WFP Emergency Report No. 22 of 2003

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 30 May 2003


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

B) East and Central Africa: (1) Republic of Congo, (2) DR Congo, (3) Burundi, (4) Rwanda, (5) Tanzania, (6) Kenya, (7) Sudan, (8) Eritrea, (9) Ethiopia

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

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

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea

From David Morton, Director of the Transport, Preparedness and Response Division (OTP); available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Carlo.Scaramella@wfp.org, Chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (OEP).

For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org, telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iraq, (2) Iran, (3) Afghanistan, (4) Pakistan

1) Iraq:

(a) Security remains one of the biggest issues of concern for WFP. Coalition Forces are now protecting Iraqi Ministry of Trade (MOT) facilities, including warehouses and silos, throughout the country, while MOT officials are in the process of hiring their own guard force. Security restrictions on the operation have eased during the week. Staff in Baghdad, Basrah, Hilla, Mosul and Erbil, as well as those travelling between Basrah and the port of Umm Qasr, will now be permitted to travel in one UN royal blue vehicle. An Arabic, (or Kurdish in the three northern governorates), speaker must be in the vehicle at all times. In all other areas the rule of two royal blue UN-marked vehicles with a minimum of two persons per vehicle remains. Travel between Ramadi and the Trebil border post with Jordan requires a convoy of four UN-marked royal blue vehicles. In addition, three Baghdad hotels have been security cleared to enable staff to move out of the office compound. This will enable the UN, including WFP, to raise the security ceiling on personnel, which will greatly facilitate the operation.

(b) WFP, MOT and the Office for Rehabilitation and Humanitarian Affairs (ORHA) have been making final arrangements for the distribution of the first post-conflict Public Distribution System (PDS) rations that begin on 01 June. The ration cycle will take about 20 days. One of the biggest tasks faced by MOT and WFP has been establishing the existing stock positions and coordinating those with the incoming WFP pipeline. On 28 and 29 May WFP met with MOT officials to devise a logistics plan to trans-ship commodities more equally throughout the country. This inter-governorate transfer started 29 May and should be finalized within 10 days. A series of radio and TV announcements went on air 30 May explaining to the Iraqi people what the ration basket will contain (i.e. 19 kg assorted commodities including wheat, rice, pulses and oil) and when they should go to their registered food agents to collect the food. It is envisaged that flour rations will be distributed first followed by the other commodities in the food basket. This is not necessarily an inconvenience to the people as there are different agents (retailers) for flour and the other commodities. Special arrangements have been made for people who have been internally displaced and cannot access their food agents. They will be able to go to the nearest distribution centre (warehouse) with their ration card to collect the food. Those who have lost their ration cards will be able to re-register with their nearest MOT office.

(c) On 29 May WFP signed a USD 150 million bilateral operation with the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) to draw money from the Oil-for-Food-Programme (OFFP) to finance the MOT purchase of the 2003 wheat harvest from Iraqi farmers. The role of WFP is to act as the conduit for the transfer of funds from OIP to MOT and overall supervision and superintendence of the purchase.

2) Iran:

(a) The first Oil For Food Programme (OFFP) vessel carrying 16,700 tons of rice and two further OFFP vessels carrying a total of 26,300 tons sugar are currently discharging their cargo at the port of Imam Khomeini. The discharge operation has been slowed down by delay of inspections and lack of authorization, which is affecting the dispatch. Necessary actions have been taken to rectify the situation and dispatch operations are expected to resume on 29 May.

(b) From 22 to 28 May, 1,406 tons of WFP food was dispatched to Iraq. From the start of the trans-border operation on 16 April, a cumulative total of 18,083.5 tons of food has been dispatched into Iraq, 13,073 tons of which has already been received by WFP in Suleymanieh, Baghdad and Baquba.

(c) UNHCR and WFP are discussing WFP support for the repatriation of Iraqi refuges under PRRO 10213.0. 900 Iraqis are scheduled to return to Iraq in the coming weeks. According to UNHCR and the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrant Affairs of the Ministry of Interior (BAFIA), a total of 450,222 Afghan refugees have repatriated from Dogharoun (northeast) and Milak (southeast) borders since the start of the operation on 09 April 2002.

