From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Adviser; 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) Great Lakes Region: (1) Regional Operation, (2) DR Congo, (3) Burundi
(1) Regional Operation
(a) WFP repeated on 17 April its appeal for USD 95 million to continue feeding hundreds of thousands of refugees, displaced persons and drought-affected people in the Great Lakes Region. The Regional PRRO (protracted relief and recovery operation), which covers some WFP activities in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, has been facing serious resourcing shortfalls since mid-2000 and this is affecting all countries. Anticipating the continued needs, WFP has already approved an 18-month extension to the current operation, which expires in July. The extension will run from August 2001 to January 2003, and requires 298,000 tons of food, at a value of USD 167 million. So far, there have been no donations made to that operation.
(b) WFP will soon face a break in food supplies - and subsequent widespread hunger - if more donations are not forthcoming immediately. On top of being under-funded by 111,800 tons of food, WFP has been forced to nearly double the number of people it feeds, mainly because of severe drought in Burundi. For the next few months, the agency will need to feed 2.1 million people in the Great Lakes Region, as opposed to a monthly average of 1.2 million.
(c) Over the past several years, insecurity in Burundi and the eastern parts of DR Congo has driven hundreds of thousands of people across the border into Tanzania where WFP provides assistance to more than half a million refugees. Because of a lack of resources, however, refugees are only receiving 80 percent of their required food rations.
(d) The needs in Burundi form a large part of WFP's regional operation. An estimated 380,000 Burundians are displaced inside their own country, with little or no access to farm land. WFP plans to assist 1.3 million people who have seen their lives disrupted because of war, drought and disease. Some regions of Burundi are experiencing their third consecutive year of drought. Recently, a severe malaria epidemic has contributed to a dangerous deterioration in nutritional levels. In response, WFP has more than doubled its support to nutritional centres, where over 100,000 malnourished people, many of them children, are being fed. WFP's relief operation has overcome pervasive obstacles in delivering food to remote and highly insecure areas in the country.
(e) Hunger persists in other parts of the region as well. In Uganda, 25,000 refugees living in settlements rely on WFP food assistance for survival. The allocation of land to the refugees - a policy promoted by the Government of Uganda - is helping refugees attain a degree of self-reliance.
(f) In Rwanda, nearly 30,000 Congolese and Burundian refugees depend on WFP food rations. Serious breaks in the supply of maize, beans and corn-soya-blend are looming in the immediate future. Recent shortages have forced WFP to suspend food-for-work activities.
(2) Democratic Republic (DR) of the Congo
(a) Six people working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were killed in the north-east province of Ituri, about 30 kilometres north of Bunia near the Ugandan border. ICRC had only just begun working there again. The region is under the loose control of rebels from the Congolese Liberation Front and has been the site of violent clashes between the Lendus and Hemas tribes.
(b) Humanitarian activities were suspended on the axis Bukavu-Bunyakiri following the deterioration of security situation. Two WFP implementing partners (Save the Children and International Rescue Committee) were recently ambushed. The Security Officer and Humanitarian Coordinator in the East have started negotiations with the relevant authorities.
(c) WFP's recent mission to Northern Katanga was informed of frequent attacks against civilians. Local population appears to look forward to a rapid deployment of MONUC forces.
(d) Shabunda became recently accessible. This created a major challenge for the humanitarian community. The UN Coordination Team agreed to release USD 50,000 for the transportation of relief assistance to Shabunda and Lulingu, including 266 tons of WFP food.
(e) Persistent confrontations between armed groups resulted in new displacements of people from Masisi and Walikale towards Lubero. An average of 3,000 people have been arriving to Goma on a weekly basis. A total of 100,000 IDPs were recently registered in Goma.
(f) Security situation in Gemena, Bwamanda and environs in Northern Equateur was reported to be relatively calm. Forces controlling the area reiterated their support to the initiative of humanitarian agencies to expand their operations. According to an FAO reports, the local population is facing hardships due to curtailed economic activity and cannot afford medical care and education services. The war has brought food shortages and sparked off an increase in malnutrition rates.
