Afghanistan + 16 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 38 of 2001

This report includes: West and Central Asia Region Eastern Europe Region: Balkans Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) El Salvador, (2) Guatemala, (3) Honduras, (4) Nicaragua, (5) Bolivia, (6) Ecuador, (7) Peru Central Africa Region: Democratic Republic of Congo West Africa Region: (1) Guinea, (2) Sierra Leone East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Burundi, (2) Kenya
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 Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org, telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

(A) West and Central Asia Region

(a) UN agencies estimate that 7.5 million Afghans may eventually be affected by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

(b) The current crisis is taking place in the context of widespread poverty and one of the worst droughts in decades, which has had a severe impact on people throughout the region. Within Afghanistan itself, WFP was already feeding about 3.8 million people in mid-2001. But as the drought has persisted and in some areas intensified, WFP prepared a new Emergency Operation (EMOP) that would have taken effect 1 November to feed 5.5 million Afghans. In addition, WFP has been assisting over 706,000 people in Pakistan (including 117,000 Afghan refugees), 63,331 people in Iran (including 25,000 Afghans) and 952,000 people in Tajikistan (including 2,000 Afghans).

(c) WFP capacity to continue operations inside Afghanistan is diminishing daily as fuel is becoming scarce, trucks are not available and some national staff have been threatened.

(d) WFP and other UN agencies estimate that up to 1.4 million additional refugees may attempt to move out of Afghanistan and are likely to require near term WFP assistance. 940,000 people are anticipated to move towards Pakistan (in the North-West Frontier and Baluchistan Provinces), while 360,000 people could flee towards Iran (Taibad and Zahedin) or remain within the Afghan border if their entry is refused. In addition, 40,000 people might move towards Turkmenistan and 20,000 people towards Tajikistan or remain along the border.

(e) WFP is therefore establishing contingency plans to assist approximately 2 million people in immediate need of food assistance as a result of the crisis. The cost of providing this assistance would be about USD 81 million for a six-month period. Once access to Afghanistan is regained, this number will rise sharply.

(f) WFP has initiated a regional response and plans are underway to re-locate staff that have been evacuated from Afghanistan to Iran and Turkmenistan to strengthen WFP offices and explore the possibility of opening additional sub-offices close to the border with Afghanistan. Additional staff have already been sent to reinforce sub-offices in Pakistan (Peshawar and Quetta).

(g) WFP has ongoing EMOPs in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Current stocks in the region amount to 61,000 tons. A further 232,000 tons are in the pipeline. WFP has already informed donors of the Regional nature of the Emergency and requested them to allow WFP to be flexible in the use of contributions. The response so far has been supportive and positive. A donor consultation was held in Rome on 21 September.

(h) WFP is coordinating its activities with all other major humanitarian agencies, in particular OCHA, UNHCR and UNICEF, and with UNDP. This crisis will require a robust inter-agency logistics co-ordination structure. Central Asia represents a complex logistics environment given the landlocked nature of the affected countries of Tajikistan and Afghanistan and their border areas. As in most regions, the logistics capacities of different corridors are limited and prone to congestion. Therefore, the sharing of information on planned relief supply movements will be essential to ensure a steady supply of the right items to the beneficiaries.

(i) WFP has offered to other UN agencies to take the lead in establishing and managing a UN Joint Logistics Center facility based in the region. WFP would also review options for bilateral services for surface transport and for enhanced air passenger service.

(j) All WFP duty stations are on maximum alert and asked to exercise an extra degree of caution in all operations, and to take all possible measures to ensure the security and safety of staff and dependants. Further, they are to coordinate with their respective Security Management Teams.

(B) Eastern Europe Region: Balkans

(1) Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

(a) Despite the tense situation, WFP continues to lead joint assessment visits to conflict-affected areas, with the participation of other UN agencies, ICRC and Action Contre la Faim (ACF). The Macedonian Red Cross estimates the number of IDPs in fYRoM at 74,200. The registration of IDPs by the Red Cross Movement has been suspended in order to allow verification of the registered caseload. The number of returnees from Kosovo remains high. Out of the 51,000 returnees, some 30,700 reportedly remained displaced on 13 September.