(d) Earmarked contributions to PRRO 10213.0 for Afghan refugees will cover the refugees' cereal and pulses requirements through December. Unearmarked resources will cover outstanding needs, including those of Iraqi refugees, almost through November, with the exception of sugar, which for the Iraqi refugees will run out in August.

3) Afghanistan:

(a) In the north, factional violence continued in Gosfandi in Sari Pul province and Dara-I-Suf in Samangan province and missions to these areas remained suspended. Due to tensions in Mazari Sharif, UN activities were halted for three days. In the south, the security situation continued hampering assessment missions as well as food distributions. All Food For Work activities were suspended. However, the areas surrounding Kandahar city have been cleared for missions with Afghan Military Escorts (AME). Indiscriminate but isolated attacks on the assistance community in Kabul, Kandahar and Jalal Abad were a major concern.

(b) From 22 to 28 May, WFP provided 443,278 beneficiaries in Fayz Abad, Mazari Sharif, Kabul, Kandahar and Hirat with 1,370 tons of food through various WFP projects, including Food For Work and Food For Asset Creation, Food For Education, Relief and Resettlement of IDP's and refugees, Urban Vulnerable Bakeries and Supplementary and Institutional feeding activities. In addition, 3,354 people in flood-affected districts in Baghlan province received 52 tons of mixed food commodities.

(c) A joint impact assessment of hail, flood and cold weather on agricultural production in Panjsher district in Parwan province was conducted with the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Rural Development (MRRD), Ministry of Agriculture, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), FAO and WFP. The assessment recommended that WFP, in consultation with MRRD, would assess the food needs in the food deficit areas immediately after the harvest in September. As part of the ongoing WFP-supported School Reconstruction Pilot Project, MRRD, UNICEF and WFP facilitated a community empowerment and hygiene education training in Kabul city, during which 8 community-based hygiene education trainers were trained and a parents/teacher and school maintenance committee was organised. In Bamyan, WFP conducted Rapid Emergency Food Needs Assessment (REFNA) training for NGO's and Department of Rural Rehabilitation and Development staff. In Kandahar, WFP organised a meeting with Government counterparts and NGO's to discuss the selection of villages for the countrywide Cereal Value Assessment for 2003.

4) Pakistan

(a) The Government has arranged a meeting with donors and UN agencies in Quetta on 30 May to discuss the medium and long-term measures to be taken to mitigate the impact of drought. This year's wheat production estimates are 15 to 22 percent lower than the previously projected figure of 20 million tons, mainly due to a lack of availability of water due caused by the prevailing drought.

(b) Under EMOP 10228 "Food Assistance to Afghan Refugees", discussions are in progress between the Government, WFP and UNHCR to terminate food assistance to 27,000 refugees in Shamshatu camp in the North West Frontier Province after July. Meanwhile, in Balochistan Province, the Government has decided to relocate 19,826 Afghan refugees in June from the "waiting area" in Chaman to Muhammad Kheil refugee camp, due to security reasons. Assistance, including WFP food aid, would continue to be provided to the refugees.

(c) Currently, around 216,000 Afghan refugees in Balochistan Province and North West Frontier Province in Pakistan are receiving food assistance from WFP. An Action Contre La Faim (ACF) nutrition survey was completed in Balochistan Province and a similar survey is on-going in 10 WFP-assisted camps in the North West Frontier Province.

(d) No new contributions have been confirmed for EMOP 10228 and the resourcing situation remains critical. WFP continues to undertake actions in order to mobilize resources and negotiations with donors to cover requirements for wheat, vegetable oil and pulses for the coming months are still in progress.

(e) Under EMOP 10170, the distribution of food to drought-affected persons is continuing in three districts, including 157,000 people in Sindh and 108,000 persons in Balochistan. Preparatory work is underway to start distribution to 50,000 persons in Kharan, following a recent additional contribution of 2,150 tons of wheat.

