WFP Emergency Report No. 15 of 2003

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 14 Apr 2003


This report includes:
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iraq, (2) Jordan, (3) Syria, (4) Iran, (5) Afghanistan

B) West Africa: (1) Central African Republic

C) Southern Africa: (1) Madagascar, (2) Mozambique, (3) Zimbabwe, (4) Zambia, (5) Malawi, (6) Angola, (7) Namibia, (8) Swaziland

D) Asia: (1) DPR Korea, (2) Cambodia, (3) Indonesia

E) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) Ecuador, (4) Honduras, (5) Venezuela

F) Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: (1) Armenia, (2) Albania, (3) Serbia and Montenegro

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, (2) Jordan, (3) Syria, (4) Iran, (5) Afghanistan

1) Iraq

(a) Contact was finally re-established with WFP staff in Baghdad on 13 April. Two staff members, who had been left as Officers-in-Charge made their way to the WFP office and rang using a sat phone. They reported that the office has been looted. It is hoped that more regular contact can be maintained.

(b) On 12 April WFP international staff met national staff in Umm Qasr. The national staff had arranged a meeting with some 40 food agents, a quarter of which were women. All were eager to resume a distribution role.

(c) UNSECOORD led security assessments continue into areas that are declared 'permissible'. Areas surveyed include: Az Zubayr, Safwan and Umm Kayaal. A security assessment mission to the northern governorates took place on 13 April and the mission surveyed the cities of Dahuk and Erbil. It will travel to Sulaymaniyah today 14 April. The first wave of 30 international staff (five of whom are from WFP) will return to resume activities as soon as the security assessment is complete.

(d) A Working Group on IDP's has been established in Larnaca to monitor the IDP situation and try to bring clarity to the numbers of IDP's being reported from various sources. There are reports of a group of up to 30,000 IDP's near Iraq's eastern border with Iran.

(e) The first trucks carrying urgently needed wheat flour began crossing the Turkish border into Iraq's northern provinces on 05 April. Cumulative wheat flour dispatches to Northern Iraq between 03 and 13 April amount to 4,500 tons, out which 1,000 tons were dispatched to Dahuk, and 2,000 and 1,500 tons to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah respectively. As at 13 April 2003, WFP staff report that the cumulative receipts of Turkish wheat flour in the three northern governorates amount to 2,862 tons.

(f) Distributions of wheat flour began 06 April 2003. Some 2,830 tons were distributed to about 308,000 beneficiaries in the three northern governorates. Distributions were concentrated in areas known to have a high number of IDP's staying with relatives. Direct distributions to IDP' s included six tons of rice, sugar, vegetable oil to 276 IDP families in Baziyan camp near Sulaymaniyah. A total of 389 families (around 2,334 people) have received some 16 tons of food. Some 374 IDP's in Ashkautwan camp in Diyana district near Erbil have received about 2 tons of WFP mixed food commodities.

(g) Contributions to WFP's Iraq EMOP continued during the week, but further resources are needed to fulfil requirements.

2) Jordan

(a) In Jordan, WFP continued to monitor the Trebil border crossing with Iraq to gather information on overland transport, border crossing movements and communications between Jordan and Iraq. The reception of 3,024 tons of wheat flour was completed. WFP continued to provide bread to third-country nationals (TCN's) living in transit camps. Most of these are Sudanese, with some Palestinians. UNHCR is in discussion with UNRWA regarding the status of the Palestinians.

3) Syria

(a) In Syria, the Government gave permission for WFP to establish offices at the border crossing points of Yaroubyya, Abu Kamal, Al Tanf and Faysh Khabour, in order to coordinate humanitarian transit cargo. Hassakeh Sub Office was reported fully operational on 07 April. The setting up of sub offices in Tartous and Lattakiah was being finalized. Preparations continued on refugee camps at Abu Kamal and Al Tanf border crossing points. El Hol refugee camp remained operational.

4) Iran

(a) The situation along the borders with Iraq was reported as quiet. Tehran is currently in Security Phase II, while western border areas are in Phase III. There have been reports of up to 30,000 Iraqi IDP's in Mehran in Ilam province, near Iran's western border with Iraq, but so far there have been no reports of refugees crossing the border. WFP and other UN agencies have continued pre-positioning relief supplies in preparation for a possible outflow of refugees from Iraq.

