Afghanistan + 15 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 38 of 2000

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
This report includes: (A) Horn of Africa; (B) West and Central Asia: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Armenia; (C) South East Asia: Vietnam and Cambodia, Indonesia/West Timor, East Timor; (D) Russian Federation/Northern Caucasus; (E) DPR Korea; (F) Sudan; (G) Sierra Leone.
From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Adviser. 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 Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. 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.

PART I - HIGHLIGHTS

(Details below in Part II)

A) Horn of Africa: Catherine Bertini, UN SG Special Envoy / WFP Executive Director visited Kenya and Ethiopia to review humanitarian situation in drought-stricken Horn of Africa; UN Special Envoy noted that famine has been avoided in Ethiopia due to huge international efforts and appealed to donors for more assistance to Kenya; Canada announced additional 13 million dollars in relief for Horn Countries; EU announced extra 25,000 tons of food aid for Kenya.

B) West and Central Asia

1) Afghanistan: IDP influx from Ghor to Herat continued; 2000 families in makeshift shelters or open air; WFP efforts to improve food movements to Ghor to stop further displacement; IDPs from Taloqan identified in seven areas; WFP distributions prepared; Further relief to depend on inter-agency assessment mission; 18 percent malnutrition recorded in Northern Shamali and Panjshir Valley, highest in country; WFP/FAO mission found serious water shortages in Arghandab, Zabul Province.

2) Tajikistan: Inter-agency donor alert launched for USD 76.6 million; Alert based on joint sectoral assessments by Government, UN and NGOs; Alert complementary to UN Consolidated Appeal 2000; UN strategy to provide emergency relief, address underlying causes and raise awareness; Food and agriculture programmes until July 2001, non-food until December; USAID/WFP mission to Khatlon found severe drought effects in southern areas; Prices of food and other essentials and inflation raising; WFP concerned about transportation difficulties.

3) Pakistan: PDMC meeting held; Government requesting centralisation of all relief and rehabilitation assistance; WFP planning to assist Government effort with 560 tons of food.

4) Armenia: National Assembly session on drought held, UN attended; Government estimated drought losses at USD 40 million; FAO/WFP Assessment findings expected by end of next week; Drought Commission set; International assistance needed, food aid, seeds, animal feed, fuel, lubricants among main requirements.

C) South East Asia

1) Vietnam and Cambodia: Worst floods in 40 years; WFP assistance for 40,000 flood-affected people in Vietnam being prepared; All beneficiaries to receive 10 kg of rice per month for two months; Flood waters destroyed most rice crops in three provinces; Flood-affected in Cambodia assisted with WFP stocks from ongoing rehabilitation operation; More damage possible as typhoon season lasts until December; WFP examining best ways to assist affected countries.

2) Indonesia / West Timor: WFP regrets security situation in West Timor and related suspension of its operations there after slaying of three UN workers; WFP appealed to Government to restore security and allow return of international aid workers; Sufficient Government stocks available in West Timor to feed refugees for two months; Since 1998 WFP distributed 15,000 tons of food in West Timor and provided additional logistical support. All other WFP projects in Indonesia, targeting over 4 million people, currently on-going.

3) East Timor: Security under control, militia presence in Covalima; Planned WFP distributions executed, except in Manufahi due to restricted movements; Inter-agency coordination continues for potential return of refugees from West Timor; WFP pre-positioned further food stocks, total pre-positioned 370 tons; No repatriation recorded during week.

D) Russian Federation / Northern Caucasus: UN Mission (including WFP) visited Grozny; Acute food aid needs identified; Situation apparently improving, but many problems remain; WFP aid only food source for many people of Grozny; WFP food distributed to IDPs in Ingushetia; Two more WFP convoys sent to Chechnya; Household food economy assessments planned in Ingushetia and Grozny.

E) DPR Korea: WFP appealed for additional 194,876 tons (at cost of USD 100 million); Total requirement to feed 7.9 million hungry people from June 1999 to December reached 876,933 tons (at USD 358 million); Country facing 6th consecutive year of food shortages; Floods causing major damage to crops and infrastructure, losses estimated at USD 6.1 billion.

F) Sudan: Insecurity in Unity, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal states constrains operations; WFP staff evacuated; Suspicious hole found on WFP aircraft in Lokichoggio; Annual Needs Assessment under way; Multi-sector OLS assessment planned in Unity State, security permitting, WFP to participate.

G) Sierra Leone: Refugees returning from Guinea following increased fighting and tensions in border areas; WFP participated in emergency assessment in Lungi, where 6,200 returnees from Guinea were found; 2,500 returnees reached Freetown; WFP to provide emergency food assistance to returnees in need, some food already pre-positioned.

