of which 728 were street children assisted under the joint WFP/UNESCO project on HIV/AIDS. Insecurity continued to hamper a number of planned distributions. In Kayanza province 26,985 planned beneficiaries could not be reached due to insecurity.

4) DR Congo

(a) From 21 to 29 March, the overall security situation remained volatile. The political situation was characterised by a fragile peace and talks over issues relating to the country's power sharing agreement. However, in areas under rebel control, political instability continued to prevail, due to the presence of Ugandan forces in the Ituri district and persistent threats of militia attacks on RCD headquarters. After a two-month lull in activities, the capital city of Maniema was reportedly again besieged by militia troops. Around one hundred women who had been taken hostage by militia men, returned to their city of origin some 90 km from Kindu, but were rejected by their families, due to their period of captivity with the militia. Access to WFP beneficiaries in the East remained restricted, due to insecurity.

(b) From 21 to 29 March, WFP distributed 1,930 tons of food to 174,723 war-affected beneficiaries. WFP in collaboration with FAO distributed 100 tons of food to 3,000 peasant families who returned to their original villages in Rutshuru, following displacement to Busanza. WFP, World Vision and Save the Children UK distributed 124 tons of food under the supplementary feeding programme to 3,443 malnourished children in North Kivu and 3,882 of their family members. 19 tons of food was distributed in partnership with German Agro Action to 152 farmers under the Food For Work scheme, involving reconstruction of the 22 km long Masisi-Nyabiondo feeder road. In the Bas Congo province, WFP delivered 173,5 tons of food to 22,500 Angolan refugees, including maize meal, oil and salt. In Katanga province, WFP distributed 698 tons of food to 77,886 people to sustain the ongoing agricultural campaign and the implementation of vulnerable group feeding and Food For Work/Food For Training activities.

(c) A recent WFP assessment mission in Kitutu in South Kivu province assessed the nutritional situation among 23,407 IDP's, who had escaped from the territory of Shabunda due to insecurity. Of particular concern was the nutritional status of 2000 malnourished IDP children, who were vulnerable to the effects of malaria and HIV/AIDS in the community, not least those children already suffering from anaemia. WFP is planning to airlift 123 tons of food to the area to cover the needs of the 2000 malnourished children as well as 8000 members of their families. However, constraints in warehouse capacity and transports means may restrain WFP deliveries. In Kinshasa, WFP plans to distribute 816 tons of food to 63,860 malnourished children, vulnerable groups and people involved in Food For Work/Food For Training activities, during the month of March.

(d) Low water levels in the Ubangi River prevented the transport of 245 tons of food to Zongo, to cover the needs of 3,500 Central African refugees for a 2 month period. The barge had to return to Mbandaka where the food will be offloaded in order to avoid rotting. However, some quantities will be loaded on to smaller boats leaving for Zongo. The pipeline has started to experience shortfalls in pulses and new arrivals are only expected in June.

5) Uganda

(a) District Authorities, WFP and international NGO's carried out a food needs assessment in Chua County, eastern Kitgum District, to assess humanitarian needs in the area following prolonged drought, LRA incursions, and incessant raids by Karimojong warriors into the district. Based on the findings, WFP will provide food aid assistance to the vulnerable population, while implementing partners will distribute seeds for the March/April planting season together with WFP rations.

(b) On 01 April, WFP took over the responsibility for food distribution from UNHCR on a one-year pilot basis. In co-ordination with the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) and District Planning Unit, WFP is carrying out registration of newly displaced persons in IDP camps in Pader District. Verification of the beneficiaries in the IDP camps will ensure maintenance of accurate beneficiary numbers.

(c) The food pipeline situation is stable from March through to July for most commodities. However new contributions of vegetable oil and sugar are required. In-kind contributions and cash for the local purchase of cereals, pulses and UNIMIX have helped reduce projected shortfalls. However, as a result of increasing food needs in northern Uganda, WFP will face pipeline shortfalls of 45,588 tons of food from April to December, including 25,020 tons of cereals, 7,300 tons of pulses, 7,448 tons of corn-soya blend, 2,888 tons of vegetable oil, 2,282 tons of sugar, 528 tons of salt and 128 tons of high energy biscuits.

