Afghanistan + 14 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 37 of 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
This report includes: (A) South East Asia: Indonesia/West Timor and East Timor; (B) West and Central Asia: Afghanistan and Tajikistan; (C) Southern Caucasus: Georgia and Armenia; (D) Vietnam; (E) Iraq; (F) Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Sudan; (G) Angola; (H) Burundi; (I) Sierra Leone.
From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Adviser. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home, Page or by e-mail from For information on resources, donors are requested to contact at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. Media queries should be directed to telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.


(Details below in Part II)

A) South East Asia

1) Indonesia/West Timor: WFP programme in West Timor suspended after killing of three UN humanitarian aid workers in Atambua; staff redeployed to other projects; WFP concerned about welfare of refugees; Hopes that provincial government would assist those in need.

2) East Timor: No security incidents, but WFP operations reviewed daily; All distributions implemented as planned, except in Manufahi due to security search operation; WFP continues preparing for possible repatriation.

B) West and Central Asia

1) Afghanistan: Displacement from Ghor to Herat continues; 1500 families arrived so far; UN taking over provision of relief to IDPs from ICRC; Provision of CSB by WFP part of UN intervention; Local authorities not yet active in assisting IDPs; Households in Jawand surviving on wild roots, malnutrition levels alarming; Drought-affected areas in northern Takhar hosting many IDPs who fled Taloqan; Extent of displacement and IDP needs currently under review.

2) Tajikistan: IFRC confirmed findings of FAO/WFP Assessment; WFP planning EMOP for 1.16 million drought-affected people, over nine months; Food-for-asset-rehabilitation part of Programme.

C) Southern Caucasus

1) Georgia: FAO/WFP Assessment Report released; WFP preparing EMOP for drought-affected; Food security deteriorating, concerns over food availability in winter; water shortages continue; Government, UN and donors initiated agricultural programme in eastern parts.

2) Armenia: Drought Relief Task Force initiated to coordinate relief activities; 1,600 tons of seeds being distributed to farmers; FAO/WFP Assessment finished, report awaited; WFP preparing emergency operation.

D) Vietnam: rising level of Mekong River threatens to worsen floods in rice producing areas; Domestic emergency aid in An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An provinces; IFRC and National Red Cross visiting flooded areas and indicating serious flooding; Meeting of Disaster Management Team anticipated next week.

E) Iraq: Joint FAO/WFP report warn of malnutrition in center-south; Situation in north significantly improved; Infant and child mortality more than doubled since 1980s; Agriculture deteriorated significantly in past few years; Cereal production 47 percent below 1999, 64 percent below average; Food rations under oil-for-food programme do not provide adequate diet, many households can not afford to supplement it; Poor water and sanitation key causes of infections, contribute to malnutrition; Supply of medicines insufficient, health services inadequate; Some nutrition specific projects not implemented or delayed; External assistance programmes for malnourished poorly funded, WFP only 25 percent.

F) Horn of Africa

1) Ethiopia: crop assessment led by Government, WFP participated in eastern and south-eastern areas; Delay of Kiremt rains caused stunting of planted maize and sorghum; crops require rain up to end September, even then might be poor in east and south-east; Budget revision for EMOP targeting displaced by conflict, due to increased beneficiary caseload; Additional 12,020 tons needed for 80,500 new IDPs; Meeting on Somali region agreed on joint assessment; EFSR balance 153,000 tons with 64,905 tons under withdrawal and due repayments of 168,630 tons; 140 short-haul trucks for deliveries of WFP food to be operational in mid-September; mobile warehouses set up in Hargale, and Gode.

2) Eritrea: 13,511 tons of food distributed in August to 586,576 war-affected and 67,807 drought-affected; 1,858 tons distributed to 81,286 beneficiaries this week; Post-distribution monitoring at Tecklebai and Dieda reveals that food aid represents 40 percent of food available to WFP beneficiaries; 51 of it directly consumed, rest used for kinship support and exchange; Transportation major constraint in delivery to Debub, Anseba and Northern Red Sea; Lack of storage facilities identified; 22,000 Eritrean refugees repatriated from Sudan in August

3) Kenya: Food security worsening in most districts; Some rains but their impact not felt; WFP operation critically under funded, confirmed pledges 54 percent of requirements; Continued provision of decreased rations; In hardest hit areas WFP to maintain full ration; UNICEF assisting WFP with food supply for supplementary feeding in Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir; No donor contributions received for special logistics operation; Armed banditry in Kajiado, Isiolo and West Pokot; Theft of food aid in Kajiado.

