This report includes:
(A) Middle East Region: (1) Palestinian Territories
(B) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea
(C) Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe, (3) Malawi, (4) Lesotho
(D) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan, (3) Iran
(E) East Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Djibouti, (3) Somalia, (4) Tanzania, (5) Rwanda
(F) Central Africa Region: (1) Republic of Congo, (2) Democratic Republic of Congo
(G) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Ecuador, (3) El Salvador, (4) Guatemala, (5) Peru
(H) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Northern Caucasus, (2) Balkans
From Francesco Strippoli, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs; available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Zlatan.Milisic@wfp.org.
For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org, telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
A) Middle East Region: (1) Palestinian Territories
1) Palestinian Territories
(a) The intensification of the crisis in the Palestinian Territory since 29 march and the military incursions and siege of towns particularly in the West Bank have resulted in a serious humanitarian crisis among the Palestinian civilian population. Severe damage to the infrastructure, including water, electricity and road networks combined with imposed curfews have brought to a halt all economic activities and caused a rapid deterioration of living conditions. For the past three weeks, people 's access to food and basic necessities has been severely curtailed. Humanitarian relief workers are only able to reach and assess the affected population on limited and sporadic basis, as the security situation and restrictive security procedures by the Israeli authorities allows.
(b) Of particular concern are some 370,000 vulnerable people already targeted by WFP assistance prior the current escalation. Ongoing WFP activities have been significantly restricted. While new contributions have been confirmed, in-country stocks have been depleted and contracted local purchases of some 2,300 tons of wheat flour could not be delivered due to the closure or restricted operation of the mills in both the West Bank and Gaza, making it necessary to seek alternative suppliers within Israel to meet the immediate programme needs. In Gaza, the restrictions on operating hours of the only functioning mill in Khan Younis and its occupation by IDF forces is affecting bread supply in the strip and preventing the mill from fulfilling WFP contracts intended for relief distribution.
(c) As an immediate response to the affected populations in the West Bank, WFP resorted to alternative purchases of food from Jerusalem. As of 18 April, 46 tons of food have been delivered as part of UNRWA convoys into the West Bank and distributed to hospitals and social institutions in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus. WFP is continuing this week with local purchases of an additional 180 tons of food to cover the needs of 15,000 beneficiaries in hospitals and institutions in the remaining West Bank governorates for one month. The first convoy to Jenin is scheduled for 19 April. Meanwhile, a consignment of 40 tons of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) drawn from WFP stock in Brindisi, Italy was airlifted on 18 April. The HEB will be distributed as supplementary food to hospitals and social institutions and for specific vulnerable and displaced populations.
(d) In Jerusalem, WFP has been requested to act as the lead agency for the coordination of humanitarian food assistance. A food crisis group chaired by WFP has been established to enable cooperation between the operational partners. OCHA and UNDP have seconded staff to WFP to assist in the work of the secretariat.
(e) WFP is also preparing a new emergency operation to cover the increased needs in Gaza and the West Bank arising from the current situation, covering the period May/December 2002. In addition, WFP is launching a Special Operation to enhance logistic capacity in storage and transport. This funding is required in order to deliver relief to the affected areas and populations within the context of the current crisis and restricted movement.
B) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea
1) DPR Korea
(a) The EMOP pipeline continues to be precarious. On 12 April, WFP stressed that additional contributions were needed immediately in order to avert a major food crisis in DPRK.
(b) As the cereals pipeline will break completely by July, measures are about to be taken to start excluding some beneficiary groups in order to stretch the food for the most vulnerable groups further into the third quarter of the year. The sugar pipeline has already broken and is impacting the WFP/UNICEF Local Food Production activities throughout the country.
(c) Pulses and vegetable oil will break in April and May, respectively, pending arrival of these commodities. Additional pledges of cereals and sugar, in particular, are urgently needed to ensure continued food assistance to all targeted beneficiaries.
C) Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe, (3) Malawi, (4) Lesotho
1) Regional overview
(a) The situation with regard to food shortages in many Southern Africa countries is far worse than initially anticipated. Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland are all suffering from severe food shortages.
(b) Projections for cereal production in the region have recently been revised downwards due to poor weather and other factors. Below average to poor crop production is expected not only in the traditionally vulnerable countries but also in the "critical countries" that would typically provide surplus to the region, for example South Africa. Due to drought, SADC currently estimates that South Africa production will be below average having a critical effect on supply in the region and limiting the possibility of regional purchases.
