WFP Emergency Report No. 35 of 2003

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 29 Aug 2003


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

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

C) West Africa: (1) Guinea, (2) Sierra Leone, (3) Liberia, (4) Côte d'Ivoire, (5) Chad

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

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea

F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Ecuador, (2) Colombia, (3) El Salvador, (4) Guatemala

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 Brenda.Barton@wfp.org or Francis.Mwanza@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) Afghanistan

1) Iraq

(a) Security remains an issue throughout Iraq. At least 23 people died in the bomb attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August. No WFP staff died in the attack, although many suffered injuries and three WFP international staff were seriously wounded and evacuated to Germany and Jordan. There are reports of further violence in Iraq, with shooting incidents both in the north and in the southern regions. Moreover, recent media reports about al-Qaeda and affiliated groups claiming responsibility for the 19 August attack and possible further terror threats against UN remain a serious concern.

(b) As at 28 August, 40 Baghdad based WFP international staff and personnel from Standby Partners have been relocated to Amman. Given the need to continue work in Baghdad, only a few essential staff have remained. WFP has already established a temporary 'Iraq Shadow' office in Amman, in the vicinity of WFP's Jordan Country Office. Office furniture, desks, chairs and computer equipment have been purchased and are being installed and several units have already begun working.

(c) The return to work of all WFP Baghdad staff is gradual and will depend on the requirements of the Programme, the availability of working equipment and communications, and the state of the individual staff member.

(d) The destruction of the Canal Hotel complex has created a significant office space problem. Pre-fabricated offices at the Canal Hotel are being used as offices for the international staff of the Country Office remaining in Baghdad. Some national staff have already been relocated and are operating from the Area Office. A security assessment of the Area Office has suggested, however, that it may not be an ideal location for housing large numbers of staff. WFP is now investigating alternative locations for the office.

(e) Liaison with the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) regarding the Public Distribution System (PDS) has resumed by e-mail and telephone, and the two weekly tripartite meetings, to review pipeline issues and plan for the November hand-over, will commence again soon. MoT staff will travel to Rome next week to join the team in Rome who are working on Oil For Food contract renegotiation which were prioritised further to Security Council Resolution 1483.

(f) Despite the security problems being faced in Iraq, WFP's operation is continuing without interruption. Distributions for the August PDS period are ongoing. In the days since the attack in Baghdad, WFP dispatched 44,660 tons of commodities, for a total August dispatch of 139,200 tons. Given the fact that the projected commodity dispatch for the month of August was 150,000 tons, WFP's operation is continuing beyond expectations.

2) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation remained unstable. In the Northern region road missions to Argo district of Badakhshan province were suspended due to the tense security situation. In the Eastern region the provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar, bordering Pakistan, remained high-risk areas. In the Central region, road missions to Bamyan province from Kabul through the Hajigak pass were suspended due to the explosion of three anti-tank mines in Wardak province. All missions to Bamyan province should take the route through the Shibar pass. In the Southern region road missions remained suspended to Uruzgan province, as well as districts neighbouring the Pakistani-Afghan border. In the Western region armed robbers and highway bandits posed a considerable threat to United Nations road missions in Farah province.

(b) From 21 to 27 August, WFP assisted 698,206 beneficiaries with 2,892 tons of food through Food for Work, Food For Education, Relief and Resettlement of IDPs and Refugees, Urban Vulnerable, Rural Vulnerable, and Supplementary and Institutional feeding activities in Fayz Abad, Mazari Sharif, Kabul, Kandahar and Hirat.

(c) In Jalal Abad, Social and Technical Association for Afghanistan Rehabilitation in collaboration with the community constructed 320-meter long protection wall, rehabilitated 27 'karezes (i.e. underground irrigation channels), 6-km of canals and 36-km of roads, through a WFP food for work project supported by the Ogata Initiative. In Kabul, a one-month training session was launched on 24 August for ten women programme officers from NGOs run by women. The training is the first of its kind in WFP Afghanistan, and will focus on building women NGO's capacity in formulating and implementing projects that would contribute to enhance livelihoods through food aid interventions. Weekly training sessions are followed by visits to project sites. Also in Kabul, a second meeting took place on 25 August to discuss plans for the prepositioning of food in remote areas that would have difficulties to access food during the winter season. Participating aid agencies were requested to submit project proposals by mid-September. In Kandahar, four new projects were approved, to assist 105,000 schoolchildren and 3,100 teachers in Hilmand and Nimroz provinces through school feeding and salary supplements to the teachers. The projects will be implemented by the Department of Education.

