WFP Emergency Report No. 43 of 2001

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 26 Oct 2001
This report includes: (A) West and Central Asia: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan, (3) Iran (B) East Asia: (1) Democratic People's Republic of Korea (C) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Somalia, (2) Uganda, (3) Eritrea (D) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Namibia, (3) Democratic Republic of Congo (E) West Africa Region: (1) Sierra Leone, (2) Guinea, (3) Liberia (F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Belize, (2) Central America overview, (3) Honduras, (4) Guatemala, (5) El Salvador (G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Armenia
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: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Pakistan, (3) Iran

(1) Afghanistan

(a) WFP continues to have fairly regular contact with WFP offices in Afghanistan. For the first time in several weeks, WFP managed to make radio contact with staff in Mazar-i-Sharif. The WFP warehouse in Mazar still contains food stocks and WFP intends to start immediately distributing food. During this week some 20,000 families, cardholders of the Bakery Programme in Mazar, will receive 50 kg of wheat each, to last them for one month.

(b) Food distributions in other areas of Afghanistan continue. WFP distributed this week food via its sub-offices in Kabul, Herat, Faizabad, Mazar-I-Sharif and Jalalabad. The WFP office in Kandahar is not operational.

(c) Bombing raids on Kabul continue and several bombs have landed near the WFP warehouse again this week.  No further injuries to WFP staff have occurred. WFP is purchasing additional bullet proof jackets to protect staff working in Afghanistan.

(d) WFP staff in Kabul report that the number of hungry people is rising. Government workers have not received salaries for the month of October and together with many unemployed people, they are not able to access adequate food. This is creating a rising wave of frustration, which resulted in protests after WFP suspended a food distribution during a bombing raid. The distribution has now resumed and the beneficiaries received their ration.

(e) WFP has accelerated food deliveries and signed 30 partnership contracts with NGOs to distribute food in Afghanistan. WFP has agreed with the NGOs to deliver food, where possible, to the final distribution points rather than to WFP warehouses, to facilitate the distribution.

(f) Deliveries into Afghanistan began to increase this week with an average of 2,000 tons per day. Since 11 September, WFP has delivered about 18,400 tons of food to Afghanistan and an additional 15,900 tons are ready to be delivered from neighbouring countries. Insecurity inside Afghanistan continues to be a major constraint for WFP logistics operation. Some commercial trucking companies are hesitating to risk their drivers and trucks on Afghan roads in certain areas.

(2) Pakistan

(a) On 23 October, WFP distributed 8 tons of high energy biscuits to approximately 6,000 people that had massed in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, near the Afghan town of Spinboldak, 700 metres inside Afghanistan.

(b) The refugees were reported to be in poor shape and only 200 of the 415 families there are living under shelter. The International Islamic Relief Organization is the de facto manager of the camp and has provided some non-food items as well as some food donated by NGOs.

(c) UNHCR established a 'staging area' 15 metres inside Pakistan to provide humanitarian assistance such as medical care and food to people who cross the border. In accordance with current arrangements with the Government of Pakistan, these people will then return to Afghanistan, after receiving assistance. WFP has food on stand-by for these families. WFP reached an agreement with Mercy Corps International to undertake any subsequent food distributions.

(d) The border near Quetta remains firmly sealed. However, preparations for a possible influx of refugees continue and WFP is finalising agreements with NGOs who would act as WFP implementing partners for food distributions.

(3) Iran

(a) WFP received an urgent request from MSF-F to provide high energy biscuits for the emergency feeding of 120 vulnerable children located in the Camp Mile 46, 3km inside Afghanistan. WFP pre-positioned 50 tons of HEB near the border. About 500 Afghans are accommodated in Camp Mile 46, which is not accessible to UN staff. They are receiving assistance from the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

(b) Approximately 1,000 IDPs are reportedly in the Makaki Camp, located in Afghanistan, under Taliban control. WFP is facilitating the mission of two NGOs, the War Child and the Refugee Trust of Ireland. The NGOs will travel to the border areas to assess the feasibility of setting up a bakery.