B) East and Central Africa: (1) Republic of Congo, (2) DR Congo, (3) Burundi, (4) Rwanda, (5) Tanzania, (6) Kenya, (7) Sudan, (8) Eritrea, (9) Ethiopia

1) Republic of Congo

(a) The 17 March peace agreement between Ninja rebels and government representatives has paved the way for a stabilization of the situation in the country and the return of the displaced population to their locations of origin. Altogether some 78,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.

(b) WFP is participating in a one-month inter-agency assessment mission starting on 28 May aimed at facilitating the return of IDP's to the previously war-torn Pool region. This is the first time that the humanitarian community is granted access to the Pool region, since the outbreak of civil unrest in March 2002.

(c) As of 26 May, WFP's operation in Congo was only 42 percent resourced, leaving a shortfall of 9,700 tons, out of a total of 19,400 tons needed. Shortfalls in rice and vegetable oil are foreseen in the coming months and if the funding situation does not improve pipeline breaks will occur in the autumn.

2) DR Congo

(a) The humanitarian situation remained very volatile in eastern DR Congo. In Bunia in Ituri district fighting erupted again between Lendu and Hema tribal militias in the vicinity of Pont Anglais, approximately 300 meters South of MONUC HQ, causing people to scatter. According to OCHA there has been more than 4,000 IDP's in the MONUC compound in Bunia, 9,000 at Bunia airport, 6,000 in Aveba, 1,200 in the Katchekere area and 39,000 in Beni. More than 25,700 Congolese have taken refuge in the Bundibungyo and Nebbi districts in Uganda. The fighting between RCD troops and the Mai-Mai/FDLR Coalition remained a chronic trouble in Kalemie, Kongolo, Kabalo, Nyunzu, Moba (North-Katanga) and Walungu, Burhale, Bunyakiri, Shabunda (South-Kivu) leading to continuous movements of populations fleeing sexual violence and murder. UN security teams recommended that humanitarian efforts be kept within a 25 km radius from each city centre.

(b) In Bukavu, WFP organised missions to Bunyakiri with implementing partner IMC and UNICEF to assess the security situation and the extent of damage to IMC's WFP-supported programmes. Unidentified uniformed men have looted a total of 5,417.6 tons of food from IMC stores. Other items looted included therapeutic milk issued by UNICEF to malnourished children, seed and tool kits issued by FAO, laboratory and other equipment and technical materials as well as property of IMC itself. Prices of food and other essential goods have increased by 50 to 75 percent in Bunyakiri. WFP delivered 13,814 tons of food to IMC to recommence nutritional activities in Bunyakiri to meet the urgent food needs, especially for children. In Goma a joint mission including WFP, UNICEF and OCHA took place in Beni to assess the needs of IDP's from Bunia. The IDP committee registered 47,653 persons in urgent need of food. WFP delivered 208 tons of food to 25,000 new IDP's from Ituri.

(c) During the week, WFP started two airlift operations under Special Operation 10248 to Kindu and Kamituga in Maniema province, where people have been isolated for a long period. 35 tons of food was delivered to for nutritional centres in Kamituga in collaboration with Caritas and 123 tons will be delivered to COOPI to assist 4,090 malnourished children in Kindu.

3) Burundi

(a) During the week, the new Head of State met with staff from different ministries to explain his political orientation throughout his 18-month transition rule. On Monday 26 May, 11 military officers arrived from Mozambique, completing the command of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Burundi. The security situation remained of concern and skirmishes between the army and rebels continued in Gitega, Makamba, Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza provinces. Battles raged in Makamba province between the still active wings of FDD fighters and government troops, without precise information on casualties. Ambushes, selective killings and robberies were reported in Bururi, Cibitoke and Bubanza provinces. Numerous ambushes took place on "national road no. 5", connecting Bujumbura and Cibitoke province across parts of Bubanza province. Incursions of rebel fighters were reported in Cankuzo province bordering Tanzania.

(b) WFP assisted 13,850 IDP's in Bubanza province with 53.41 tons of food distributed in 7-days emergency rations, following three weeks of intense fighting in the province. The IDP's had been dispersed in Rugazi and Musigati communes of Bubanza province and had been cut-off from assistance by aid agencies for about two weeks. The security situation in their hills of origin remains unpredictable, but the emergency rations will be followed by a Food Needs Assessment if and when security permits.

