WFP Emergency Report No. 30 of 2002

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 26 Jul 2002
This report includes:
(A) Asia Region: (1) DPR of Korea

(B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe, (3) Lesotho, (4) Zambia, (5) Mozambique, (6) Swaziland, (7) Ethiopia, (8) Burundi

(C) Central Africa Region: (1) Democratic Republic of Congo, (2) Angola, (3) Namibia

(D) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) El Salvador, (2) Colombia, (3) Peru, (4) Venezuela

(E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran

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) Asia Region: (1) DPR of Korea

1) DPR of Korea

(a) The DPRK government, as of 1 July, has implemented a policy of increasing wages and prices of staple food. These have been largely brought in line with prices at the farmers' markets, while substantial increases in the previously nominal costs for accommodation and utilities have also been introduced. These changes may be expected to have a proportionately serious impact on the food security situation for the urban populations in non-operative industrial towns all over the country, especially in the northeast provinces.

(b) WFP expects to face a significant shortfall of cereals under its EMOP in October. 120,000 tons of cereal are urgently needed to cover the needs until the end of the year. Total shortfall under EMOP 10141.0 is about 130,000 tons through December. In order to ensure food distributions to orphans, young children and pregnant and nursing women in August and as a result of underfunding, WFP will most likely not be able to introduce lean season rations for the elderly and caregivers in institutions, or to resume distributions to secondary school children, as had previously been hoped. Decisions earlier in the year have meant that these groups have not received, as per the EMOP plan, any WFP assistance starting in May due to insufficient pledges.

(c) With the damages caused by the heavy rains in Chongjin City, North Hamgyong province on 5-6 July, government authorities requested WFP support through the FFW programme, for rehabilitation activities in the affected areas. WFP intends to support three emergency projects.

B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zimbabwe, (3) Lesotho, (4) Zambia, (5) Mozambique, (6) Swaziland, (7) Ethiopia, (8) Burundi

1) Regional overview

(a) WFP's Executive Director James T. Morris was named Special Envoy for the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa on 18 July in New York by Mr. Kenzo Oshima, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator during the launch of the UN's "Regional Humanitarian Assistance Strategy Response to the Crisis in Southern Africa."

(b) A total of USD 3.66 million in new donor contributions was confirmed during the week. The current funding shortfall for the operation is USD 396.5 million. Due to the low levels of funding, now only at 22 percent of requirements, WFP is not able to meet its monthly food distribution requirements, let alone its goal of pre-positioning 340,000 tons prior to the rainy season in October to avoid logistical congestion during the peak period of need. WFP is currently expecting a regional shortfall of 110,582 tons of food against requirements for the months of August, September, and October.

(c) During the launch of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appeal for USD 61.9 million to help 1.3 million people throughout southern Africa, the IFRC announced provision of 200 short-haul trucks to be integrated into the WFP logistics operation. The IFRC valued this truck contribution, to be operated by IFRC and managed by WFP, at USD 7.2 million. The Federation also appealed for buffer stocks of 76,000 tons of food aid as a contingency, in the event that other agency pipelines break.

(d) A round of assessments conducted by National Vulnerability Assessment Committees (VACs) has begun in the six affected countries. Coordinated by the Regional VAC, a preliminary report is expected to be available on 6 August and a final report by the end of August. The results will be used for targeting, as well as for revising requirements, if necessary.

2) Zimbabwe

(a) WFP field staff in Zimbabwe report that the food security situation is rapidly deteriorating in the southern parts of the country, with some beneficiaries showing visible early signs of malnutrition. Elderly women and nursing mothers are most affected, as they give priority to feeding children with the limited resources available. Household coping mechanisms are diminishing, and wild fruits are becoming less available as the winter and dry season progresses. A UNICEF/Ministry of Health survey conducted in June confirmed rapid deterioration of food security in the country, with children being particularly hard hit. Since 20 February this year, WFP has distributed 21,700 tons of food in Zimbabwe to a total of 549,000 beneficiaries.