PART II - DETAILS

A) Horn of Africa

a) The United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy on Drought in the Greater Horn of Africa and WFP Executive Director, Catherine Bertini, visited Kenya and Ethiopia, the two worst-affected countries in the region, to review the ongoing crisis which threatens the lives of more than 14 million people in the Horn and affects an additional two million people in the Great Lakes Region.

b) The UN Special Envoy and WFP Executive Director met with Government Officials and UN Representatives and visited food distribution sites. The Special Envoy observed that a widespread famine had been averted in Ethiopia, due to a huge international relief operation and appealed to the international community to provide more assistance for the 3.3 million people in Kenya worst affected by the drought.

c) During the week, Canada announced an additional contribution of 13 million dollars in humanitarian assistance, for victims of drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa, including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia. A remarkable portion of this contribution, in all five countries, will be channelled for food aid through WFP. The European Union announced that they will be sending an additional 25,000 tonnes of cereals to Kenya, through WFP, to help ease a food shortage caused by the drought there.

B) West and Central Asia

1) Afghanistan

a) Drought-affected people from the Chakhcharan district of Ghor province continue to stream steadily into Herat City in search of food. Over 2,000 displaced families are now living in makeshift shelters or in the open. WFP will take over the provision of food aid to the IDPs in Herat from ICRC at the end of the month. WFP implemented several measures to facilitate movements of food aid into Chakhcharan, to try to discourage further displacement, including mobilisation of 32 trucks from the UN fleet, deployment of a special team to the area and establishment of a local base for activities.

b) A clearer picture of the IDP situation in the Northeast is emerging. The people displaced from Taloqan two weeks ago, when the Taliban captured this key opposition base, have moved to seven areas. In Faisabad, Keshem and Rustaq, most families have gathered in district centres. In Dashti-Qala, Khost wa Fereng, Farkhar and Warsaj, IDPs are spread throughout the districts. Of greatest concern to WFP are IDPs in Dashti Qala and Rustaq, who had fled Khoja Ghar for Taloqan last year, when their homes and crops were burned. WFP will immediately begin providing a 50 kg rations of wheat to 5,500 families throughout the Northeast. Additional relief requirements are anticipated following the completion of the inter-agency assessment, currently underway.

c) Northern Shamali and Panjshir Valley also host large IDP population. WFP has been supporting Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in operating feeding centres in this opposition-controlled area. A survey conducted by ACF last month found 18 percent of the population malnourished, the highest level currently recorded in the country. Panjshir Valley has not been severely hit by the drought. Combined effects of war and drought are particularly serious in northern Shamali.

d) A joint WFP/FAO mission to Arghandab, Zabul Province (Southeast) compiled more reports of serious water shortages. Water levels have dropped 5 to 8 meters since last year. Arghandab River is dry and local population survives on water pumped from shallow wells dug into the dry riverbed.

e) A coordination meeting was held in Peshawar on 18 September, to discuss urban vulnerability in Afghanistan. The meeting, organised by ECHO and WFP, was attended by representatives of ICRC, Habitat, CARE, CIC, Terres des Hommes, Medair and German Agro Action.

2) Tajikistan

a) Inter-agency Donor Alert on the Drought in Tajikistan was launched last week in Geneva, for relief programmes worth USD 76.6 million. The alert was prepared on the basis of sectoral assessments undertaken by the Government, UN Agencies and NGOs and covers the most urgent needs of the drought-affected population. The Alert complements the 2000 UN Inter-agency Consolidated Appeal for Tajikistan.

b) The UN strategy outlined in the alert is threefold. In close collaboration with the government, the UN will: (i) provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable drought-affected population, particularly those in need of food, clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education services; (ii) address the underlying economic causes of the drought in the context of protracted emergency; and (iii) undertake efforts to raise awareness of the international community to the severity of humanitarian situation.

c) Drought-related emergency food and agriculture programs will start in September and continue until the harvest in July 2001. Emergency non-food programmes that are part of the drought response will be implemented only until December.

d) WFP visited drought-affected areas of Khatlon province and observed severe effects of the drought and harsh living conditions of affected population. Several villages in the border area have reportedly not had access to drinking water for a few months.

e) Prices of food and other essential commodities are rising. According to Government sources, inflation was 5.8 percent in August, compared to 2.7 percent average during the first eight months of the year. The prices of basic food commodities have risen by 27.8 percent during the year, 6.8 percent only in August. The price of petrol nearly doubled.

f) Transportation of relief commodities to this land-locked country and problems with food supply routes continue to be of concern to WFP. It takes an average of three weeks to transport food from Riga Port to Tajikistan, across 4,716 km, through the CIS countries.