(B) East Asia

(1) Democratic People's Republic of Korea

(a) The joint FAO/WFP Food and Crop Assessment mission issued its report today. The mission has found that the food supply has improved, with the annual food deficit reduced from 2.3 million tons last year, to approximately 1.5 million tons. The full report can be found at http://www.fao.org/giews/english/alertes/2001/srdprk901.htm

(b) WFP's new emergency operation will be reduced from 812,000 tons to approximately 600,000 tons of food assistance. The number of people requiring WFP's assistance will also decrease from approximately 7.6 million to 5.3 million vulnerable people. Better harvests have reduced the reliance of rural populations on the public distribution system, so WFP will sharpen its targeting of selected groups in urban areas. The number of secondary school students, elderly and food for work (FFW) beneficiaries will also be reduced.

(c) WFP's emergency operation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has received almost all of the commodities it requires for the rest of 2001, but has nothing in the pipeline for 2002. Urgent contributions of cereals are required to prevent breaks in the pipeline in the new year.

(d) An Emergency Operation for 2002 is being prepared and will be issued in a few days

(C) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Somalia, (2) Uganda, (3) Eritrea

(1) Somalia

(a) Recent field assessments by WFP confirm that the food security situation has again become critical, following the almost total failure of the main rains (Gu), mostly in the southern regions and in some parts of northern Somalia. Particular concern is being raised in the Gedo region where reports indicate a significant rise in the number of malnourished people. The situation is only marginally less acute in the Bay and Bakol regions. The failure of these seasonal rains has led to a dramatic increase in food shortages, water scarcity, lack of pasture and a rapid deterioration in livestock conditions.

(b) An estimated 450,000 people are expected to face food shortages in the Gedo region alone. Many young men have already moved out of the region with their livestock in search of water. This has left women, children, elderly and displaced populations behind, with rapidly dwindling food supplies and few sources of income. The situation is exacerbated by the continuing closure of the Kenya-Somalia border and the sharp devaluation of the Somali Shilling. The humanitarian crisis will continue to worsen if, as is now widely expected, the current deyr rains also fail. If these conditions prevail, there is a concern that Somalia's annual cholera outbreak will take an even heavier toll than usual.

(c) Repeating previous appeals, UN agencies, NGOs and donor partners of the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) made an urgent appeal on 16 October for over 40,000 tons of food aid and additional health services. Action Contre la Faim (ACF), which is running the only nutritional center in Gedo region, warned that attendance levels have increased in the past two months. Over 4,300 patients are now receiving supplementary and therapeutic feeding treatment (SFC and TFC), and 200 new persons are screened for admission every day. In addition, the maternal and child health center in Baidoa, supported by UNICEF, has seen a rapid increase in the number of severely malnourished children screened, since July.

(d) CARE has reported a major increase in the number of undernourished people in Gedo region and is now increasing its programme to assist 240,000 people in the region. CARE has appealed for 22,000 tons of food aid to meet humanitarian needs over the next year. WFP has similarly initiated a significant increase in its support programme in Bay and Bakol regions, and is preparing to assist over 200,000 people over the next few months. Recognizing that Gedo is the most critical area, WFP and CARE have agreed on a joint assistance whereby WFP provided CARE with 200 tons of vegetable oil in order to improve the nutritional content of their food basket.

(e) With the increased vulnerability amongst populations in many parts of the country, WFP estimates its food requirement at a minimum of 21,200 tons. With food stock levels estimated to be less than 2,150 tons by the end of the year, WFP is facing a shortfall of over 19,000 tons of food, mainly cereals. Despite earlier appeals, WFP only received pledges of 2,586 tons, as of 24 October.

(2) Uganda

(a) The security situation in most WFP operational areas is relatively calm. However, a WFP vehicle was fired upon in Gulu, fortunately with no casualties among passengers. The fluid security situation in Gulu district and Bundibugyo continues to pose a threat to resettlement efforts.

