Afghanistan + 24 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 18 of 2004

Situation Report
Originally published

This report includes:
(A) Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan

(B) East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) Djibouti, (3) DR Congo, (4) Eritrea, (5) Republic of Congo, (6) Rwanda, (7) Sudan, (8) Uganda

(C) West Africa: (1) Côte d'Ivoire, (2) Liberia

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

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

(F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Colombia, (2) Ecuador, (3) Guatemala, (4) Haiti, (5) Nicaragua

A) Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan

1) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation remained relatively calm throughout most of the country. In Kandahar in the south, suspected Taliban attacked the local government district office and the neighboring compound of a national NGO, on 26 April, killing two staff of the NGO and injuring six others. Several improvised explosive devices attacks have raised security concerns to the UN and other aid agencies, affecting the humanitarian work in the region. In the south, all missions to Paktika province remain suspended. In the east, United Nations missions were temporarily suspended to Kunar province. In Ghor province in the west, due to bad road conditions and a high water level, UN missions were cleared only to Chaghcharan district.

(b) From 23 to 29 April, some 590,415 beneficiaries received about 3,280 tons of food.

(c) As part of Government capacity building initiatives, WFP handed over a newly constructed school building to the Department of education in Kandahar on 26 April. Furthermore, communication equipment was provided to the Ministry of Communication (MoC) and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). This handover to the MRRD is part of the second phase of a capacity development project, which aims to support the government's efforts to rehabilitate and enhance communication networks between central government and provinces as well as with UN and other development counterparts.

(d) On 25 April, MRRD and WFP held a monthly food security meeting in Hirat. WFP summarized its activities in 2004 and informed food for work (FFW) activities have been launched in Ghor, Farah and Hirat provinces, and they will soon be launched in Badghis province, to help protect and re-establish local livelihoods and household food security through the rehabilitation and construction of sustainable communal assets such as roads, schools and irrigation systems.

(e) On 26 April, WFP launched a National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) in the Shinkay, Atghar and Nawbahar districts of the Zabul province, in order to assess food security in these districts.

2) Pakistan

(a) The Federal Government, WFP and UNHCR will hold one day deliberations on 6 May, regarding the future of the Afghan Refugees Operation in new camps in the light of the statement made by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees during his recent visit to Pakistan. Meanwhile, UNHCR has put in abeyance the relocation of refugees from Chaman camp to Muslim Bagh, where local communities strongly opposed this move.

(b) The road to Chaman camps was blocked by the local population, in protest to Government's decision to destroy poppy crops in that area. As a precautionary measure, the UN local security office advised UN staff not to travel to the area, which in turn has affected the dispatches of WFP food assistance to the nearby refugee camps.

(c) In the North West Frontier Province, ground work for taking over the food distribution at Shamshatu camp (26,000 refugees) was finalized with International Rescue Committee, who will be replacing former implementing partner Shelter Now International. Food distribution in the camp, under EMOP 10228.0, will amount to 478 tons of mixed food and is expected to start next week.

(d) The pipeline situation has remained precarious as no contribution has been made available by donors to meet the food requirements of the beneficiaries beyond June.

B) East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) Djibouti, (3) DR Congo, 4) Eritrea, (5) Republic of Congo, (6) Rwanda, (7) Sudan, (8) Uganda

1) Burundi

(a) Last week, there were renewed skirmishes between the army and the Front for National Liberation (FNL), one day after the rebel movement declared a cease-fire at the conclusion of meetings held in Kigoma, Tanzania.

(b) The number of Congolese refugees in Burundi is currently estimated at almost 7,775. UNHCR has decided to close Cishemeye camp in Cibitoke province and transfer the remaining refugees to Kinama camp in Muyinga. As of last week, a total of about 6,480 refugees were estimated to be in Kinama camp. The remaining refugees at Cishemeye camp are expected to be transferred to Muyinga during the week. WFP has pre-positioned food in anticipation of their arrival.

(c) WFP has been able to access the newly displaced people in Kabezi commune and distributed some 305 tons of emergency food assistance to 35,660 beneficiaries. This population has been repeatedly displaced by fighting between the FNL and the national army in the communes of Mutambu, Muhuta and Kabezi.

