WFP Emergency Report No. 33 of 2002

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 16 Aug 2002


This report includes:
(A) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea

(B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Lesotho,

(3) Malawi, (4) Mozambique, (5) Swaziland, (6) Zambia, (7) Zimbabwe, (8) Somalia, (9) Ethiopia, (10) Tanzania

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

(D) Eastern Europe region: (1) North Caucasus

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

(F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) Venezuela

(G) West Africa: (1) Sierra Leone

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 Korea

1) DPR Korea

(a) Pipeline shortages, which have seriously impacted WFP's activities since the second quarter of 2002, continue to cause concern for the rest of the year. To fully implement the EMOP 10141.0 until the end of the year, WFP requires additional pledges totalling 114,621 tons of food, mostly cereals. Given this shortfall, WFP is refining its cereal distribution plans to ensure that the basic food needs of the most vulnerable can be met for as long as possible.

(b) Cereal distributions will therefore prioritize the heavily urbanized food-deficit eastern provinces. Orphanages, paediatric hospitals and Local Food Production factories in all provinces will be covered until December. Distributions to core beneficiary groups on the east coast will be covered for the year, but the cereal pipeline will break in September-October for the west coast provinces. Distributions suspended since May to secondary school children and the elderly (lean season), will be resumed from August (not on the west coast); lean season cereal distributions (May-September) to caregivers in child institutions will not be resumed at all. WFP cereal allocations to support food-for-work (FFW) activities for the autumn season will have to be reduced. Some of the cash contributions will be combined to purchase vitamin-mineral pre-mixes for locally produced blended food for young children.

(c) The DPRK Government enacted a set of economic reforms from 1 July by implementing a policy of increasing wages and prices of staple foods. Based on the briefings provided by the Government, prices of staple foods 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. As indicated by the Government, the price of rice increased 48 times and the price of maize increased 41 times as of 1 July. With wage increases not uniform across all sectors, these changes may be expected to have a proportionately serious impact on the food security situation for urban populations in non-operative industrial towns, especially in the northeast provinces. In order to analyze the potential impact on the urban population's accessibility to food, WFP began to collect Public Distribution Centres (PDCs) food prices in July during monitoring visits.

(d) The UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mr. Kenzo Oshima visited the DPRK from 30 July to 3 August. WFP Regional Director John Powell and UNICEF Country Representative Richard Bridle accompanied him on the mission. During the visit, Mr. Oshima announced that, as agreed by the DPRK Government, UN agencies would be allowed to have satellite communications and that a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN would be developed with the Government on the medical evacuation of UN staff and families. The Government also reaffirmed the conducting of the Nutrition Survey this year. Mr. Oshima and Mr. Powell later travelled to Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo where they met with donor representatives to discuss the humanitarian situation in DPRK.

(e) Heavy rains reportedly flooded fields in most of the provinces during the week. Initial government reports, received from the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee on 8 August, from the extensively affected provinces of South Hwanghae and North-South Pyongan provinces indicate flooding in about 60,000 hectares of paddy fields and 30,000 hectares of maize fields. Over 7,000 houses were destroyed, while some bridges and roads were also damaged by landslides and floods. Comprehensive assessment reports on the damages caused by the rains are under process and WFP Emergency Officers have begun to verify the damages in all provinces.

(f) The Special FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply assessment mission report was released on 29 July. The early crop harvest production forecast indicates that the harvests this year are significantly better than last year. Food security assessments indicated that the worse affected are the urban households in general, but especially those living in food-deficit areas of the north and northeast, particularly the children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly. Forecasts for the main rice and maize crops were not very favourable given the decaying irrigation system and lack of fertilizers.

(g) Provincial authorities reported better or similar early crop harvest productions in most provinces, excluding the northeast, largely depending on the rainfall received in the past few months. However, pest infestations have already damaged the main rice and maize crops in some areas, while lack of adequate irrigation in paddy fields was a cause for concern in areas that had not received sufficient rainfall. Distributions of daily food rations by the Government through the PDCs in July were reduced from 350 to 300 grams/person/day, but were double the rations distributed in July of last year (150 grams).