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

1) DR Congo

(a) The announcement by the Government of the lifting of all restriction of movement of people and personal effects throughout the country was highly appreciated by UN agencies and NGOs. The security situation however remained volatile, particularly in the east of the country. Reports of armed burglaries, physical assaults, clashes between different military groups or militia continue to be reported. The following areas are reported as being the most affected: Rutshuru, Masisi and Walikale (in North Kivu), Malemba Nkullu (in Katanga province), Walungu, Fizi, and Uvira (in South Kivu).

(b) In Ituri food distribution to IDPs encamped near Bunia airport is ongoing. Aircrafts of the French-led Emergency Interim Multinational Forces continue to transport WFP food on each return trip. To-date over 180 tons of assorted food commodities have been delivered to the IDPs in Bunia.

(c) In North Kivu the IDPs community in Goma reported that some 500 people have been forced to leave their homes in the Masisi area. The displacement was reportedly triggered by the recent attack led by Interahamwe militia in Ntoto near the Walikale area.

(d) In South Kivu WFP fielded a food need assessment mission in Bunia, the report of which highlighted large numbers of malnourished children, poor road condition, inadequate supply of food commodities and seeds on local markets. The assessment team was informed by OCHA that over 11,000 and 38,000 food insecure IDPs Kasongo and Kindu respectively were awaiting assistance.

(e) In North Katanga the Kalemie airlift operation progressed smoothly and allowed the dispatching of over 170 tons of food to Kongolo and Nyunzu. The nutritional surveillance in Kongolo showed that there has been an increase of 17 percent new admissions to feeding centres due to moderate malnutrition. The ongoing weak agricultural season was identified as one of the main factor behind this situation.

(f) In Katanga, as a result of food insecurity prevailing in Malemba-Nkulu, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) approached WFP to extend food assistance to some remote villages. A meeting was held with the stakeholders in order to define strategies to cope with the situation. Since the beginning of the year, the area of Malemba Nkulu has been affected by persistent fighting between Maï Maï militiamen and RCD or FAC soldiers. This has adversely affected the nutritional programmes being implemented in the area for over three years by Action Contre la Faim.

(g) WFP's pipeline for EMOP 10288 shows shortfalls of some 27,000 tons (13 percent) of the total requirements, while PRRO 6274.0 has shortfalls of some 21,000 tons (38 percent) of overall requirements.

2) Burundi

(a) The Peace Talks held in Sun City, South Africa between the Government of Burundi (GOB) and the faction group Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie-Force pour la Defense de la Democratie (CNDD-FDD) were inconclusive. Although no agreement was reached on power sharing during the transition both the mediator and the two parties indicated that significant progress was made.

(b) During the week, fighting continued between the national army and the factions groups both FDD and FNL rebels in Bubanza, Ruyigi and Bujumbura Rural. Armed banditry was reported in Bujumbura Rural and Ruyigi provinces as well as in the capital where at least three vehicles were reported stolen. Following military shelling on FDD rebel positions in Ruyigi province, main roads were temporarily closed and aid workers could not access Kinyinya and Gisuru communes.

(c) WFP distributed over 1,300 tons of food to approximately 104,000 beneficiaries under the different programmes/activities.

(d) WFP participated as observer to a tripartite meeting between UNHCR/the Governments of Burundi and Tanzania and UNHCR reported that since January a total of 52,246 persons have been voluntarily repatriated to Burundi either through the facilitation of UNHCR or on spontaneous basis. Food assistance to the returnees was provided only to those returning through the facilitation of UNHCR.

3) Rwanda

(a) The food pipeline situation in Rwanda continues to be critical. WFP is making preparations to cut rations by 30 percent for refugees, returnees and food-for-work beneficiaries due to lack of resources. Should more donations not come forward, further reductions are expected, endangering the lives of the most vulnerable, especially in light of the drought situation in the southeastern region of the country. New donations are therefore urgently needed to ensure that WFP is able to respond to requirements. Commodities needed include 2,362 tons of cereals, 2,232 tons of pulses, 384 tons of oil, 1,077 tons of blended food and 145 tons of sugar. The unresourced commitments also take into account food at nutrition centers, food-for-training activities and inpatient feeding.