(g) The deployment in Kisangani of 120 Moroccan troops under the Mission des Observateurs des Nations Unies en RDC (MONUC) was finally authorised following intensive negotiations.
(h) More than 378,000 IDPs were identified in the Province of South Kivu and many more are likely to be hiding in the forest. Most of them are reported to be malnourished and in lack of clothes. WFP has been assisting 63,756 malnourished persons in south Kivu and Northern Katanga. This caseload would increase, if access to vulnerable population was granted. Inaccessibility to primary health care and lack of agricultural inputs were identified as the major hindering factors.
(i) Following a recent assessment mission in Northern Katanga, WFP drew attention to the very precarious situation in town of Kiambi. In regard to alarming mortality rates, WFP urges for rapid inter-agency action in Kiambi and parts of Northern Katanga (Kalemie, Moba, Nyunzi and Manono). WFP also recommended immediate start of nutritional programmes targeting the malnourished, as well as FFW activities in rural areas. WFP is considering the establishment of a logistics base in Kalemie, the positioning of at least 500 tons of food and reopening of the delivery corridor Dar-Es-Salaam-Kigoma-Kalemie.
(j) Since the beginning of April, WFP has distributed 227 tons of food to 70,143 beneficiaries in Bukavu and South Kivu area despite bad road conditions and security concerns. Beneficiaries received half rations to limit their dependency on food aid and encourage development of coping mechanisms. At the same time, current food stocks in Bukavu are low and a shortfall of about 1,000 tons is expected against the monthly requirements.
(k) In Bukavu and South Kivu, WFP has been working in partnership with Pain pour Les Déshérités (PLD). The micro-credit project was reported to be successful with a reimbursement rate of 100 percent. Home monitoring revealed that WFP assistance enabled beneficiary women to have increased access to food, medical care and education for their children.
(l) WFP has distributed a total of 209 tons of food through nutritional projects in Goma and North Kivu. In addition to clinics and street children institutions, WFP continued to assist 5,957 malnourished children through 9 nutritional centres. The assistance was also extended to 2,252 families of malnourished children in Kayna, Butembo, Katwa and Mutwanga.
(m) WFP and UNHCR plan a Joint Food Assessment Mission for refugees in the provinces bordering Angola. Last mission was in October 1999. WFP project for assistance to Angolan refugees was due to end on 30 April but will probably be extended. The total caseload of accessible beneficiaries is 66,000 persons. The registration of new arrivals is on-going, following the intensification of hostilities in Angola.
(n) In an effort to launch the new programme, WFP carried out a three-day workshop for the upcoming implementation of the PRRO. The workshop was attended by all WFP implementing partners as well as government, Donors and UN Agencies. Information on WFP policies was disseminated to participants.
(a) The security situation remained volatile in many provinces of the country. Severe confrontations were reported in Ruyigi, Gitega, Mwaro, Bururi, Bujumbura Rural and Muramvya provinces. More than 80 people were reported killed and nearly 45,000 persons displaced. Many incursions were reported in Cankuzo and Ruyigi provinces bordering with Tanzania. Many national roads giving access to the interior were temporarily closed to UN missions, due to security reasons. WFP had to cancel its distributions and assessment missions in the country due to worsening security situation. A special commission has been established to investigate the mutiny and attempted Coup d'Etat. The attempted coup had no impact on WFP operations in the country.
(b) Following recent reports of new displacement of population due to fighting in Gitega, Muramvya and Mwaro provinces, WFP participated in a joint rapid assessment in Mwaro province to identify urgent needs. The team observed that displaced people were progressively returning home as security situation normalised. Only 200 households displaced from Nyarusange commune (Gitega) to Kibumbu parish (Mwaro) were in need of emergency assistance. Those households were displaced for the second time and all their possessions burnt or looted. WFP undertook evaluation missions in those provinces to determine the needs.