(b) WFP is currently establishing contingency stocks of 1,125 tons of food for a possible caseload of 75,000 IDPs.

(2) Kosovo

(a) Following the opening of the Blace ? Skopje road, the number of refugees returning to fYRoM has exceeded 3,000 per day on 8 September. Some 28,000 refugees are still in Kosovo. UNHCR anticipates a caseload of 20,000 refugees remaining in Kosovo during the winter. WFP and its partners are currently identifying among this caseload the most vulnerable beneficiaries.

(b) Starting from October, WFP will target a reduced caseload of 70,000 persons under the safety net programme until March 2002.

(c) WFP is currently evaluating the capacity of its local partners to independently manage food assistance interventions after the WFP phase out. Based on the findings, WFP will carry-out additional training sessions over the coming months.

(3) Serbia

(a) In line with the recommendations of the WFP/UNHCR Joint Food Needs Assessment Mission, phase-down of WFP food assistance to Serbia has begun to be implemented. Continued dialogue with WFP's implementing partners and with municipal authorities is necessary to ensure all parties' full understanding and collaboration with the reductions. WFP is taking all necessary measures to enable a smooth process of phase down.

(b) Reports from the field indicate the need for systematic verification of the number of refugees from FYRoM in Serbia. Various difficulties have arisen related for example to the methods of counting family members. WFP is taking measures to eliminate any discrepancies between the numbers registered and the actual number present in Serbia.

(4) Montenegro

(a) The September/October distribution to 14,700 refugees and 6,100 IDPs will be completed by 25 September.

(5) Albania

(a) WFP distributed 160 tons of food to about 2,700 unassisted-unemployed households (13,475 beneficiaries) in the northern prefectures of Kukes and Shkodra, and 29 vulnerable women (145 beneficiaries) in psycho-social counselling programmes.

(C) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) El Salvador, (2) Guatemala, (3) Honduras, (4) Nicaragua, (5) Bolivia, (6) Ecuador, (7) Peru

WFP is facing critical food shortages to assist the drought victims in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. As of 20 September, only one contribution has been confirmed, representing 29 percent of the total requirements. Hence, further breaks in the pipeline by the end of the year are inevitable unless new contributions are received. As a result, WFP continues to borrow food from other existing WFP operations and to reduce the actual number of beneficiaries.

(1) El Salvador

(a) Following the Government distributions of 532 tons of maize to 5,320 drought-affected families in the eastern part of the country, another 206 tons was distributed by CRS in the provinces of Usulutan, San Miguel, La Union, and Morazan. 3,500 families received FFW rations following the sowing activities carried out by these beneficiaries. CARE and World Lutheran Federation are expected to carry out in the following 2 weeks distributions to another 6,300 families.

(b) Food distributions to earthquake-affected families have resumed following the distribution by CARE to 12,130 families in the provinces of Usulutan and San Vicente. Another 4,000 families were assisted by WLF in the provinces of La Libertad, Sonsonate and Ahuachapan. FUSADES also provided food assistance to 1,257 families. 1,003 tons of food have been distributed over the last week, bringing the total food distributed by this operation since the first earthquake on 13 January to 8,973 tons. Another 2,000 tons will be distributed over the next two months by these NGOs and CRS to only 15,000 families out of 40,000 households originally targeted, due to a shortfall of more than 40 percent of the total food requirements.

(c) A 5.0 (Richter scale) tremor occurred on 18 September, with its epicentre located 20 km south off the coastline of the province of La Paz. However, no major damage was reported. On 15 September, a landslide took place on the Chinchontepec volcano in the province of San Vicente, affecting 74 families living in temporary shelters since the February 2001 earthquake.

(d) These type of events, particularly the mudslides, are expected to occur with increasing frequency over the next two months due to the rainy season and the weakening of terrain resulting from the earthquakes, and underline El Salvador's extremely high vulnerability to natural disasters.