4) Uganda

(a) Since June 2003, Katakwi and Soroti districts in eastern Uganda have been affected by the expansion of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebellion out of the traditional areas of conflict in northern districts. An estimated 80,000 people are displaced in Soroti town, and an additional 160,000 people in the surrounding districts of Kumi, Katakwi and Kaberamaido, with inadequate shelter, poor hygiene and limited humanitarian assistance. In response, WFP, through the Department of Disaster Preparedness (Office of the Prime Minister), has provided relief food assistance. WFP is signing MoUs with 3 NGOs to continue assistance to the newly displaced.

(b) In the northern Uganda Districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader, over 800,000 civilians displaced in 52 isolated and congested camps continue to depend on WFP humanitarian assistance for survival. The heightened insecurity resulting from 17 years of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel insurgency has strained the coping mechanisms of the displaced people. WFP continues to provide relief food aid to the affected population, with armed military escorts. WFP remains the only humanitarian agency able to access all displaced camps in northern Uganda.

(c) WFP carried out a mission in Lira district, northern Uganda, from 24 - 27 August 2003. WFP will establish a small sub office to co-ordinate the provision of relief food aid to 42,000 people displaced within Lira municipality and in eastern Lira district, in collaboration with the District Department of Disaster Management and the Christian Children's Fund.

5) Ethiopia

(a) WFP has finalized the results of a pilot survey on food aid use and impact in West Hararghe zone of Oromiya region. Collection of data about how households manage to cope with food shortages took place in the lowland areas of East and West Hararghe zones during the months of May and June, in collaboration with CARE. Both beneficiaries and some non-beneficiaries were interviewed. Based on the findings from West Hararghe zone, it appears that a large majority of the beneficiary households (85 percent) have regularly received food aid over the last three months. The number of reports of losses or spillage at distribution sites was insignificant and no household mentioned witnessing misappropriation/diversion of food aid at the distribution site.

(b) In more than three-quarters of the beneficiary households (76 percent), women are responsible for deciding about the utilisation of food aid and the repartition of its benefits among the family members. Hence, it is more likely that food aid will be used for consumption and will benefit children. In fact, beneficiary households reported, on average, consuming almost 97 percent of their food aid ration, sharing 2 percent with kin and selling about 1percent. Key information on the average ration size received per person and per month, regularity of distribution cycle, distance to walk between the village and the distribution centre was also collected. The report also describes the frequency and severity of coping mechanisms used by vulnerable household to cover their food requirements, comparing those receiving food aid with those who do not. The findings of this survey and the recommendations made by the communities have been crucial for WFP and its government counterpart the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission to strengthen both the targeting and the management of emergency food assistance. WFP is currently planning to undertake a similar survey throughout the country, starting in September. Additional field monitors will be recruited temporarily to facilitate the data collection in the six regions of the country.

(c) The newly opened WFP sub-office in Awasa, the regional capital of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), is now fully operational, with an international staff member as sub-office head and four national food aid monitors, whose work focuses on districts not covered by NGOs. An additional three monitors are being recruited in the region. This will bring the current total number of WFP field monitors in the country to 42. WFP logistics staff are also being assigned to the Awasa office for the next few months.

(d) Currently 1.4 million people out of the total rural population of 12.6 million in SNNPR are receiving food assistance. NGOs are responsible for food distributions in 26 of the 57 affected districts (of a total 104 districts in the region) while WFP and DPPC food is used in the remaining 31 affected districts. Food allocations in SNNPR from January to August totalled 135,400 tons, of which NGOs distributed about fifty percent. Of this, current allocations for August are 23,350 tons (15,350 tons through NGOs and 8,000 tons through DPPC, much of the latter being WFP food). About 58,000 tons are needed for the region for September to December. As of mid-August the total number of therapeutic feeding centres in SNNPR was 26, with almost 1,800 children and other beneficiaries under treatment at that time; 12 NGOs are involved in TFC operations. Targeted supplementary food distributions take place in 12 districts (all by NGOs). The total number of general food distribution sites in the region is 126 (of the 997 distribution sites throughout the country which serve a total of 12.3 million beneficiaries in August; total food allocations for all beneficiaries in the country for August are 195,000 tons, half of which is covered by DPPC/WFP food and half by NGO food).