(c) During the last two weeks, WFP FEA teams conducted visits in Muyinga and Muramvya provinces, to assess food security. The teams reported that people living in Gashoho, Gasorwe and a part of Muyinga communes (30,240 households) have exhausted coping mechanisms and started to eat wild herbs. The food insecurity in that zone was reported to be the result of drought and the socio-political crisis prevailing since 1993.
(d) During the last two weeks, WFP supplied approximately 2,873 tons of targeted food rations to 355,232 people living in Gitega, Kirundo, Karuzi and Bujumbura Rural provinces. Following displacement of the population in Muramvya province, WFP food was distributed by the NGO Solidarité as emergency assistance to 721 families that sought refuge at Muramvya town centre. WFP also authorised dispatch of 84 tons of food to 28 projects benefiting 7,765 people including orphans, deaf-mute children, chronically ill persons and street children.
(e) WFP staff assisted in the registration of beneficiaries and installation of food committees in three communes of Muramvya province. Planned missions in other communes were cancelled due to insecurity.
(f) WFP also participated in the mid-term review of the Burundi Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal Process 2001, chaired by OCHA.
(B) West and Central Asia: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan, (3) Tajikistan, (4) Armenia
(a) It is estimated that the number of internally displaced persons in camps around Herat City has exceeded 150,000 and is still increasing at the rate of about 1,500 per day. WFP is providing 7 kg of wheat per person per month there. A corn-soya-blend porridge with sugar is also given daily to all mothers and children in the camps (due to a break in food pipeline a week ago, corn soya blend has been replaced with wheat flour).
(b) A joint WFP/UNHCR/IOM food security assessment mission was carried out in Badghis to identify reasons for increased out-migration towards Herat City. Although analysis of data collected has yet to be completed, the team made initial observations. In most areas the harvest prospects are poor. A shortage of water for irrigation as well as potable water was observed in all areas surveyed. Many villagers are forced to carry water from as far as 15 km. The selling of livestock was observed in local markets, as one of the last coping mechanisms. WFP distributions and out-migration of people from Badghis have resulted in a decrease in cereal prices by around 10 percent from the price noted three months ago.
(c) A WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Pre-assessment Mission was completed in five northern provinces (Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Saripul and Jawzjan). The mission observed that in general farmers cultivated significantly less land than last year. More was planted in the irrigated areas than in the rain-fed areas for fear of another year of drought. The harvest in the rain-fed areas failed 100 percent. The prospects are bleak in irrigated areas as well and a significant loss of harvest has been foreseen. Locust infestation among the crops is a serious threat to an already poor harvest. WFP is assisting destruction of locust pods, but further preventive measures are needed.
(d) WFP temporarily suspended shipments of food from Ishkashem (on the border with Tajikistan) to Faizabad, after receiving clear indications from the residents of two villages along the way that they would loot the convoys. Negotiations are ongoing with the local authorities to secure safe passage for trucks carrying WFP food.
(e) On 25 April, WFP issued a press statement warning that grim prospects for the harvest this year could lead to a worsening humanitarian situation. A WFP survey conducted in 24 provinces shows that almost a third of the farmers surveyed intend to plant less than half of the land they normally sow. They cited shortage of seed as a factor in their decision to plant less land, but almost half of the respondents were worried that rain will fail them again this year. About 85 percent of Afghanistan's estimated 21 million people are directly dependent on agriculture. With their crops ruined by the drought, millions of Afghans have lost their purchasing power because of mass unemployment, a moribund economy and a 21-year civil war. WFP is preparing for stepping up food aid distributions in Afghanistan to prevent the crisis from getting worse.
(f) Mission of the UN Senior network for internal displacement visited Afghanistan last week. The report of the mission is being finalised.
(a) The Government has revised its wheat production estimate for 2001 down to 17.45 million tons (compared with 21 million tons in the year 2000) and expects a reduction in the harvest of all major crops. The Government estimates a more than USD 2 billion loss to the economy, which is very likely to affect the balance of payments. As a result of the reduction in hydropower generation due to the low water levels in dams, the Government expects to spend about USD1 billion over its normal expenditure for oil imports. Crop production losses have also been estimated at USD 1 billion.
