WFP Emergency Report No. 44 of 2003

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 31 Oct 2003


This report includes:
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iraq, (2) Iran, (3) Afghanistan

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

C) West Africa: (1) Liberia, (2) Côte d'Ivoire

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

E) Asia: (1) Myanmar, (2) DPR Korea

F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Bolivia, (2) Ecuador, (3) Colombia, (4) El Salvador, (5) Guatemala, (6) Haiti

From David Morton, Director of the Transport, Preparedness and Response Division (OTP); available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Carlo.Scaramella@wfp.org , Chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (OEP).

For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone +39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to Brenda.Barton@wfp.org or Francis.Mwanza@wfp.org, telephone +39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iraq, (2) Iran, (3) Afghanistan

1) Iraq

(a) Following the suicide bomb attack against the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in Baghdad on 27 October, in which 12 people including two ICRC guards were killed, ICRC has said it will reduce its foreign staff in Iraq. The UN Secretary-General has asked remaining international UN staff in Baghdad to come out temporarily for consultations on the future operations and security arrangements in Iraq, following the latest string of attacks. The decision does not represent a policy decision to disengage from Iraq and will not affect UN international staff working in northern Iraq.

(b) The conference on reconstruction of Iraq, held in Madrid on 23 and 24 October, was attended by a WFP delegation, including the WFP Country Director for Iraq. Following the presentation of the "needs assessment", parties are now invited to work on proposals for activities supporting the reconstruction of the country. Donors have shown a keen interest to WFP's plans to implement a school feeding programme and a supplementary feeding programme.

(c) October distributions under the Public Distribution System (PDS) continue in some governorates and despite of shortages of certain commodities, October PDS distributions were completed in most other governorates.

(d) WFP's logistics operation in Iraq is slowly coming to an end. As at 25 October, a total of 2,019,298 tons of mixed food commodities have been transported into Iraq since the beginning of the emergency operation six and a half months ago.

(e) As at 24 October, 304 food-contracts equivalent to 2.316 million tons of food, valued at around USD 1.1 billion have been successfully re-negotiated by WFP under the re-negotiation of Oil-for-Food contracts scheme. In the transport and food handling sectors, 146 contracts have been completed and 97 have been forwarded to the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) for approval, of which 74 have been approved and are being sent to the UN Treasury for processing.

(f) In Tameem governorate, the Ministry of Trade (MoT) has so far released 62 tons for an emergency ration, similar in composition and quantity to the PDS ration, to 1,096 IDP families (i.e. 5,751 individuals and five infants). These IDPs came from the three northern governorates of Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah and from the city of Kirkuk. While around 98 percent of the concerned population has already been registered at the MoT Ration Registration Centre, the remaining two percent will receive their PDS ration cards shortly.

(g) The training of staff from the Local Authorities (LA), in the three northern governorates of Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah, for the forthcoming PDS handover continues. To date, 126 LA staff have been trained in almost all WFP-related fields, i.e. administration, databank management, monitoring and logistics. Further focus is now being given to population data issues and training sessions are being organised to consolidate the required skills to manage the population database.

2) Iran

(a) Improved security arrangements were put in place for WFP's offices in Tehran and Zahedan.

(b) Since the beginning of the repatriation operations on 09 April 2002, a total of 599,393 Afghan refugees have repatriated through Dogharoun and Milak border crossings. Some 389,349 refugees repatriated with assistance and 210,044 returned to Afghanistan spontaneously. In 2003 alone, some 223,215 refugees have returned.

(c) WFP's Implementing Partners started the implementation, of the recovery component under PRRO 10213 "Food assistance and support to education of Afghan and Iraqi refugees", representing 34 percent of the total food requirements under the PRRO. Under the recovery component food rations are provided for Afghan girls and women participating in education and skills' training activities in order to facilitate their reintegration into Afghan society.

(d) The Enhanced Commitment to Women (ECW) Baseline Survey workshop was successfully held in Tehran from 18 to 24 October 2003. 25 participants from different country offices in the region were trained on how to conduct a baseline survey on gender. A one-day seminar on poverty alleviation jointly organized by the Iranian Management and Planning Organization (MPO) and UNDP in Tehran was held on 22 October in order to focus on cooperation with the Government to help the poorest strata of the society.

(e) A pipeline break is anticipated in April 2004, initially compromising the recovery component of the PRRO.

