WFP Emergency Report No. 22 of 2002

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 31 May 2002
This report includes:
(A) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe, (3) Malawi, (4) Lesotho, (5) Swaziland, (6) Somalia

(B) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran, (3) Pakistan

(C) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea

(D) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Caribbean, (2) Central America, (3) Guatemala, (4) Colombia, (5) Other countries

(E) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Republic of Congo, (3) Democratic Republic of Congo, (4) Central African Republic

(F) West Africa Region: (1) Liberia

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) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe, (3) Malawi, (4) Lesotho, (5) Swaziland, (6) Somalia

1) Regional overview

(a) FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Mission reports for Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe were issued on 27 May. The reports include analysis of the national food balance, which when combined with issues of access and underlying vulnerability, leads to an estimation of food aid needs. WFP has expanded existing emergency activities in the six affected countries through emergency bridging operations. The bridging operations for Malawi and Mozambique were approved by WFP and FAO last week. EMOPs for Lesotho and Swaziland will be approved soon.

(b) The WFP Executive Director has already approved a Special Operation to ensure adequate managerial support and enhanced logistics coordination for the regional Emergency Operation (EMOP). Several WFP staff are already operational in Johannesburg where the Regional Director for East and Southern Africa and other Bureau staff will be joining them this coming weekend.

(c) WFP, in close collaboration with OCHA, will co-host a regional consultation on Humanitarian Needs in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 6-7 June. Following that meeting, the WFP team will prepare a regional EMOP, to begin 1 July.

2) Zimbabwe

(a) From June, more than 5 million people will need food aid, increasing to 6.1 million from December (4.4 million people in communal and resettled rural areas, 850,000 urban plus 825,000 farm workers). The extremely poor main growing season has been caused by a combination of severe drought between January and April in many parts of the country and the near collapse of large-scale commercial production due to land reform activities. Abnormally high rainfall preceded the drought.

(b) Cereal production is estimated at 670,000 tons, a drastic 57 percent drop from last year's already poor harvest and only 67 percent of the 1999/2000 harvest. With anticipated maize imports of 300,000 tons and current food aid pledges of 60,000 tons, a cereal gap of potentially 1.497 million tons remains. Some 852,000 tons of food needs could be covered by the private sector, but this would require a change in the Government of Zimbabwe policy regarding grain importation.

(c) If neither the Government nor the private sector is able to provide large quantities of food to the markets, and if food aid does not arrive in the quantities needed at the right time, the food crisis could evolve into a famine.

3) Malawi

(a) Approximately 3.2 million people will need emergency food, mainly maize. The number will increase from the present 545,000 to 2.1 million in September and to 3.1 million from December to March.

(b) Maize production is estimated at 1.539 million tons, 10 percent less than last year's poor harvest. The actual harvest is expected to be lower due to widespread early consumption of green maize due to hunger. The cereal supply is estimated at 1.721 million tons against a national requirement of 2.206 million tons, leaving an import requirement of 485,000 tons. Thus, commercial cereal imports are forecast at 225,000 tons and food aid at 208,000 tons, which need to be covered by the Government and external assistance.

4) Lesotho

(a) An estimated 444,800 people will require emergency food aid at the peak of the crisis. Lesotho faced severe weather variability for the second year in a row - heavy rainfall, frost, hailstorms and tornadoes. This affected crops at planting and critical development stages. Cereal production is estimated at 53,800 tons, which is estimated 33 percent lower than the already-reduced last year.

(b) Domestic cereal supply is estimated at 74,000 tons, against national consumption of 412,000 tons. The gap of 338,000 tons will need to be covered by an estimated 191,000 tons of commercial imports and 147,000 tons of food aid for the 2002/03 marketing year. In particular, food aid needs will be most acute from November until March.

5) Swaziland

(a) An estimated 144,000 people in Lowveld, Middleveld and Lubombo Plateau need food assistance for 6 months, with an additional 87,000 needing it for the last 3 pre-harvest months. Erratic weather for a third consecutive year, including a prolonged dry spell severely affected crops during flowering stage. Production is 18 percent below last year's poor harvest and 37 percent below the 5-year average.

(b) Domestic cereal supply in 2002/2003 is estimated at 77,000 tons. Against total national consumption requirements of 188,000, the import requirement is 111,000 tons. Commercial imports are estimated at 96,000 tons and food aid at 17,720 tons. A WFP Emergency Coordinator for Swaziland will be arriving in the country early June.