(d) From 19 to 25 April 2004, WFP provided the distribution of a total of some 1,575 tons of food aid to almost 178,600 beneficiaries through different programme activities. The supply of pulses has improved and normal distributions of this commodity are expected to resume, but WFP has started facing problems with the availability of CSB. Pipeline breaks for oil and CSB are expected from early May. This could hamper WFP's capacity to implement nutritional activities throughout the country. Loan opportunities are currently being examined for both commodities.

2) Djibouti

(a) On 25 April, Djibouti authorities relocated about 150 households who had become homeless after recent flooding, in an area called PK 12, a delimited site located 12 Km from the Ambouli wadi which burst its banks on 12 April. The floods claimed at least 60 lives and made about 500 families homeless. Since this disaster, thanks to the immediate response of various local initiatives, government officials and some neighboring countries, the most immediate food needs of flood-affected people, who have been temporarily sheltered in public infrastructures, have been met. It was decided that another rapid need assessment mission needs to be carried out before any additional UN food assistance will be provided. WFP interventions will be considered once all the IDPs are safely relocated in PK 12 in the coming days.

(b) The sixth convoy of the second voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees left Djibouti on 28 April going to various destinations in northern Somalia ("Somaliland"). In total, 136 families or 583 refugees from Holl Holl camp have been repatriated to various destinations, namely: Borama, Jirhi, Harirrad and Abdoulkader. WFP has provided all refugees with a nine-month food package. The next convoy is scheduled to leave on 6 May.

(c) On 24 April, WFP started conducting an evaluation of the Djibouti Country Office portfolio. The portfolio evaluation will focus on the current PRRO 10283.0, the DEV project 5875.00, and the recently ended PRRO 10134.0. The evaluation mission is expecting to submit a consolidated report on 10 May, which will form the basis for the development of a new PRRO.

3) DR Congo

(a) The security situation remained tense in North Kivu where militia men reportedly led raids in suburban areas of Goma. As a result, field visits to areas such as Sake were not allowed during the week. Moreover, Rwandan troops are said to be massing on the DRC-Rwandan border, prompting suggestions that Rwandans troops may re-enter the country, and there may be a resumption of the conflict.

(b) WFP and other UN agencies continue to be on the alert, as thousands of Congolese are being expelled from Angola. It is quite difficult to know the exact number of the expellees, as they are using several entry points, some of which have no presence of NGOs or UN agencies. An NGO (MSF Belgium) involved in the registration process in collaboration with local authorities at Tshikapa (Western Kasai province), Kamunya, Tembo (Bandundu province) indicates that 17,151 expellees were recorded at these locations last week. The WFP field office in Kahemba, one of the crossing points for the expellees, reported daily arrivals of 250 people. As of 25 April, expellees have been identified and registered by local authorities. Through OXFAM Quebec, WFP has so far distributed 8.6 tons of food to some 1,365 people, providing each individual with a fortnight's ration. It was also reported that some of the expellees had started to move towards Kikwit, another locality 480 Km from Kahemba. The rate of departures currently stands at 150 people a day. In Tembo, distribution of BP5 and Non Food Items airlifted by UNICEF and OCHA resulted in riots involving both local populations and the expellees. The distributions had to be stopped.

(c) Currently the general strategy agreed by NGOs and UN agencies is to keep people on the move towards their homes rather than creating displacement camps around the entry points. In Kahemba, WFP has enough food to provide 2 month rations to 5,000 expellees. Regarding Tshikapa and Kamunya, needs assessments are still ongoing under the supervision of Médecins sans Frontières. In addition, WFP is planning a food assessment for expellees on the Kananga-Tshikapa-Kamunya axis, which is still practicable for 4 wheel drive vehicles.

(d) During a coordination meeting chaired by OCHA last week, it was indicated that some 100,000 expellees were expected to arrive at Tembo within a very short period of time. WFP made plans to assist them with a one-week ration amounting to 550 tons. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether large scale food distributions will be undertaken, as most of the expellees are heading to their village of origin and spending only a few days at the entry points.

4) Eritrea

(a) There has been some early rainfall in the Debub region, and farmers are now in the process of preparing their land in preparation for the long rainy season expected to begin in June. Land preparation was also observed in parts of Gash Barka.