(c) While waiting for results from current and planned joint multi-sectoral needs assessments that will allow for a longer-term planning, WFP's strategy is to keep current assistance to the concerned countries going, either through budget revisions to existing emergency operations or through new "bridging" operations until July. It is expected that a regional strategy and response will be developed no later than mid-June.
(d) A cluster meeting with all WFP's Country Directors in Southern Africa will take place in Johannesburg on 24-26 April, in order to prepare WFP operational plans and define a regional logistics strategy. Joint FAO/WFP assessment missions will be carried out in the coming weeks, in parallel with assessments focusing on other needs such as nutrition, water etc. An interagency meeting is scheduled to be held in the region in late May, to discuss findings from the assessments and agree on the longer-term response to the crisis, which will be developed by latest mid-June.
(a) FEWSNET reports that food security in all districts has reached critical levels, except for those districts in the central, eastern and north of the country that will manage to harvest something. Most households have run out of stocks from last year. The number of people in need of food aid is likely to be significantly higher than earlier estimated.
(b) As of 12 April, distributions were completed in 7 districts, reaching over 109,400 beneficiaries. WFP's initial interventions are targeted at 558,000 people in rural areas where food insecurity was initially assessed to be most serious. Assessments have also recently been carried out in urban areas and key donors are meeting to seek consensus on the design and modalities of an urban food aid programme for Zimbabwe.
(a) WFP is currently implementing an emergency operation in 19 districts. The distribution of the first 3,010 tons is almost complete. Food distribution centre reports indicate that the beneficiary population turnover is much higher than planned. WFP is currently preparing an Emergency Operation Budget revision for the months of May through July while waiting for the results of the joint multi-sectoral needs assessment that will run parallel to the WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply assessment, and which will determine the scope and nature of longer-term assistance.
(b) World Vision International has observed an alarming decrease in the school enrolment figures within its areas of intervention and has made appeals for WFP to consider an emergency school feeding initiative. The price of maize has remained high even during the harvest period, reflecting an acute shortage of food. The consumption of green maize has also negatively impacted the harvest. This abnormality has had an impact in terms of household accessibility to food, especially in areas that have experienced poor crop performance.
(a) From 13 to 19 April, WFP completed the dispatch of 325 tons of maize meal for the disaster mitigation and relief food distribution (under its Country Programme) to the extended delivery points. Food distribution restarted in three out of five districts. There is a complete pipeline break for pulses and oil in Lesotho. Food distribution under the disaster mitigation activity was planned for a duration of four months to cover the most critical period prior to the harvest in late April /Early May. The distributions will be completed in the first week of May.
(b) The WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply assessment mission will take place on 25 April - 4 May. UNICEF and UNDP will join the mission to look at other humanitarian aspects of the situation.
D) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan, (3) Iran
(a) WFP Afghanistan's overall cash and commodity resources remain far below the immediate requirements. The new nine-month programme (April - December 2002) has an overall cost of USD 285 million but requires immediate funding of USD 107.9 million to avoid a major food shortfall in June. Despite renewed appeals for donor support, few additional contributions have been confirmed. As of 18 April, WFP received pledges for 217,938 tons of food, far less than total 544,000 tons required to sustain operations.
(b) A preliminary assessment was undertaken this week in Chal, Takhar province (Northern Region), which until recently had been inaccessible to aid workers for a number of years. Substantial depletion of livestock and other asset bases was reported in the two villages visited. Employment opportunities being limited, most people plan to move to Kunduz and Takhar.
(c) The escalation of inter-factional fighting, vehicle hijackings and demonstrations against the poppy eradication initiative continue to cause security concerns in the Southern region, in particular in Helmand, Nimruz and Farah Provinces. UN agencies relocated staff from Zaranj in Nimruz province to Kandahar. WFP suspended monitoring activity in the Nimruz and Farah provinces as well as in neighbouring areas until security improves.
(d) Voluntary repatriations of refugees from Pakistan to the southern part of Afghanistan continue. An additional 300 tons of WFP food has been dispatched to meet the needs of the returnees. UNHCR distributed 150 tons of wheat from 19 March to 13 April to 12,200 returnees in Kandahar City.
(e) On 10 April, WFP distributed over 1,900 tons of wheat to 32,500 displaced families at Maslakh camp (Western Region). This was the final distribution as most families are expected to return to their villages. As of 14 April, IOM reported the return of over 20,800 IDPs to their places of origin and forecasted the return of an additional 800 families. WFP will provide them food assistance.