3) Lesotho

(a) 5,000 tons of WFP food are expected to start arriving in Lesotho next week, after which distributions will begin in collaboration with two implementing partners currently covering three districts. Heavy snowstorms in parts of the country have blocked roads and disrupted communications. WFP is travelling on 26 July to field sites and will meet with NGOs to ascertain the impact of these storms on local populations as well as the possible affect on planned food distributions.

4) Zambia

(a) The Government of Zambia has requested WFP to co-ordinate all food aid coming into the country. WFP will open its first two sub-offices in Zambia in Livingston and Chipata by 1 August, specifically for the Emergency Operation 10200.0.

5) Mozambique

(a) WFP organized training sessions for food aid monitors, coordinators and NGO implementing partners from four provinces - Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambezia. The training included selection of beneficiaries, food-for-work (FFW) activities, monitoring and reporting, food storage and HIV/AIDS issues.

6) Swaziland

(a) Training was held during the week for implementing partners on WFP warehousing standards and requirements. As of 22 July, about 680 tons of food had been received in country.

7) Ethiopia

(a) Ethiopia is facing immediate and serious food shortages due to the partial failure of the minor rains in belg cropping areas as well as a poor season in many pastoral areas. As a result, the number of people that will need immediate food assistance for July-December 2002 has dramatically increased. The monthly target population has increased from the early 2002 estimate to the mid-2002 estimate as follows: July from 3.6 to 5.9 million; August from 3.4 to 5.7 million; September from 3.2 to 5.5 million; October from 595,000 to 2.4 million; November from 116,000 to 2.1 million; December from 75,000 to 1.1 million. The government has issued an alert requesting assistance to avert the current food crisis and announced its own contribution of 45,000 tons of cereals.

(b) The situation in the mainly pastoralist region of Afar is of especial concern. The short rains (normally from February to May) failed, so that pasture could not regenerate and no cropland preparation was possible. Furthermore, the main rains (normally from end-June to mid-September) have not yet started. Herders have been migrating in search of pasture to the extent possible and resorting to cutting grass from hillsides to reduce the stress on animals. In many areas, wells have dried-up and people are walking long distances in search of water; animals are further weakened by the trek. Owners fear that many animals are so weak that they will die from pneumonia when the rains eventually start. The market value of all livestock has plummeted as the animals are in very poor condition, while the price of cereals has increased. Massive livestock losses have been reported, including camel losses. Herders are at risk of losing their breeding stock, which will limit their opportunities to recover. For agropastoralists, if rains do not start by end-July, even the short-cycle crops are expected to fail. In southern parts of Afar, the combination of drought and conflict between different groups is exacerbating an already difficult situation. Food distributions have been stepped-up in Afar in July, including distribution of supplementary food (blended fortified food) for young children.

(c) There are other areas requiring substantial additional food assistance due to poor rainfall between February and May. Of especial concern are the eastern parts of Oromiya Region lowlands, several areas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, as well as Alaba special woreda, and the northern part of Somali Region (especially Fik zone and Shinile zone).

(d) Relief food requirements reached a peak in July, with 5.9 million people targeted for food assistance. Around 50,000 tons of food have been dispatched to districts for distribution. Reduced rations (12.5 kg compared with the standard 15 kg per person per month) were used and the food could cover only around two-thirds of the target population. Relief food assistance now available (around 115,000 tons of cereals) can only meet August and September requirements at reduced rations. Further contributions are urgently needed. The requirements from October to December are almost 100,000 tons of cereals, which needs to be covered by WFP, bilateral contributions and NGOs. WFP has a shortfall of 87,430 tons against the current emergency operation, which runs to March 2003.

(e) There are also concerns for the main (meher) crop to be harvested in November ? December. For most of the western half of the country, rainfall has been normal to above-normal from early-June to mid-July. However, in the eastern half of the country, as well as south-western parts, rainfall has been well below normal. Many zones have received less than half of their normal rainfall. These include Central, East and South Tigray, north-western and south-western Afar, North and South Wello, North and East Shewa, Arsi, East and West Hararge, Jijiga, North Omo, Sidama, Gedeo and Hadiya. Thus, rains during the first six weeks of the meher season have been poor in most of the traditionally vulnerable food-insecure areas and the consequence could be even greater food assistance needs in 2003. Rains in the remainder of July and August will be critical for most of the meher crop dependent areas.