C) West Africa: (1) Côte d'Ivoire, (2) Liberia, (3) Sierra Leone, (4) Guinea, (5) Mauritania

1) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) In the western part of the country, population movements are continuing, and the humanitarian situation is still worrying. IDP's continue to arrive in Duekoue, however the living conditions and management of the site is poor. Food assistance continues to be provided by WFP and the Ministry of Solidarity. In Guiglo there are four sites of IDP's for a total of 7,263 persons composed mainly by Burkinabes. The living conditions are precarious, especially in view of the coming rainy season and increased threat of epidemics. According to the Deputy Mayor of the City, an unknown number of Ivorian IDP's are living with host families in Guiglo town. The French Army based in Guiglo, has reported that an estimated 15,000 displaced people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Toulepleu and Pehe.

(b) During the week WFP carried out food distributions to all IDP sites in Duekoué and Guiglo. A total of 7,263 IDP's in Guiglo and 800 IDP's in Duekoué received food supplies for one month. The March food distribution was completed to Liberian refugees in Nicla Camp under the current PRRO project to a total of 8,729 refugees. WFP supported the repatriation of Liberian refugees with high-energy biscuits through UNHCR/CARITAS in the border of town of Tabou. Between 02 February and 25 March, 3,043 packets were distributed to 762 refugees. In Korhogo, WFP completed the registration of people eligible for food assistance in Waraniene village. Distribution to approximately 5,000 beneficiaries will commence on receipt of salt and oil. In and around Bouaké, food distributions to vulnerable people continued: 12,000 children and mothers received wet feeding in collaboration with Action Contre la Faim (ACF), who received 33 tons of food for distribution. 260 women also received Food for Work (FFW) family rations and 30 malnourished children received supplementary feeding.

(c) WFP supplied food to four education centres under UNICEF's "Back to School" initiative in Bouna, close to the border with Ghana. On 03 April 5 tons of rice, corn-soya blend and oil was distributed to 1,300 children. In addition, WFP distributed 25.2 tons of food to 7,000 IDP's in Tiebissou, Bouaflé and Duekoue. WFP's supplementary feeding programme in Duekoué also supported 150 malnourished children and mothers in collaboration with the Ivorian Red Cross. In Abidjan, an additional 18,570 children were included in the School Feeding Programme for displaced children, which now supports a total of 52,710 children who have fled or been relocated to host families in areas held by the Ivorian Government.

2) Liberia

(a) Fighting escalated through the week and especially after 21 March when LURD rebels attacked and captured the city of Gbarnga in Bong County in central Liberia. As a result of the fighting, an estimated 20,000 internally displaced persons were forced to flee their camps on the periphery of Gbarnga. The IDP's have are headed for Totota, where IDP camps already host more than 36,000 displaced Liberians. Three WFP staff, who were among a large group of relief workers abducted by unidentified combatants in Zwedru, were released on 29 March and managed to cross the border into Côte d'Ivoire. The group was temporarily accommodated and assisted by WFP in Guiglo, Daloa and Yamoussoukro, before departing directly to Monrovia by WFP plane. One WFP worker has still not been released.

(b) Recent events in Gbarnga, Monrovia and Zwedru have led to an increase in the number of IDP's, relative to the number of Sierra Leonean and Ivorian refugees, who receive WFP assistance. Nationals of other countries who have been caught up in the Ivorian conflict continue to arrive in Liberia. 306 third country nationals, mainly Burkinabes and Malians, received WFP 1.8 tons of food assistance in Maryland County. WFP carried out food distributions to IDP's in Montserrado County. In Blamasee and Ricks Institute 34,591 internally displaced persons received 380.304 tons of food. Distributions in two other camps had to be abandoned when LURD rebels infiltrated and began shooting in the Ricks Institute camps.

3) Sierra Leone

(a) The security situation in early March remained stable throughout the countrywide. Despite the escalation in fighting in Liberia, as of mid March there were no reports of cross border raids. The movement of refugees and returnees continued along the Zimmi and Kailahun axis. At the Kailahun Way Station, WFP supported 720 refugees with 8 tons of food for wet feeding. Large numbers of refugees from the Kailahun border areas registered for relocation to refugee camps. This resulted in an increased demand for WFP food aid and for shelter from UNHCR. There were problems with providing adequate shelter, as existing refugee camps were almost full. By mid March, 957 refugees had been relocated.