(c) From 19 to 25 May, WFP distributed a total of 1,616.294 tons of food, including 1,511.27 tons of targeted rations to 166,875 persons in Bujumbura Rural, Cankuzo, Muramvya, Mwaro and Bubanza provinces and 70.316 tons of food to social centres. 491.7 tons of planned targeted distributions for 40,460 people in Bujumbura Rural and Gitega provinces were not distributed due to lack of security.

(d) WFP received a total 3,267.45 tons of food, including 2,840.85 tons of cereals and 426.6 tons of pulses from Kampala and Kigoma. As of 25 May, in-country stocks stood at 8,801.213 tons with 270 tons to be offloaded from barges and 1,145 tons in transit to Burundi. The pipeline is currently healthy and planned distributions can be effected if security permits.

4) Rwanda

(a) WFP conducted a field visit to Kibungo and Umutara, concentrating on sectors reported to be affected by delays in rainfall. WFP found that most households coped with the lean period by finding manual labour opportunities in more food secure districts. The recent start of rains has eased food insecurity for the affected households with the prospect of crop production and oncoming harvests. While most households appear to be coping, the food situation for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, chronically ill, child-headed households and widows/widowers remains a concern.

5) Tanzania

(a) Spontaneous refugee repatriations took place during the first half of May, with a total of 874 families comprising 3,213 individuals spontaneously returning to Burundi, most of them going to Ruyigi and Cankuzo provinces. 2,174 refugees were from Karago camp and 1,039 were from Mtendeli camp. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a movement permit to the spontaneous repatriates after they surrendered their ration cards. It is however believed that over 10,000 refugees have spontaneously repatriated, the majority of them without surrendering their ration cards. WFP has already initiated discussions with UNHCR for urgent plot verification for all the camps, beginning with Karago and Mtendeli camps. According to UNHCR, only Bujumbura urban, Muyinga, Ngozi and Kirundo Provinces are safe for facilitated voluntary repatriation. However, MHA is issuing movement permits for spontaneous repatriation to unsafe areas in Burundi for which no facilitation will be provided by UNHCR.

(b) Following a recent visit, UNHCR re-registration experts from Geneva, proposed to implement a new registration system called biometric, which is based on iris scanning and which facilitates the detection of "recyclers" and may help curb abuse. In view of recommendations, the planned re-registration exercise was postponed to September. Two-week general food distributions of all food commodities took place in all camps, with a third cycle of modified rations. 7,114 extremely vulnerable individuals in Lugufu, Kasulu, Kibondo and Ngara received 100 percent of all food commodities.

(c) WFP's salt stocks in the country have already been exhausted. Corn-soya blend is in extremely short supply with only limited stock available until the end of May. Cereals and pulses will be in short supply from September onwards.

6) Kenya

(a) The flood situation in Western and Nyanza Provinces of Kenya has stabilized. Assistance to victims is still ongoing, with the Kenya Red Cross and the Kenya Army continuing to play lead roles. Once the floods recede, the recovery period for victims to rebuild their lives is expected to last about three months. There is also much concern about the likelihood of an outbreak of water-related diseases once the water levels subside.

(b) Following the washing away of Ortum Bridge along the Kapenguria/Lodwar road, the Government has purchased a mobile bridge as a temporary measure to restore accessibility of Lokichoggio and Southern Sudan, until enough resources have been mobilized to build a permanent bridge. Currently, WFP is airlifting food aid and other supplies from Eldoret airport in Kenya to Southern Sudan.

(c) Along Tana River, water levels have increased especially in Hola and Garsen. Current assessments indicate that some 2,400 houses have been swept away displacing about 8,000 to 10,000 people, with the number increasing. The floods have washed away sections of roads and also damaged culverts, drifts and bridges next to Garissa provincial hospital. In addition, the debris carried by the water has blocked the drainage system in the area. Boreholes, sewage manholes have also been damaged and substantial amounts of waste are spilling and mixing with pools of stagnant water. Facilities such as toilets, access roads, buildings, fences and water storage tanks in seven schools have also been destroyed.