(h) By the end of July, 60 FFW proposals had been received for the autumn season 2002 and are currently being assessed. Most of the proposed projects are in highly vulnerable and moderately vulnerable counties. Distribution of food to support rehabilitation of flood damaged areas in Chongjin city, hit by heavy rains in early July, was approved on priority. Lack of sufficient pledges for cereal will mean that the FFW autumn season projects will be limited and focused largely in the eastern, industrialized food deficit provinces.

B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Lesotho, (3) Malawi, (4) Mozambique, (5) Swaziland, (6) Zambia, (7) Zimbabwe, (8) Somalia, (9) Ethiopia, (10) Tanzania

1) Regional overview

(a) USD 4.3 million in new donor contributions were confirmed during the week. The current funding shortfall for the operation is USD 389 million, meaning the Emergency Operation is 23 percent funded. WFP is currently expecting a regional shortfall of 65,000 tons of food against requirements for the months of September, October and November.

(b) Most SADC/VAC vulnerability assessment teams in the region have returned from the field, and following data analysis, a final report will be prepared by the end of August.

(c) An inter-agency meeting focussing on nutrition care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS was held in Durban from 12-16 August. Organized by UNICEF, the meeting was attended by representatives of Ministries of Health, nutrition agencies, UN and NGOs. Special attention was given to HIV/AIDS and nutrition in the context of the Southern Africa humanitarian crisis and a presentation was made by WFP's regional nutritionist.

(d) UNICEF, WFP and Save the Children (SCF/UK) are preparing training packages on Protection of Women and Children from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the context of the humanitarian response to the food security crisis in Southern Africa. Training of trainers will take place in various countries for UN agencies, NGOs, and Government counterparts. Core training teams will provide ongoing training to the large number of humanitarian and commercial workers involved in the emergency response.

(e) Several security incidents reported during the week are raising concern. Two armed robberies of UN personal were reported from Maputo, Mozambique. There were incidents of theft from a WFP warehouse in Lusaka, Zambia. In Malawi, there have been three armed car robberies targeting international organizations. As an initial response in Malawi, the UN Resident Coordinator's office is providing security training to drivers at UN agencies. Following last week's assault on the WFP office in Johannesburg, security is being greatly increased at the office premises and trauma counselling is being provided to staff.

2) Lesotho

(a) Of a Government contribution of 3,816 tons of maize meal funded through its own resources and bi-lateral donations, the Government has dispatched 1,520 tons of the maize meal to warehouses in nine districts. WFP and Government representatives met this week and agreed to distribute food aid in a coordinated manner to maximize the impact of food assistance.

(b) UNICEF is purchasing 360 tons of supplementary food for children under-five to complement WFP distributions in the three districts of Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, and Quthing.

3) Malawi

(a) A FAO programme to provide emergency agricultural inputs for 50,000 food insecure households in four districts is ongoing, and is expected to conclude at the end of November. WFP provided training in Lilongwe, Mzimba, and Blantyre for implementing partners on stock handling techniques and stock control documentation.

4) Mozambique

(a) WFP signed Letters of Understanding (LOU) with CEDES to distribute food to 1,380 beneficiaries in Gaza Province for two months and with CONCERN to implement FFW activities in Manica Province covering 15,000 persons for two months. WFO is also finalizing a LOU with World Vision International for FFW activities covering 50,000 beneficiaries in four districts of Tete Province.

5) Swaziland

(a) All eight WFP implementing partners have received the full food basket and distributions to beneficiaries are ongoing.

6) Zambia

(a) An urban food aid intervention programme has begun in Zambia. WFP will cover Lusaka, while CARE, World Vision and CRS will be respectively responsible for Livingstone, Chipata and Ndola. WFP is taking the lead in undertaking assessments in the four cities.

7) Zimbabwe

(a) A rapid assessment conducted last week by UNICEF and WFP in Tsholotsho District of Matabeleland North found that increased mortality rates are being complicated by high HIV/AIDS rates. The mission found that 80 percent of paediatric admissions to the District Hospital are HIV positive, and the most common reason for adult admissions is tuberculosis. The mission also found that for most households WFP is the only source of food. It was recommended that an inter-sectorial response be immediately established to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis. WFP intends to further monitor interactions between the food crisis and HIV/AIDS in order to contain the disease's long-term effects on food security.