(b) From 24 February to 09 March, WFP distributed 986 tons of food to 187,199 beneficiaries through vulnerable group feeding programmes, emergency school feeding, therapeutic feeding, supplementary feeding, mother and child health, food-for-training and safety net programmes. From 10 to 23 March, food distribution began in all refugee camps in the country, employing standard distribution practices and ration scales, approved by the Committee on Food Aid. Repatriation of returnees continued, with WFP and UNHCR providing 2.17 tons of food for wet feeding to 2,000 returnees expected to transit at the Port Loko Way Station.

4) Guinea

(a) Repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees continued via Pamelap and is expected to begin via Dandun from 04 April. 4,251refugees have been repatriated from Kissidougou since early January. The national co-ordinator for the relocation of Liberian refugees from Kouankan to Albadariah was nominated by the Government. 205 Liberian refugees arrived in Tékoulo transit camp and were transferred to the Boréah transit centre

(b) WFP distributed 9.6 tons to 890 beneficiaries. In Albadariah camps, the number of beneficiaries has increased with the arrival of new Liberian refugees. In Kissidougou, WFP and implementing partners agreed on measures to improve efficiency and transparency of distribution in the camps. Refugees who are absent during food distributions more than twice will be taken from the beneficiary list and refugees with more than one ration card will not be accepted any more for the general distribution. The surplus of cards will be handed over to UNHCR for follow-up. These new measures will be introduced in Kissi in April and will be implemented in all other camps as well.

(c) WFP stocks in the country will only cover beneficiary requirements until June. Implementing partners have been informed that a drastic reduction in food rations is envisaged in May, unless the resource situation improves.

5) Mauritania

(a) Food security in all rural areas has deteriorated. Animal herds, which have not migrated to Senegal/Mali, are concentrated in small areas in the southern strip of the Hodhs, Assaba, Gorgol and Brakna. These areas thus suffer from over-grazing. People continue to migrate from rural to urban areas, in search of employment. Migration and WFP food distribution in Aftout has prevented the outbreak of famine in the drought-affected areas.

(b) Newly released results from an assessment mission carried out by FEWS Net in Southern Mauritania, confirm previous local reports of pre-famine conditions developing in parts of the country. The assessment report highlights that since November, the situation has particularly worsened for pastoralists, who now show visual signs of malnutrition and are prevented from migrating from the area because their livestock are too weak to do long distance transhumance. Commercial maize prices remain at a record level high. Malnutrition rates are on the rise, whilst access to water is deteriorating.

(c) WFP's regional EMOP 10249.0 covering Mauritania, Cape Verde, Gambia, Senegal and Mali is currently facing a shortfall of 32,698 tons, corresponding to 60 percent of total requirements. New contributions are urgently required and if additional resources are not found, the situation in all the countries covered by the regional operation could dramatically deteriorate in the near future.

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

1) Madagascar

(a) The south of Madagascar continues to be affected by acute food shortages. Small quantities of cassava and maize are available on local markets, but at unaffordable prices for the local population. Most local people have sold their household goods to buy food. In addition to the drought and subsequent food shortages, access to water is another challenge. In some villages, a bucket of muddy water (15 litres) is being sold for FMG 1,500, roughly 30 US cents, which is too expensive for most local people.

(b) WFP is currently providing food assistance to 175,000 people in the region through Food For Work activities. From 27 March to 03 April, WFP distributed 248 tons of food to 9,387 Food For Work participants in the drought-affected areas.

(c) The General Commission for Integrated Development in the South (CGDIS) and technical Ministries organized a workshop to discuss the current needs of the drought affected population as well as longer-term solutions for the southern areas. President Ravalomanana, the Ministers of Agriculture, Health and Decentralization, Provincial Senators and Mayors of the affected communities attended the workshop. The meeting identified solutions that require concrete multi-sectoral actions to ensure sustainable management, along with the development of existing natural resources. WFP stressed the need to engage all sectors of civil society in the process and the importance of improved education.

2) Mozambique

(a) The "Save Flood" operation has been completed. All planned food commodities were delivered as planned, the rub hall was dismantled and staff returned to their duty stations. The situation in Machanga District in Sofala Province has stabilized following the flooding of the Save River. The cyclone-affected districts of Machaze, Buzi and Chibabava have also recovered. Two hunger related deaths were reported in Panda District, Inhambane Province. This is the second such report from the district this year. WFP and the Government are planning a mission to the area to follow up the report.