(b) WFP continues to provide assistance under the PRRO 6176.0 to over 557,100 IDPs and refugees through general food distributions. In addition, WFP implements a school feeding programme, FFW, Food-for Training (FFT) projects and targeted food distributions to vulnerable groups. WFP distributed 4,152 tons of food in September. Under the PRRO, WFP is supporting a number of recovery activities aiming at improving the household food security. This includes a seed multiplication project in Kitgum and fish farming in Gulu as well as reforestation, road rehabilitation and dam construction. WFP carried out Emergency Food Needs Assessments in Gulu, Arua and Yumbe districts to monitor the food security situation of both WFP assisted and non-assisted populations.

(c) By the end of September, the PRRO 6176.0 was 81 percent resourced for its two year duration. Overall, 15,340 tons of food are still required up to the end of the PRRO in March 2002. There is therefore an urgent need for donations.

(d) Following the recently concluded registration exercise, the caseload of Congolese, Rwandese and Sudanese refugees assisted by WFP under the Regional PRRO 6077.00, has reduced and is now close to 23,400. WFP, UNHCR and the Government carried out a Joint Assessment Mission in the West Nile and Acholi-pii and confirmed continuous movement of Sudanese refugees due to the fluid security situation in Southern Sudan.

(e) The Regional PRRO pipeline has improved with the arrival of cereals and pulses, although some of the commodities had to be used to repay loans taken earlier in the year. However, WFP expects to face a shortfall of vegetable oil in December, unless new donations are confirmed.

(3) Eritrea

(a) Eritrean Relief and Refugees Commission (ERREC) reported distribution of about 1,300 tons of food to over 107,500 drought-affected persons in Anseba and Northern Red Sea Regions from 8 to 20 October. The second phase of the repatriation exercise of Eritrean refugees from Sudan started on 18 October. 163 returning families will receive two months WFP food rations as soon as they complete registration formalities. A total of 41,000 Eritrean refugees are expected to return by the end of the year.

(b) The absence of rain from September to mid-October has adversely affected the expected sorghum yield in the Gash Barka region. Pasture is in short supply in most areas of the region. Consequently, most pastoralists are moving long distances with their herds in search of pasture, adding pressure on existing water sources and pastureland.

(c) Under the recently finalised Consolidated Appeal Process, 130,000 tons of food have been requested to support relief activities as well as demobilization, FFW, school-feeding and repatriation programmes. The impetus will be on a shift from general food distributions to FFW.

(d) The general situation in and around the Temporary Security Zone remains calm. Two recent anti-tank mine incidents in Gash Barka underscored the importance of continued vigilance as well as lend credence to the current mine clearing activities.

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

(1) Angola

(a) Precarious security conditions in most of the provinces continued to result in a steady influx of IDPs to urban areas. At least three civilian convoys were reportedly attacked, last week.

(b) WFP in collaboration with German Agrarian Action distributed 233 tons of food to 32,000 IDPs in Boa Esperança camp (Bengo province). WFP signed an agreement with AAA/AAD for distribution of food to 35,000 beneficiaries in Bengo province until the end of December.

(c) WFP in partnership with Minars assisted over 4,500 malnourished children through TFC, SFC and community kitchens programs in Cubal, Balombo, Lobito and Benguela (Benguela province), providing them with over 8 tons of food.

(d) 1,350 newly displaced were registered in Kuito (Bié province), last week. 3,142 IDPs have been registered in Kuito and Camacupa between 1 and 18 October. The stabilisation of the level of admission to TFCs in Kuito and Camacupa seems to be a result of the regular WFP general food distributions.

(e) 450 IDPs reportedly arrived in Caconda (Huila province) in October, coming from the outlying villages and Huambo province. They have been settled in a transit camp, where they will receive WFP assistance through Caritas.

(f) Following military operations in the north of Kuando Kubango province, a significant number of newly displaced people were registered. New camps were identified to accommodate 2,000 persons. At least 84 families from Nankova and Baixo Longa villages were registered on 14 October.