(b) WFP is still facing some difficulties accessing certain parts of the Debub region, particularly in Mai Mine and Adi Quala. Discussions are underway between WFP and the Government to resolve these travel limitations. There have been a number of reports of mine incidents in the Gash Barka region south of Barentu. The UN is looking into how to most effectively secure its operations in that area.

(c) A mid-term review of the Eritrea Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) took place in mid-April. Figures for WFP were reduced from the original appeal of 198,802 tons of commodities (USD 98,800,000) in support of 1,103,400 beneficiaries, to 185,431 tons (USD 70,800,000) in support of 899,200 beneficiaries. The changes were due to a number of factors, such as the commodity prices that were lower than originally envisioned. The overall caseload was reduced given that certain activities such as demobilization have not proceeded within the originally planned timeframe and other targeted programmes have not expanded at the rate expected due to constraints with implementation capacity.

(d) Confirmed pledges for 2004 for the WFP Drought Emergency amount to approximately 63,800 tons of food commodities, representing 54 percent of this year's requirement. A total of about 47,575 tons of commodities, representing approximately 63 percent of the 2004 requirement, has been resourced for PRRO 10192.0.

5) Republic of Congo

(a) From 17 to 20 April, the Government with the support of humanitarian organizations facilitated the return of all 3,205 IDPs from the six camps around Brazzaville. In all WFP provided a total of 77748 tons of food consisting of a one-month ration of rice, pulses, vegetable oil and salt to the returning IDPs. UNDP and UNICEF provided non-food items namely blankets, plastic sheeting, wheelbarrows and hand tools to help in the rehabilitation of IDP homes, schools and health centers that were destroyed during the armed conflict.

(b) On April 27 the Minister of Humanitarian Action invited the UN Resident Coordinator and the WFP Representative to a ceremony in Goma Tse Tse to mark the official closing of the IDP camps in Brazzaville. During this ceremony some donations of medical and other rehabilitation equipment were given to the population to help rehabilitation efforts. This District is one of those in the Pool Region that underwent a lot of damage during the war. The Pool region remains at UN Security Phase IV.

6) Rwanda

(a) WFP completed the issuance of WFP/UNHCR ration cards to refugee households in Kiziba camp in Kibuye province. Efforts were made by UNHCR, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Social Affairs and WFP to verify the exact numbers of refugees in the camp. Data processing is expected to be completed in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, family rations to some 1,945 households at six nutrition centres, continue to be distributed in Bugesera under a three-month assistance plan. The revised ration is expected to increase the recovery process for malnourished people as they will no longer have to share rations with members of their family.

7) Sudan

(a) A high level UN mission led by Mr. James Morris, WFP Executive Director, arrived in Khartoum on 28 April. The mission team met government officials and humanitarian agencies in Khartoum and is now visiting the Darfur Region. The purpose of the mission is to assess the current humanitarian situation and to advocate on issues of protection, unimpeded humanitarian access and increased capacity of humanitarian agencies in the Region.

(b) A total number of 7,200 IDPs were reported to have arrived in Nerteti, 105 km west of Nyala. The IDPs fled from the nearby villages of Gulu and Rokiro on the top of Jebel-Marra Mountain. WFP has requested the deployment of an interagency assessment mission to assess the condition and needs of the arriving IDPs and also look into the possibility of reaching out to other areas in Jebel Marra, assumed to be IDP settlement areas.

(c) Since January, WFP has distributed over 10,855 tons of assorted food commodities to some 806,300 war-affected beneficiaries who have been receiving individual rations in Darfur region since the beginning of the year. Food distribution was undertaken as follows: 2,900 tons to almost 273,100 beneficiaries in West Darfur, some 7,120 tons to about 468,595 beneficiaries in North Darfur and almost 835 tons to 64,605 beneficiaries in South Darfur.

8) Uganda

(a) Following a recent spate of attacks by suspected Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels on refugee settlements in Adjumani district in the West Nile region, some 251,000 Sudanese refuges have been forced to flee the settlements in the wake of heightened insecurity. In response, WFP, together with the Office of the Prime Minister (Department for Refugees) and sister UN agencies (UNHCR, and UNDP), are registering the displaced refugees. Further, an assessment of the refugees' food and non-food needs is being conducted.