7) Sudan

(a) After floods damaged part of the road to the Lokichoggio base in northern Kenya and following the collapse of the key Ortum bridge linking the Lokichoggio humanitarian base with the rest of the country last week, WFP has temporarily shifted its operations for south Sudan to western Kenya. Air-dropping of food aid to southern Sudan is now being done from Eldoret airport. Although some sections of Ortum bridge were repaired, the bridge could only be used by small vehicles and not by heavy trucks needed to transport bulky food items. Kenyan authorities are trying to provide a temporary alternative passage for humanitarian trucks in the form of a mobile bridge, while repairs to the Ortum bridge continue. The decision to move the operation to Eldoret was critical to avoid a massive disruption of food aid to war and drought-affected populations in southern Sudan.

(b) Following a letter from the Director of Sudan Standards and Meteorology Organization (SSMO) informing WFP of a ban on imports of Genetically Modified Food into the country, WFP met SSMO's director on 24 May for further clarifications. SSMO's director explained that according to the new regulations for importing food, GMO-free certificates are required for commodities including grains (cereals), pulses, and blended foods. The impact of this new procedure will have immediate effects on all WFP operations, especially the EMOP and the PRRO. The pipeline is already under stress and the delay in releasing commodities onboard vessels already in Port Sudan and those scheduled to arrive in the near future will drastically reduce WFP operations in the country.

(c) The first cross-line barge operation along the Juba-Malakal river corridor since three years has successfully started on 12 May. So far, 728 tons of mixed food commodities have been distributed to 90,678 beneficiaries. The barge operation continues and is progressing well along the Juba corridor, with its first phase expected to be finalized by mid-June.

8) Eritrea

(a) There has been little rainfall in Eritrea during May, hampering land preparation for the upcoming agricultural season. The Regional Ministry of Agriculture in Debub reported that little has been done yet to prepare for the planting season, despite the fact that the region is one of the main agricultural areas of the country. The problem of limited rainfall has been compounded by the lack of healthy livestock to help till the land. The Ministry estimates that 70-80 percent of the livestock in the region is severely affected by the lack of fodder and water resulting from drought conditions.

(b) WFP visited Afayun village in Anseba, where they found the overall situation to be extremely serious. The villagers are mainly pastoral and it was reported that their livestock are now perishing due to severe shortages of food and water. The population is entirely dependent on food aid for survival. However, the limited size of the recipient target group is leading to widespread redistribution to additional needy community members, greatly reducing the intended quantity of the ration.

(c) In an effort to meet the needs of the increasing number of severely malnourished children, WFP has extended its Therapeutic Feeding Programme to five additional hospitals in the Debub region and five Catholic Health Clinics in four regions in the country. A WFP/UNICEF funded nutrition consultant is currently on mission in the Northern and Southern Red Sea regions as part of a preparatory phase in the design of a National Nutrition Surveillance System.

(d) As a result of their 18-20 May meeting in Asmara, the UN Country Teams (UNCT) from Ethiopia and Eritrea have recommended the creation of a Task Force composed of three members from each UNCT plus three UNMEE members. The Task Force will be responsible for preparing an action plan and monitoring the humanitarian and legal implications expected to arise from the upcoming border demarcation between the two countries.

(e) WFP's projects are currently resourced with 123,239 tons of food commodities for its 2003 operations in the country; the current shortfall of commodities remains at 136,000 tons.

9) Ethiopia

(a) On 28 May WFP warned that despite an early warning and a rapid response by the international community, 12.5 million Ethiopians continue to face starvation. Currently WFP has commitments of about half of what is needed for the portion of the emergency operation for 2003 to be covered by WFP. A threat of a pipeline break in September remains unless additional pledges are made. Despite generous contributions to Ethiopia through WFP, there is still a substantial shortfall of some 230,000 tons, amounting to some USD 90 million, towards WFP's total operational requirements in 2003 of 619,000 tonnes. WFP is appealing to donors to provide additional assistance to cover emergency needs in the country.