3) Afghanistan

(a) Tension continued in the north due to factional fighting and deployment of 270 Kabul-based policemen in Mazari Sharif. In Jalal Abad in the east, three explosive devices detonated causing minor damage to government property. In the south and southeast, security concerns continued hampering WFP field operations.

(b) To strengthen its security measures, WFP has conducted a compound security assessment in Mazari Sharif, Kabul and Kandahar offices and physical security improvements are being implemented. Training, including improvised explosive device (IED) training for security personnel and first aid training for drivers, will be conducted.

(c) From 23 to 29 October, 725,221 beneficiaries received 3,761 tons of food through Food for Work, Food for Education, Relief and Resettlement of IDP's and Refugees, Urban and Rural Vulnerable and Supplementary and Institutional Feeding activities in Fayz Abad, Mazari Sharif, Kabul, Kandahar and Hirat. In addition, WFP in Fayz Abad Area distributed 126 tons of food to 1,000 demobilized combatants (6,000 beneficiaries) through Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration project in Kunduz.

(d) On 24 October, the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) project was launched in Kunduz. Based on the agreement between the New Beginnings Programme and WFP, 1,000 demobilized combatants received a one-time incentive food package including wheat, peas, oil and salt. In Kandahar, a two-day workshop was organised to enhance the capacity of staff in the provincial Departments of Rural Rehabilitation and Development as well as implementing partners. Some 34 participants were trained in preparation of project proposal, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

(e) WFP received an in-kind contribution valued at USD 2,785,809 for its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO 10233.0).

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

1) Republic of Congo

(a) Following the fighting which erupted in Mindouli, on the railway between Pointe Noire and Brazzaville, in the Pool region two weeks ago, supplies are becoming irregular to the capital city. In addition, security incidents involving aid agencies in the Pool are slowing down the pace of aid deliveries to the war torn region.

(b) Some 13 people were killed during the confrontation between rebels and government troops and there are now serious fuel shortages in Brazzaville.

2) DR Congo

(a) The security situation remained precarious, particularly in major towns where armed banditry has been increasing. Acts of violence on resident populations by armed factions operating in areas such as Uvira, Fizi, Kabare and Bunyakiri in the South Kivu province continued to be reported. The same situation also prevailed in North Kivu where, according to the United Mission of Observers in DRC, looting occurred in Rutshuru and Interahamwe militia led raids on villages in Masisi and Walikale.

(b) In South Kivu a joint UN inter-agency mission was fielded in Fizi to assess the humanitarian situation of some 100 Congolese families who recently returned from Tanzania. The mission report indicated high malnutrition rates among women and children under five; looting of crops and deliberate devastation of fields; difficulties of access due to bad road conditions (at least 58 bridges need to be rehabilitated between Uvira and the area where the returnees families have settled); resurgence of cholera; lack of drinkable water and sexual atrocities on both men and women. In addition, the mission noted that the returnee families were settled in areas with no food or health facilities. Food has to be imported from Uvira.

(c) In North Katanga an outbreak of cholera involving 20 registered cases and two deaths was reported in the IDP camp of Makala in Kalemie, where WFP provides food to more than 15,000 beneficiaries. WFP's implementing partner in the camp, the NGO Alisei, has started the systematic chloration of water. The Makala camp is among the camps to be visited by WFP and OCHA during the sensitisation campaign on the suspension of general food distributions to IDPs. Current available food stocks will primarily be distributed to malnourished people admitted in nutritional centres, pending the replenishment of WFP food stocks.

(d) WFP delivered 822 tons of food commodities to over 134,000 beneficiaries, including IDPs, returnees and malnourished children. Other activities carried out included the assistance to children in difficult circumstances, food-for-work and food-for-training in order to build up food self-sufficiency.

(e) On 27 October, UNHCR, WFP and partners planned to conduct a 15-day refugee census In Bandundu. Over 5,000 Angolan refugees are still reported in Kahemba.

(f) The project proposal for the new PRRO was approved during the October WFP Executive Board session. The project will be operational from 01 January 2004 to 31 December 2005 and will target 2.4 million people in DR Congo with more than 185,000 tons of food commodities.