(f) The security situation in Jalalabad (Eastern Region) returned to normal this week and the Jalalabad-Torkham road was reopened to traffic. However, Khogiani, Shinwar, Achin and Nuristan areas, experiencing continued tension between authorities and poppy growers are still inaccessible for UN staff. Several planned food distributions, monitoring and assessment missions to these areas were suspended.
(g) This week, WFP in collaboration with its partners distributed 500 tons of food through FOODAC, FFW and Supplementary Feeding programmes in the Eastern Region. WFP plans to support 72,250 primary school children in Metherlam (Laghman Province) and is currently assessing other Food for Education (FFE) projects in the rural areas. Within Jalalabad city, bread distributions to 11,200 school children continue. The programme resulted in a notable increase in student enrolment.
(h) UNHCR reports that 8,500 families arrived in Jalalabad through Torkham border during the first half of April. UNHCR distributed 1,200 tons of wheat. In Heshershahi camp, UNHCR provides 4,000 IDP families returning to Nangarhar a package of cash and transportation.
(i) Following a recent Rapid Emergency Food Need Assessment in the Central Nuristan province (Eastern Region), food assistance was recommended for over 103,700 vulnerable people in Want, Vama, Mandol and Doab districts. In central Noristan, 17,300 vulnerable families require immediate food assistance for the next three months.
(j) UNHCR and IOM have thus far registered 31,600 IDP families in the Bamyan area. 14,000 displaced families have received WFP food as well as 2,500 Hazara families. UNHCR reported the return of 195,000 persons from Pakistan under the Facilitated Refugee Return programme. Registered refugees under this programme are issued a 3-month WFP wheat supply.
(a) Relocation from urban centres to Asgharo, Barkali and Bassu camps in Bajaur and Kurram Agencies (Peshawar area) continued, with 1,400 people transferred during the week. They received HEB and food rations from WFP. The total camp population during the week increased up to 128,350 people. WFP expects to face a shortage of wheat by May.
(b) Relocation of people from the urban areas and from the staging camp at Chaman border (Balochistan area) within Pakistan has stopped. As a result, the caseload in the camp remained stable for past several weeks. UNHCR is focussing on repatriation. Between 19 March to 14 April, 8,800 individuals were reportedly repatriated from Balochistan to Afghanistan.
(c) Mercy Corps completed its last cycle of food distribution in Chaman, where 8,500 families are waiting to be registered by the local authority. Plan International has shown interest in taking over the distribution of food and non-food items in Chaman from May. A second round food distribution to Chaman's waiting area population is under preparation. MSF curtailed its Supplementary Feeding programme in Chaman after the nutrition survey revealed an improvement in nutritional status.
(a) The repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan continues through the border exit points of Dogharoun and Milak. UNHCR reported that about 6,000 persons were registered for repatriation to Afghanistan between 11 and 17 April, out of which 3,700 have already left Iran. WFP plans to deliver three months buffer stocks to UNHCR to ensure timely food supply to the repatriated refugees. In addition, WFP is currently monitoring the distribution of over 900 tons of food to about 72,800 Afghan and Iraqi refugees.
(b) UNHCR reported that 15,150 Afghan refugees repatriated spontaneously during the month of February through Khorasan and Sistan Baluchestan provinces, bringing the total number of returnees since early 2002 to approximately 34,800.
(c) WFP still requires over 5,200 tons of food to cover its needs up to end of this year under the PRRO 6126. This includes 3,900 tons of wheat flour. No sugar has been distributed in most of the camps since February.
E) East Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Djibouti, (3) Somalia, (4) Tanzania, (5) Rwanda
(a) The main season "gu" rains have fallen in all parts of Somali Region. Torrential rain fell in Warder zone, leaving many people homeless and causing livestock deaths in this zone. However, the overall picture is very positive for crop and livestock production and food security is likely to improve from July in this region. Areas of previous special concern in southern Afder and Liben also report good rain. Preparation for planting "opportunistic" sorghum crops (only possible some years) is underway in rainfed areas, and livestock in most zones is reported to be in good condition. The Wabe Shebelle river has risen significantly, and flooding is expected in areas that depend on flood recession agriculture (Kelafo, Mustahil, East Imi). The rains began in some areas of the region in mid to late March (Jijiga, Fik, Degehbour, Korahe, northern Afder and Liben zones), and elsewhere mid-April (Gode and Warder zones). WFP food has been distributed in most parts of Somali region since February. Transport for May distributions could experience temporary disruptions caused by the flooding.