(b) The flow of food aid stocks into the country improved considerably over the week. However cereals comprise 86 percent of all stocks, with shortfalls of pulses and vegetable oil. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) food supplies to rural continue to be erratic and long queues at the GMB depots are reported.

8) Somalia

(a) A FAO employee working for the Food Security Assessment Unit, abducted on 5 August in Mogadishu was released without preconditions on 10 August.

(b) The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator reported a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in many parts of Somalia due to a recent upsurge of violence, particularly in Baidoa, the northeast (Puntland) and Mogadishu. Renewed conflicts in these areas have caused human casualties and protracted and multiple displacements of populations. This has compounded the vulnerability of several hundred thousand Somalis nationwide.

(c) The recent outbreak of insecurity continues to disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Somalis who are already facing acute poverty, malnutrition and the lack of access to even the most basic social services.

(d) Security conditions in Bay, Bakool and Gedo remain unpredictable. Nevertheless, given the overwhelming food needs in these areas, WFP is planning to resume priority emergency activities under its PRRO 6073. WFP International staff have not returned to the town of Baidoa but are scheduled to travel soon to other parts of Bay and Bakool to resume WFP priority activities. In particular, WFP is planning to distribute some 440 tons of food for the MCH support programme, in addition to some 20 tons for FFW activities. WFP is planning a distribution of 1,300 tons of food in Garbaharey and Burdubo districts (Gedo region).

9) Ethiopia

(a) Missions with donors and on-going monitoring in hard-hit areas of Ethiopia have shown further evidence of the serious impact of the very dry conditions from April to late July in eastern pastoralist areas and eastern and southern cropping areas. The long dry spell between insufficient short season rains (Belg rains) which ended early and the very delayed start of long season rains (Kiremt or Meher rains) has resulted in the failure of long-cycle crops in lowland areas, which would normally be harvested in November; no green maize is available in hardest hit areas as hungry season food usually consumed at this time of the year. Pastoral populations and livestock in Afar Region have suffered from the impact of the extended dry period, which followed poor rains in 2001. In Afar Region, as elsewhere in the east, rain is now falling, but relief needs continue. Many livestock have died, remaining animals are in poor shape due to disease and milk production is not expected to improve for several months. Similar conditions exist in neighbouring pastoral areas of Somali Region and Oromiya Region. Food distributions have been increased in these areas, and blended food is included in the ration.

(b) There has been growing concern in recent weeks for poor Meher crops later in the year in highland areas. Rains have begun to fall, but up to six weeks late and the rains will need to continue into late September for short-cycle crops to produce normal yields and into October for long-cycle crops. There has been a general shift from short to long cycle crops, which will inevitably result in lower yields in the 2002/2003 harvest. The current prediction is for an early end to the rains.

(c) A large stretch of the country has been affected: the eastern escarpment running north to south and the lowlands that lie to the east of the escarpment and then run south-west through the Rift Valley. This encompasses eastern and southern Tigray Region in the north, eastern Amhara Region, all of Afar Region, adjacent areas of Somali Region (Shinile zone), and Oromiya Region (Fentale woreda, East Shewa), south into Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, SNNPR (particularly the lowlands of Wolayita and Gama Gofa zones and adjacent lowland areas, but also adjacent areas of northern SNNPR), and lowlands of East and West Hararghe; also affected are pocket areas in western Amhara Region (in lowland river gorge areas). Larger parts of the highlands will be affected if the long season rains end early. Currently affected and at risk areas include many of the chronically vulnerable parts of the country (especially in Meher-dependent areas). Elsewhere in the country, western surplus cereal producing areas have received sufficient rain thus far, but crops in the maize belt in the centre of the country have failed, and prices for maize and other cereals are rising.

(d) Present beneficiary number, determined in July after a mid-year Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission, DPPC, led assessment is 5.9 million out of a total population of 65 million. This beneficiary caseload includes 3.6 million people identified in December 2001 as requiring food aid through to September/ October 2002.