6) Somalia

(a) The UNDP staff member, who was kidnapped on 28 April in Mogadishu, was unconditionally released on 25 May. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia welcomed the release of Prof. Abukar. On behalf of the UN, he strongly condemned attacks on humanitarian personnel and called upon all parties in Somalia to respect fully the security and safety of its staff. UN operations have subsequently resumed in Mogadishu. Recent renewed and ongoing militia fighting between the interim government and warlords may, however, affect these operations.

(b) WFP and other agencies have not resumed operations in Gedo due to insecurity. WFP has been planning a relief distribution in Gedo since April but access continues to be a problem. Nevertheless, WFP continues to pre-position food in Mandera for Gedo distribution as soon as access becomes possible. UN air operations into the area still suspended.

(c) International staff of aid agencies are still out of Puntland (Northeast). Authorities have advised that no aid workers should return to the area until further notice. The UN humanitarian coordinator is expected to hold discussions with the authorities.

B) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran, (3) Pakistan

1) Afghanistan

(a) WFP EMOP currently faces a shortfall of 215,400 tons of food worth approximately USD 123 million or 43 percent of the total requirements. Because of an immediate shortfall, WFP has had to take measures to scale down distributions. Food for Work (FFW) rehabilitation projects were suspended. Returning refugees and IDPs are now receiving a third of their re-settlement packages. NGOs are reporting increased levels of malnutrition among refugee and IDP populations. Food assistance to civil servant may be curtailed in the near future.

(b) Security problems in Nimroz and Helmand (southern region) resulted in some field visit cancellations. WFP dispatched over 450 tons of food in Kandahar to be distributed to 13,300 civil servants on 1 June. IDPs in Chaman camps will be relocated in 10 community base settlements in Kandahar Province. Spin Boldak IDPs will be relocated to their places of origin while Chaman Camp refugees will repatriate under the current repatriation programme.

(c) Since 19 March, over 17,000 returnee families and 163 IDP families arrived to UNHCR KSO transit/distribution points (southern region). 3,226 families were registered during this week. Due to the existing pipeline food shortage, returnees received one third of their ration.

(d) The security situation in Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Konar Provinces (eastern region), caused the temporarily suspension of several monitoring missions. Over 44,800 children are currently enrolled in Jalalabad's Food For Education (FFE) programme. WFP issued 100 tons of food for distribution to over 6,800 civil servants in Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces. Finally, approximately 200 tons of wheat were released to 3,900 returnee families and 40 IDP families in transit through the Torkham border from Pakistan. 48,700 returnee families have received 5,450 tons of WFP wheat in the eastern region.

(e) WFP intends to initiate a FFE programme targeting over 57,100 students in 3 districts in Baghlan Province (northern region). UNICEF will ship 60 tons of high-energy biscuits from Termez for distribution to targeted schools as an interim measure until the bakeries and women' cooperatives are operational for bread distribution.

(f) In the central region, WFP allocated 4,930 tons of food to its partners for the period April to June. 6,000 school children will receive bread once the bakeries are operational on 15 June. ACF reported a 10 percent increase in malnutrition admissions among the IDP and Refugee population in the central region, against 2.5 percent in April. MSF also reported increased incidence of malnutrition and typhoid cases in Pul-I-Charkhi encashment centre near Kabul. Nearly 5,000 families returned from Pakistan through this centre and were provided with a reduced food ration due to the pipeline problem.

(g) A WFP/UNAMA food availability survey in Wawashan IDP camp (western region) identified 209 vulnerable families, who will receive a one-off distribution of 10 tons of wheat. From 10 to 26 May, WFP distributed 141 tons of wheat to 5,360 refugees in the western region. 20,300 civil servants in Herat, Farah, Ghor and Badghis will receive 200 tons of food for a two-month period. Finally, almost 5,000 tons of food were issued for FOODAC projects for April and May in the western region.

2) Iran

(a) 60,000 Afghan refugees repatriated through UNHCR since 9 April. In addition, 60,000 people have spontaneously returned to their homes, bringing the total number of returnees since January to 120,000. The food distribution for the month of June will start next week in all refugee camps. 950 tons of food will be distributed to 62,500 beneficiaries.