3) Pakistan

a) UNDP Resident Coordinator chaired a meeting of the Provincial Drought Management Committee (PDMC), on 19 September, which was attended by several representatives of the Baluchistan Government, UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, WFP, international and local NGOs. The Government requested that all relief and rehabilitation assistance by UN agencies and NGOs be channelled through the Office of the Relief Commissioner.

b) WFP is planning to provide 400 tons of wheat and 160 tons of oil in support of relief operation carried out by the Government. The PDMC will decide on the mechanisms for distribution of these commodities.

c) A household survey is being planned by UN agencies and the Government, to assess the situation of drought-affected people. The survey will cover food, agriculture, livestock, water and sanitation and health sectors.

d) Along with relief measures, the Government has embarked on mid-term rehabilitation activities that include development of water and communication facilities in drought-affected areas.

4) Armenia

a) The National Assembly held an extraordinary session on the drought. UN and international organisations attended the session. The Ministry of Agriculture estimated the drought-inflicted agricultural losses at USD 40 million and informed that the drought has been particularly devastating for fields planted with grain, fodder, vegetables and gourds, mainly in the mountainous and sub-mountainous regions in the north. Findings of the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission are expected to be released by the end of next week.

b) The Government has set up a Drought Commission to handle external assistance, which consists of representatives from several ministries. Donors and international organisations will participate in the activities of the Commission.

c) The effects of the drought are very serious and expected to deteriorate without external assistance. The Government is doing its best to mitigate the crisis, but its assistance seems adequate to cover only a small proportion of the needs. Emergency food assistance for subsistence farmers and other vulnerable groups in the affected areas will be needed, in addition to seeds, animal feed, fuel and lubricants.

C) South East Asia

1) Vietnam and Cambodia

a) WFP will give immediate food aid to some 40,000 of the worst-affected people in Vietnam, as massive floods from the Mekong River continue to destroy homes and villages in South East Asia. WFP will provide two months supply of rice to about a third of all flood victims in the country. Each beneficiary will receive 10 kg of rice per monh, for two-months.

b) The flood waters have not only destroyed homes and food stores, but also most of the rice crop in three of the 61 provinces. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by these, worst floods in 40 years.

c) In Cambodia, WFP is meeting the emergency food needs of the flood victims from food stocks already stockpiled in the country under a long-term rehabilitation operation for 1.3 million people.

d) It is possible that rains may exacerbate the conditions, as the typhoon season continues until December. WFP is monitoring the situation and examining best ways to give assistance on a wider, regional basis to the countries hit by the floods.

2) Indonesia / West Timor

a) WFP expressed its strong concern about security in the Indonesian province of West Timor and appealed to the Government to take all appropriate measures to restore the conditions that would allow the return of international aid workers. WFP also expressed regret that it was forced to suspend its operations in refugee camps in West Timor after the slaying of three UN workers on 6 September.

b) As there are sufficient government rice stocks in West Timor to feed the entire refugee population for more than two months, WFP is confident that local government officials in West Timor are fully capable of carrying out their own food deliveries to the camps in the absence of WFP. Provincial authorities have been carrying out food distributions for almost a year in a number of locations in West Timor.

c) Since 1998, WFP has distributed over 15,000 tons of rice and other food commodities in West Timor, with programmes valued at over USD 5 million. WFP also gave food and logistical support to hundreds of thousands of East Timorese who entered West Timor in 1999. WFP's programme was designed to complement efforts by the Government, which is ultimately responsible for the humanitarian operations in West Timor.

d) WFP has various ongoing activities in Indonesia to supply 175,000 tons of food to assist over 4 million people, including 80,000 refugees in West Timor, at a cost of USD 70 million. Except for the operation in West Timor, all other activities in the rest of Indonesia continue to operate, providing support to those most adversely affected by the economic crisis in the urban centres, as well as internally displaced people (IDPs) in Maluku and West Kalimantan.

3) East Timor

a) Security situation remained stable, but militia presence was reported in Covalima district. There has been increased concentration of PKF in Manufahi, resulting in movement restrictions in this area.

b) WFP was able to ensure timely distributions of food aid in all areas of operation except in Manufahi. The interventions included delivery of food and blankets (provided by UNICEF) to around 500 IDPs who left Turiscai due to security concerns.

c) Intensive coordination has been underway in East Timor, to plan for the potential return of a large number of East Timorese refugees from West Timor. Regular meetings chaired by UNHCR and involving UN agencies, NGOs, UNTAET, CIVPOL and PKF were held. WFP presented its contingency plan at these meetings and completed contingency pre-positioning in Maliana, Suai and Oecussi. Pre-positioned stocks of rice, humanitarian daily rations and high energy biscuits amount to 370 tons.

d) There has been no spontaneous or organised return of refugees this week. The total number of returnees stands at 168,795.