(b) From 27 March to 03 April, WFP distributed 1,184 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners. WFP met with the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) to discuss the proposed strategy from July onwards, logistic issues, capacity building, the identification of the most vulnerable areas and assessments. It was recognized that the numbers of beneficiaries might increase from July onwards due to the poor outlook of the current crop. WFP is currently targeting 650,000 people through June 2003.

3) Zimbabwe

(a) Initial calculations from Zimbabwe indicate that WFP is very near to reaching their projected March distribution of 58,000 tons of food for 4.7 million people. With final data pending from several distribution points, WFP has already received distribution figures totalling 56,200 tons, making this the highest figure reached since the beginning of the Emergency Operation.

(b) A Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) mission will conduct fieldwork from 05 to 17 April. The preliminary report is expected in early May. The objective of the VAC is to assess variations in food availability according to geographical areas, the numbers of people requiring food aid and the amount required. The assessment will also look into related aspects of the humanitarian crisis such as HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation and education, and their linkages with food security.

4) Zambia

(a) Continuing heavy rains have resulted in flooding in Nabwalya, Mpika District in Eastern Province. The Luangwa River is now over 800 metres wide and flooding has affected approximately 8,000 people. WFP is using canoes and 6x6 trucks to transport food into the area. From 27 March to 03 April, WFP distributed 4,707 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners.

(b) On the 29 and 30 March a team of UNICEF senior advisors met with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to discuss HIV/AIDS related programming issues as well as the overall humanitarian situation in Zambia. The team requested the UNCT to provide feedback on the Secretary General's 'Framework for Action', a comprehensive response to Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis.

5) Malawi

(a) On 29 and 30 March, heavy rains triggered a landslide in Phoka-Junju District in Mzuzu Province, killing 4 people and destroying large areas under cultivation. In Chiweta-Mlowe District in Rumphi Province, flooding is reported to have destroyed large areas of cassava and maize. WFP is undertaking a rapid assessment in the area to evaluate the situation. From 27 March to 02 April, WFP distributed 4,350 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners.

6) Tanzania

(a) A mission comprised of key government officials from Burundi arrived in Tanzania in order to visit refugee camps. The aim of the mission was to inform the refugees on the progress of the peace process and the ongoing government efforts to restore peace in the country. The mission informed the refugee community on the implementation of the Arusha Peace Agreement, including the appointment of new governors and leaders. Refugees stated their concern over ongoing rumours that President Buyoya is not ready to step down after his term ends on 01 May, but the mission reassured them that they expected the president to abide by the signed accord. Despite reassurances over the return or allocation of new land, and the deployment of peacekeeping forces during the transition period of the army's restructuring, the refugees indicated that their return would depend upon the stepping down of the current president and the restructuring of the army.

(b) UNHCR and Implementing Partners began a nutritional survey to establish a baseline for monitoring the impact of ration cuts in the refugee camps. The standard anthropometric measurement using weight for height was used in the surveys. Infant feeding practices were also taken into consideration. The preliminary findings of the survey are expected in early April.

7) Angola

(a) The national interagency nutrition working group observed marked improvements in malnutrition rates with the lowest numbers of 'lean season' admissions seen at therapeutic feeding centres over the last 3 years in most provinces. Provinces that remain of concern are Kuando Kubango, Huambo and parts of Benguela. WFP will continue to support nutritional feeding programmes where required.

(b) The ACOMOL transit centre in Huambo city received an estimated 5,000 people flown in by the government from Gathering Areas in Kuando Kubango, Uige, Malange and Moxico Provinces during the week. The transit centre does not have adequate facilities and the people remain without shelter, blankets, latrines, water and food. WFP has agreed to supply emergency rations and urgent coordination meetings are underway.

(c) WFP's Rapid Food Needs Assessment (RFNA) training programme continues this week in Huambo city. The programme will establish joint UN, Government and NGO teams to undertake RFNA's, boosting the capacity amongst the humanitarian community.

8) Namibia

(a) A recent UNHCR survey indicates that 96 percent of the 15,670 refugees interviewed are willing to repatriate. At least 80 percent want to return at the earliest opportunity, preferably by the end of 2003. Only 3 percent of those surveyed wished to stay in the Osire Refugee Camp and 1 percent was undecided. Refugees at the Kassava centre expressed willingness to return in 2004. The survey established that the majority of the refugees interviewed are from Kuando Kubango Province in southern Angola.