8) Burundi

(a) From 8 to 21 July, WFP was able to assist approximately 121,750 people displaced by hostilities in Bujumbura Rural province as well as those identified as food insecure in Mwaro and Muyinga provinces, with over 1,000 tons of food. In addition, over 2,600 refugees returning spontaneously to Muyinga Province received a return package and over 3,300 returnees were provided food in several transit camps. UNHCR has suspended any assistance to returnees entering through Ruyigi and Makamba provinces. WFP also assisted 5,000 vulnerable persons through 23 social centres and supported several FFW projects.

(b) WHO and the Government of Burundi reported an increase of cholera epidemic due to the lack of potable water in Bujumbura Rural province. The epidemic was also reported in Bujumbura Mairie and other provinces.

(c) Insecurity persisted in the country with fighting reported in Ruyigi, Bururi, Rutana, Gitega, Mwaro and Muramvya provinces. Many socio-economic infrastructures have been destroyed and thousands of people have been forced to flee their villages. As a result, WFP has not been able to resume distributions in Ruyigi province over the last two weeks.

C) Central Africa Region: (1) Democratic Republic of Congo, (2) Angola, (3) Namibia

1) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) On 26 July, Nyamuragira volcano, located some 40 km from Goma, erupted, causing a fountain of lava 100 metres high, ash and volcanic debris in the air. WFP staff in Goma reported that the eruption poses little immediate threat to local people but the cloud of dust and ash could damage crops over a wide area or cause eye problems, headaches or fever among residents living around the base of the mountain. UN agencies are gathering emergency supplies in case large numbers of people are forced to flee and are organizing an assessment of the damage by helicopter.

(b) Fighting continued during the first half of July in the Northern part of Goma (North Kivu province). In the "hauts plateaux" in Minembwe (South Kivu province), around 10,000 people have been forced to abandon their villages and are now trapped between the frontlines. This renewed insecurity resulted in massive population movements and increased needs for humanitarian assistance. In addition, the Banyamulenge community is being militarily evicted from homes occupied illegally in the town of Bukavu.

(c) WFP partner reported that severe malnutrition among the beneficiaries in Zongo (Equateur province) and the lack of nutritional programs put at risk the vulnerable groups. However, WFP partner in Libenge area do not have sufficient capacity to establish nutritional programmes. UNHCR distributed 3,700 WFP food rations to 6,000 refugees in Zongo (Equateur province). WFP also assisted 1,150 orphans and malnourished children.

(d) In South Kivu province, WFP delivered 225 tons of food to over 30,200 vulnerable people during the first half of July. The beneficiaries included over 3,760 households of returnees at Muku, Walungu and 2,850 children in Bukavu, Uvira and Nyangezi. Over 350,000 persons, including 10,000 people forced to abandon their villages in Minembwe were identified as being in need of food aid in the South Kivu region.

(e) During the first half of July, WFP distributed 120 tons of food to its partners to cover the needs of 26,400 beneficiaries in North Kivu province. WFP targeted over 8,000 displaced households in Butembo, Masisi, Walikale, Kikuku and along the Kanyabayonga-Kirumba axis. About 5,600 returnees who fled their home following the volcano eruption continue to receive assistance.

(f) In Kinshasa region, WFP intends to target 33,530 IDPs and refugees for the next food distribution as well as 51,600 beneficiaries in nutritional centres,19,400 vulnerable groups, 3,100 households involved in FFW projects and 8,700 beneficiaries in FFT programs. In Katanga province, WFP intends to assist 4,000 vulnerable groups identified in Kamina.

2) Angola

(a) As of 19 July, WFP has provided food aid in 35 of the 42 Family Reception Areas (FRAs) assisting 287,500 new beneficiaries. In addition, food has been distributed in 18 of the newly accessed locations around the country, to over 92,800 people.

(b) In Bengo province, WFP will provide food to support a new Supplementary Feeding Centre in Mimbota, with an average admission of 125 malnourished children per day. The vaccination campaign against polio will soon start in the province. WFP will provide FFW incentives to the vaccination team. In Benguela province, the second round of general food distribution in the FRAs has been scheduled for next week, following the completion of the re-verification exercise.