(b) Thirty-one districts in the country have been declared as disaster-hit areas. Punjab province, the most productive region in Pakistan, has announced crop losses of up to 80 percent in 10 districts. Punjab had escaped being affected by the drought during the last two years, unlike Balochistan and Sindh. According to reports, about 30-40 percent of the livestock in all the provinces has also been threatened by the drought.
(a) WFP, in cooperation with its implementing partners, is preparing for a second pre-harvest food distribution cycle, which starts at the end of April or beginning of May. Special emphasis will be placed on transferring able-bodied beneficiaries from free food assistance to Food for Asset Rehabilitation (FFAR) activities.
(b) According to government reports, meat production in Khatlon province has decreased, resulting in an increase in the price of meat. Households are selling their livestock due to heightened expenses.
(c) The Head of the Meteorology Department of Tajikistan has stated that winter precipitation is only 57 percent of normal and that reserves of snow are even less than the poor position of last year. It is expected that the water level in the rivers during Spring and Summer will be 20 percent less than normal and this will result in shortages of water for irrigation, as well as a low water levels in hydro power station reservoirs.
(d) WFP is continuing its pre crop assessment and has finished collecting data in Sughd province (former Leninabad). The results of the countrywide pre crop assessment are expected by mid-May.
(e) Delayed wagons carrying some 3,700 tons of wheat flour started to arrive in Tajikistan. No new contributions have been pledged and the EMOP shortfall remains at 61 percent (77,379 tons).
(a) WFP conducted a Food Security and Nutritional Status Survey covering 3,900 households in collaboration with UNICEF, UNHCR, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas. Shirak, Syunik, Gegharkunik, and parts of Yerevan were identified as particularly vulnerable regions in terms of food insecurity. WFP also observed an increase in the level of chronic malnutrition among small children since the 1998 UNICEF survey (ranging from 14 to 32 percent). Female-headed households as well as refugee population were reported to be amongst the most food insecure groups. Next WFP PRRO (July 2001 - June 2003) was planned on the basis of the findings of this survey for targeting assistance.
(b) WFP is expected to implement a countrywide distribution of a total of 2,250 tons of food to 110,000 urban vulnerable people including refugees, under the PRRO. Beneficiary lists will be generated by the Government-run vulnerability index PAROS. The Government's regional social service offices will organize distribution to the recipients.
(c) In addition, WFP is planning a second relief distribution to 77,000 people to be carried out at the end of May under the "Assistance to Drought Victims" EMOP. Community Action Groups will select the beneficiaries amongst drought-affected communities using WFP criteria for food insecurity. The total amount of food used for this distribution will be 4,730 tons. Caritas will continue to implement WFP food distributions in Shirak and Lori regions, while WFP will distribute food directly in the remaining 4 regions.
(d) Under the EMOP, in addition to relief distribution, WFP is implementing Food for Work (FFW) and Food for Training (FFT) activities. The FFT activities providing agricultural related knowledge will end in early May in time for the farmers to engage in seasonal activities. FFT activities organized in 480 villages in the targeted 6 drought-affected regions has benefited 12,000 subsistence farmers and 80 trainers with an overall 660 tons of food. Since early 2001 local communities have submitted for WFP's approval more than 500 FFW project proposals out of which 371 are related to agriculture, reforestation, irrigation and water system development and maintenance. WFP has approved 149 of these 371 proposals providing for 622,000 days of work and 1,448 tons of food commodities.
(e) At present, confirmed contributions for the "Assistance to Drought Victims" EMOP make up 72 percent against total requirements.
(a) WFP approved on 25 April, a new EMOP for drought affected people in Eritrea. The EMOP is valued at USD 33 million (equivalent to over 90,000 tons of food), needed to provide emergency relief food to 738,000 Eritreans whose lives have been devastated, in addition to the recent war, by three successive years of drought and consequent crop failure. The EMOP will provide assistance from May 2001 to February 2002.