(e) A donation to WFP of 42,000 tons of cereals and 3,000 tons of blended food was announced on 14 August. With this donation and an earlier donation by the Government of Ethiopia to the DPPC operation there are food resources using drawdowns from the Emergency Food Security Reserve to cover needs to the end of September. The overall shortfall is still considerable. Distribution requirements for the period October to December are at least 90,000 tons and likely to increase in view of late harvests in Meher producing areas. For the WFP operation, the current shortfall in cereals is nearly 30,000 tons, through to the end of March 2003. If requirements increase as a result of the present mid-Meher assessment (teams return on 30 August), a further WFP budget revision will be prepared.

10) Tanzania

(a) From 29 July to 11 August, WFP distributed over 3,550 tons of food (corresponding to a two-week ration) to almost 503,000 refugees in Kigoma, Kibondo, Kasulu and Ngara districts. WFP supplied 100 percent of the standard food ration to all beneficiaries, except for pulses, which were distributed at 80 percent of the full ration. In addition, WFP supported various Supplementary Feeding Programmes (SFPs), providing 85 tons of food to approximately 20,000 malnourished persons.

(b) The security situation is deteriorating rapidly in the eastern and south-eastern provinces of Burundi, affecting voluntary repatriations. As a result, the number of new registrations for voluntary repatriation reduced, the facilitation of voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees continued at a very low pace in Kibondo and Ngara and no repatriation took place in Kasulu camps. About 1,770 refugees were repatriated to Burundi from 29 July to 11 August. In addition, 1,753 individuals have spontaneously repatriated to southern provinces since May.

(c) Over 500 Rwandese refugees were repatriated during the last two weeks, bringing the total number of refuges repatriated since 1 January to 2,500. More than 1,500 refugees arrived from DR Congo, Burundi and Rwanda in Tanzania from 29 July to 11 August. The number of refugees coming from DR Congo has increased from 600 to 1,400 during the last month.

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

1) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) Intense fighting was reported in Bunia (North Kivu province), causing large casualties among the civilian population, lootings and a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. A WFP truck carrying food aid was ambushed on 9 August. The driver was killed and 14 tons of food were looted. The markets in the town centre remained closed. Although a number of humanitarian operations were cancelled due to insecurity, NGOs based in Bunia distributed medical items and blankets. On 15 August, the Security Council condemned the fighting and massacres in Bunia and called for an immediate end to this violence. Members of the Council urged the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the Bunia area.

(b) In addition, the security conditions have deteriorated in the town of Pweto (Northern Katanga), where some NGOs were forced to suspend their operations, despite humanitarian needs. Massive population movements have been observed since then, especially in the Kilwa region. Insecurity was also reported in Kisangani and South Kivu regions. Thousands of people have been displaced as a result of fighting in the "High Plateau", South Kivu province. A UN mission planning to deliver humanitarian assistance to the IDPs was denied access by the military forces. WFP, in collaboration with its partners distributed 225 tons of food in Bukavu, Shabunda, Uvira and Kaziba (South Kivu province). WFP identified 1,440 severely and 11,500 moderately malnourished persons. WFP also identified 250,000 IDPs in the region as potentially needing food aid.

(c) WFP re-opened its Sub Office in Kisangani Oriental province after an assessment mission, which recommended a resumption of activities in the town. WFP targeted 1,600 malnourished children for food assistance through nutritional centres in Kisangani province. However, nutritional assessments are still in progress in the region.

(d) WFP identified 240 beneficiaries for the rehabilitation of the road Mbandaka-Djombo-Ikelemba (Equateur province). In collaboration with Première Urgence, WFP targeted 25,000 people for food assistance in Libenge, Dongo and Imese. From 1 to 10 August, WFP partners distributed 390 tons of food to meet the needs of almost 40,000 beneficiaries in Equateur province.

(e) WFP, in collaboration with its partners, distributed 232 tons of food to 32,400 beneficiaries in North Kivu province. WFP and its partners identified over 11,200 displaced families in Ngungu, Masisi, "Grand Nord" area and Butembo city. An additional 3,840 IDPs families were also targeted in Bunyatenge, in the zone of Kayna-Kanyabayonga.