(e) Some 612,000 tons of food aid for Ethiopia are expected through Djibouti port between August and December. Of this, the WFP portion is 250,000 tons. A total of up to 186,000 tons are expected in September and 220,000 tons in October. Food aid arrivals from January to July 2003 were 971,000 tons, thus total for the year through Djibouti will be over 1.58 million tons. In addition, some food aid shipments are coming via Berbera in northern Somalia; 35,000 tons are expected between September and December 2003, while 40,000 tons arrived via this route earlier in the year. WFP is currently receiving certain consignments (20,000 tons of wheat flour and 200 tons of oil) in a considerable number of containers; a total of over 1,300 containers are expected. With the help of government authorities, arrangements have been made to de-stuff the containers inside Ethiopia with minimum additional documentation.

6) Eritrea

(a) Last week heavy rains washed away the bridge between Shambuko and Molki sub zones in Gash Barka, preventing access for WFP to Molki sub zone. WFP presently supports over 29,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in and around the camps in that area. Access to that area will not be possible for at least two weeks.

(b) On 26 August, WFP hosted a meeting for the international diplomatic community, Government officials and CARE. An update on the present resource situation was provided. The emergency operation is 65 percent resourcedwith 82,000 tons of commodities, leaving a shortfall of 48,000 tons. The situation is even more critical for PRRO 10192, which has food resources of only just over 34,000 tons to date, totalling only 33 percent of its overall needs. The remaining 70,000 tons is urgently required. During the meeting WFP also presented the results of the 2003 Rural Livelihood Survey, which was the result of a broad-scale effort coordinated by WFP, CARE and the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission (ERREC). The survey was funded from the Gates Foundation to enhance understanding of the livelihood strategies of rural households. Survey findings indicate that the situation is critical, with two thirds of the population presently living below the poverty line.

7) Djibouti

(a) Work is progressing on the transit centre for asylum seekers. WFP will provide food in accordance with the MOU between UNHCR and WFP. In addition, WFP has offered to train ONARS (the agency presently responsible for managing the refugee camps) to oversee the food distributions on WFPs behalf. The Minister of Interior has requested UNHCR to provide assistance to the estimated 60,000 (GoD figures) Somalis living illegally in Djibouti. However, UNHCR has informed WFP that this group of illegal immigrants were neither refugees nor asylum seekers.

(b) More than 380 tons of food commodities were distributed to some 21,063 refugees under PRRO 10134 "Assistance to Refugees in Djibouti". Food stocks originally registered under the PRRO pending the approval of the new PRRO have been transferred from PRRO 10134 "Assistance to Refugees in Djibouti" to PRRO 10283 "Assistance to vulnerable groups and Somali and Ethiopian Refugees". As a result, the refugee operation will face a rupture in stocks as early as next month to cover the October distribution.

C) West Africa: (1) Guinea, (2) Sierra Leone, (3) Liberia, (4) Côte d'Ivoire, (5) Chad

1) Guinea

(a) The security situation was reported as generally calm in all WFP sub-offices. Local authorities in the N'Zérékoré region registered 1,066 Liberians crossing into Guinea from Liberia. They also reported 83 people entering from Côte d'Ivoire, including 58 Liberians, 21 Guineans, and 4 Ivorians. 1,365 newly arrived Liberian refugees were transferred to the Laine camp, and 19 newly arrived Ivorians were transferred to the Nonah camp.

(b) WFP air operations conducted 10 special flights to deliver 9 tons of high-energy biscuits and 1 ton of corn-soya blend to Monrovia airport to help WFP Liberia respond to emergency needs. In the Albadariah camps, 15,008 refugees received 255 tons of food. Kissidougou's transit centres served hot meals to 251 new arrivals. In the Kouankan and Lainé camps, 51,231 refugees received 864 tons of food. In the camps and transit centres located throughout the N'Zérékoré region, 7 tons of food was used to provide 1,892 refugees with hot meals. 3 tons of food was distributed to 1,215 beneficiaries in the supplementary feeding centres in the four camps served by WFP in N'Zérékoré. Supplementary feeding centres assisted by WFP in Kissidougou distributed 11 tons of food to 3,452 beneficiaries.