(b) A total of 494 refugees fleeing ethnic tension in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were registered by the Department of Refugees (Office of the Prime Minister) on 20 April. The new arrivals have been settled in Kyaka II refugee settlement, Kyenjojo district southwestern Uganda. WFP provided a fifteen-day ration to last until the next general food distribution on 15 May.

(c) WFP food distribution continues to reach over 1.6 million displaced persons, some 148,000 refugees and other vulnerable persons. During the period from 17 to 23 April, over 2,547 tons of WFP relief food assistance reached about 204,985 persons, including IDPs sheltering in camps in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Lira districts in the northern Acholi sub-regions; eastern Teso region; school children and vulnerable persons.

(d) In the eastern Teso region, WFP together with OCHA and NGO partners (Christian Children's Fund and Concern World Wide) conducted a mapping exercise on 14 and 15 April in preparation for verification of IDPs in Soroti district, scheduled for early May.

(e) Based on the preliminary findings of an Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) conducted during March in selected IDP camps in the northern Acholi sub-region (Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts), WFP will increase rations from 50-65 percent to 78 percent of minimum recommended daily requirements among the displaced population.

(f) WFP faces a serious shortfall of 102,281 tons of food commodities (82,186 tons cereals, 7,049 tons pulses, 12,421 tons CSB, and 624 tons vegetable oil) from May through December 2004. A pipeline break in fortified blended food is anticipated from May through December 2004. During the last major pipeline break in December 2002 through February 2003, global acute malnutrition among children under five years of age reached over 30 percent. This may happen once again if food supplies are interrupted due to a shortage of funding. Cash contributions are urgently needed to procure maize and blended food that is locally available on the Ugandan market, to avoid serious hunger and malnutrition from May onwards. In total, WFP requires USD 51 million in generous contributions to continue providing relief assistance to over 1.6 million people through December 2004.

C) West Africa: (1) Côte d'Ivoire (2) Liberia

1) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) The Forces Nouvelles and the four main opposition parties in parliament are standing by their demand that President Gbagbo meet a set of five pre-conditions before they resume their seats in a broad-based government of national reconciliation. Two of the five conditions have already been met: a UN investigation of human rights experts to investigate the violence in Abidjan in March and the memorial service for those who died. But the President has yet to move on the opposition's other three demands: security guarantees for opposition politicians and civilians in general, the restoration of the right to hold public demonstrations and greater balance in news coverage by the state media.

(b) Médecins sans Frontières Belgium has reported an increase in the number of malnourished children at their center in Man (an increase of 60% over the last month). Many of the children are suffering from kwashiorkor and are coming from the areas of Bin Houye, Zouan Hounien and Bangolo. WFP and other humanitarian agencies continue to experience difficulties achieving clearance from the Ivorian government to access Bin Houye and Zouan Hounien.

(c) From 21 to 27 April, 275 tons of various food commodities were distributed to about 35,940 people.

(d) Over 840 farmers and their families received a seed protection ration from WFP as well as seeds supplied by FAO in Man district. A further 1,374 families will receive a similar package in the coming days. WFP also distributed food to returnees in Bagouine I and Gbepleu. In Danane, local authorities authorized WFP and UNHCR to begin feeding an estimated 500 to 700 Liberians in the town.

(e) Humanitarian actors in Guiglo are currently discussing with local authorities road works around the Nicla IDP transit camps, which have resulted in the destruction of several sanitary installations. If the project continues many more structures will be destroyed and could result in severe health and hygiene problems, thus increasing the risk of epidemics in and around the camps.

2) Liberia

(a) Although the agriculture season has begun, lack of seeds and tools are still preventing most of the farmers from cultivating. Lack of shelter for the returning population is also a major constraint, especially in Tappita and its environs, where most of the houses have been destroyed. The local population and authorities have acknowledged that security has been improving since deployment of UNMIL in many parts of Nimba county.