(f) In Kahemba province, WFP assisted 3,200 vulnerable people in Tshifameso, providing them with 40 tons of food. In addition, WFP targeted 11,600 Angolan refugees and 5,620 residents for food assistance. WFP targeted 44,000 IDPs and 8,000 malnourished children in Katanga province.

2) Angola

(a) As of 13 August, WFP had provided food aid in 39 of the 42 Family Reception Areas (FRAs) to over 317,550 beneficiaries. Food has also been distributed to over 109,000 people in 19 of the newly assessed locations around the country. WFP is targeting over 1.2 million for food aid during the month of August.

(b) An estimated 220 vulnerable children in Boa Fe (Luanda province) will benefit from the newly opened Community Kitchen supported by WFP. Return of IDPs from Boa Esperanca Camp (Bengo province) to their area of origin is rapidly progressing. About 3,000 IDPs have reportedly left the camp in the last two weeks of July, bringing the total camp population down to 500. In Benguela province, WFP provided food assistance to almost 6,000 displaced people in the newly accessible area of Ussoque. Further 2,300 families received vegetable seeds and tools for low land cultivation activities.

(c) WFP is distributing food to over 14,800 children at risk of malnutrition through a SFP in the FRA of Sambo (Huambo province). In addition, WFP undertook food distributions in Menga and Chiteta FRAs and Messe de Oficias, reaching 37,900 beneficiaries. Improvement in the nutritional situation has been reported in Cassongue (Kuanza-Sul province), following the commencement of general food distribution in the area of Menga.

(d) Following a needs assessment mission in Kuvango Municipality (Huila province), WFP, SCF-UK and MSF-S recommended the preparation of a registration exercise and a nutritional screening among the internal returnees followed by general food distributions until the next harvest. Non-food items as well as water and sanitation equipment are greatly needed in the area. The estimated population there is 2,700 people.

(e) WFP air operations were suspended after a mine was found on the Mavinga runway (Kuando Kubango province) on 7 August. They will not resume until a mine assessment is carried out. In the meantime, WFP dispatched food and fuel by road from Lobito to assist more than 65,000 vulnerable people in the Mavinga region. WFP, UIEA and MINARS registered over 700 IDPs who are spontaneously moving out of Menongue camps to return to their area of origin in Dumbo.

(f) On 11 August, the first food convoys in six years arrived by road in Luena (Moxico province). UNHCR and SCF-UK report a continual arrival of an estimated 100-200 returnees per day from the DR Congo into Luau.

(g) General food distribution to about 8,500 beneficiaries was completed in the isolated Uamba FRA (Uige province) on 5 August. A second food distribution for 1,500 beneficiaries was completed in the isolated Vale de Loge FRA on 10-11 August. A new registration will be organised with the community prior to the next distribution. WFP and MINARs began registration of the IDPs willing to return from Kituma camp (Uige province) to their areas of origin. So far around 800 people have been registered for return, out of approximately 4,300 who have volunteered.

3) Namibia

(a) Approximately 400 refugees have received monthly WFP food rations at the Kassava transit centre. Following earlier warnings about a potential deterioration of food insecurity, WFP is planning to undertake a needs assessment in the drought-affected regions, in consultation with the Government. A WFP team was expected to arrive in the country on 15 August.

D) Eastern Europe region: (1) North Caucasus

1) North Caucasus

(a) On 29 July, the United Nations suspended its humanitarian activities for two days in Ingushetia and for an indefinite period in Chechnya following the kidnapping of Ms. Nina Davidovich, Head of a local NGO "Druzhba" in Chechnya on 23 July. On 1 August, the UN humanitarian programmes in Ingushetia were resumed. However, the kidnapping of the Head of Mission for MSF-Swiss in the Republic of Dagestan on 12 August further postponed the decision to resume humanitarian activities by the United Nations and NGOs in Chechnya.