4) Sudan: Only 37 percent of planned delivered to southern Sudan achieved in August (for 320,500 beneficiaries) due to flight restrictions, insecurity and poor weather; Food distributions in rebel-controlled areas of Kapoeta suspended, except for Narus and Natinga, after alleged misappropriation of WFP relief food.

G) Angola: Joint UN assessment to Luau (Moxico) confirmed difficult humanitarian situation but no evidence of hunger related deaths; Priority need health interventions; Pellagra in Kuito (Bie) on increase. 100 new cases in August, double July number; WFP continues providing CSB in general distributions and enriched rations for families of malnourished; Government nutritional survey in Malanje showed significant improvement in nutritional status; Malnutrition rate drops from 32 percent in August last year to 3.1 percent now; Continued security incidents resulting in human casualties and
new displacement.

H) Burundi: Kirundo, Muyinga and Cankuzo provinces first priority for seeds and seeds protection rations, 128,000 families targeted; Kayanza, Ngozi, Karuzi, Ruyigi, Rutana and Gitega second priority, to be assisted pending availability of relief items; Food Economy assessments in Muyinga, Kayanza and Ngozi provinces; 327,506 people still internally displaced in Burundi, some from 1993; Regroupment sites in Bujumbura Rural created in 1999 mostly dismantled but those from 1993 not.

I) Sierra Leone: WFP to participate in assessments of Bailor Wharf, Conakry Dee regarding numbers of refugees returning from Guinea; 757 tons distributed to 64,573 beneficiaries this week; food distribution for 19,981 IDPs in Port Loko on hold due to security; Cereals shortfalls prompt temporary suspension of some activities.


A) South East Asia

1) Indonesia/West Timor

a) WFP suspended its programme in West Timor, following the killing of three UNHCR humanitarian aid workers in Atambua. Ongoing threats of violence against staff and property, both real and perceived, have resulted in the closure of WFP offices in Atambua and Kupang and redeployment of staff to projects in other parts of Indonesia.

b) WFP is concerned about the future welfare of refugees in West Timor and hopes that, until the security is restored, the provincial government would expand their relief operation to those areas that were, until recently, covered by WFP and UNHCR.

c) WFP will return to West Timor as and when the conditions permit, including a guarantee by the authorities for the security of its staff and property.

d) Since 1998, WFP has distributed over 15,000 tons of rice and other food commodities in West Timor and supported a number of initiatives in the province, including assistance to farmers adversely affected by drought, flood and economic crisis. WFP also responded to the needs of hundreds of thousands of East Timorese refugees who entered West Timor in 1999, by providing food and logistical support.

2) East Timor

a) No security incidents were reported during the week that could be related to the tragic events of last week in West Timor. WFP operations continue to be reviewed on a daily basis in regard to the security situation and developments.

b) WFP deliveries and distributions were implemented as planned, during the week, except in Manufahi, where all food deliveries were suspended due to a security search operation in the district.

c) WFP continues preparing for possible repatriation of refugees, should such an eventuality occur.

B) West and Central Asia

1) Afghanistan

a) Displaced population continue to arrive to Herat city from the drought-affected areas of Ghor Province, at a rate of 30 to 50 families per day. It is estimated that 1500 families have arrived to Herat, so far. In October, UN is expected to take over from ICRC the responsibility for the provision of food and non-food relief to the IDPs. UN interventions will include meals of Corn Soya Blend (CSB), provided by WFP. Local authorities have not yet assumed an active role in assisting the IDPs.

b) UN is not planning to get involved in the management of the IDP camps in Herat, at this stage, expecting the local authorities to resume this responsibility. UN agencies and NGOs in Herat have endorsed the proposal for WFP support to construction of mud shelters in IDP camps, through food-for-work (FFW). Health and sanitation services are likely to be provided by UNCHS, UNICEF and Medecins du Monde.

c) The affected population in northern Ghor and Badghis province appear to be in similar distress. Oxfam reports that households in Jawand district are surviving on wild roots. Malnutrition levels are alarming. Oxfam is expected to begin food distributions for 8,000 households and to increase the number to 15,000 families as soon as possible.

d) Following military advances by Taliban forces in the Northeast last week, the severely drought-affected areas in northern Takhar are now additionally hosting and supporting a large number of people who fled their homes in Taloqan. Prior to this IDP influx, there was already a need for around 5,000 tons of food aid (wheat) for the drought victims. The extent of the war-related displacement and the level of IDP needs are currently under review in seven districts in Takhar and Badakhshan provinces. It is anticipated that 5,000 to 10,000 families are scattered throughout the area and that 40 to 60 percent of them are in need of food and shelter.