(c) The Zarabara Bridge on the Guéckédou-Macenta route is still passable, though the repairs in progress reportedly do not seem durable. As a result, the relocation of refugees from Kouankan to Albadariah camps remains suspended. Authorities have suggested transferring Kouankan refugees to N'Zérékoré's other camps to prevent refugees from taking the precarious route on their own.

2) Sierra Leone

(a) The security situation within the country remained calm and stable during the period 11 to 25 August and there has been a drop in the influx of Liberian refugees through the border towns.

(b) WFP has leased an AN 74 aircraft to assist the humanitarian community with emergency relief operations in Liberia. The aircraft will be based in Abidjan and will fly between Abidjan, Monrovia and Freetown.

(c) From 11 to 25 August, WFP supported a total of 79,050 beneficiaries with 1,577 MT of food countrywide.

(d) There is a shortage of pulses and salt in the current country stock. WFP received a loan of food commodities from CARE and WVI, which was dispatched to Monrovia on 25 August.

3) Liberia

(a) Security in Monrovia has improved with the deployment of ECOMIL troops who have now taken up positions in the Free Port of Monrovia and up to the Po River. Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) forces have moved beyond the Po River as agreed. On Bushrod Island, isolated cases of harassment of people, especially government military and para-military personnel, by LURD fighters who have integrated into the communities continue to be reported. Elsewhere in the centre of town, shooting continues to be heard at night in some areas.

(b) Distribution of food to IDPs in irregular centres and institutions continued under PRRO 10064.01. Ten centres and institutions with 7,375 beneficiaries received food commodities totalling 54.444 tons.

(c) WFP, as a part of an inter-agency assessment team, visited Tubmanburg, Bomi County. The team reported seeing a lot of food and other items, including cars looted from WFP. The residents of Tubmanburg, earlier displaced from other parts of the country, appealed for assistance to return to their areas of origin and for seeds and tools for planting purposes.

4) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) After the incident in Sakassou, where two French soldiers were killed, the head of the French LICORNE forces advised to postpone the WFP Post Distribution Monitoring Mission scheduled. However, according to the catholic mission in Sakassou, no problem of security has been reported since this incident. The security situation has steadily improved in the eastern part of the country, where more and more movement of people between the zones controlled by the New Forces and Government. On 25 August information related to Coulibaly Ibrahim's arrest in Paris caused anxiety in Korhogo. All entries and exits of Korhogo were closed. A deadline had been set for the Burkinabés in Duékoué to leave by 25 August. The deadline was extended for an unspecified amount of time, following a meeting between military forces, traditional leaders, local government and humanitarian agencies. However local leaders confirmed that the Burkinabés must leave. LICORNE and FANCY were requested to conduct disarmament missions around the area. There have been unconfirmed reports that clashes have followed after Burkinabés have been reclaiming their fields in villages on the axis of Guiglo ? Blolequin.

(b) According to Ivorian authorities, there are now some 56,402 Liberian refugees in Tabou area. The second round of distribution is now complete and UNHCR/CARITAS have distributed WFP food to 43,361 refugees. The number of Third Country Nationals (TCN) in the Guiglo transit centre continues to increase. Updated registration amounts to 5,390 people. The food and sanitation situation in the camp is worrying and children from the camp are being admitted to WFP/MSF's therapeutic feeding programme. This week, WFP distributed 162 tons food to some 43,000 beneficiaries, including 12,000 primary school children in Korhogo.

(c) The pipeline is expected to improve during September, with the expected arrival of 5,700 tons of rice, maize meal, pulses, oil, salt and corn-soya blend. However, there will still be shortfalls of corn-soya blend for September.

5) Chad

(a) Minor thefts of tents were reported in Gore (one of the three refugee camps), prompting the reinforcement of security measures by local police authorities. Although the agricultural season is reported to be satisfactory, it is anticipated that the delayed distribution of agricultural inputs and seeds to refugees will adversely impact on their food production. Minor conflicts with local pastoralists are also frequently reported by the refugee population. Officials from the US State Department visited refugee sites in southern Chad from 13 to 16 of August 2003.