(2) Guatemala

(a) Rains continue to be scarce in the eastern parts of the country, although recently there has been a minor increase in precipitation. In the southern and western areas, rains may provoke flooding.

(b) An estimated 15,900 families were affected. The figure of 452 malnourished children in rehabilitation centres is expected to increase. WFP has distributed 602 tons of food since 31 August.

(c) The different agencies involved in food assistance are preparing together with the Government a new proposal including general emergency assistance, targeted assistance for families with malnourished family members and nutritional programmes for malnourished children.

(3) Honduras

(a) WFP assisted 65,550 people during the first 36 days of the drought emergency, providing them with 1,085 tons of food. The beneficiaries are living in the most drought-affected provinces including El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Choluteca, Comayagua, Intibucá and Valle.

(4) Nicaragua

(a) WFP has completed its first distribution of food to families that suffered crop losses due to the drought. WFP, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture intend to carry out joint field visits during the second week of October to assess the impact of the drought on the crops and the general food security of the population.

(b) In addition to WFP's food distribution in the Autonomous North Atlantic Region, OXFAM-GB is now intervening with medicine, mobilisation of health brigades and water filters. When the rain stops, they will initiate a project of construction and rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities. The Danish Embassy has donated seeds for the next planting season.

(c) A tropical depression began affecting Nicaragua on 20 September and will most likely provoke new floods and mudslides.

(5) Bolivia

(a) WFP continues to assist people who were affected by the floods and droughts during the first quarter of this year in the areas where the regular development activities are present. WFP is supporting affected farmers in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of their community assets. About 40,000 families have received 1,753 tons of food, using regular development resources and DFID's special contribution.

(b) Based on assessments of the Ministry of Agriculture, WFP will look into modalities to assist food insecure families who lost their subsistence crops in areas where regular WFP programs are not present.

(c) Following the confirmation of the first multilateral cash contributions to the EMOP representing about 28 percent of the required resources, WFP is considering local/regional purchases in order to have food available as soon as possible. However, due to the large volume of regular stocks borrowed to address the needs of the emergency, WFP's regular programme activities are now facing deficits. These resources urgently need to be reimbursed. The EMOP continues to have a shortfall of about 4,500 tons (wheat equivalent).

(6) Ecuador

(a) The emissions of ash from the Tungurahua Volcano continue to seriously affect the Quero and Mocha districts in the province of Tungurahua. According to the latest survey, the number of affected persons remains close to 40,000 people, the majority being small farmers, and 53,000 hectares of spoiled land.

(b) In an attempt to salvage as much as possible, small farmers have been forced to prematurely harvest their crops nevertheless results were poor. Part of the harvest was sold and the remaining seeds, usually saved for planting, have been eaten by the affected families.

(c) WFP has programmed its third distribution for the last two weeks of September, with 6,895 rations to be distributed in collaboration with the Provincial Civil Defence.

(7) Peru

(a) WFP has been monitoring the implementation of its Emergency Operation in Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna provinces. Over 30,000 earthquake-affected persons have been assisted with 244 tons of food. WFP's emergency food assistance has been targeted to families currently rehabilitating their houses destroyed or damaged by the earthquakes.

(D) Central Africa Region: Democratic Republic of Congo

(1) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) Following the approval of this Special Operation by the Executive Director on 10 September, WFP has advanced USD 250,000 from its immediate Response Account to pre-finance the airlift. The Operation covers the costs of chartering medium sized aircraft to transport 500 tons of food from Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika to a number of isolated turban centres in northern Katanga, including Nyunzu, Manono, Kiambi, Kongolo and Kabolo.

(b) With the somewhat improved political situation, humanitarian agencies earlier this year were able to access these areas for the first time since 1998, and found alarmingly high mortality and malnutrition rates. In June, a first airlift was funded by OCHA and OFDA. The purpose of this second airlift, this time organised by WFP, is to airlift sufficient stocks to cover the needs of the Nuova Frontiera operated nutrition centres for another 3 months until the end of December 2001.