(b) One of the areas worst affected by the drought is Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) where approximately 20 percent of the country's population live. Chronic food insecurity is endemic, mainly due to the high population density, under-developed agriculture, a poor early warning system and unfavourable climatic conditions. Several months of food shortages have caused a recent increase in malnutrition rates among vulnerable people in the region. In response, humanitarian organisations have moved quickly to establish therapeutic and supplementary feeding centres in the worst affected areas, assisted by UNICEF. WFP has responded to the emerging crisis in SNNPR by increasing its monitoring capacity in the region and making blended food available to NGOs working in areas where acute malnutrition levels are rising.

(c) In addition to drought, parts of Ethiopia have experienced flooding. In the Somali region, some 90,000 people have been affected by the flooding of the Shebelle river in April. The coordinated response in Gode zone, involving the Government, UN, ICRC and NGO's, continues to try to reach flood-affected populations, but access to West and East Imi areas is not yet possible from Gode town. In spite of an airlift of emergency relief items including high-energy biscuits to the area, little assistance has reached areas not yet accessible by road.

(d) Besides the food shortage, the situation in Ethiopia is exacerbated by the lack of clean drinking water, a widespread seed shortage, and poor sanitation, nutrition and primary health care. WFP is committed to working with other UN agencies and NGOs to address these needs.

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

1) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) Malnutrition has increased in Odienné and Korhogo in the north and in Guiglo and Danané in the west. Hundreds of thousands of people face food shortages caused by the civil unrest. People in the areas held by the "New Forces" have been struggling for months to get access to certain types of food and other commodities that normally are supplied from the south. This includes agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilities. Likewise, the closure of the border between north and south has inhibited sales of cash crops from the north, forcing people to return to subsistence farming. The fact that normal rail services seem to be resuming between the north and the south is tremendously important for the long-term welfare of the people. Cooperatives in the north, which lost most agricultural inputs in rebel looting, have resumed selling fertilizer on credit this week.

(b) Thousands of displaced people, living with relatives or residing in transit centres throughout the country, rely on food aid. Several villages in the west, such as Zouan Hounien, Mahapleu, Bangolo, and Bin Houye are completely empty. With the recent peace-process in the west, it is expected that people initially will return to town areas, where security is more likely to be assured. Many still remain in the bush. Local government officials have not yet returned to many areas and basic social services such as health, electricity, water and sanitation have not been restored in many places. Many people will need humanitarian assistance and every effort must be made to support the peace process.

(c) 15,000 refugees and IDP's in and around Tabou require urgent humanitarian assistance. WFP has provided food assistance including high-energy biscuits to vulnerable persons. On 27 May WFP launched a public appeal for its new USD 16.4 million EMOP covering May to December. The EMOP targets 588,600 beneficiaries in Côte d'Ivoire and 275,000 returnees and people in transit to Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali. Meanwhile, contributions for EMOP 10244.1 are urgently needed. Shortfalls in the pipeline will start in June for cereals, corn-soya blend and pulses.

2) Mauritania

(a) Household food security remains poor in rural areas. Government reports state that locally produced foods are scarce. The price of imported food has risen in the past month on major markets, leading to a rise in the consumption of wild berries. Anecdotal evidence shows that previous EMOP distributions may have stabilized the food security situation in the Aftout region. Apart from food aid, the major coping mechanism in the region is the receipt of remittances of emigrated family members.

(b) The agro-pastoral band of the country, targeted by the EMOP, is suffering from sustained high temperatures exceeding 40°C and the near-total absence of herbaceous vegetation. Livestock, the main economic asset of rural households, are likely to be sold below their fair value or die - in spite of government subsidized sales of cattle feed. Some villages in the Aftout region have reported the loss of their donkeys, a sign of extreme environmental stress. In certain regions, herders have been massively cutting down tree limbs to feed their animals because of lack of fodder. The level of aquifers and of the Senegal River has dropped, leading to drinking water scarcity in communities dependent on shallow wells. Traces of rainfall have been reported in the south of the country, although significant amounts of precipitation are not expected until June.