(b) During August, the Chadina Red Cross started distributions under EMOP 10295.0 "Assistance to Central African Republic refugees in southern Chad" for 13,557 beneficiaries in Maro. Deliveries also started in Gore on 19 August. The total number of refugees receiving food aid averaged 35,000. Despite the difficult conditions in refugee camps, beneficiaries have taken some steps to provide basic education to children. These initiatives are also supported by UNHCR and Swiss Cooperation, through the distribution of teaching materials. The WFP sub-office in Moundou (southern Chad) was reopened to monitor deliveries and other operational activities. Long distances from Entry Distribution Points to refugee camps are delaying deliveries especially to the third Forward Distribution Points of Danamadji.

(c) A donation of 500 tons of sorghum was received and an additional potential contribution of 500,000 USD to the operation was announced. However, a pipeline break will occur at the end of August if resources are not mobilized. Up to date the food has been borrowed from the Country Programme and further borrowing is not possible.

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

1) Regional

(a) Additional donations and funding for all commodities is urgently required in order to avoid further disruptions in food distributions. In Mozambique, current cereal stocks will only meet 55 percent of requirements in September with critical cereal shortfalls projected from December onwards. Stocks of pulses and vegetable oil will be exhausted from the end of August and there will be 100 percent shortfalls in September and October. In Lesotho, pipeline breaks are expected for vegetable oil resulting in a 100 percent shortfall between August and October. In Swaziland, shortfalls for pulses are critical as stocks will run out by September and no new contributions have been confirmed. In Zimbabwe, the cereal pipeline from December onwards remains a major concern. Donors are urgently requested to make food pledges now to prevent foreseen shortfalls for the critical period January through March 2004 as WFP has so far only received assurances for minimal contributions. Discussions have continued at high levels between WFP and the Government of Zimbabwe in order to clarify the recent policy on food aid distributions.

(b) A high level delegation from the OPEC Fund for International Development is in the southern Africa region from 24 August to 2 September. The mission is visiting Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe and is following up on a USD 9.2 million donation made to WFP's emergency operation in February. With this generous donation, WFP was able to organize the regional purchase of 13, 494 tons of essential food supplies.

2) Namibia

(a) The final distributions involving WFP food for the flood-affected people in the Caprivi region are underway. Under the Immediate Response EMOP, WFP provided a total of approximately 150 tons of assorted commodities for 12,000 people affected between June and August 2003. WFP food acted as a compliment to assistance being supplied by the government.

3) Angola

(a) In Moxico Province, a truck hired by WFP to transport food from Zambia to Cazombo detonated a suspected landmine on the main road from Cazombo to Luhuza town. The WFP convoy was delivering food to WFP warehouses in Cazombo in support of the refugee repatriation operation. While there were no serious injuries, the road has been closed to UN personnel pending an investigation by Mines Advisory Group.

(b) In Uige Province, WFP participated in a rapid assessment of critical needs in Uamba commune (Sanza Pombo Municipality). The team found 2,950 persons living in the area including internal returnees and former refugees. High levels of food insecurity were found as the population was surviving on wild roots. Registration for WFP food assistance is planned and the timely distribution of seeds and tools has been recommended.

(c) In Benguela, the first food distributions to approximately 9,300 returnees in Chila commune (Bocoio Municipality) are underway. The returnees are expected to require assistance until the harvest season, if they are able to benefit from the forthcoming seeds and tools distributions to enable the re-establishment of subsistence agriculture in the area.

(d) From 21 to 27 August, WFP food assistance was provided to a further 2,700 refugees who were officially repatriated into Angola from neighbouring countries through voluntary repatriation convoys organised by UNHCR. WFP is coordinating the distribution of food aid on both sides of relevant borders to support the official refugee repatriation as well as providing food to spontaneous returnees. The total number of refugees officially repatriated into Angola now stands at 19,919.

(e) The third bridge constructed by Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) under WFP Special Operation 10149.1 'Logistic Services to the Humanitarian Community' was completed over Rio Cuchem between Alto Hama (Huambo Province) and Menga (Kuanza Sul Province). The bridge will greatly facilitate access to 16,000 vulnerable beneficiaries in the Menga area.

(f) WFP continues to appeal for further donor support for transport

services provided by the two critically under-funded Special Operations. The situation continues to pose a serious threat to operations of the humanitarian community at this important time in the refugee/IDP resettlement process. Currently, WFP is only accepting limited crucial non-food item cargo requests from humanitarian agencies under the Special Operation 10149.1 'Logistic Services to the Humanitarian Community'. The Special Operation 10146.1 'Passenger Air Transport' is also seriously threatened and WFP may have to significantly reduce or suspend this vital service to the humanitarian community by the end of August in the absence of additional donations. Both of these operations are vital to humanitarian operations throughout the country.