(c) The airlift will be starting soon in view of the approaching rains. WFP is urgently appealing for a total of USD 378,000 of which USD 250,000 has been pre-financed, to carry out the full life-saving operation as needed.

(E) West Africa Region: (1) Guinea, (2) Sierra Leone

(1) Guinea

(a) The general security situation is stable, except in Kissidougou where several armed robberies against humanitarian agency workers have been reported. No new arrivals of refugees have been reported during the last week. WFP assisted a total of 15,873 vulnerable people during the week, providing them with about 240 tons of food.

(b) Five prefectures in Kankan region were affected by the worst floods experienced in the region for the last 10 years. The Mandiana prefecture that is the most affected is now completely isolated. Initial reports indicate that 50 percent of the harvests around the Mandiana commune are lost and the price of rice rose by more than 26 percent. The transporters union in Mandiana warned that there would soon be fuel shortages. The Government donated food and medicine to the affected regions. WFP is evaluating needs in coordination with the authorities and humanitarian agencies and is ready to provide food assistance to the affected population as well as logistics support to other agencies. Despite logistical constraints, WFP assisted its regular caseload of 3,013 people in the Siguiri prefecture.

(c) A survey done by ACF and Première Urgence in the Gueckedou prefecture indicates that the lean season will be extended until the next main harvest in December because of the poor harvest. A joint crop and food supply assessment mission is planned for February.

(d) Following the completion of the verification/census in the Kountayah camp (Kissidougou Region), 25,685 refugees were registered by UNHCR. In the Kountayah camp, 12,543 refugees received WFP assistance to cover their food needs for one month.

(e) The transfers to the new Kola camp (N'Zérékoré region) from the Liberia border area, N'Zérékoré and the Kouankan refugee camp resumed after being suspended due to a diarrhoea epidemic which is now under control. 135 Liberian refugees arrived in Kola camp on 11 September received WFP hot meals for the first 2 days, prepared by the International Rescue Committee and WFP dry rations for 25 days distributed by Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine. A total of 3,365 refugees are now located in the Kola camp. 70 children and pregnant and nursing mothers are benefiting from WFP food in the nutritional centre in the Kouankan refugee camp.

(f) WFP and the Red Cross completed the targeting exercise and identified 8,300 vulnerable IDPs out of 12,500 IDPs registered in the Dinguiraye prefecture (Dabola region). The new caseload will receive WFP assistance over the coming weeks. WFP completed the distribution of 125 tons of food to 7,300 refugees in the Sembakounya camp.

(2) Sierra Leone

(a) The security situation within the township of Bo and environs remained calm throughout the week. UNAMSIL peacekeeping troops started to deploy in Tongo fields on 14 September.

(b) WFP distributed a total of 479 tons of food to 19,030 beneficiaries under various programmes during the week. This includes the distribution of 72 tons of food to 6,258 IDPs in Bo township. WFP also assisted 1,730 people involved in training projects, providing them with 12 tons of food.

(c) 319 Liberian refugees and Sierra Leonean returnees arrived in Gerehun camp (Bo district) where they received WFP emergency food rations and non-food items (NFIs) from UNHCR. UNHCR intends to transfer an additional 600 Liberian refugees from Kailahun District into Gerehun camp. Upon registration, WFP will assist them on a monthly basis starting on 17 September.

(d) WFP continues to support Supplementary and Therapeutic Feeding (TFC/SFC) Programmes run by NGOs and Government institutions in Freetown, Lungi, Port Loko and Kambia. Beneficiary numbers in Port Loko and Kambia continue to increase mainly as a result of the improved access to remote and unsafe areas, which are gradually opening up.

(e) GOAL plans to carry out nutritional screening in Lower Bambara, Dodo, Simbaru, and Fallah Wandor (Kenema District). WFP in collaboration with GOAL also intends to undertake a base-line food security assessment in accessible areas in Kenema District in November.