(g) WFP delivered 132 tons of food to its partners, last week, for distribution to approximately 11,245 beneficiaries in Luanda province. WFP also distributed 377 tons of food to about 100,000 beneficiaries in Malange province, during the same period. A sample survey showed an average 67 percent increase in attendance in WFP supported schools in Malange township, since last year.

(h) 600 new IDPs arrived in Luena (Moxico province) last week, fleeing fighting further north. Together with previously displaced people, they received WFP food assistance as well as seeds and tools. Around 112 IDPs reportedly arrived from Chipindo in Tombwa municipality (Namibe province) one month ago. However, precarious security conditions continue to prevent WFP and other agencies from assessing their needs and undertaking a registration.

(2) Namibia

(a) WFP dispatched a ton of food to Onambutu transit camp to cover the needs of newly arrived refugees. Currently, the total population in the transit centre stands at 111. The new arrivals will be transported to Osire Refugee camp.

(3) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) The security situation in the South Kivu province is reportedly deteriorating, constraining access for humanitarian agencies. Due to insecurity in the Fizi Territory (South Kivu province), over 4,000 people fled to Baraka and Tanzania. WFP distributed 170 tons of food to 40,700 vulnerable people in South Kivu province, mainly returnees from 8 to 14 October. Returnees are still reportedly moving back to the relatively stable territories of South Kivu province. However, insecurity and the bad state of the roads remain major constraints for WFP to carry out large-scale food distributions in the province.

(b) WFP suspended its planned food distribution in Mitwaba (Katanga province) due to insecurity. WFP has established a presence in Kamina and is currently focusing its assistance on newly displaced people. Food supplies for the Angolan refugees in Kisenge are seriously impeded by the slowness of rail transport from Lubumbashi.

(c) WFP resumed food distribution for IDPs in Mbandaka (Equateur province). Local populations in Basankusu, Befale, Makanza and Bolomba are in need of food assistance but access remains problematic. WFP took advantage of a MONUC flight to field an assessment mission in Befale, which also carried 2 tons of food. Food availability and accessibility in various areas of Equateur province has been greatly affected by looting and the presence of landmines. WFP intends to support the TFC run by MSF-B in Mbandaka and is currently looking into ways to overcome the logistical obstacles to expand food assistance in Basankusu.

(d) WFP partners have been reporting a continuous influx of Angolan refugees in Kimvula (Bas-Congo province), bringing the caseload from 3,600 to over 13,000. A large number of people are still hiding in the Kingela wood in Angola according to the refugees who recently arrived in Kimakesa. Pending the assessment mission, WFP is currently arranging for a first distribution of 163 tons of food for 10,000 refugees in Kimvula, as a contingency measure.

(E) West Africa Region: (1) Sierra Leone, (2) Guinea, (3) Liberia

(1) Sierra Leone

(a) The security situation in Freetown, Bo, Moyamba, Kenema and Port Loko districts remained calm this week. UNAMSIL has deployed in Pendembu (Kailahun District) and Makeni (Bombali district) on 15 October. During the last tripartite meeting between armed military factions and UNAMSIL it was agreed that disarmament should be completed by the end of November.

(b) WFP distributed about 1,000 tons of food to over 98,000 beneficiaries, under various programmes, from 15 to 21 October. This includes the distribution of 210 tons of food to about 16,200 returnees and refugees relocated in Lokomasama. WFP distributed 133 tons of food to over 9,000 returnees at Jembe and Gerehun settlements.

(c) WFP delivered 6 tons of food to International Medical Corps in support of its SFC programme in Daru and Kailahun, targeting over 300 children under five years of age and pregnant and lactating women. WFP continues to support various social and health institutions in Lungi and Bo townships and distributed, this week, 6 tons of food, assisting about 500 vulnerable people. WFP completed the distribution of 15 tons of food to training institutions in Kenema town and Zimmi (Makpele chiefdom), assisting about 1,900 people.

(d) WFP in collaboration with Community Action for Progress distributed 159 tons of food to over 3,300 families through a Food-For- Agriculture (FFag) project in Samu and Mambolo (Kambia district). In addition, 400 families in Pakimasabom chiefdom (Bombali district) received WFP support through Africare.