9) Lesotho

(a) A school feeding baseline survey began in all 10 districts in Lesotho. The sample schools are located in remote and mountainous areas, making the data collection process slower than anticipated.

(b) From 27 March to 02 April, 1,320 tons of food was distributed to 109,128 beneficiaries and 90,000 school children. The Malefiloane Clinic also received 600 kilos for the Mother Child Health (MCH) programme and an additional 133 tons was dispatched to 5 Health Centres in Thaba-Tseka District. Heavy rainfall hindered further distributions, as feeder roads were impassable.

10) Swaziland

(a) Dry weather conditions continued to destroy maize planted in mid-January in the Lowveld and Lubombo Plateau. During the FAO/WFP pre-crop assessment, these maize plantations were doing well and were seen as the last hope for the harvest in the area. From 27 March to 02 April, WFP distributed 3,389 tons of food in collaboration with Implementing Partners.

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea

1) DPR Korea

(a) With recent contributions of 100,000 tons of maize, WFP food distributions will be able to meet cereal needs through to September for the most vulnerable groups in the country, including young children and pregnant and nursing women. Blended food distributions to the youngest children and pregnant and nursing women will, however, be negatively affected by the shortfall in constituent commodities for the local food production facilities.

(b) Given the time it takes for pledges to translate to commodities arriving at the port, additional contributions of 141,000 tons are soon required to ensure continued implementation of the complete range of WFP's planned activities throughout the remainder of the year. Commodities required include 107,400 tons of cereals, 15,500 tons of pulses, 11,200 tons of corn-soya milk, 3,700 tons of sugar and 3,200 tons of oil.

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

1) Bolivia

(a) On 31 March, a landslide buried 200 houses in Chima, 250 km north of La Paz. The total population of Chima is 3,000 people, mostly poor miners. According to information provided on 03 April, 22 people lost their lives, 168 were injured, and a total of 600 people were affected by the slide. 34 people are currently reported missing. General communication and power supply was also cut off. The Government declared Chima a "zone of municipal disaster and public calamity".

(b) On 01 April, the Prefectura of the Department of La Paz, the Municipality of Tipuani, the Civil Defence, WFP, UNICEF, WHO/PAHO, CARE and World Vision carried out a joint quick damage and needs assessment in the area affected by the landslide. WFP has sent 5.5 tons of food to Chima, to feed 200 families for the next 15 days, and plans to provide another 5.5 tons in the coming weeks. Tools for rescue and clean up, as well as cooking pots and utensils, were included in the delivery. WHO/PAHO is providing first aid kits, UNICEF tools for rescue work, OCHA emergency funds, and various governments are supporting the emergency through the provision of rescue teams, cash and support for a needs assessment.

2) Colombia

(a) WFP staff members were stopped during school identification visits for the new school-feeding programme under PRRO 10158.0 "Assistance to Persons Displaced by Violence in Colombia" by a police checkpoint on the road to the municipalities of Sanson and La Union, due to clashes between armed groups and military forces in the area. Armed groups incursions have caused the displacement of 2,500 people in the department of Cundinamarca. Insecure conditions and expected new clashes could cause further displacements into Bogota. The WFP community kitchen in Ocaña is currently feeding 400 people a day and is the only means of food provision for the community.

3) Ecuador

(a) WFP and UNCHR, in conjunction with local partners, continue to provide food assistance to Colombian refugees.

4) Guatemala

(a) Dozens of fires have broken out in the country's northern region, and a total of 2,914 hectares of woodlands have burned. The Government has issued a decree of national calamity to speed up efforts to combat the fires. The declaration will allow for a quicker flow of financial and human resources, as well as requests for help from other countries if required.

G) Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: (1) Georgia

1) Georgia

(a) Security measures in areas bordering Abkhazia (in UN Security Phase III) were discussed at a Security Management Team meeting. WFP carried out Food For Work projects under PRRO 6122.01 in the western part of the country. In eastern Georgia, activities, which were suspended during the winter, were resumed and will be completed during April.

(b) During March, WFP distributed 1,438 tons of food, including 110 tons to 4,000 Chechen refugees, 1,315 to 18,000 participants in Food For Work projects, and13 tons of wheat flour to 270 participants in Food For Training activities. Requirements under PRRO 10211.0 are currently only 13 percent covered. Recent contributions will be used for purchasing 2,215 tons of wheat flour.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 14).