(b) Floods have also affected parts of Afar region, especially the Dubti district, where the Awash river burst through a dyke. WFP monitors confirm that 4,000 people have been made homeless by the floods. There are also reports of cattle killed by the floods and cropland destroyed. WFP relief food was distributed to flood victims, along with shelter materials by the government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC). In Oromiya, floodwaters in Meta and Deder districts submerged villages and swept 22 people to their deaths. In Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, WFP monitors are investigating flood damage reports from Konso district and hailstorm damage to crops in Hadiya zone.
(c) Elsewhere, the minor rainfall season ("belg" rains) is proceeding well and was, in general, favourable for completing land preparation and/or starting planting. Belg crop producing areas that received below-average rainfall in March are South Tigray, the southern parts of North Shewa (Amhara region), and lowland areas of Arsi, East/ West Harerge and Bale zones (Oromiya region). Recent rain has alleviated earlier serious water shortages in Babile, Grawa and Fedis woredas in East Harerge zone.
(d) There have been breaks in distributions for some districts during the first three months of the year for the emergency operation for small-scale farmers and drought-affected pastoralists. Relief food distributions are increasing in line with expected requirements; the target population for March was 3.9 million and for April is 4.8 million. For April and May, monthly cereal food aid requirements are 60,000 tons; the food available is expected to be 45,000 tons for April, and 60,000 tons for May. The outstanding cereal requirements for 2002 are around 150,000 tons (aggregate needs for WFP, DPPC and NGOs).
(e) The findings of the international Boundary Commission on demarcation of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border were announced on 13 April. WFP offices in Tigray took appropriate security precautions but the announcement passed without incident. However, the translation of the findings to demarcation on the ground will take some time, and therefore, it is too early to ascertain its possible impact on WFP operations.
(a) WFP expects to face a break in the food pipeline under the PRRO 10134 at the end of April. This could negatively impact the supply of the nine-month food package to the Somalis refugees expected to voluntarily return to Awdal region, in Somaliland. For the repatriation exercise planned in early May, WFP needs to urgently mobilize 2,300 tons of food to support about 15,000. UNHCR planning figure for the volunteer repatriation is set at 2,000 persons per month.
(b) Under the new PRRO 10134, WFP has distributed about 450 tons of food to over 25,600 Somalia and Ethiopians refugees in the camps of Holl-Holl and Ali-Addeh. In addition, over 1,000 tons of food have been pre-positioned in EDPs for the monthly general distribution under EMOP 10099 to cover the April's monthly requirement for 95,900 drought-affected people. Given the low level of food stocks in the country, WFP was forced to reduce by half the rations of pulses for the month of April. In addition, no CSB and vegetable oil will be supplied through the general distribution.
(c) Transportation of food to the northern districts (Tadjoura and Obock) is still very problematic due the bad roads conditions. The presence of landmines is also a concern to humanitarian workers.
(a) In response to findings of the Somalia Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) and WFP rapid assessment in Bari and Sanag, WFP distributed approximately 390 tons of food at the end of March - early April reaching an estimated 37,000 beneficiaries in the northeast region. WFP is closely monitoring the situation to determine the need for further relief intervention.
(b) Other areas in the north, such as the region bordering Sanag, the Sool Plateau, are also reported to face severe food insecurity as a result of a long dry season. FSAU has reported acute water shortages and pasture depletion, resulting in significant losses of livestock in the Plateau. WFP is currently assessing the situation. In addition, food shortages have been reported in the northwest, particularly in Zeila and Lughaya districts. WFP is assessing the situation to establish the type of intervention required.
(c) Relief food aid remains the main source of food in the Gedo region, particularly in the northern districts. WFP is continuing relief food aid interventions despite deteriorating security conditions. During the first week of April, WFP completed the fourth successive distribution of 645 tons of food to about 60,000 people in Garbaharey and Burdhubo districts.
(d) Food distributions by WFP and CARE have contributed to improving the critical food insecurity and related high malnutrition rates since December 2001. However, this is dependent on continued relief interventions from other sectors. Aid agencies working in Somalia have been continuously reviewing the humanitarian situation in Gedo with a view to having a coordinated approach. WFP also continues to support FFW activities, social projects and TB programmes in various parts of the country.