2) Tajikistan

a) IFRC Drought Assessment Mission confirmed the findings of the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment carried out in July, which established clear needs for relief assistance to a significant portion of the population.

b) WFP is currently planning an emergency operation in Tajikistan, which would provide food relief to around 1.16 million people worst-affected by the drought, over a period of nine months. The operations will include a food-for-asset-rehabilitation element, expected to assist in this regard, in addition to providing the much needed life-saving food relief.

C) Southern Caucasus

1) Georgia

a) The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission Report was released on 8 September. WFP is currently preparing an emergency operation to assist the drought-affected population.

b) The food security situation continues to deteriorate and concerns are rising over the access by the drought-affected people to food, during the winter. Potable water continues to be a problem as well, in many areas, and the population has to walk long distances to collect it. Although there have been some rains in the eastern region recently, this was not enough to ameliorate ongoing water shortages. In some areas, vegetation has already been irreparably damaged by the drought.

c) The Government, UN and donors have initiated a relief programme in the eastern parts, to address the problems with seeds and other agricultural input. The programme aims at providing wheat seeds, fertilisers and agro-chemicals, as post-disaster assistance, to facilitate resumption of agricultural production. As a result of some donor pledges, plans are underway to buy and distribute immediately around 4,000 tons of wheat seeds. The seeds will be bought locally and distributed through NGO partners.

2) Armenia

a) WFP has initiated a Drought Relief Task Force consisting of UN Agencies, Red Cross and NGOs, to coordinate relief activities. Some 1,600 tons of winter wheat seeds are in process of being distributed to farmers in the most affected districts.

b) A FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission visited Armenia from 28 August to 8 September, to assess the drought. Mission findings are expected to be released by the end of the next week.

c) WFP is preparing an emergency operation, which is expected to include relief distributions, food-for-work and food-for-training (FFT) activities. IFRC and the National Red Cross are considering a drought assessment in the remaining districts in the South.

D) Vietnam

a) The rising water level of the Mekong River threatens to worsen floods in the traditional rice producing areas. Domestic emergency aid has begun to arrive in the three most seriously affected provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An.

b) An IFRC and National Red Cross delegation is currently visiting the flooded areas and indicating serious flooding and growing emergency. Relief agencies are currently reviewing options for possible assistance.

c) It is anticipated that the UN Resident Coordinator will chair a meeting of the Disaster Management Team early next week, to review the situation and discuss appropriate UN and international response.

d) The usual WFP approach in recent years has been to work closely with the IFRC and the National Red Cross, with the latter acting as the implementing partner due to its strong field presence at the provincial and district level.

E) Iraq

a) Joint FAO/WFP report was released on 13 September, warning that malnutrition remains a serious and widespread problem in the center-south of the country, despite some progress under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme. Serious malnutrition was found among infants and children outside Baghdad and in rural areas, reflecting the effects of drought and poverty. In contrast, the situation in the north has significantly improved with acute malnutrition levels having virtually disappeared and chronic malnutrition reduced by half.

b) According to UNICEF, infant and child mortality has more than doubled since the end of the 1980s. High levels of malnutrition are contributing to the continuing mortality.

c) Agriculture has deteriorated significantly in the past few years, due to two consecutive years of severe drought, lack of investment and shortage of essential agricultural inputs. Cereal production this year fell 47 percent below the 1999 harvest and 64 percent below the average of the previous five years. Drought conditions also reduced the water resources in rivers, dams, lakes and canals.

d) Cereal imports under the Oil-for-Food Programme have significantly improved the food supply situation since 1997/98. The average daily energy intake available per person has been estimated at around 2,500 kcal, which is above the WHO-recommended minimum (of 2,210 kcal), but food rations supplied under the Oil-for-ood Programme and distributed nation-wide do not provide a nutritionally adequate and varied diet. They lack vegetables, fruit and animal products, which many households can not afford to supplement their diet.

e) Some projects under the Oil-for Food Programme, aimed at improving health and nutritional situation, have never been implemented or had a very slow start. External assistance programmes outside the Oil-for Food, which target the malnourished and vulnerable segments of the society, have been poorly funded. Contributions for the WFP operation targeting the most malnourished children have covered barely a quarter of the requirements appealed for.

f) Poor situation with water and sanitation are key causes of repeated infections, resulting in infant and child malnutrition. Supply of pharmaceuticals is insufficient to meet the needs of the population and the health services still remain far from adequate.

g) While highlighting the latest UN efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Oil-for-Food Programme, the report recommends speeding up the process for approving contracts and ensuring the timely delivery of humanitarian imports, including food and medicines. The report also recommends more inputs for rehabilitation of agriculture, particularly seeds and materials for water conservation and irrigation management.