(b) As of 28 April, some 3,755 combatants have been disarmed and demobilized since the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRR) process resumed on 15 April. The exercise is taking place simultaneously in Gbanga, Buchanan and Tubmanburg. Some 270 combatants including 51 women and 75 children were reportedly disarmed and demobilized during the week in review. Senior LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) military personnel were also disarmed and demobilized by the Force Commander, Lt. General Daniel I. Opande. Each combatant is given USD 150 after spending seven days in the cantonment site, where the ex-combatants are counseled, given food and medical attention, and where they are apprised of vocational options available.

(c) From 22 to 28 April, a total of over 760 tons of various food commodities were distributed to about 46,810 people. WFP continued the provision of food for the demobilized combatants while they are in cantonment sites. Upon completion of their stay, the ex-combatants receive an additional one-month food ration to assist in their reintegration

(d) Furthermore, WFP continued to participate in the registration and provision of emergency food assistance to Liberian returnees from Sierra Leone. The new caseload of returnees from Sierra Leone stands now at some 6,655 persons, including 480 returnees who arrived during the past week. WFP provided high protein biscuits to almost 240 new returnees flown in from Mali on 25-26 April. Additionally, distribution of food to IDPs in various centers in Margibi, Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties continued during this period.

(e) Delivery of food items to schools continued during the week. Some 1,165 metric tons of food commodities were released for 217,000 school children. As at 27 April, a total of over 279,655 school children received food assistance under the Emergency School Feeding programme.

(f) Data analysis of the rapid VAM survey in Nimba County is ongoing. Preliminary findings indicate that access to basic services is limited. Water and sanitation, health and education facilities are inadequate or non-existent in some areas. Schools in the area are re-opening but they lack sufficient basic education materials and incentives for teachers. There are no schools available for children in Tappita town because the buildings were destroyed. Only half of the school age children (boys and girls) were found to have enrolled and attending school.

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

1) Regional

(a) Joint WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions (CFSAM) began on 23 April in Malawi and Zimbabwe. A Rapid Needs Assessment began in Madagascar on 26 April.

2) Angola

(a) A mission of UN agencies and NGOs traveled to Lunda Sul from 22 to 26 April to evaluate the situation of DR Congo nationals who have been expelled from Angola. Between 28 March and 20 April, about 100,000 Congolese and other people of various African nationalities were reportedly expelled to DR Congo. Thousands remain in transit centers and the government reports that anywhere from 6,000 to more than 50,000 more may be expelled in the near future. The mission noted the transit centers lacked assistance regarding health services, medicine, shelter, water and food.

(b) The Government of Angola approved the appointment of Mr. Rick Corsino as the new WFP Angola Country Director. He is expected to arrive in Angola on 4 May.

3) Lesotho

(a) A further seasonal decrease in rainfall was experienced in most areas of the country during the second week of April. Crops (maize, sorghum) were affected in the northern areas of Thaba-Tseka, Quthing and Semonkong by the first frosts. Elsewhere, horticultural crops such as beans and pumpkins were damaged. Generally, low temperatures adversely affected crop development and late-planted crops are not expected to develop further. The Lesotho Government appealed for humanitarian assistance in February and WFP is currently holding informal talks with resident donor representatives to map out the response to the appeal.

(b) During last week, a total of over 960 tons of food were distributed to more that 15,000 households.

4) Madagascar

(a) The joint WFP/FAO/Ministry of Agriculture Rapid Needs Assessment mission on the damage caused by cyclone Gafilo started on 29 April in the northern region of Mahajanga. The assessments, which should be completed by 2 May, will focus on crop production and food aid needs.

(b) Last week, WFP dispatched about 315 tons of food to more than 172,000 beneficiaries affected by the cyclone.

5) Malawi

(a) The NEPAD Food Reserve Study Mission successfully finished its mission to Malawi and briefed WFP on its findings. It was recommended that Malawi keep physical emergency food stock of about 60,000 tons.

(b) From 19 to 25 April, WFP and implementing partners distributed almost 2,745 tons of food.

6) Mozambique

(a) A WFP/UNHCR mission assessed food needs of nearly 5,000 persons in Mozambique's national refugee centre in Marretane in the northern province of Nampula. Due to continuing influx of asylum seekers, mostly from the Great Lakes region and Somalia, a second site to accommodate the refugees may be recommended. WFP continues to monitor the situation.