(f) WFP in collaboration with community based organizations distributed about 500 tons of food to 11,460 families under food-for-agriculture (FFAg) programmes in Kambia and Port Loko districts. The rural population in these areas has been greatly affected by the persistent fighting, losing most of their assets. As security in the country improves, farmers go back to till their lands but they have no agricultural inputs for farming the land. While NGOs support them with the provision of seeds and tools WFP complements this support with food aid.

(g) WFP assistance under FFAg programmes will be extended on 20 September to 700 farmers supported by Lutheran World Federation in Sorogbwema (Pujahun District) and to 3,658 families in five chiefdoms of Kailahun District through AFRICARE and MCSL.

(F) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Burundi, (2) Kenya

(1) Burundi

(a) The security situation remained volatile from 27 August to 9 September and various incidents were reported in different areas. Incursions of rebels were reported in the south and the east notably in Ruyigi and Makamba provinces. Skirmishes between the army and the rebels were reported in Bujumbura rural province. In Bujumbura town, two grenades exploded and six people were injured. Cibitoke zone near the capital was attacked and two people were reported killed.

(b) The Humanitarian passenger aircraft operation managed by WFP is seriously under-funded. This special operation which benefited a monthly average of over 1,600 humanitarian staff could be suspended unless new donor contributions are confirmed. This passenger aircraft operation project is mostly needed to facilitate access of humanitarian workers to remote areas due to road insecurity.

(c) WFP started the distribution of Seeds Protection Rations in Gitega and Muyinga provinces on 18 September, after meeting with different partners including FAO, CARE and World Vision to review the beneficiary lists. About 140,000 food insecure families are expected to receive 7,661 tons of WFP food countrywide. The operation is expected to end by 15 October.

(d) WFP in collaboration with CARE and World Vision assisted 155,000 people affected by insecurity in Gitega, Rutana and Karuzi provinces, with 1,210 tons of food. In addition, 9,014 malnourished persons, admitted in Caritas and Groupe Voluntariat Civil (GVC) feeding centres, received 41 tons of WFP food in Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural provinces. WFP delivered 82 tons of food to 29 social centres benefiting 9,368 most vulnerable persons. 3,853 refugees from DR Congo received 66 tons of WFP food in Cibitoke province, through GTZ. About 600 repatriates from Tanzania were assisted by WFP in Ngozi.

(e) WFP Household Food Economy Assessment teams visited Buterere Zone (Bujumbura town). The teams reported that the Batwa community and other families displaced from Bujumbura Rural province were facing a precarious food security situation resulting from the lack of access to land for farming activities.

(2) Kenya

(a) The 2001 long rainfall has been well below normal levels and poorly distributed in many agropastoral, pastoral areas and the marginal agricultural areas of North Eastern, Eastern, Rift Valley and Coast provinces. However, following good rains in several key producing areas, projected aggregate national maize production is expected to be slightly above normal levels during the 2001 long-rains season. The Government estimates that 2.31 million tons of maize should be harvested.

(b) WFP significantly reduced the beneficiary numbers, notably in Baringo and Laikipia, reflecting long rains-related improvements in conditions. However, some adjustments have been approved by the Kenya Food Security Group, in particular in Mandera District, resulting in an increase in beneficiary numbers from 1,518,528 in August to 1,557,517 in September.

(c) The pipeline for the coming months improved significantly due to substantial contributions from the Government of Kenya, available immediately. As a result, WFP will be able to distribute a full ration during the September General Distribution.

(d) The School Feeding component of the EMOP benefiting 1,304,341 children is fully resourced until the end 2002. WFP plans to undertake a baseline survey, which will cover a sample of 350 schools out of the 4,700 schools in 16 districts covered by the Expanded School Feeding Programme.

(e) WFP approved and started implementing 43 food-for-work (FFW) projects during the first half of September. WFP delivered a first allocation of 1,380 tons of food under FFW projects.

(f) UN personnel has been advised to exercise caution while travelling especially around Bulahawa (Mandera district) and Garsen (Tana River Districts) following tensions and sporadic violence in these areas.

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

End WFP Emergency Report No 38)