(b) WFP continued monitoring all 28 camps under PRRO 10213. The latest quarterly monitoring results indicate a delivery rate of 95 percent of planned deliveries for the year 2002, representing a 22 percent improvement from the previous year.

(c) WFP preparations to move 50,000 tons of foods into Iraq's 18 provinces under the trans border scheme continue. Transporters are being prepared to discharge from ships and 10,000 tons of wheat flour is expected to be bagged by 13 April. WFP is preparing the transportation of 5,000 tons of food to Sulaymaniyah as soon as the border reopens and security clearance is obtained, starting with a test convoy of 200 tons. WFP's main hub (EDP) will be Kermanshah, 550 km west of Tehran. Kermanshah has a 7,000-tons capacity, with a possible additional 20,000 tons as a stand-by arrangement, followed by Orumiyeh with a 7,000 tons capacity and Ahwaz with a 5,000 tons capacity. WFP plans to prepare up to 500 tons of milling with the State Organization for Grains (SOG) in Kermanshah, with the products later to be trucked into Iraq. WFP has identified two additional mills in Ahwaz area, with a total potential capacity of 1000 tons per day, as well as a 12,000 tons capacity wheat flour warehouse. WFP has already pre-positioned 2,800 metric tons of emergency food rations in the western town of Kermanshah, 550 km northwest of Tehran, while further 10,000 tons of wheat flour are being procured locally.

(d) WFP met with the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to further coordinate WFP assistance and trans border operations. The reopening of the Iran-Iraq border for humanitarian purposes remains the most important topic of negotiations with local authorities. Iranian borders have been closed to regular traffic since the war started in Iraq, but humanitarian agencies have been authorized to send aid convoys in soon. Pending the issuance of final clearance from Iranian authorities, WFP's first humanitarian convoy from Iran is expected to cross the border by early next week to carry 200 tons of oil to Suleymaniah in northern Iraq. WFP discussions with key partners, including UNICEF, UNHCR, IRCS and NGO's, about the likely need to establish supplementary feeding and/or therapeutic feeding operations in Iraq continued. Possibilities of fortifying wheat flour were likewise being explored.

5) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation remained volatile, especially in the Southern, Northern, Northeastern and Eastern provinces, where military operations continued in several localities. UN missions to various areas in the north, northwest, east and south remained suspended. In addition, the Kandahar to Rambasi, Kandahar to Chaman and Gardez to Khost roads were closed for UN missions. All UN vehicles between Sayed Abad and Gazni required armed escorts. Several international NGO's have suspended their operations in Kandahar and in the South.

(b) From 03 to 09 April, 436,100 beneficiaries received 2,400 tons of WFP food aid, including 159,858 beneficiaries receiving 1,640 tons of food under the Food for Work/Food for Asset Creation, 106,236 beneficiaries receiving 72 tons of food under the Food for Education, 6,055 beneficiaries receiving 161 tons of food under the Relief and Resettlement of IDP's and Refugees, 139,100 beneficiaries receiving 268 tons of food under the Urban Vulnerable Bakery Projects, 942 beneficiaries receiving 1 ton of food under the Supplementary Feeding and 23,900 beneficiaries receiving 256 tons of food under the Free Food Distribution schemes.

(c) WFP's PRRO for Afghanistan began on 01 April with total requirements of 618,989 tons of food, valued at USD 337.5 million for two years. As of 09 April it had been resourced at only 12 percent. WFP's EMOP would continue until June to facilitate a continued pipeline and smooth transition to the PRRO. In early April several meetings were organised to inform implementing partners on WFP's strategy and its new PRRO.

B) West Africa: (1) Central African Republic

1) Central African Republic

(a) The security situation in the country has changed dramatically with the change of Government and the taking of power by General Bozize in mid March, which eliminated the occurrence of "occupied zones" in the country. Nevertheless, armed elements of the former regime are still in hiding, blocking assessment missions to the most seriously affected areas. The insecurity, which marred the capital during the coup d'etat on 15 and 16 March, has diminished significantly, and the city is beginning to return to normal.