3) Burundi

(a) Confrontations between the national army and the Force pour la defense de la democratie (FDD) troops have reduced in number since the signature of the cessation of hostilities on 08 October in Pretoria. However, the security situation remained volatile in some areas of the country and armed confrontations, ambushes, robberies and assassinations were reported.

(b) Following a request of food assistance from the local administrator in Muyinga province, WFP carried out a rapid assessment on the impact of robbery acts attributed to armed rebels on the food security situation and found that nearly 1,666 households (8,330 persons) were ransacked and were in need of food assistance.

(c) From 20 to 26 October, WFP distributed over 1,100 tons of food commodities to some 101,000 beneficiaries through its different programmes and activities. The Seeds Protection Ration (SPR) distribution campaign continued without major difficulties throughout the country. Nearly 1,105 tons of seeds were supplied to more than 101,000 farmers in Makamba, Ruyigi and Kayanza provinces during the week. However, insecurity resulted in cancellation of all distributions planned in Muruta commune of Kayanza province. The operation was completed on 24 October as planned. Initial figures indicated an achievement of 97 to 98 percent of the overall plan.

(d) The Household Food Economy Assessment (HFEA) teams conducted a rapid assessment to complete data collected during the joint assessment mission (WFP, OCHA, GVC and CARE) carried out during the previous week in Bujumbura Rural province. After the verification of the distribution shortlist from the local authority, WFP identified 1,809 households (9,045 persons) still in need of assistance. WFP has started planning an emergency distribution to those newly displaced persons.

(e) WFP will face a food pipeline shortfall of 3,000 tons of cereals in December.

4) Sudan

(a) Despite the cease-fire agreement signed between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), the security situation in Darfur States remained volatile. A convoy of 11 trucks, seven of them carrying WFP food, was attacked on the Nyala - El Fasher road. Nine people were killed. No relief worker was among the causalities and the food was not looted. All seven trucks carrying WFP food arrived at their destination safely with all the cargo intact. However, such incidents may further hamper the delivery of food aid and other humanitarian assistance to the region.

5) Eritrea

(a) There was some late rainfall in Gash Barka last week, accompanied by high winds. This unexpected rain and wind has negatively affected certain crops such as pearl millet, sorghum and sesame in four sub regions. The humid soil has led to a proliferation of termites, which are attacking the fallen plants intended for use as livestock fodder.

(b) Areas on the Eritrean side of the border with eastern parts of Sudan are being monitored for the possible spread of locusts that are causing damage to crops in certain areas across the border. The Ministry of Agriculture has sprayed parts of the region as a preventative measure. Meanwhile in Debub, chaffer beetles continue to damage crops in some sub regions, especially Mai Mine. A FAO/WFP Crop Assessment is currently underway and final results of the mission should be available by the end of November.

(c) Repatriation of Eritrean refugees from Sudan resumed earlier this month. To date, four convoys with a total of 970 returnees have arrived in Tessenei. WFP supports the Government in providing the returnees with an initial two-month food ration. They will continue to receive regular food assistance until they complete their first successful harvest.

(d) A recently confirmed donation of USD 4,349,715 brings the overall pledges for EMOP 10261.0 to approximately USD 34,566,715 (74% of the total requirement). A total of USD 16,941,219 - representing only 35% of the overall requirement - has been resourced for PRRO 10192.0. In order to avoid pipeline breaks and widespread malnutrition in Eritrea, resourcing of the outstanding amount for both operations remains critical.

6) Djibouti

(a) UNHCR has started issuing rations cards to the people in the Aour Aoussa transit centre. The planning and organization of registration exercises in the two refugee camps is ongoing. No official date for repatriation has been announced as yet.

7) Ethiopia

(a) The Regional Government/Save the Children UK Early Warning Programme in Somali Region has issued a food security flash alert as the 'deyr rains', usually falling in seven of the nine zones of Somali Region from early October, are nearly one month late. Although the deyr rains, which last until December, are normally less intense and less evenly distributed than the gu rains (March-May), they are very important as they occur just before the long dry jilaal season. In this largely pastoral region, one rain failure or a significant delay in one rainy season can easily spark a drought situation. Critical water conditions and abnormal migration of livestock are reported in several zones. In Warder zone the situation is worsened by a livestock influx from Somaliland, Somalia and other zones in the region. The total rural population of Somali Region is approximately 3.7 million, of which 2.6 million are in zones, which usually receive deyr rains. Approximately one million people in the region are currently receiving relief assistance, 570,000 in the seven southern zones.