D) Russian Federation / Northern Caucasus

a) Following security assessment on 5 September, a joint UN inter-agency needs assessment mission, including WFP, visited Grozny on 9 September. The mission met with the authorities of Grozny and visited several public institutions and food distribution centre established by the People in Need Foundation (PINF). The mission established that there is an acute need for food aid, including communal kitchens and bakeries which are no longer operational due to shortage of food.

b) Two more WFP food convoys to Grozny were organised through PINF. During this distribution cycle, PINF distributed food to about 31,000 beneficiaries, but the figure will be increased to 35,000 persons from the next cycle in view of new registration figures. PINF is distributing food to internally displaced and vulnerable groups, which include pregnant and lactating women, children under 14, elderly, single parents and handicapped persons.

c) During the past two weeks DRC distributed 857 tons of food supplied by WFP to all but 12,000 of the 160,402 IDPs registered in Ingushetia. The 12,000 IDPs not assisted receive regular assistance from Islamic Relief. WFP monitored the distributions at eight sites and conducted 33 end-use monitoring surveys.

d) In collaboration with UNICEF, DRC and PINF, WFP launched a three-week household food economy assessment in Ingushetia and Grozny (Chechnya). Results are expected by mid-October.

E) DPR Korea

a) WFP appealed on 15 September for new contributions to feed the 7.9 million people most affected by food shortages in North Korea. With renewed concerns over the food shortages, the situation is most precarious for children, pregnant women and the elderly.

b) The new international appeal is for an additional 194,876 tons, to cover immediate needs of the vulnerable populations for the next four months, at a cost of nearly USD 100 million. This brings the total food aid requirements to 876,933 tons at a cost of USD 358 million, for the operation that began in July 1999 and will last until the end of this year.

c) As a result of a combination of erratic weather patterns, the country's limited ability to import agricultural inputs, damage to crops from drought conditions and a severe tropical storm, North Korea now faces at least its sixth consecutive year of food shortages.

d) The floods that followed the tropical storm of last week caused major damages to crops and infrastructure and some human casualties. It has been estimated by local sources that the damage has reached a value of USD 6.1. billion.

F) Sudan

a) Insecurity in Unity and Upper Nile states (Leech State, Ruweng County and Bieh State), which is due to inter-factional fighting, continued to hamper WFP operations and prompted evacuation of WFP staff from Pagil on 14 September.

b) Locations along the railway corridor running from Aweil to Wau towns in northern Bahr el Ghazal continued to experience insecurity, due to militia movements which follow the Government train. This resulted in many locations becoming inaccessible to WFP and in the evacuation of staff from Wuncum and Baau on 9 and 10 September. Because of the insecurity, WFP had to postpone many food aid distributions in locations near the railway line.

c) The pilots of a WFP-contracted aircraft operating from Lokichoggio discovered a hole in the fuselage of aircraft, suspected to have been caused by a gun-shot. The hole was discovered shortly after a take-off from Lokichoggio and the plane returned to the base. The incident is currently under investigation by Kenyan authorities.

d) Most WFP teams participating in the Annual Needs Assessment are currently in the field, carrying out household food economy assessments in Unity, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal states. Poor weather conditions and rain are hampering staff movements. Preliminary information coming from Ajakuac in Twic County, Bahr el Ghazal, suggests poor food security situation, with reports of visual signs of malnutrition amongst children.

e) There are conflicting reports from the field regarding the actual number of displaced persons fleeing insecurity and instability in Unity State (Western Upper Nile) to northern Bahr el Ghazal and the extent of their humanitarian needs. A multi-sectoral OLS emergency assessment of the area is planned in the coming weeks, security permitting. WFP will participate to determine the food aid needs. Some unconfirmed reports mention large-scale population movements from Mankien area.

G) Sierra Leone

a) Tensions on the borders between Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone further deteriorated following the attack on Macenta, in which one UNHCR employee was killed and one abducted.

b) WFP participated in an inter-agency assessment in Lungi area, to determine the numbers and needs of Sierra Leone returnees who fled from Guinea. The team visited Barbara and Petifu Junction and reported that a local NGO registered 6,200 refugees that arrived last week. Most refugees fled with little or no possessions, at night, reporting destruction in Dagabheh camp, and harassment in Kalakoh camp (in Guinea). The majority of returnees are women and children, who report that many refugees wish to return but are unable to pay the boat fare to Sierra Leone. WFP pre-positioned 50 tons of food and once the assessment is complete, emergency food distributions will start.

c) Some 2,500 returnees from Guinea arrived to Freetown after being transported from Conakry by boats provided by the Government. WFP will provide food aid to vulnerable returnees screened by UNHCR and accommodated at the transit camp in the Western area.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 38)