F) Horn of Africa

1) Ethiopia

a) Mid-Meher season crop assessment was led by the Government (DPPC) in late August and early September, with WFP participation in eastern and south-eastern areas. The preliminary findings of the mission indicate that the planting of long cycle crops took place at usual time, but the extended dry spell due to the delay of Kiremt rains by 4 to 6 weeks, caused stunting of planted maize and sorghum. Both, short and long cycle crops will require rain up to the end of September to mature and be harvested. Even then, the long cycle meher crops might be poor in the east and south-east. In many northern areas, the planting of long cycle crops was delayed and the crops will mature only if the rains continue until the end of September.

b) Budget revision for the WFP emergency operation which is targeting population displaced by the conflict (EMOP 6080.01) is currently being reviewed, in view of the increased number of the displaced in Tigray and Afar, in need of assistance. It is estimated that additional 12,020 tons of food will be required to cover the beneficiary increase by 80,500 people, until January. The numbers of returnees from Eritrea are reportedly going down. WFP continues to provide food aid to 3,000 Eritrean refugees.

c) A meeting between the Government (DPPC), UN agencies, NGOs and donors took place on 7 September, to share information and discuss relief interventions in Somali region. While the emergency situation appears to have eased to an extent, it was agreed that relief interventions would continue until a joint assessment is carried out in late October or early November. This assessment will review possible shifts in relief interventions over the coming months, investigate the scope for rehabilitation and recovery programmes and study potential development initiatives.

d) A total of 11,345 Somali refugees were repatriated during August. Each person received a food basket consisting of 150 kg cereals, 10 kg pulses and 5 kg vegetable oil.

e) Ethiopia Food Stock Reserve (EFSR) balance was over 153,000 tons on 12 September, with a further 64,905 tons under withdrawal and outstanding loans of 168,630 tons to be repaid to it. Over 156,000 tons (92.5 percent) of the outstanding loans are to be repaid to EFSR by the end of November.

f) All 140 new short-haul trucks for deliveries of WFP food within Ethiopia are currently being moved to their operational hubs and are expected to be fully operational in mid-September.

g) Two of eight mobile warehouses have been set up in Hargale, where a new WFP sub- office is being established. Seven mobile warehouses have been set up in Gode and commodities are already being received.

2) Eritrea

a) A total of 13,511 tons of WFP-supplied food was distributed in August, to 654,383 war and drought-affected beneficiaries. This included 9,927 tons for 586,576 war-affected in Debub, Gash Barka and Northern Red Sea (Mekete camp) regions and 3,584 tons for 67,807 drought-affected persons in Anseba and Northern Red Sea regions.

b) This week, 1,858 tons of food were distributed to 81,286 beneficiaries in Gash Barka, Debub, Northern Red Sea and Anseba regions (65,772 war-affected and 15,514 drought-affected).

c) Some 33 seriously malnourished children under five were admitted in the therapeutic feeding programme in Mekete camp. The malnutrition is attributed to incidence of diarrhoea and protein deficits, linked to the lack of milk in the supplementary feeding programme.

d) Beneficiary figure for IDPs in Debub has been increased from 313,996 in August to 319,418 in September, due to a proper registration of 5,422 IDPs who originally settled amongst resident communities and were not counted.

e) WFP monitors carried out post-distribution monitoring at Tecklebai and Dieda distribution sites in Mai Aini sub-region of Debub. They established the following food basket for WFP beneficiaries: 20 percent of food is ensured through purchase, 40 percent from own crops (small-scale agriculture production), and 40 percent from food aid. The food aid received from WFP was utilised by the beneficiaries in the following order: 51 percent was directly consumed; 17 percent traded for milling expenses and soap, 12 percent given to other community members as kinship support and 20 percent traded to meet family expenses, commitments and buy other needed food commodities.

f) Transportation remained a major constraint in delivery of food aid to Debub, Anseba and Northern Red Sea Regions. The roads in these areas are in very poor condition and located in hilly areas, with the rains making accessibility by truck very difficult. The lack of storage facilities was identified as another problem at most distribution sites.

g) UNHCR reported that over 22,000 Eritrean refugees were repatriated from Sudan to their home areas during August. All returnees received a two-month repatriation food ration, provided by WFP.