(c) In Huambo province, following verification and registration of the population in FRAs of Sambo, Lunge, Mega and Chiteta, WFP intends to target 75,850 beneficiaries for food assistance.

(d) In Huila province, the joint WFP/NRC/MINARS verification and registration exercise scheduled for last week has been suspended until the completion of the de-mining activities on the road between Dongo and Matome. De-mining is also needed on the axis Matala-Chicomba that remains cut-off from the other provinces.

(e) In Malange province, 10,150 vulnerable persons are targeted for the next food distribution. 48 new IDPs were registered for WFP food assistance under Community Kitchen Programme in Moxico province. A sharp drop in the number of TFC malnourished children was reported. In Uige and Zaire provinces, WFP resumed general food distribution to the FRA of Mandimba/Zaire after having overcome a number of logistical constraints.

(f) In Kuanza Norte province, an inter-agency mission conducted a nutritional assessment in the municipality of Samba Caju and the FRA of Mussabo. The mission recommended that nutritional feeding programs be established for children at risk.

3) Namibia

(a) During the first three weeks of July, UNHCR reported the arrival of 115 refugees in Namibia, predominantly Angolan. UNHCR attributed these new arrivals to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Angola. Some refugees also crossed the border to join their family in Osire camp. The Government of Namibia has requested WFP to assist in a crop-verification and needs assessment exercise consequent upon the prevailing drought in the country.

D) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) El Salvador, (2) Colombia, (3) Peru, (4) Venezuela

1) El Salvador

(a) Heavy rains over the past few days have alleviated fears of a protracted veranillo (the dry period during the rainy season) that has been affecting the drought stricken eastern provinces. Areas of the provinces of Morazan, La Union and San Miguel have experienced two weeks without rain, which affected the growth of maize and bean crops. WFP will closely monitor the crop situation and assess if further intervention is needed to assist the most vulnerable populations.

(b) Last week, an inter-agency mission led by WFP and comprised of NGOs and government counterparts assessed the need for food assistance in the province of Morazan. The population was found to be at risk and further assessments are needed to target the most vulnerable. This will be done jointly with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

(c) Under PRRO 6089, WFP will distribute 500 tons of food over the coming weeks to families affected by the 2001-2002 drought. Letters of Understanding will be signed over the next two weeks with NGO counterparts (CRS, CARE, ACT, Action Aid-Spain and local NGOs), outlining work plans for the next 7 months.

2) Colombia

(a) WFP and government counterparts will assist 286 displaced families returning to their communities this week, providing them with an initial one-month food package and agricultural inputs. These families were displaced two months ago from various municipalities along the river Atrato. Nearly 1,560 families still remain in Quibdo.

(b) Given the continuing economic blockades imposed by armed groups in the province of North Santander, an interagency assessment mission will travel to Altos de Bobali together with the Colombian authorities. During the last months, armed groups have indicated that municipal mayors will be considered as military targets. This has forced many to resign and leave, thus putting governmental counterpart contributions at risk.

(c) A report produced by the Colombian Episcopal Conference and WFP highlights food as one of the primary needs of the internally displaced population, before housing and health. Over 77,000 IDPs were interviewed for this study between 1999 and 2001 in nine provinces.

(d) Despite insecurity, WFP staff travelled in most areas, however, a mission by road to the Since locality on the Caribbean coast was cancelled due to confrontations between armed groups. Under PRRO 6139.0, WFP intends to distribute 155 tons of food for pre-school and nutritional recovery projects during this week in ten provinces. This will represent 553,850 rations, benefiting to 233 projects.

3) Peru

(a) According to OCHA, about 60 persons reportedly died and over 86,000 persons have been affected in Peru due to the freezing temperatures. 200 houses were destroyed and over 20,700 houses damaged, while about 17,700 hectares of crops were affected or destroyed. Among the main needs, shelter, roofing materials, food, health care, seeds, fertilizer have been identified.