(b) The looting of WFP's warehouses in Bangui on 15 March resulted in the loss of 80.865 tons of food (31 percent of resources) under EMOP 10194 "Food Assistance to IDP's in northern CAR following events of armed banditry in January and March 2002" and 419.061 tons of food (18 percent of resources) under EMOP 10150 "Food Assistance to persons affected by armed conflict in Bangui". The Government has been requested to recover or reimburse lost commodities as per the Letters of Understanding for the two operations. Emergency needs under EMOP 10194 will be assessed as soon as security permits, and needs will be met through another operation, PRRO 10189.0, until lost commodities are recovered or replaced and distributions can be reactivated. Any recovered commodities under EMOP 10150 will be distributed along with remaining project commodities. The limited quantity of remaining commodities will be more selectively targeted. The Government is currently identifying a new warehouse complex in Bangui for future use of WFP projects.

C) Southern Africa: (1) Madagascar, (2) Mozambique, (3) Zimbabwe, (4) Zambia, (5) Malawi, (6) Angola, (7) Namibia, (8) Swaziland

1) Madagascar

(a) During the week, WFP and implementing partners distributed 149 tons of food for Food For Work, post-cyclone/flood recovery activities and 305 tons of food for drought-related Food For Work projects. WFP met with donor representatives and the Minister of Education to discuss the continuing drought and food shortage situation in the south. Discussions centred on the establishment of a larger social protection network and current Food For Work interventions. During a recent workshop on short and longer-term assistance for the south, WFP stressed the need to improve the quality of education in the south. A site visit by WFP and the Minister of Education took place on 03 April followed by a working session to identify concrete and sustainable solutions within the education sector. WFP and stakeholders are discussing the terms of reference for an integrated dry lands management strategy.

2) Mozambique

(a) During the week, WFP distributed 804 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners. A joint WFP and National Disasters Management Institute team visited the Massinga District in Inhambane Province to assess the current food security situation. The localities of Nhachengue, Chicomo and Liuozuane areas, bordering Massinga and Funhalouro Districts, are among the more seriously drought-affected areas in the district. A mission report will be released shortly.

3) Zimbabwe

(a) From 01 to 04 April, WFP distributed 6,039 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners. WFP is currently collecting agricultural zone and crop harvest forecast data from the government's Agricultural Research and Extension Service (Arex). This information along with input from implementing partners, District Drought Relief Committees and WFP Sub-Offices will be used to formulate a significantly scaled-down distribution plan for May and June. This follows a March distribution of some 57,000 tons of food to 4.7 million beneficiaries, and an April distribution plan of 50,000 tons (no pulses or oil) to 4.6 million beneficiaries. The reduced May and June distributions are made possible by the harvesting of the current maize crop.

4) Zambia

(a) During the week, WFP distributed 4,204 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners. WFP and implementing partner Project Concern International formed an Advisory Committee to assist with the implementation of the urban intervention programme. The committee is composed of representatives from UNICEF, the Ministry of Community Affairs, the Zambian Community Schools Secretariat, the Society for Orphan Protection and Empowerment and rotating representatives from other stakeholders. Sensitisation campaigns for the use of bulgur wheat continued in Lundazi and Petauke districts in Eastern Province. In addition to demonstrations and distributions of brochures, airtime has also been purchased on two local radio stations.

5) Malawi

(a) During the week, WFP distributed 5,649 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners. The World Bank Pre-Identification Mission for Health and Nutrition Programmes at Schools is in the country for two weeks. The mission follows an earlier exercise conducted in February and will review issues relating to cost analysis and sustainability of the school programmes. A phase-down of EMOP 10200.0 is underway. Informative leaflets have been developed and handed out at distribution sites in the three main languages. A radio programme "Story Workshop" is extending its collaboration until 30 April to support WFP in delivering messages to beneficiaries regarding ration changes in April to May. WFP will emphasize HIV/AIDS, school feeding and supplementary feeding programmes in the future Regional WFP EMOP.

6) Angola

(a) The movement of demobilized soldiers and their families from Gathering Areas (GA) continues at a rapid pace throughout the country, as the government officially announced the closure of most GA's. Due to a lack of basic facilities at the transit centres, WFP is carrying out food distributions for the people in the GA's prior to resettlement. WFP is also working on a short-term food distribution plan for the transit centres until the government assumes this responsibility.