(c) The distribution plan for the first tranche of EMOP 10249 distributions, amounting to 9,000 tons, and the last of the EMOP 10147 distributions, amounting to 3,500 tons, was finalised in a series of regional meetings attended by CSA, NGO implementing partners and WFP. The distributions are planned to start in the end of May and will target 420,000 planned beneficiaries in Mauritania's southern agro-pastoral strip.

(d) WFP's operation is suffering from significant shortfalls in vegetable oil and wheat-soya blend. The tranche of distributions planned for June may have to take place with incomplete rations due to shipping delays and the long lead time necessary to dispatch/preposition commodities and prepare distributions.

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

1) Namibia

(a) WFP has received a request for food assistance from the Government for flood-affected people in the Caprivi region. Subject to donor approval, around 127 tons of WFP food will be transferred from Lubango in Angola to Nambian Government warehouses in Katima Mulilo. The pulses, vegetable oil, corn-soya blend and salt provided by WFP will supplement food commodities, such as tinned meat and maize meal, already being provided under the Namibian Government's assistance programme to around 12,000 flood-affected people.

(b) WFP is running dangerously low on food to assist Angolan refugees in Namibia, with a corn-soya blend pipeline break expected in June and breaks for virtually all other commodities in the food basket, including the staple maize meal, in July. Donations are urgently needed for the WFP emergency refugee operation, which is expected to feed about 16,000 refugees in Osire camp and support the planned repatriation over the next 12 months.

2) Angola

(a) WFP is working with UNHCR to prepare for the upcoming organized repatriation of Angolan refugees from Zambia, DR Congo and Namibia into Moxico, Uige, Zaire and Kuando Kubango Provinces, due to begin from late June. WFP is providing food for distribution to returnee populations through UNHCR and implementing partners.

3) Zambia

(a) A joint WFP/Concern Worldwide Zambia team assessed the flood-affected areas in Zambia's Western Province. The team found that clinics had been submerged in water, and food was scarce in the area. One borehole was inoperative, and there are fears that an outbreak of water-borne illness could follow if clean water is not made available. Preliminary figures estimate that 9,740 families in four districts are affected, the majority being peasant farmers. Most families have returned to their homes, but are finding crops submerged in water. Families are eating lily roots and bartering fish in exchange for staple foods, such as maize. The Government suspended all relief maize distribution in the country, except those areas still suffering from last year's crisis. The Government estimates there is a bumper crop this season. The Government has established a floor price for rural-supplied maize of roughly USD 120 per ton.

(b) Under the regional EMOP, WFP distributed 2,197 tons of food to implementing partners during the week. In a WFP urban intervention, 166 tons of food was delivered to 1,787 orphans and vulnerable children and to 2,838 host families. In the Eastern Province, 92 tons of food was distributed to health centres and hospitals in support of TB treatment in three districts, and in Lusaka District 60 tons of food was delivered to 12 NGO's who provide family rations for patients in home-based care and for orphans and vulnerable children. WFP is pre-positioning food for the organized repatriation of Angolan refugees scheduled to begin in June.

(c) Transformation of Satellite Committees into Women's Relief Committees, of which at least 70 percent of the members must be women, is underway. WFP is working with the Ministry of Health and youth organizations to create a training package on counselling, directed at prevention of sexual abuse of women and children. WFP has produced a Blended Foods recipe book in a local language. Training for HIV/AIDS-awareness drama groups continues throughout the week.

4) Malawi

(a) WFP distributed 3,647 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners during the week. A cluster-monitoring workshop was held this week for WFP food aid monitors and programme staff. The WFP focal point for HIV/AIDS held a two-day meeting with implementing partners to examine progress of project implementation and recommendations for improvement.

5) Zimbabwe

(a) The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and trade unions have called for an indefinite work stoppage and mass action starting the first week of June.

(b) WFP did not distribute food in Zimbabwe this month due to the harvest. A single ration will be distributed in June to about 1.33 million people. Meanwhile, WFP and NGO partners are verifying beneficiary lists and conducting training. WFP and implementing partners are concerned that the national fuel crisis may affect activities in June. The Government of Zimbabwe has made an official request to WFP to continue food aid for the 2003/2004 agricultural season.