(b) Last week, WFP dispatched almost 1,400 tons of food.

7) Namibia

(a) President Sam Nujoma declared at the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) Congress that he will step down at the end of his third term on 21 March 2005. An extraordinary SWAPO Congress is planned for 28 and 29 May 2004 to nominate a candidate for the November elections.

(b) A delegation from the government of Rwanda, UNHCR and officials from the Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs visited Osire camp and signed an agreement to voluntarily repatriate about 600 Rwandans this year.

(c) WFP has provided full rations (2,100 kcal per day per person) to 406 refugees in Kassava transit camp in April. However, some 13,300 of the refugees in Osire camp received rations without CSB due to insufficient stocks.

(d) WFP has only enough food to feed the refugees until May. Urgent contributions are required for June distributions onwards. Refugees in Namibia are dependent on WFP assistance.

8) Swaziland

(a) A Swazi delegation led by Prime Minister Themba Absalom Dlamini left for the USA to lobby for the inclusion of Swaziland for tariff preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA III). Media reports say Swaziland will lose over 28, 000 jobs if the AGOA arrangements in Swaziland are not extended.

9) Zambia

(a) On 22 April, WFP met with representatives of the Government of Zambia, the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration to revise the recommendations of the Tripartite Commission for the Voluntary Repatriation of 40,000 Angolan Refugees from Zambia. Participants were briefed about the shortages of cereals from June to August, which are expected to negatively affect the voluntary repatriation programme planned to start in June. A meeting with main local donors, the Government of Zambia and the Angolan Embassy was proposed to discuss the severe food shortages in Angola and to seek support to overcome this constraint on the repatriation.

(b) During last week, WFP dispatched 2,000 tons of food throughout the country.

(c) The status report for Food for Assets (FFA) activities under EMOP 10290 shows that out of the 380,000 planned beneficiaries, some 148,400 benefited from food incentives in March. The FFA programme is designed to increase household food security of the rural population by imparting training on agricultural activities like conservation farming, skills training, by improving or rehabilitating feeder roads and community/social infrastructures and water harvesting.

10) Zimbabwe

(a) The harvest is underway throughout the country. In many urban areas, people are harvesting maize from small plots of land. However, there are concerns that as the plots of land tend to be small, harvest might only cover up to a few months' requirements. The FAO/WFP CFSAM, which is scheduled to start on 30 April, will provide further details on the exact situation.

(b) The majority of low-income urban households cannot afford the current high prices of basic commodities on the market. Monthly basic needs for an urban family of six currently amount to USD 230, more than double the average monthly wage, for those lucky enough to have employment.

(c) The Minister of Finance and Economic Development was arrested over last weekend on corruption charges arising from allegations he held scarce foreign currency outside the country. In the last four years, Zimbabwe has experienced serious shortages of hard currency.

(d) Outbreaks of rabies and cholera have been reported in Mashonaland Central and East Provinces. Government efforts to control the frequent disease outbreaks are hampered by lack of funds and drugs. Last week newspapers reported that 19 people died from malaria in Mashonaland Central Province.

(e) WFP has so far achieved 59 percent of the month's planned targets, distributing over 31,200 tons of food commodities to 2.3 million beneficiaries by the end of last week. WFP is distributing weighing scales to improve the accuracy of ration sizes during distributions. HIV/AIDS booklets are also being distributed to raise awareness.

(f) During the monthly food aid coordination meeting, implementing partner representatives raised concerns about the need for continued WFP assistance for specific vulnerable households, particularly in parts of the country that have not received adequate rains. Several community leaders in the north of Mashonaland Central Province, along the Zambezi Valley, have expressed a strong need for WFP food aid in the coming months as there is little to harvest.

(g) Fieldwork for the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC)'s food security and vulnerability assessment is in progress. The report of this mission as well as the one of the FAO/WFP CFSAM, are expected in the last week of May.

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

1) DPR Korea

(a) WFP has reacted swiftly in response to the devastating train explosion of last week in Ryongchong. An initial food delivery of 7 tons of mixed commodities to over 370 hospital patients coincided with the first visit of an international team comprising of WFP staff only. Subsequently, further deliveries of food and non-food items (hand tools and soaps) were dispatched to the disaster area. An international WFP emergency officer has been posted to Sinuiju to coordinate the relief efforts and monitor the situation. WFP is appealing for USD 508,000 under its current EMOP 10141.02 to cover the needs for this disaster.