(b) Arid and semi-arid regions have suffered extreme drought conditions for the past three years with serious consequences for the local population. Crops have consistently failed and livestock has died due to lack of pasture. This loss of assets has left families with little or no income to buy the food they need.
(c) There are two main harvest seasons in Eritrea namely November and December in the eastern lowlands and February and March in the highlands and western lowlands. Total grain production last year was a meagre 85,000 tons compared to 320,000 tons in 1999. Early predictions indicate the winter rains will not be enough to break the drought cycle and the first harvest of 2001 will remain extremely low. The most severely affected people live in the regions of Anseba, Northern Red Sea, Southern Red Sea and Maekel.
(d) Last year's border conflict with Ethiopia also took its toll on food production, forcing tens of thousands of farmers to abandon their farms in the rich grain producing areas of Gash Barka and Debub, which normally produce over 70 percent of the national food requirements.
(e) The combined effects of drought and war on Eritrea's agricultural production has pushed the price of increasingly scarce basic foods beyond the means of most families.
(f) WFP's first priority over the next few months is to ensure that families continue to have enough to eat to survive, but WFP is also preparing to look at the future, moving away from emergency assistance to more sustainable livelihood support.
(g) As well as providing aid to drought-affected Eritreans, WFP continues its efforts to feed 750,000 people displaced by the border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia (1998-2000). This operation, running from November 1999 through April 2001, costs US$101 million of which US$70.8 million has been funded so far. From January to December 2000, 94,000 metric tons of WFP food reached drought and war-affected Eritreans in Gash Barka, Debub, Northern Red Sea and Anseba regions.
(h) Many of these displaced people were farmers who missed the main mid-year cropping season. It is estimated that they will require emergency food aid until the next main harvest in November/December 2001, if they are able to return to their home areas in time for this year's cropping season. However, continued peace will be necessary for this to happen.
(D) Southern Africa (1) Angola, (2) Namibia
(a) During this week, the security situation remained unstable in most provinces. Arrival of new IDPs was reported in the provinces of Benguela, Bie, Huila, Moxico and Zaire. Attacks and ambushes were reported in the provinces of Bengo, Cunene, Uige and Zaire. It was recommended that travel of UN and NGO staff in Benguela area be delayed until security conditions permit.
(b) Following heavy rains in Bengo Province the bridge linking Ambriz to Caxito collapsed making road access impossible between the two cities.
(c) The situation at the Cambambe II Camp remains unresolved as IDPs continue to reject the Government's re-settlement plan for reasons of security. At this moment all humanitarian agencies have temporarily stopped services to the camp and IDPs are awaiting a decision from the Government about the status of their re-location. As a result of this situation, IDPs at the camp have reportedly become frustrated and are not allowing NGOs to enter the camp.
(d) On 20 April, the UN Field Security Officer and a Provincial Government delegation flied over Luacho and Senje in Dombe Grande area. The team confirmed previous reports of floods and road inaccessibility. The population keeps food on rooftops. Once road access improves, UN and NGO assistance will be provided to compliment the Provincial Governments efforts.
(e) WFP continues to observe an increase in the number of malnourished children treated in the TFC in Benguela. WFP delivered food to the various feeding programmes run by MINSA (TFC, SFC and Community Kitchens).
(f) WFP is responding to the influx of malnourished children arriving in Kuito from Cuemba and Camacupa, by providing food to MSF TFC and distributing family rations to the families of the children admitted in the centre. In addition to the Community Kitchen already serving 2,000 children, WFP is opening an another Community Kitchen with CARITAS in Camacupa that will serve 500 more. WFP will support MSF-H's new SFC in Camacupa for 500, bringing the total number of children being assisted up to 3,000.
(g) New delays in airport repairs are constraining WFP's operations in Camacupa. WFP Air Operations have not been able to get enough cargo flights into Kuito, forcing WFP to slow down distributions and reorganise ration sizes at time of great needs. Road traffic has been rendered impossible between Kuito and Huambo and has already resulted in higher market prices.