(e) WFP completed distribution of 36 tons of food to schools, assisting 9,700 children in Niawa, Langrama, Small Bo, Makpele and Barri West chiefdoms. In addition, WFP helped over 4,700 school children with 18 tons of food in Daru. WFP is currently dispatching 30 tons of food for about 8,000 children in Bo district.

(2) Guinea

(a) The general security situation is stable. WFP assisted a total of 21,245 vulnerable people, distributing 465 tons of food through various projects from 7 to 21 October. WFP in collaboration with Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine (OCPH) and Première Urgence (PU) is currently assisting 27,000 flood victims, including 2,000 IDPs in the Mandiana prefecture (Upper Guinea).

(b) WFP is currently supporting FFW activities for improving the sanitation conditions, local roads and evacuation canals in the town of Gueckedou. WFP is providing tools and food assistance to the workers.

(c) WFP in collaboration with Première Urgence completed the distribution of 330 tons of food to 13,200 refugees in the Kountaya and Boreah camps (Kissidougou region). UNHCR repatriated 151 Sierra Leonean refugees from the Telikoro and Kountaya camps. WFP continues to assist over 600 children and pregnant and nursing mothers admitted in the Albadaria camps' nutritional centres, managed by ACF.

(d) Over 700 refugees were transferred from the Kouankan camp to the Kola camp (N'Zérékoré region), bringing the total number of refugees to 5,256. WFP in collaboration with OCPH assisted them with an emergency food ration.

(e) WFP in partnership with the Dinguiraye Red Cross completed food distribution to over 8,400 IDPs in Dinguiraye (Dabola region). WFP and OCPH assisted over 7,300 refugees in the Sembakounya camp. 68 moderately malnourished people admitted in the Sembakounya nutritional centre, managed by ACF, received WFP support.

(3) Liberia

(a) UN experts investigating the impact of sanctions ? humanitarian, economic and social ? have warned in a report to the UN Security Council that further restrictions would have more negative impacts on the Liberian population. The experts called on the Security Council to "consider the establishment of a mechanism to regularly review their impact on the humanitarian and economic situation of Liberia" should the Council decide to establish additional sanctions.

(b) WFP dispatched 561 tons of food to support various programmes, from 11 to 24 October. This includes the delivery of about 300 tons to various partners implementing WFP School Feeding programme. In addition, WFP completed the distribution of 142 tons of food to over 15,250 IDPs in Bong and Grand Cape Mount Counties. 18,620 Sierra Leonean refugees in Banjor, Samukai Town, VOA-1 and Zuannah Town received 156 tons of WFP food on 23 October.

(F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Belize, (2) Central America overview, (3) Honduras, (4) Guatemala, (5) El Salvador

(1) Belize

(a) Out of the 9,000 people in need of food aid following the Hurricane Iris, WFP will assist 4,000 in the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts through an Emergency Operation (EMOP). The Belize Red Cross will assist the remaining 5,000. Both organizations are working closely together to ensure that the food needs of the affected population are fully covered and that efforts are not duplicated.

(b) A second WFP mission travelled to Belize on 22 October to put into place the operational mechanisms for the EMOP. The objective is to cover the immediate food needs for three months of 4,000 people who have lost their crops and/or their sources of income as a result of the hurricane. Assistance will allow these families to cope with the period of greatest food scarcity and allow WFP and its partners to begin recovery efforts.

(c) Hurricane Iris struck as one planting season was ending and another was about to begin. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, over 12,150 acres of crops and an equivalent of USD 500,000 in livestock were lost. At this point in time there is a window of two to four weeks for the planting of two staple crops. The Government has distributed maize seeds and fertilizers, which will benefit 3,000 subsistence farmers. WFP actions, planned to run from mid-November to mid-February, will support these small farmers as they begin their recovery process.

(d) As WFP has no operational presence in Belize, its operation will be implemented through Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO under the Memorandum of Understanding signed recently between WFP and PAHO/WHO.