(b) Unless additional contributions are pledged immediately, distribution cuts will affect more than one million core beneficiaries from May to September. By October, all 3.8 million core beneficiaries will be deprived of their cereal rations. Moreover, loans received to help repair the cereals pipeline break still need to be reimbursed from future contributions. Cereal allocations for food-for-work (FFW) projects during the spring season have had to be reduced from a planned 32,000 to 8,300 tons. New pledges of about 130,000 tons of mixed commodities (mostly cereals) are urgently required to cover needs over the next six months.

2) Myanmar

(a) Last week, a strong storm damaged 150 houses in Northern Shan State, HonAi village, close to the Chinese border and completely destroyed 53 of them. A WFP team visited the area and found that many of the victims lost their food and other assets as well. Under EMOP 10345.0, WFP is considering to provide 50 kgs of rice to those households who have lost their houses and food supplies. Donors have so far pledged USD 1.89 million (51%), out of the total requirement of USD 3.7 million for this operation.

(b) On 19 April, a LOU for the implementation of EMOP 10345.0 was signed between the Government of Myanmar and WFP. As per the agreement, WFP has established three Sub-offices in Lashio, Laukai (Kokang) and Pang Kham (Wa region) of the Northern Shan State. Last week, WFP sent assessment teams to Namtit, northern Wa region, Kutkai and Motai, who visited schools and warehouses, and discussed with regional/local authorities about the implementation modalities of WFP operations.

(c) WFP distributed about 52 tons of rice to 4,160 beneficiaries through FFT and relief activities. In the dry zone, some 57 tons of rice were distributed to 448 HIV/Aids patients and chronically ill persons during last fortnight.

(d) Under PRRO 10066.1, WFP is negotiating with regional authorities and suppliers to resolve a food delivery problem in Northern Rakhine State (NRS). Due to a ban on rice transport to NRS, the supplier failed to deliver rice in time, resulting in an interruption of the food distribution.

F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Colombia, (2) Ecuador, (3) Guatemala, (4) Haiti, (5) Nicaragua

1) Colombia

(a) In Colombia, at least 5 people died and more than 30,000 have been affected by the heavy rains. Weather alert reports have been issued for Antioquia, Cordoba, Caldas, Cundinamarca, the Caribbean Coast, Norte de Santander, Santader and Bogotá.

(b) Forty-five displaced families who were forced by illegal armed groups to leave their homes last year, returned to their communities in the Choco province. The Social Solidarity Network supported them in this process. WFP run more than 160 activities in this province.

(c) In Valledupar, province of Cesar, a group of 45 families who left their homes last year, returned to their community in Aguas Blancas.

(d) Last week, under PRRO 10158, Assistance to People Displaced by Violence, WFP provided the distribution of 272 tons of food in 10 provinces to some 50,185 beneficiaries, especially through FFW and FFT activities, community kitchens and school feeding.

2) Ecuador

(a) This week there has been very low activity in the Tungurahua volcano. However, a new seismic movement of 4.1 magnitude in the Richter scale was felt on 24 April in the highlands. No damages or victims were reported.

(b) According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the farming cycle has ended in the highlands and the rain this month will not guarantee suitable cultivation. In coastal region, lack of rainfall at the beginning of the year altered the rice harvest cycle in Los Ríos, Guayas and Manabí, and only three quarters of the crops were cultivated. This delay influenced a price increase to $30 per 100 pound.

(c) On 23 April, UN Security Phase II was declared for San Lorenzo in Esmeraldas province due to increased insecurity in areas adjacent to the border with Colombia.

(d) With regard to the alert on Colombia´s Plan Patriota, Ecuador will be affected greatly since this plan will potentially imply significantly more violence in Colombia and will cause spill-over effects for neighbouring countries. As it was informed, there will be increased cross-border movements of both rebel troops and affected people into Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. The position of the Ecuadorian government is awaited.