4) Zambia

(a) From 19 to 25 August, WFP and implementing partners distributed 1.049 tons of food. Currently, 42,834 vulnerable children and 20,646 caretaker households receive food assistance through WFP's urban programme. Preparations are underway for the expansion of WFP's school feeding programme. With the extension, the programme will reach approximately 18,700 young students in 50 schools in five districts.

5) Zimbabwe

(a) In the past week WFP has met with President Mugabe and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the subject of the new Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) NGO policy issued in mid-August. It has been reiterated that the system of WFP food aid distributions in existence up until that time was functioning satisfactorily and it would be a mistake to make changes now. WFP has yet to reach an agreement on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Emergency Operation with the GOZ and will work to finalize the MOU in such a manner to ensure that food aid distributions cannot be subjected to political manipulations. WFP considers that finalizing this agreement is a very high priority. Until an agreement is reached, WFP will continue with the August distribution cycle using the same modalities for the identification of beneficiaries and distribution of food as done in the past with the full participation of WFP, implementing partners and communities.

(b) Since the beginning of August, WFP and implementing partners distributed 9,428 tons of food to 763,190 beneficiaries.

6) Malawi

(a) The latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report has warned that the deteriorating macroeconomic situation in Malawi will have a negative impact on household food security. The report noted that the local currency, the kwacha, depreciated at a faster rate in August than in previous months ? by around 15 percent from July's levels.

(b) From 21 to 27 August, WFP and implementing partners distributed 1,955 tons of food.

7) Mozambique

(a) WFP and implementing partners have completed an assessment mission following reports of a prevailing hunger situation in Cheringoma District (Sofala Province), and an increase in the number of deaths in Memo locality. The causes of death remains unclear, however possible reasons include consumption of toxic wild food. Subsequent to the assessment mission, immediate food distributions were organized.

(b) From 19 to 25 August, WFP and implementing partners distributed 2,240 tons of food.

8) Swaziland

(a) Dry weather conditions are worsening in communities in the Lowveld as local streams and rivers have dried up and water levels are only reachable several metres down. Water levels at the Great Usuthu River, one of Swaziland's perennial rivers, have also dropped drastically. As a result, small-scale local sugar production schemes face the serious threat of crop loss, as irrigation of sugar beets has not been possible for the past month.

(b) From 19 to 25 August, WFP distributed 437 tons of food to 27,231 people in collaboration with implementing partners.

9) Lesotho

(a) Due to the prevailing drought brought about by a lack of significant rainfall between May and early August, WFP is considering advancing the start date of its targeted general food distribution programme, previously scheduled to begin in November. WFP is currently working with the Disaster Management Authorities and the Minister of Agriculture in order to determine food needs by constituency. Food security surveys conducted by field stations established by the District Agriculture Office in Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, Quthing and Qacha's Nek Districts indicate the situation is critical.

(b) From 20 to 26 August, WFP distributed 345 tons of food to 33,910 beneficiaries included under EMOP 10290. In addition, WFP is currently providing support to 224,491 children through the Country Programme school feeding project.

10) Madagascar

(a) WFP is closely monitoring the situation in the drought-affected areas in the south. Although the situation appears to have stabilized due to the current harvest of sweet potatoes, household food stocks will be exhausted in September. Sweet potatoes can be found in the local markets and represent the only source of income for farmers to purchase staple goods and additional food.

(b) From 20 to 27 August, WFP distributed 148 tons of food under EMOP 10236. A further 83 tons of food was distributed through implementing partners CARE and Agro Action Allemande to participants in cyclone, flooding and urban Food for Work projects.

E) Asia: (1) DPR Korea

1) DPR Korea

(a) Reports from Kaesong, South Pyongan and North Hwanghae provinces indicate extensive flooding in paddy and maize fields. Main crops are thus expected to suffer, with FDRC officials predicting a reduction in output by 10 to 40 percent compared to last year's output. In other locations, heavy rains, coupled with cloudy weather and a dry spell in June, may account for a reduction in expected yield. People have been mobilized to drain paddy fields and straighten maize crops which had been blown down. Overall, it is still too early to determine whether the rice production will be as good, or better, than last year.