(b) Spontaneous return of refugees from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo continues with more arrivals registered during the week in the eastern parts of Moxico and Zaire Provinces. According to the government, there have been 130,000 spontaneous returns since the beginning of the year. UNHCR is scheduled to begin a formal repatriation by June targeting 450,000 Angolan refugees. A total of 424 persons arrived from Kilweka and Mpete refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Kiowa Transit Centre in Mbanza Congo, Zaire Province. A WFP mission in Sanza Pombo in Uige Province identified 4,914 people returning to their place of origin in need of food assistance. WFP will provide a two-month (April/May) food distribution to the returnees.

(c) Humanitarian operations in Bengo, Bie, Kwanza Sul and Mavinga Provinces are being hampered by heavy rainfall, which is worsening the already poor conditions of roads and runways. In addition, the presence of landmines continues to restrict freedom of movement in certain areas.

(d) During the week a total of USD 222,419 was received in support of PRRO 10054.1 "Food Assistance to War Affected People".

7) Namibia

(a) The Early Warning and Information System within the Ministry of Agriculture has released preliminary findings for the 2002/2003-crop assessment mission conducted in February 2003. The national coarse grain production is forecasted at 109,300 tons. This production constitutes 81 percent of the normal production realized in 1999/2000 when 135,500 tons was produced. The forecast cereal production together with operating stocks gives a total availability of 168,900 tons for the 2003/04 marketing year, while the national cereal demand is calculated at 276,200 tons, leaving a provisional shortfall of 107,300 tons. A second crop assessment will be conducted in May and estimates revised accordingly.

8) Swaziland

(a) During the week, WFP and implementing partners distributed 324 tons of food to 20,895 people. WFP met with implementing partners to discuss steps to be taken for an extensive beneficiary targeting review. Preliminary estimates are for a beneficiary reduction from the current 265,400 to 152,000. The reduction is based on available information regarding the current harvest and the expected price outlook for the country. The retargeting exercise should be completed by the end of April.

(b) According to WFP assessments, maize crops which were planted for the second time in early January, following the failure of the October-November plantings, have also failed in Mandlangempisi, Dokolwako and Croydon Districts in the dry Middleveld, due to hot dry weather conditions. In other areas of the Middleveld, households are expecting a harvest of less than 50 percent of normal. Some areas in the northern Lowveld have experienced zero harvests.

D) Asia: (1) DPR Korea, (2) Cambodia, (3) Indonesia

1) DPR Korea

(a) Concerns over the occurrence of SARS in China and other parts of East Asia are beginning to affect WFP's activities, including personal travel in and out of the country.

(b) Contributions of 2,000 tons of wheat and cash were recently confirmed. WFP food distributions are currently expected to meet cereal needs of the most vulnerable beneficiary groups into the fourth quarter, provided all shipments arrive as scheduled. From this month local food production activities face shortages in soya beans, needed for the production of enriched blended foods for young children and pregnant and nursing women. Additional contributions of 140,000 tons are soon required to ensure continued implementation of WFP's programme throughout the remainder of the year, including 105,000 tons of cereals, 15,000 tons of pulses, 11,000 tons of corn-soya milk, 4,000 tons of sugar and 3,000 tons of oil.

2) Cambodia

(a) On 11 April, WFP announced the creation of a new supply base for emergency response, located in Cambodia, which will serve WFP and other aid agencies working in humanitarian crises anywhere in Asia. The WFP Asia Regional Response Facility will receive store and dispatch stocks that can be rushed to a humanitarian crisis within hours of its outbreak. The equipment will include items such as pre-fabricated offices, telecommunications and computer equipment, forklifts, generators, light vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, tools, spare parts, and fuel pumps. The warehouse, launched at a signing ceremony between WFP and the Government of Cambodia, is the first in a "four corners network" of shared facilities near the epicenters of likely humanitarian crises. The centres, which are linked electronically, will cover Europe and the Middle East, Southern Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Cambodia facility is modelled on what is currently WFP's only rapid response facility, the WFP warehouse in Brindisi, Italy. While WFP will manage and initially stock the Cambodia warehouse, it is expected that other UN agencies and NGO's will take advantage of the services provided by this facility.

3) Indonesia

(a) The security situation in Aceh continues to deteriorate with signs of increased violence and threats to the peace agreement signed in December 2002. During March, demonstrators continued to attack the JSC (Joint Security Committee) office in Central Aceh, where 3 cars were burnt. A shooting incident was reported 15 km south of Aceh Tengah district town, in which 12 cars and 4 bikes were destroyed and two people were burnt in a vehicle. An earthquake, which measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, hit Kuningan in West Java, damaging or destroying around 100 houses. The local government provided relief assistance. Many areas in Java and Sumatra were flooded, with Palembang in South Sumatra being the worst affected area. In NTT, food security continued to be of concern due to the impact of drought. Fire in a slum in Jakarta affected approximately 1,000 families, whom WFP assisted through soup kitchens.