(2) Central America

(a) Food needs assessments will be carried out in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming weeks in conjunction with Government counterparts and NGOs. The assessments will help determine the extent of damages to the second harvest and how food aid has affected the lives of those who have been assisted, and to identify any gaps in assistance that need to be urgently addressed. In order to ensure consistency across the four countries, WFP has developed a core set of indicators that will be integrated into each country's assessment methodology.

(3) Honduras

(a) As of 24 October, WFP has distributed 2,700 tons to around 25,000 drought-affected families. Distribution planned for late October to early November will cover 30,200 families. Increases in beneficiary numbers are the result of the constant monitoring of drought-affected areas to ensure coverage of the most food insecure of the population.

(b) Although it appears that the second harvest of the year will be very good, the current coffee crisis is limiting income for small subsistence producers and daily workers who are unable to access adequate quantities of food.

(4) Guatemala

(a) Following a joint WFP/UNICEF mission, 12,500 people in the Departments of Suchitepéquez and Retalhuleu have been included in WFP beneficiary caseload, bringing the total number of people requiring food assistance to about 30,000. Although rainfall in the eastern part of the country is normal and a good harvest of maize and beans is expected, there is concern in other parts of the country that the current cold weather could have a negative effect on crops. In the northeast, the harvest of "maní" has commenced with an estimated 50 percent loss.

(b) Several agencies, including the Red Cross, are evaluating the effects of Hurricane Iris on isolated communities south of Peten. An estimated 1,800 families lost their crops and material belongings as a result of Hurricane Iris and are currently receiving assistance from the Government.

(5) El Salvador

(a) There are indications that many of the 63,700 drought-affected families will remain food insecure up to the harvest, expected in mid-2002. WFP estimates that even a successful second harvest in November, at this stage uncertain, will not provide these families with the necessary food and revenue to sustain themselves.

(b) This situation is exacerbated by the lack of employment opportunities in the eastern drought-affected parts of the country, due in particular to the current coffee crisis. Furthermore, many of the drought victims also suffered the consequences of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and the two earthquakes that ravaged El Salvador at the beginning of this year. These combined factors will negatively impact thousands of families who will thus require food aid.

(c) WFP is presently preparing an Emergency Food Needs Assessment to be carried out in conjunction with its partner NGOs as well as the National Secretariat of the Family. Results from this assessment will help determine the most food insecure municipalities and communities. This data will then be crossed with the results obtained from a nutritional assessment to be conducted by UNICEF with the Ministry of Health in the 50 most drought-affected municipalities.

(G) Eastern Europe Region

(1) Armenia

(a) Bad weather conditions during the 2001 farming season coupled with insufficient seeds and fertilizers have severely affected the southern provinces bordering Iran and Azerbaijan, which were already suffering from last year's drought. Following a rapid assessment in the southern provinces of Vayots Dzor and Syunik, WFP and FAO confirmed that continued drought conditions resulted in a 66 decrease in cereal, potato and livestock production in 90 villages. The Government estimates the damage resulting from the drought at USD 9 million.

(b) WFP is currently assisting about 430,000 vulnerable people through PRRO 10053.0 and EMOP 6310.00 that is focusing on the drought victims. WFP is shifting from relief distributions to asset-creation activities where possible, combining food aid with technical inputs from partners. This strategy is aimed at preparing vulnerable communities for possible future emergencies and to prevent dependency.

(c) Through its PRRO, WFP has launched a winter food preservation programme for destitute women, FFW activities, a three-month pilot school-feeding programme and an Elderly Support and Feeding Programme in Yerevan. Through these various activities, WFP has distributed 3,600 tons of food from July to September to 55,000 people.

(d) WFP started an EMOP in late December 2000 to assist the populations in the six northern marzes hit by the drought of summer of 2000.

(e) Due to a continued need, pipeline constraints and delays in the arrival of food, the operation was extended until the year-end, refocusing efforts on affected populations in the southern provinces of Vayots Dzor and Syunik. At the end of June, confirmed contributions for the EMOP and the PRRO stood at 78 percent and 33 percent respectively.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 43)