(b) UNHCR reported that from 1 January to 30 April, 131 refugees have returned to Northern Iraq, bringing the total number of repatriations since1999 to 16,833. 130 Iraqi were repatriated from Ahwaz to Shalamcheh, bringing the total number of repatriations, since August 1998, to 5,938 refugees.

3) Pakistan

(a) Over 500 people were relocated to Asgharo Camp in Kurram Agency during May. Food distributions to 123,000 people for this month were completed in Kotkai and Shalman Camps while in Shamahatu Camp distribution is ongoing. 118,400 people are located in the camps, according to UNHCR. 10,500 people were repatriated during the first three weeks of May.

C) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea

1) DPR Korea

(a) Due to poor resourcing prospects causing major cereal shortfalls, WFP had to cut back on distributions to selected beneficiary categories starting in May. Distributions to 350,000 elderly persons, 675,000 secondary school children and 144,000 caregivers in child institutions and paediatric hospitals were suspended early this month. These measures will enable distributions to continue for core beneficiary groups - orphans, young children and pregnant/nursing women - farther into the third quarter.

(b) Due to a break in the pipeline, WFP decreased the sugar content, an essential ingredient, in the locally processed enriched blended food for the youngest children, from end February. Newly confirmed contributions for about 3,900 tons could now provide the majority of the sugar requirements for the rest of the year, assuming shipments are expedited.

(c) Pulses pipeline broke in April for up to four months, pending the arrival of soya beans in June. Oil pipeline breaks in May. Shipping arrangements of oil are being finalised, with initial arrivals expected at the end of May. Subsequent arrivals need to be expedited to avoid further gaps. New pledges for cereals are urgently needed. Procurement and shipping arrangements for commodities already pledged need to be urgently expedited.

D) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Caribbean, (2) Central America, (3) Guatemala, (4) Colombia, (5) Other countries

1) Caribbean

(a) Last week, Jamaica and Haiti were affected by a tropical storm, causing major flooding and landslides. Jamaican police reported that 6 people were killed as a consequence of floods. The Jamaican Office of Disaster Preparedness reports that 200 families were evacuated and are living in temporary shelters in Clarendon (central Jamaica). In Haiti, there are reports of 20 people drowned and dozens more missing. Overflowing rivers swept away houses in the South and Grande Anse districts.

2) Central America

(a) Heavy rains have hit the Central American region, causing major floods in urban and rural areas. Meteorologists indicate that due to the formation of El Niño, extended dry periods combined with heavy rains should be expected during this period of the year.

(b) In Honduras, torrential rains have affected most areas of the country. Thousands of people were isolated in the eastern region following the washing away of bridges. In Tegucigalpa, the Honduran Red Cross evacuated 300 people.

(c) In Nicaragua, the Government declared on 28 May a yellow alert due to floods, which are currently affecting the pacific coast region and particularly in the area of Managua. The Government's Vice-President met on 29 May with donor representatives and international organizations, including WFP, and informed that the rains have affected about 7,000 families. He also informed that the San Cristobal volcano has become active. WFP has provided 6 tons of food to persons in shelters and is assessing the need for further assistance.

(d) In Panama, reports indicate that four persons have died and hundreds of others have been seriously affected. Landslides and major flooding were the result of heavy rains.

3) Guatemala

(a) Due to intensive rains, serious infrastructure damages are expected to be reported. On 25-26 May, several bridges were damaged in the cities of Villa Canales, San Cristobal and Mixco.

(b) This week, an increase in acute malnutrition has been reported in Camotan (Province of Chiquimula). WFP is targeting this area under the recently approved EMOP 10174. The procurement process has begun for 2,150 tons of maize for the EMOP. Several shipments of oil and CSB are expected to arrive in Guatemala before 15 June.

4) Colombia

(a) Alvaro Uribe Velez was elected President of Colombia on 26 May despite isolated reports of violence. Security incidents have affected WFP operations. In particular, WFP food was not delivered on time in five provinces following the destruction of the bridge connecting Antioquia with the Atlantic Coast region. In addition, food delivery to the Choco province has been suspended due to threats of armed roadblocks. Deliveries were supposed to resume this week.

(b) However, WFP support to FFW projects continued as planned: 16 tons of food were distributed in Bogota, Turbo, Medellin and Anori municipalities. In the school-feeding component, 24 tons of fortified biscuits and natural fruit juices were to be delivered this week.