6) Swaziland

(a) WFP conducted household visits in four villages in the Lowveld, which confirmed reports of a zero harvest. Scarcity of water is of major concern in the same area, with reduced access to water expected to have negative implications for both household food security and the sugar industry.

(b) During the week, WFP distributed 299 tons of food to 19,559 beneficiaries in collaboration with implementing partners. Distributions of some implementing partners have been delayed due to re-targeting exercises. A consignment of 1,000 tons of rice due to arrive this week will help resolve recent pipeline problems experienced in the country.

(c) A Mozambican medical doctor trained a WFP food monitor, the WFP Field Coordinator, and three staff of the Swaziland National Emergency Response Committee on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) on the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to prepare for mapping HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country.

7) Lesotho

(a) During the week, WFP and implementing partners distributed 1,578 tons of food, including maize meal, pulses, vegetable oil and corn-soya blend, to 115,109 beneficiaries. WFP assistance included Vulnerable Group Feeding, MCH, support to HIV/AIDS and TB patients, Food For Work, emergency school feeding take-home rations for orphans and other vulnerable children at 1,428 primary schools, as well as cooked meals for children at 367 schools. A two-day workshop was held for WFP and Food Management Unit (FMU) staff to help streamline the relationship.

8) Madagascar

(a) Harvesting of sweet potatoes is underway in the south of the country and food availability has improved in some areas, such as Ambovombe, however overall food prices remain unaffordable to the majority of the population. WFP and FAO will conduct a joint crop assessment mission to determine the amount of damage to agricultural production caused by cyclone Manou. The mission will take place in four weeks, when harvesting activities are completed.

(b) WFP is providing technical backstopping to the Government for the distribution of 610 tons of food as well as relief items to schools not already being assisted by WFP. The relief items were collected during a telethon in April. Another USD 32,000 in private donations raised during the same intervention is being used to purchase additional food.

(c) The remainder of food for Food For Work activities in the drought-affected south was distributed, bringing the total amount of WFP food distributed since the programme began in March to 1,096 tons for 41,610 participants. WFP's implementing partner CARE has begun Food For Work rehabilitation activities with the first distributions taking place this week.

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea

1) DPR Korea

(a) A US Congress delegation arrived in DPRK on 30 May for a 3-day visit. The delegation is to meet with DPRK's No. 2, Kim Yong Nam, but is not travelling as Bush administration envoys. DPRK authorities have assured WFP that re-entry visas will be granted to WFP staff in Bangkok, Beijing and other relevant embassies and consulates. The first staff members to make use of this new system will return to the country on 05 June.

(b) The main agricultural activities reported this week are transplanting of rice and maize seedlings and weeding. Most provinces reported that wheat and barley are growing well, although the agricultural season is about two weeks behind compared to last year. In several counties the harvest of vegetables such as cabbage and spinach is ongoing. In several counties of South Hwanghae a worm-like pest described as "iron-wire" was reported to be damaging the leaves of maize. In the absence of pesticides traditional methods are being used to fight the pests. The Public Distribution Centre (PDC) ration for May remained at 250 grams/person/day. Provincial authorities in most provinces reported that the PDC ration would be maintained at 250 grams through July, with a possible decrease in August. The PDC ration is the cereal ration that the Government provides to the people at subsidized prices.

(c) To ensure that WFP food is available for the most vulnerable groups, i.e. young children and pregnant and nursing women, suspension of cereal distributions will continue in June on both the east and the west coast for all elderly beneficiaries, caregivers and primary school children. Distributions to all targeted beneficiaries are expected to resume from July and extend through the third quarter of the year with the anticipated arrival of confirmed contributions of 100,000 tons of maize, 40,500 tons of wheat and 11,000 tons of rice. Despite these contributions, cuts in cereal distributions will resume in the fourth quarter unless new pledges are confirmed soon.

(d) Pipeline shortfalls of about 82,000 tons for the remainder of the year are projected. Commodities yet to be resourced to avoid a pipeline break include 61,000 tons of cereals, 7,000 tons of pulses, 7,000 tons of corn-soya milk, 3,500 tons of sugar and 3,000 tons of oil.

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