(b) During March, WFP distributed 5,773 tons of food to 1.45 million beneficiaries, mostly women and children, under its Subsidized Rice for Urban Poor (OPSM), Nutrition Programme (NP), and Internally Displaced Person (IDP's) programmes. WFP and OCHA visited Papua in order to assess the food security situation and carry out contingency planning. The mission met local government officials and staff member of NGO's. No significant food insecurity was observed in the area.

(c) WFP's El Niño assessment indicated that El Niño conditions are weakening and that near-normal conditions are forecast for May-October, but possibilities remain of la Niña developments later this year. El Niño's impact hitherto has led to lower-than-normal yields being forecast across the country.

E) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) Ecuador, (4) Honduras, (5) Venezuela

1) Bolivia

(a) According to the latest information provided by the National Civil Defence Service 21 people died, 194 families lost their homes, 53 children were orphaned, and 43 persons remain missing after the landslide in Chima on 31 March. More than 100 homeless people have been transferred from the makeshift shelter in a school to a camp, in order to allow for school activities to recommence. Both the Government and the international community continue to provide aid to the victims. WFP is sending additional shipments of food and non-food items to Chima to support relief operations, and a second WFP mission is now in Chima to supervise food distribution and assess future needs.

2) Colombia

(a) 900 people, mostly women and children, have been displaced from the municipalities of Tibu and Surata in the Norte de Santander Department. WFP has been asked to provide food for the children of Tibu. WFP continues to work with returnees from the municipalities of Bojaya and Vigia de Fuerte. Food deliveries are expected to reach 550 families during the next two weeks.

3) Ecuador

(a) WFP is organizing/monitoring a food distribution to Colombian refugees in Sucumbios.

4) Honduras

(a) WFP completed the first phase of the base line study of the Nutritional Feeding Surveillance System in conjunction with the Health Ministry, Pan American Health Organization/WHO, UNICEF, and INCAP. The objective is to create a Nutritional Surveillance System in areas affected by natural disasters, in particular drought.

(b) Heavy rains over the last two weeks damaged 220 blocks of coffee and plantain plantations in the department of El Paraiso, forcing some 65 families in the most affected areas to evacuate their homes.

(c) Distribution of de-worming tablets through school-feeding activities has begun in the Departments of Valle to 25,000 children and in Santa Barbara to 50,000 children.

5) Venezuela

(a) WFP is monitoring the ongoing situation in Venezuela and some 200 persons, including more than 90 children, have fled the remote Rio de Oro area of northwestern Venezuela due to armed clashes between Colombian guerillas and paramilitaries in the border zone with Venezuela. UNHCR has also received reports of some 600 persons, including indigenous Bari people, fleeing into the mountainous region near Rio de Oro. UNHCR has requested the Venezuelan government to provide the necessary security guarantees to allow humanitarian staff to undertake an assessment mission to the area as soon as possible.

F) Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: (1) Armenia, (2) Albania, (3) Serbia and Montenegro

1) Armenia

(a) The incumbent President was re-elected for a second term in a runoff on 05 March. Both election rounds were marred with numerous irregularities. Mass rallies and marches by thousands of protesters in support of the defeated opposition candidate were daily events in the centre of Yerevan throughout March. Supporters from the regions arrived in buses to participate. The Council of Europe expressed a negative opinion on the presidential elections. The Employment Centre reported that 127,979 people out of 155,607 seeking jobs countrywide, were registered as unemployed, amounting to 82 percent. Almost 67 percent of all unemployed people were women.

(b) The winter frost, the harshest in decades, with temperatures falling to 30 degrees below zero, has reportedly caused significant damage to crops across the country. FAO is carrying out a preliminary needs assessment in the affected areas to formulate profiles for assistance, in close consultation with WFP.