(b) The United Nations joined MSF in strongly condemning the abduction of MSF's representative, Mr Arjan Erkel. The UN also remains extremely concerned about the fate of Mrs. Nina Davydovich. In a recent statement, the UN reiterated its solidarity with the hundreds of civilians who have been abducted in Chechnya in recent years and called on those responsible to ensure the safe return of the victims. UN activities remain temporarily suspended in the republic of Chechnya. UN agencies are keeping the situation under continuous review.

(c) As of 15 August, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) registered a total of 114,500 IDPs in Ingushetia indicating a decrease by 2,000 persons. Of the displaced population, 23,450 live in tent camps, 27,400 in spontaneous settlements and 63,650 live with local host families. IDPs tend to move from private houses to spontaneous settlements, as they are no longer able to pay rental charges. WFP, in collaboration with DRC, Islamic Relief and SARC, distributed about 820 tons of food to over 54,400 IDPs in Ingushetia during the second half of August.

(d) As of 15 August, DRC reported that about 784,300 people were residing in the Republic of Chechnya. Of them, around 140,150 are registered as IDPs and some 123,600 as vulnerable persons in need of humanitarian assistance.

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

1) Afghanistan

(a) On 11 August, a new contribution of USD 5.8 million towards the WFP Afghanistan Emergency Operation was confirmed. A total of 18 donors have responded up to date to the funding needs of the Emergency Operation. This response, combined with carry-over stocks from the previous operation, covers approximately 68 percent of the requirements or USD193.6 million. WFP Emergency Operation in Afghanistan still faces a shortfall of 32 percent of the total amount appealed or USD 91.3 million.

(b) The report for the 2002 WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission has been recently released. The findings indicate that agricultural production has improved by an estimated 82 percent in comparison to last year. Pasture has also improved as a result of increased precipitation. Nevertheless, the report emphasizes that there would certainly be pockets of low agricultural production, due to limited or late rainfall, particularly in the southern area. A large number of people remain vulnerable, including the Kuchi nomads, internally displaced persons, returnees as well as the urban and rural poor.

(c) The security situation in the central area (Kabul) remained stable, although tensions continued in the north. As a result, all UN missions to Khamari were suspended. The security situation in the southern area (Kandahar) remained tense. Urozgan Province and the northern parts of Zabul Province are still considered to be high risk zones. The northeastern area (Faizabad) remained calm. All the field missions have been undertaken as planned. Renewed inter-factional fighting started in Saripul Province (northern area).

(d) The security situation in the eastern area (Jalalabad) deteriorated during the week. On 9 August, a blast took place at the warehouse of Afghan Construction and Logistics Unit, a local NGO, near Jalalabad City in Nangarhar Province, causing the death of 26 persons and the destruction of 123 houses. Over 200 families out of 385 local families became homeless. On 11 August, WFP conducted a rapid emergency food needs assessment, which recommended that a total of 42 tons of emergency food aid be distributed to 385 families affected by the blast for the next two months.

(e) As of 15 August, it is estimated that WFP had created employment opportunities for approximately 15,000 local people in Kabul through its infrastructure projects under the Food for Asset Creation (FOODAC) programme. Two new projects were approved this week in support of 32,800 people with 820 tons of food. UNHCR estimates that up to 400,000 refugees have entered Kabul over the past four months. WFP will support shelter projects in Shamali Plains.

(f) Three new projects were approved under the Food for Education programme (FFE) in the eastern area, to support over 15,000 students with 350 tons of food. Also approved were five SFPs and one Hospital Feeding project, to support 2,100 beneficiaries with 156 tons of food.

(g) Kandahar government announced that the 2002 school year in the southern area would start on 11 August. Department of Education, Afghan German Help Coordination Office and WFP met to discuss the resumption of the FFE and decided to increase the number of beneficiaries from 31,076 to 121,076 students. WFP also approved six new projects for the southern area, committing 1,950 tons of food for 3,900 Kuchi families and 27,100 people involved in FFW and FOODAC programmes.

(h) Approximately 116,000 beneficiaries received food assistance from WFP in the northern area, during the week, through the IDPs/Returnees, FOODAC, Bakeries, FFW, FFE and Civil Servants programmes. IDPs in Sakhi camp have begun to return to their places of origin. As a result, the camp population reduced from 1,883 families in July to 600 families.