(b) Experts said the coldest weather in a decade is the result of an impending El Niño. Persistent fog, snow and heavy winds have made it difficult to fully evaluate the damage and to deliver relief goods, especially in the remote Andes mountains. The Government continues to provide assistance to the affected population, delivering so far over 500 tons of supplies and providing medical care.

(c) The Government has declared state of emergency and has appealed to the international community for assistance. Current food needs are being met by the Government and private sector. WFP is closely monitoring the situation to determine developments in terms of future food needs.

4) Venezuela

(a) According to press reports quoting Government authorities, recent floods in southeastern Venezuela have killed three persons, damaged about 4,500 houses and left some 25,000 people homeless. Civil Defence workers and troops were helping evacuate and provided food assistance to the affected families.

E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran

1) Afghanistan

(a) WFP continues to face significant food shortages. As a result, food releases are still being delayed and distributions are being retargeted towards high priority areas. Commencement of newly approved projects has been postponed, and approval of newly proposed projects suspended.

(b) The official UN estimates of Afghan returnees in 2002 have been revised upwards to 2 million from 800,000. The security situation has been relatively calm during the week. However, a number of incidents affected WFP operations in parts of the Western, Eastern and Southern areas.

(c) WFP dispatched 3,370 tons of food to its partners in the central region from 17 to 23 July. In Bamian Province (central area), 300 IDP families have returned and received food assistance. The outcome of the WFP/FAO Crop Assessment in the Central area indicates that there has been significant crop improvement over the year 2001, despite the continued low-level food productivity and the presence of many food insecure areas. The level of food assistance required for the coming season in the central area will be lower.

(d) In the western region, WFP distributed 95 tons of food to 6,400 refugees and returnees. In addition, the Project Approval Committee approved food assistance for 2,200 persons involved in Adult Literacy Courses in Farah City as well as 230 children going to Kindergarten.

(e) In the northeastern area, 375 tons of food was dispatched to WFP-assisted projects including the FFE Programme and the Civil Servants Programme. In the eastern area, WFP reached 16,700 beneficiaries through various projects, including the FFE, Non-formal Education, Supplementary Feeding Programmes. Food aid was also given to 2,200 returnee families.

(f) In the southern regions, almost 1,500 tons of food was dispatched through 8 partners to 14 districts. The Kandahar Area Office Project Approval Committee approved assistance to 8 projects under the FOODAC strategy in Kandahar and Zabul provinces. WFP agreed to provide 2,440 tons of food to 94,700 beneficiaries. In the northern area, WFP dispatched over 6,000 tons of food to its partners. Over 61,400 vulnerable persons already benefited from this assistance.

2) Iran

(a) As of 20 July, 100,200 refugees had repatriated from Iran to Afghanistan through the UNHCR-assisted Voluntary Repatriation Programme. This caseload corresponds to 25 percent of the expected number of returns for the first year. Ten Voluntary Repatriation Centres in addition to several mobile teams process those refugees willing to return home. More than a quarter of the registered returnees said they were going to Kabul.

(b) The Joint Commission on Humanitarian Affairs of the Governments of Iran and Iraq reached a bilateral agreement on the voluntary repatriation of Iraqi and Iranian refugees on 23 June. The agreement provides for drawing up lists of refugees hosted by each country since their 1980-1988 war, who wish to return home. No definite date was agreed upon for the submission of the lists.

(c) A monitoring mission to the earthquake-affected areas of Qazvin province was fielded on 21-23 July to review the impact of the disaster, the response by relief agencies and the unmet food needs. The mission reported that the Iranian Red Crescent has been distributing food since the beginning of the disaster. About 25,000 people are estimated to require food assistance for an additional period of three months, as an incentive while they reconstruct their houses before the beginning of the winter season. WFP will cover their needs for one month through an EMOP approved under the delegated authority of the Country Director, whereas the remaining needs are to be met by the Iranian Red Crescent Society, who is responsible for the implementation of this operation. WFP will borrow commodities from its current food stocks for refugees.

Correction: Please note that the paragraphs (d), (e) and (f) of section (A. 9) of the WFP Emergency Report No. 29, dated 19 July 2002 should be moved under the section (A.10) related to Burundi. [Correction done.]

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 30)