(c) During March, WFP distributed 1,368 tons of food at 132 destinations, including 901 tons of food to 29,952 beneficiaries identified by the Government's vulnerability index in Yerevan and the country's four most vulnerable provinces. WFP also distributed 352 tons of food to 3,198 participants under its Food-for-training (FFT) sessions in 72 communities and 115 tons of food to 956 participants involved in food-for-work (FFW) projects, which included hospital, school and kindergarten repair works. The school-feeding programme continued for 10,599 children with combined inputs from the Government, UNHCR, World Vision and the benefiting communities.

(d) WFP's relief and recovery operation in Armenia is currently 38.79 percent funded. Closing stocks as at end of March were at 812 tons. New donations of 1,108 tons of wheat flour and 498 tons of vegetable oil are scheduled to arrive at the end of April. The pipeline break will continue until their arrival. Projected food shortfalls until September amount to 8,093 tons, including 7.031 tons of wheat flour 572 tons of pulses and 489 tons of vegetable oil.

2) Albania

(a) The political situation remained stable but potentially volatile. The main opposition party and its alliance arranged demonstrations in protest against increased prices and alleged inefficiency of the ruling party. Elections for local government councils are scheduled for October 2003. Albania has opened negotiations with the European Union for the Stabilization Association Process, but the annual report of European Commission stressed that corruption and organised crime continued to represent a serious threat for stability and development in the country. During a meeting of the National Security Committee, the President of Albania asked all concerned institutions to fight against organised crime and promote institutional reforms and an anti-terrorism campaign. The cities of Tirana, Durres, Kravaja and Kruja remained under Security Phase I, while the rest of the country remained under Security Phase III.

(b) In March, WFP's operational activities under PRRO 10165.0 "Assistance to Vulnerable Groups in the Construction Of Community Assets" included Communal Forestry and Pasture Management, Social Sector Assistance and Community Asset Building through Food-For-Work activities, including reconstruction of roads, de-silting of irrigation channels, installation of electric lines and poles and installation of water pipelines. WFP distributed 587 tons of wheat flour, vegetable oil and salt to 3,768 beneficiaries under the Communal Forestry and Pasture Management scheme, 1,510 beneficiaries under the Social Sector Assistance scheme and 2,036 workers under the Food-For-Work schemes. Complementary cash from the World Bank loan to the Communal Forestry and Pasture Management scheme has been minimal. The Forests and Pastures Department (DGFP) has requested WFP to support additional communes with food assistance. WFP is currently reviewing the request, together with the resource situation. During March, WFP and implementing partners organized training activities on nutrition and health care education, social awareness, legal aspects and counselling.

(c) The current pipeline situation covers food requirements until June. A break in the pipeline is anticipated after that date if new resources are not allocated. PRRO 10165.0 faces an overall shortfall of USD 4.69 million and urgent additional resources are required.

3) Serbia and Montenegro

(a) On 03 April, Serbia and Montenegro became the 45th member of the Council of Europe. A State of Emergency was introduced in Serbia on 12 March following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Mr. Zoran Zivkovic was appointed new Prime Minister. As of 31 March, 1984 individuals had been detained in relation to the assassination and in an attempt more generally to curb the problem of organised crime, partly a legacy of the Milosevic era. UN Security Phase I was introduced following the declaration of a State of Emergency, which is expected to last until Orthodox Easter on 27 April.

(b) Cereal production statistics for Serbia were not available as of late March. However, the first estimates indicate that this year's food production will be lower than normal. It is also estimated that the wheat reserves of the Government have gone down to around 80,000 tons from the usual levels of 200,000-300,000 tons. Consequently, the wheat flour price has increased significantly and wheat is being imported from Russia to stabilize prices on the local market.

(c) Following the recommendations of the WFP/UNHCR Joint Assessment Mission 2003 for a more stringent targeting of beneficiaries, WFP has reduced the number of planned beneficiaries from 119,264 in March to 109,469 in April. Further reductions are planned throughout the year. In preparation of WFP's planned closure of activities next year, WFP is preparing a capacity building programme for local Red Cross staff, who are currently responsible for all WFP food distributions. Training will take place from April to June.

(d) January and February distribution statistics indicated that 93 percent of planned wheat flour, pulses and vegetable oil was distributed, while only 39 percent of planned sugar was distributed due to the gap in the pipeline for sugar in January. A pipeline gap in PRRO 10116.00 for wheat flour is anticipated in September. Recent cash contributions have been used for international purchase of sugar and local purchase of wheat flour.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 15).