(h) On 20 April, local administration reported to WFP extensive flood damage in Massangano commune, in Kwanza Norte province. Some 21,815 people were reportedly forced to leave their homes for higher ground and would be now in need of tents, clothing, medicines and food. Humanitarian Agencies and Government are discussing ways to address the situation.
(i) So far this month WFP assisted 32,866 beneficiaries in Moxico Province under various programmes.
(j) The initial emergency distribution to 22,626 flood victims in Namibe has been completed on 24 April. Additional beneficiaries have been registered in the bairro of Macala and registration continues in other areas of the Province, including Bibala. Flood victims are receiving a full ration this month and it is expected that assistance will be needed in a second month too.
(k) The resource situation of the new PRRO is funded only at 5 percent, however, carry over stocks and contributions from the previous PRRO bring it up to 33 percent.
(a) EMOP continues to be severely under-funded, resulting in major food pipeline difficulties for all commodities. Reduced rations have been given to IDPs over the past few months and will need to be further reduced if donor pledges do not increase. General distribution of CSB has stopped completely to allow for its continued use in supplementary feeding centres. At the same time, the number of refugees at Osire Camp has increased, with UNHCR reporting a total of 20,000. In accordance with the scope of the current Namibia EMOP, case studies of refugees at Osire Camp have begun.
(E) Sierra Leone
(a) For the first time since May 2000, UN peacekeepers were deployed to the rebel headquarters town of Makeni, as well as to Mano Junction and Magburaka, without reporting any security incidents in the process. However, various skirmishes between the RUF and the Civil Defence Forces around Tongofields - a diamond mining area about 50 km from Kenema - were reported on 20 and 25 April. The area is reported to be quiet now and vehicles are once more using the routes to and from the RUF area.
(b) WFP team undertook a one-day assessment mission in the RUF-held towns of Lunsar and Makeni and recommended that assistance be delivered in the urban areas. Following this visit, WFP completed a three day needs assessment in Lunsar and 9 surrounding villages located in Upper Mafoki, Buya Romende, and Marampa Chiefdoms. WFP established that the estimated 5,000 persons residing in the villages require humanitarian assistance. The majority of them were forced to leave their home following the last RUF offensive in May last year and started to come back during the last six months. Having missed the 2000 farming season, they are currently surviving on mangoes and local palm oil production. WFP is coordinating with various partners in the area to address the needs in the area.
(c) With the continuing improvement in the security situation and the deployment of UN troops in Makeni, WFP will review its strategy with partners, to lay more emphasis on addressing food needs in the Northern province, as these areas have not been accessible for several consecutive years due to insecurity.
(d) UNHCR has confirmed that since February a total of 12,500 returnees have arrived by foot across the Liberian and Guinean borders, via Daru, in the Kailahun District. Among them were 151 refugees from Liberia and 17 from Guinea. WFP is providing the returnees with a one-week emergency ration, until further clarifications are made in regard to their resettlement plans. WFP is planning to join UNHCR and SCF-UK in a two-day assessment mission to Daru to assess the latest situation and recommend a clear action plan. UNHCR is planning a mission to Kailahun, where RUF has reported 4,500 Liberian refugees.
(e) Returnees continue to arrive by boat as well, but the boats have been arriving half full. Sierra Leonean refugees are citing continued insecurity for their decision not to return and would prefer to go straight to their areas of origin.
(f) During the week, WFP assisted a total of 107,000 beneficiaries under various feeding programmes, distributing a total of 1,378 tons of food. This included 227 tons for 7,783 IDPs that are being resettled in their areas of origin (Songo, Mile 38, Masiaka, and Petifu Junction.) The IDPs received a two-month ration from WFP, while ICRC provided a package of non-food items. WFP is also supporting resettled IDPs through FFW in agricultural and house construction projects.
Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons
(End WFP Emergency Report No 17)