(a) From 25 March to 7 April, WFP distributed almost 3,600 tons of food (corresponding to a two-week ration) to over 515,000 refugees in Kigoma, Kibondo, Kasulu and Ngara districts. Due to insufficient food stocks, WFP reduced by 40 percent the quantity of CSB and salt in the ration provided to the refugees under the general distribution. In addition, WFP supported various SFCs, providing over 60 tons of food to approximately 21,000 malnourished persons. UMATI and International Rescue Committee conducted a quick nutritional screening among 16,000 under five children to assess the nutritional status in Kibondo camps. The results indicate a stable nutrition situation.
(b) During the same period, 90 refugees were assisted in returning to their communities in Rwanda, bringing the total number of Rwandese assisted in returning home since early 2002 to 990. At the same time, about 900 refugees arrived in Tanzania from Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda, far more than the figures for the previous month.
(c) Facilitated voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees from Ngara camps resumed on 28 March. Approximately 900 refugees were repatriated to Muyinga, Kirundo, Cankuzo and Ngozi Provinces from 28 March to 5 April. An additional 51,800 refugees have been registered in Ngara, Kibondo and Kasulu camps for voluntary repatriation from 25 March to 7 April.
(a) UNHCR, WFP and NGO partners finalised a contingency plan for the repatriation of about 15,000 Rwandans from Tanzania within two months. Over 25,000 Rwandan refugees are estimated to be the Ngara area. WFP has sufficient food stocks to assist the expected 15,000 returnees.
(b) During March, WFP distributed over 2,100 tons of food to 120,100 vulnerable people under various programmes. Beneficiaries included mainly farmers assisted under FFW projects, refugees and returnees. WFP still requires over 2,300 tons of food to cover its needs under the PRRO 10062.0 up to the end of the year.
(c) During March, 1,500 Rwandan returnees coming from DR Congo and Tanzania were registered by UNHCR. This brings the total number of people who returned from neighbouring countries since the beginning of this year to 3,200. All the returnees received a 3-month food ration before departing to their districts of origin.
(d) WFP distributed 115 tons of food to about 7,200 displaced Congolese during the month of March. The beneficiaries were displaced from their homes in and around Goma when Mount Nyiragongo, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, erupted in January.
F) Central Africa Region: (1) Republic of Congo, (2) Democratic Republic of Congo
1) Republic of Congo
(a) In late March, an estimated 15,000 people fled Kimba and Kindamba areas (northern Pool region) towards Boko and Brazzaville, following some Ninja militias attacks on army positions. On 9 April, following altercations between Ninjas and army forces in the southern neighbourhoods of Brazzaville, about 80,000 people have left Makelekele and Bacongo towards other areas of the city. Numerous incidents of looting have been reported.
(b) On 14 April, fighting between the Government forces and the opposition militia was still ongoing in Pool region (surrounding Brazzaville). However, as of 15 April, the situation in the southern areas of Brazzaville had returned to normal and the majority of the population had regained their homes.
(c) Humanitarian organizations have not been able to reach and assist most of the affected population due to insecurity. Therefore, the number of displaced persons within the Pool region has not yet been determined. A UN mission (composed of WFP, WHO, UNDP, UNFPA, FAO) was expected to go to Djambala, Plateaux region on 19 April to assess the needs of IDPs who fled from Kimba and Kindamba.
(d) WFP operations have been negatively impacted by the deterioration of the security situation. On 2 April, the train linking Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville was caught in crossfire and the railway traffic was suspended. As a result, no food transfer from Pointe-noire will be possible in the near future. The school feeding programme mainly in the Pool and Plateaux regions and in the southern part of Brazzaville as well as all the other WFP programmes in the affected areas have been suspended. This situation has also led to a shortage in gas, and the price of locally produced food items has increased.
(e) During the month of March, WFP distributed over 480 tons of food to 21,400 vulnerable people under various programmes in Brazzaville, Pool and Kouilou regions. FFW projects as well as general food distributions and assistance to HIV/AIDS affected households have been the largest WFP programmes in March.
2) Democratic Republic of Congo
(a) As of 14 April, WFP distributed almost 6,000 tons of food to 448,400 vulnerable people since the beginning of the Goma Emergency Operation, which is expected to end on 26 April. With the exception of the BP5, all the remaining stocks are borrowings from other WFP projects. Insufficient food stocks are very likely to hamper general food distribution to beneficiaries located in the suburbs of Goma. All general distributions carried out between 8 and 14 April consisted of cereals only. More importantly, no general food distribution will take place this month for the 32,200-targeted people located out of the town of Goma. WFP urgently needs donor contributions.
(b) In Gisenyi, 5,6