2) Iran

(a) On 13 August, flash flood triggered by torrential rains were reported in Golestan, Khorasan and Semnan provinces. The death toll so far in Golestan province has reached 25 people and around 100,000 people are affected. The Iranian Red Crescent Society and the Provincial Disaster Task Force carried out search and rescue operations and relocated the affected population to safe areas. WFP intended to participate in the UN Field Assessment Mission expected to take place on 15 August to assess the damages.

(b) As of 12 August, 131,645 refugees had reportedly returned to Afghanistan from Iran through the UNHCR-assisted Voluntary Repatriation Programme. This caseload represents almost 33 percent of the 400,000 target.

(c) The Iranian Government has extended the deadline until 27 August for all unregistered and undocumented Afghans to register with the Government and obtain exit permits to leave Iran. UNHCR established a screening program to review the asylum claims of Afghan nationals and continues to discuss with the Iranian authorities to ensure that genuine refugee cases will be permitted to remain in Iran.

F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) Venezuela

1) Bolivia

(a) After providing initial emergency assistance in response to the last month's snowstorms, WFP is now planning to assist over 1,100 families under longer-term activities. This initiative will seek to mitigate the high risk of food insecurity and enable food-insecure households to rebuild and preserve assets. The targeted beneficiaries are located in the southern highland region (Sud Lipez district), which is considered the most vulnerable area of Potosi province. 157 tons of food will be provided through FFW activities. WFP will also contribute to the livestock recovery component.

2) Colombia

(a) In spite of tight security measures in Bogotá for the inauguration of the newly elected president, five heavy mortar shells exploded on 7 August causing the death of 21 persons. During the previous days, the guerrilla increased its attacks against military targets in the countryside, particularly in the Arauca and Cordoba provinces, and electricity pylons and oil pipelines were attacked in the Boyaca, Antioquia and Arauca provinces. The Government has declared a state of emergency. WFP is looking into the humanitarian consequences of this government decree.

(b) WFP staff travel was banned. Neither food deliveries nor distributions took place except for emergency deliveries in the Quibdo region. Over 132 tons of food have been delivered in Quibdo to the remaining IDPs who fled the massacres in Bojaya. As of 11 August, 4,200 persons had received food. Distributions continue this week to the remaining people.

(c) Trucks carrying WFP food arrived to Cartagena on 8 August after being delayed due to illegal roadblocks. Trucks are also underway with 118 tons of food for FFW, Food For Training (FFT) and Community Kitchen projects in Bogotá, Antioquia, Bolivar, Cordoba, Norte de Santander, Magdalena, Cundinamarca and Santander. Locally-purchased food distributions resumed on 12 August in the Huila and Cesar provinces. Distributions under FFT projects were suspended due to continued threats by armed groups last week.

(d) Under its PRRO 6139, WFP is currently assisting 129,550 beneficiaries, including over 45,500 pre-school and school children, 5,800 mothers in MCH activities and 74,100 persons involved in FFW/ FFT activities. Over 228,400 persons have benefited from WFP assistance since the beginning of the operation two years ago.

3) Venezuela

(a) Flooding continues in Venezuela. In the southwestern province of Apure, approximately 10,000 people were evacuated to neighbouring municipalities and are now staying with relatives, neighbours or in temporary shelters. Over 8,300 people are being housed in shelters. Weather reports indicate that the situation is likely to worsen as the rainy period continues.

G) West Africa: (1) Sierra Leone

1) Sierra Leone

(a) As a result of recent cross border raids in four villages in Kailahun District, aid agencies have taken precautionary measures for their safety and were advised to consult UNAMSIL before starting relief distributions near the border areas. Police sources reported that most of the people abducted during the recent cross border raids have been released.

(b) The facilitated voluntary repatriation by sea of Sierra Leonean refugees from Liberia continued. From 29 July to 11 August, 950 returnees were repatriated, bringing the total number of repatriations to 1,735. Most of them have been resettled in Kono and Kailahun Districts and WFP continued to collaborate with UNHCR to provide food aid. WFP maintained close collaboration with UNHCR, International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council to assist Liberian refugees in Jembe and Gerehun camps.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 33).