(e) The interagency emergency team, the Civil Defence and Municipalities, are carrying out prevention activities such as training workshops on risk prevention with leaders and students from communities in the 7 cantons affected by the ash fall of the Tungurahua volcano. Activities also include an evacuation drill in Píllaro community, and meetings with the 7 Emergency Operation Committees to update contingency plans and resource management.

(f) WFP, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture are gathering information on the impact of this year's drought in the Sierra and Coastal areas.

3) Guatemala

(a) A confrontation over land tenure between members of a rural cooperative and occupants of the San José Los Encuentros rural estate, in the province of Quetzaltenango, resulted in the shooting dead of one person and several arrests.

(b) The Government of Guatemala has reshuffled the National Institute for Agricultural Marketing (INDECA), which together with WFP handles logistics in Guatemala. This reshuffle has resulted in key changes in the staff of INDECA.

(c) An advocacy mission from WFP's New York office conducted a fact-finding trip to the country last 16 and 17 April. The mission visited some of WFP projects including PRRO 10212. The mission will serve to support WFP's new global hunger campaign aimed at students, through the website and WFP's "19 CENTS-A-DAY" campaign.

(d) A new food distribution under the recovery component of PRRO 10212 is currently being prepared. This new distribution will assist a total of 7,660 families (38,300 people) with over 310 tons of maize, some 30 tons of beans, about 15 tons of vegetable oil, and almost 80 tons of CSB, through FFW and FFT activities aimed at enabling families to preserve and create assets to mitigate the effects of shocks and prevent a nutritional decline in children and women.

(e) Given its high nutritional value and the extent of its shortfall, CSB donations are urgently required for PRRO 10212 in order to prevent the distribution of unbalanced rations, which may have a negative impact on children under 5 suffering from acute malnutrition.

4) Haiti

(a) Heavy rains in the Haiti Northern Department have produced flooding in Cap Haitian and surrounding areas. A UN mission (UNICEF, UNDP, WHO and WFP) met with NGOs and government institutions and recommended the strengthening of coordination mechanisms, immediate support to the Departmental Direction of Public Works in the cleaning of the drainage system, and the need to assess and quantify damages to agricultural production.

(b) On 20 April, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, called for a broad, new UN mission in Haiti to include 6,700 troops, more than 1,600 international police and experts to help turn the Caribbean nation into "a functioning democracy." The UN military contingent would replace the 3,600-strong US-led Multinational Interim Force.

(c) The security environment remains uncertain and volatile. A curfew is still in force from midnight to 5:00 a.m. New police forces are being recruited throughout the country. A WFP security assessment mission to Cap-Haitian in the North Department found that although the general situation is back to normal and working conditions are now acceptable for WFP activities in this area, there is still the presence of the Arme du Nord and armed groups.

(d) WFP participated in a consultative meeting that was held in Port-au-Prince on 21 April between the government, international donors and multilateral agencies. The Haitian Prime Minister highlighted the need to focus on security challenges, democratic elections in 2005, restarting the economy, and poverty reduction. Priority areas of action will be jointly identified in an upcoming Interim Cooperation Framework mission, led by the government of Haiti and supported by donors and agencies. WFP will participate in the assessment of food security, safety net and health and nutrition.

(e) UNICEF conducted a nation-wide rapid assessment of the impact of the recent violence on Haiti's children last month. Findings reveal that conflict had a severe impact on children, as the supply of food was reduced, medical attention was almost unobtainable, and schools were closed for months.

(f) From 19 to 25 April, WFP provided a total distribution of 530 tons to some 142,505 beneficiaries. Furthermore, WFP signed agreements to start immediate distribution through its emergency operation (EMOP), "Support to Victims of Civil Unrest", of urgently needed food to 7,140 malnourished children and 4,110 expectant and nursing mothers in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. A total of 56,250 persons will receive a 60-kilogram monthly family ration for the next six months.

(g) The EMOP currently has a shortfall of 77 percent.

5) Nicaragua

(a) A moderate earthquake occurred on 28 April with a magnitude of 5.5 (Richter) near the cost of Nicaragua. According to the National System for Disaster Prevention (SINAPRED) no human or physical damages were reported.

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

(END WFP Emergency report No. 18, 2004)