3) Kenya

a) Food security situation is worsening in most districts assisted through the WFP emergency operation (EMOP 6203.01). Turkana, Marsabit, Moyale, Samburu, Isiolo and Wajir districts have entered the emergency warning phase during August. Some districts received rain in the last few weeks, but their impact on vegetation has not been felt yet. WFP operation remains critically under funded, with confirmed pledges covering only 54 percent of the requirements.

b) Insufficient availability of food is resulting in continued provision of decreased food aid rations to the beneficiaries. During August, 70 percent of planned rations were distributed. In September, districts in which beneficiaries were to be targeted with a full ration will receive 80 percent of cereals and 60 percent of pulses. Districts where beneficiaries were to be targeted with a half ration will receive this ration for cereals, but no pulses. In the hardest hit, pastoral areas, WFP will try to maintain the full ration. No oil is available for distribution. Operational changes in regard to the rations are made in full consultation with the Government, partner agencies and donors.

c) UNICEF is assisting WFP with the food supply for supplementary feeding programmes which begun in July in Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir districts. A total of 1,262 tons of food have been supplied in August, 678 tons by UNICEF.

d) Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) was carried out by WFP in six locations of Marsabit District to assess the extent to which the WFP Commitments for Women are being implemented and to get more information from the community members on their perceptions of the community based targeting and distribution system. The participation of the people was enthusiastic and active. The report of the exercise is currently being prepared.

e) Request for offers for the emergency road repairs under the WFP special logistics operation (SO 6277) closed on 8 September and the technical evaluation of the offers is currently taking place. Up to date, no donor contributions have been received for this important operation, however, and its implementation is under question.

f) Armed banditry remains the main scourge in a number of districts. Reports of banditry were received from Kajiado, Isiolo and West Pokot, some involving human casualties. Theft of around 1.9 tons of food aid commodities occurred in Kajiado, but the police recovered some of the stolen food and arrested the culprits. In Wajir District a shooting in the vicinity of an Oxfam vehicle was reported in Danube on 9 September. The Leafy division of Mandera was reported to have received an influx of 400 displaced from Isiolo following clashes there. A number of alleged Somali bandits were tracked down by Kenyan security forces and repatriated to Somalia.

4) Sudan

a) During the month of August, WFP delivered only 37 percent of the planned relief food commodities to southern Sudan, and assisted just 320,500 targeted beneficiaries. These under-achievements were mainly due to flight restrictions for almost the entire first half of the month, the insecurity which prevented access to many areas and poor weather conditions which resulted in several airstrips being unlandable.

b) Food aid distributions in the rebel-controlled areas of Kapoeta county remain suspended, with the exception of two IDP camps in Narus and Natinga, after alleged misappropriation of WFP relief food in June and July and a failed attempt to investigate the incidents in August.

G) Angola

a) Joint assessment mission by OCHA, UN Field Security Officer (UNFSO), WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF to Luau (Moxico) confirmed the difficult humanitarian situation there, but did not find any evidence of hunger related deaths. The population was found to have access to a limited amount of food. The priority needs identified were for a health intervention, including a selective feeding programme.

b) The number of Pellagra cases in Kuito (Bie) is on an increase again, reportedly reaching the levels of September 1999 when the illness was first observed (Pellagra is a treatable disease caused by niacin micronutrient deficiency). According to MSF-B, the number of new cases in August was 100, double the number in July. WFP will continue to include CSB in general food aid distributions in Kuito and to provide micronutrient-enriched rations to families of people affected by Pellagra or otherwise malnourished. New IDPs continued arriving in Kuito from Belhorizonte, Sande, and Caivera.

c) The result of the Government nutritional survey in Malanje showed a significant improvement in the nutritional status of population. The survey was conducted in August in cooperation with WFP and other implementing partners. The following trend in regard to malnutrition rates has been recorded: 32 percent in July/August 1999, 21.5 percent in October 1999, 9.5 percent in January, and 3.1 percent in August.

d) Security incidents resulting in human casualties and new displacement of population continued in several provinces.

H) Burundi

a) Drought-affected provinces of Kirundo, Muyinga and Cankuzo were identified as the first priority for distribution of seeds and seeds protection food aid rations and 128,000 families targeted in these provinces. The provinces of Kayanza, Ngozi, Karuzi, Ruyigi, Rutana and Gitega are considered the second priority, with 65,013 families in need of seeds and 44,013 families in need of food aid. The assistance in these provinces will depend on the availability of relief items.

b) &n