5) Other countries

(a) In Chile, government officials have reported that 5 people died and approximately 4,500 others were left homeless after rains overflowed riverbanks. The National Emergency Office is evaluating damages.

(b) In Mexico, increased tremors coming from the Volcano Colima have kept residents and authorities in state of alert for a possible eruption. The volcano continues to throw rocks, ash and jets of lava causing the evacuation of over 300 people. Also, Tropical Storm Alma in the eastern pacific picked up strength on 27 May off the coast of Mexico as it moved out to sea where it is now a hurricane. The storm's track would keep it far out in the Pacific away from Mexican coasts.

(c) In Argentina, on 28 May a 6.0 Richter-scale earthquake took place in the province of Catamarca. There are yet no reports of victims nor damages. A recent study in Argentina concludes that 58 percent of all children - some 5.7 million - live in poverty and 27.7 percent of them - some 2.7 million - are underfed. Officials said that in the province of Tucuman, malnutrition with a 25 percent weight deficit is now common among children under two.

(d) WFP Country Offices and Regional Bureau are monitoring these developments.

E) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Republic of Congo, (3) Democratic Republic of Congo, (4) Central Africa Republic

1) Angola

(a) WFP expects to face critical pipeline breaks in September unless further contributions are made by donors. WFP is particularly concerned as food requirements are likely to increase with the opening of many areas throughout the country. UN security assessments are underway in many areas, where high rates of malnutrition amongst children were observed. Urgent interventions are planned once security clearance is granted.

(b) Food distribution began to over 12,000 beneficiaries in the newly accessible area of Cuemba (Bié province). New registrations are underway in Cuemba. New admissions in Therapeutic and Supplementary Feeding Centres (TFC and SFC) in Kuito and Camacupa remained high. MSF-B reported a 12.5 percent severe malnutrition rate and 32 percent global malnutrition rate in the quartering area of Ndele. A SFC is being established by MSF-B with WFP support. Around 320 new IDPs arrived in Kuito and Camacupa during the week and were assisted with WFP food.

(c) In Balombo, German Agro Action confirmed the arrival of around 500 people who received WFP assistance in Hungulo and Caala camps (Benguela province). High levels of malnutrition were reported in the Chingongo quartering area. Acute malnutrition and various diseases were also reported in the Santa Cruz quartering area (Bengo province). Around 160 new IDPs were assisted by WFP in Kibaxi during the week.

(d) High malnutrition rates have been noted in Ussoque (Huambo province). An estimated 7,000 people are located in Ussoque and new IDPs continue to arrive. Severely malnourished children were referred to the TFC in Balambo, while WFP distributes supplementary rations to children in the camp. Around 780 new IDPs were registered in Ukuma municipality. During the week, WFP food was distributed 7,600 new IDPs in the Ukuma municipality.

(e) WFP prepositioned food for the general distribution in Chipindo (Huila province) planned for the coming week, targeting around 9,500 people. WFP and MINARS registered IDPs in Namacunde municipality (Cunene province). Food was distributed to around 1,900 IDPs in Kuvelai and Mupa. In Omatemba, failed crops due to a lack of rain have left local population extremely vulnerable and in need of WFP assistance.

(f) In Kwanza Norte province, WFP, in collaboration with World Vision, started distributing food to almost 900 beneficiaries in the newly accessible area of Samba Caju. The first WFP convoy from Sumbe to Wako Kungo (Kwanza Sul province) arrived and 58 tons of food were provided to new IDPs.

(g) In Malange province, WFP provided food to assist around 1,800 civilian family members of UNITA soldiers in the MSF-B nutritional centers in the quartering areas of Damba and Ganda Sol. TFCs and SFCs supported by WFP in and around Malange city also continue to receive severely malnourished people from the two quartering areas.

2) Republic of Congo

(a) WFP has started assisting 15,000 IDPs in the Pool Region, south of Brazzaville, amidst growing concern about tens of thousands more people trapped in the conflict areas inaccessible to WFP. Of the estimated 50,000 people who have been displaced by the fighting that started at the end of March in the Pool region, 20,000 have found safety in Brazzaville, Kikala and Djambala.