(b) Localised infestation of rice water and maize weevils continues, together with stem borer infestation also attacking the rice crop. Due to insufficient supplies of chemical insecticides, farmers persevere with traditional methods, however these are proving unsuccessful.

(c) An expected delay in the arrival of wheat, combined with much higher grain and sea freight costs than expected, will lead to a break in the cereals pipeline of EMOP 10141.1 from mid October, rather than later November. Overall shortfalls of about 110,000 tons are projected for the next six months (September through February 2004), of which about 90,000 tons are cereals.

F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Ecuador, (2) Colombia, (3) El Salvador, (4) Guatemala

1) Ecuador

(a) In Quito on 19 August, three letter bombs exploded with printed propaganda in the vicinity of the US Embassy, near the presidential palace, and inside a busy mall. The group claiming responsibility for the events called for an armed insurrection against President Lucio Gutierrez.

(b) The third seismic activity in less than a week occurred on 21 August, registering 4.7 on the Richter scale and striking the central south region of the country. No significant material damages were reported.

(c) After 50 days of reported low seismic activity, the volcano El Tungurahua entered a new phase of intense activity, experiencing four events of long duration, one tectonic movement, four tremor episodes and emissions of steam and ash reaching altitudes of three kilometres. Various communities, including the city of Riobamba, were affected by the ash fall. A UN emergency assessment team, including WFP, has been dispatched to the area to assess the situation.

2) Colombia

(a) A house-bomb explosion left two soldiers dead in a rural area of the Department of Choco. The increase in violent acts in this area is resulting in numerous displacements. According to RSS (Social Solidarity Network), approximately 100 displaced families have recently fled towards cities of Cartago (Valle del Cauca) and Pereira (Risaralda).

(b) Some 400 families who were forced to flee rural areas around Medellin in the Department of Antioquia are still not able to return their lands for security reasons, and are gathered in the rural village of San Luis. Driving in certain parts of the Department of Antioquia between 6 PM and 6 AM continues to be dangerous, as armed groups at checkpoints often shoot at night at approaching convoys.

3) El Salvador

(a) WFP, the Ministry of Health, and NGO implementing partners will hold a community coordination meeting this week in the coffee producing department of Ahuachapan to finalize PRRO 10212.0 work plans and conclude distribution arrangements.

(b) A much-needed contribution of 113 tons of corn-soya blend earmarked for PRRO 10212.0 has arrived at the Guatemalan port of Santo Tomas de Castilla and will be transported to El Salvador this coming week.

4) Guatemala

(a) Alarming crime rates and insecurity continues to pose a serious concern. A recent press report informs that there have been a total of 2,577 violent deaths ? an average of 11 per day ? from 01 January to 15 August. Additionally, threats and attacks to human rights advocates and politically motivated violence continue to escalate.

(b) An earthquake with magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter scale occurred off the Western Coast of Guatemala in the early hours of August 25. No injuries or material damages were reported.

(c) The rainy season has returned after a three-week long dry "canicula" period, with heavy rains and storms affecting much of the country last week. A flash flood in the municipality of Esquipulas, Department of Chiquimula damaged corn, beans, and coffee crops, affecting some 60 families. In El Progreso, irregular rainfall also resulted in damage to 734 tons of corn, worth the equivalent USD 116,000, affecting 1,323 families in the municipalities of Morazán, San Agustín Acasaguastlan, Guastatoya, and El Jícaro.

(d) The number of pneumonia cases affecting mainly children under six months old has increased considerably compared to last year, although not enough to be considered an epidemic. Health authorities are on alert due to the high morbidity rates. Public health workers continued their protest actions this week.

(e) WFP has completed its fieldwork to update and finalize the number of targeted beneficiaries and food requirements for the first distribution under the relief component of PRRO 10212.0. Coordination with the monitoring and evaluation unit of the Ministry of Health to establish the operational and technical guidelines for implementation, which are nearly complete, aims at starting distribution in the first week of September. WFP and FAO met this week to discuss the coordination of activities and collaboration in implementation of WFP's PRRO and FAO's food security plan, PESA.

(f) A total of 1,590 tons of maize, 90 tons of beans, 50 tons of oil, and 300 tons of corn-soya blend are scheduled to arrive in Guatemala next week for PRRO 10212.0.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 35).