(b) This operation targets 15,000 vulnerable people with over 200 tons of food to be distributed in Brazzaville next week. As part of the assistance programme, WFP plans to distribute food to a group of 2,000 people in Kindamba who until two days ago was inaccessible to humanitarian agencies. This operation follows an inter-agency assessment mission that took place on 28 May.

(c) WFP welcomes the access granted to those in Kindamba. However, humanitarian agencies are still unable to reach the people trapped in various other areas affected by the fighting. Any further delays in the provision of food aid will have a devastating impact in the nutritional status of these people. WFP and other UN agencies have been negotiating with both parties to the conflict, urging them to guarantee humanitarian access and allow food aid deliveries to the affected populations. WFP has almost 3,800 tons of food immediately available in the country, which is enough to feed the targeted population for a period of 10 months. Additional resources will be reaching the country in June.

(d) To be able to provide food immediately, WFP is borrowing food from its ongoing operation assisting some 171,000 vulnerable people a year, which is very short of funds. Donations received so far cover less than 22 percent of the USD 17 million required for the next three years. WFP expects a significant increase in the number of people in need once access is given to those trapped in the conflict areas.

3) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) WFP and FAO assisted over 13,500 vulnerable in Befale, Equateur Province with 200 tons of food, seeds, and tools for agriculture. Besides, 3000 households were assisted with monthly ration as well as seeds and tools. WFP also assisted 900 malnourished children in nutritional centers, while 200 vulnerable in-patients were treated at the general.

(b) The security situation deteriorated in the South Kivu province from 29 April to 20 May. Many security incidents were reported within the town of Bukavu. Despite insecurity, WFP distributed 500 tons of food to an average of 40,000 beneficiaries over the last weeks. This includes the supply of 56 tons of food to malnourished children and their families. 30 TFCs and SFCs were opened. CARITAS and MALTESER identified over 4,600 malnourished children in Walungu.

(c) From 29 April to 20 May, WFP distributed 300 tons of food to 31,000 beneficiaries in North Kivu province. This includes the assistance to 8,361 malnourished children in two nutritional centers managed by Solidarités and MSF- H. During a joint assessment, WFP and World Vision identified 4,500 displaced families at Bambu; all of them are staying with host families, have access to farming land but lack seeds and tools.

4) Central African Republic (CAR)

(a) At the request of the CAR Government, WFP has recently started an emergency operation to provide food to people displaced by fighting in the northern part of the country, around Kabo and Batagafo. The project will provide 216 tons of food over a 3-month period to approximately 6,000 IDPs. These people have been displaced by insecurity around their villages. In some cases whole villages have been burned. The IDPs are located in the towns of Kabo and Batagafo, approximately 400 km north of Bangui.

(b) Food started to be distributed on 29 May. This assistance follows an initial convoy of food, medical supplies and non-food items in March, which was jointly organized by the Ministry of Social Affairs, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP. WFP is undertaking distributions directly with local authorities. Government is strongly encouraging the affected population to plant crops. However, people are lacking seeds.

F) West Africa Region: (1) Liberia

1) Liberia

(a) Clashes between Government troops and rebel forces were reported in the Klay area (some 25km from Monrovia) on 24 May. Earlier this week, rebels ambushed a commercial truck in the Lofa Bridge area, in Cape Mount county. As a result, access to Klay and Sinje has once again been blocked.

(b) On 22 May, a second inter-agency rapid assessment mission was undertaken to Ganta, Nimba county to identify the location of the population that fled recent fighting in Gbarnga and environs and assess their needs. 15 humanitarian agencies were represented on the mission, including WFP. The team registered over 21,000 IDPs, including IDPs previously in Gbarnga and residents from Gbarnga. However, most of the IDPs currently in Ganta are likely to move towards Guinea or Cote d'Ivoire, the border being very close from Ganta.

(c) IDPs have exhausted their food and cash resources. Farmers among the host population have stopped all activities on their respective farms due to insecurity. Available food supplies are dwindling fast. From 21 to 25 May, WFP distributed food to IDPs in Gbondoi, Bong county. WFP is currently assisting IDPs in Totota and also in Ganta, Nimba county.

(d) A total of 112,400 people are estimated to be displaced throughout the country. This includes 35,000 IDPs in Monrovia, 10,200 in Sinje (Cape Mount county), 6,500 in Kataka (Margibi county) 38,200 in Totata and Gbondoi (Bong county) and 1,000 in Buchanan (Grand Bassa county).

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 22)