(b) Further problems are being faced in the repatriation programme for refugees from Somalia supported under the WFP Protracted Relief and Recovery Project (PRRO 10127). WFP support for the repatriation efforts restarted in July, and by the end of September about 9,000 Somali refugees from Hartisheik camp in eastern Somali Region had received a nine-month food repatriation package and returned to their country of origin. However, in October, when WFP repatriation food packages were available for 1,454 Somali refugees ready to depart to NW Somalia, the authorities in NW Somalia informed UNHCR and ARRA (the Government agency in charge of refugees and returnees) that they will receive only those refugees heading to destinations other than Hargeisa. Out of the 1,454 refugees ready to depart, 1,290 had opted to go to Hargeisa. As a result only 164 have been repatriated/dispersed (i.e. left the camp but settled in Ethiopia) since 23 October.

(c) If the 1,290 refugees who have received repatriation food packages are unable to leave, WFP has notified ARRA and UNHCR that it will be unable to provide general food rations for November and thereafter to this group, as they have received nine months rations. At this stage, it is not clear when Hartisheik camp will be closed. Owing to the serious food pipeline problems that the PRRO is currently facing, providing additional rations is not an option at present.

(d) When the current stalemate in Hartisheik is resolved and if WFP receives new pledges for cereals, WFP plans to continue supporting the repatriation of Somali refugees from Aisha camp in Shinile zone (about 14,000 people) as well, assuming that security constraints including removal of land mines from the intended routes of return are resolved by the Government.

(e) The PRRO, which covers both Somali and Sudanese refugees, is likely to face serious cereal shortages in December if pledges for 6,000 tons of cereals are not received very soon.

C) West Africa: (1) Liberia, (2) Côte d'Ivoire

1) Liberia

(a) From 23 to 29 October, WFP distributed 128.7 tons of food to 8,526 refugees. In addition, 305 IDPs from Monrovia relocated to Fendel received food aid from UMCOR, WFP's implementing partner in the camp.

(b) WFP launched an extensive verification exercise in the IDP camps of Montserrado and Bong Counties. In September, camp leaders and managers in the Montserrado camps were trained to conduct basic emergency registrations and provided numbers of IDPs in their respective camps. These figures were recently verified by a team of more than 100 WFP and implementing partner staff deployed in the targeted camps for two days. Numbers are being processed and will be made available shortly.

(c) The second cycle of distributions in IDP camps outside of Monrovia was launched on 30 October in Jah Tondo. Some 14,364 IDPs will be provided with a one-month ration of cereals, pulses, oil and salt. The distribution is being carried in collaboration with implementing partner ADRA.

2) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) WFP in Guiglo launched an assessment mission to Toulepleu region, on the border with Liberia, which suffered greatly during the conflict. The mission observed that people are returning to their villages, with the exception of the northern part of Toulepleu region where people remain displaced due to ethnic tensions between the Yacouba and Guere ethnic groups.

(b) In Zouan Hounien and Bin Houyé and in large parts of Teapleu between Danane and Zouan Hounien, the nutrition and health situation seems to be improving in villages where WFP food distributions have taken place. Nutritional problems relating to poor water and sanitation need to be further investigated as these are considered the main causes of malnutrition in the region.

(c) From 24 to 30 October, WFP distributed 899 tons of food to 24,631 beneficiaries.

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

1) Regional

(a) Despite recent donations, WFP continues to face a pipeline crisis with frequent shortfalls foreseen next year, particularly for cereals and pulses. As of 30 October, projections show a disturbing outlook for the first quarter of 2004. In January there will be a cereal shortfall of 27 percent, in February 64 percent, and in March 95 percent. In order to avoid a major disruption in food distributions for approximately 6.5 million people during the critical 'hunger period', additional donations are urgently required.

2) Angola

(a) The continuing risk posed by landmines in Angola was highlighted over the past week by the detonation of an anti-tank mine and a landmine in Luau, in two separate incidents. In the first accident four injuries were reported, in the second there were no injuries. The Uige-Negage road was also temporarily closed following the discovery of a landmine.

(b) Organised returns under the voluntary repatriation operation have now passed the 40,000 mark with the arrival last Friday of a convoy of 125 refugees returning from Osire camp in Namibia to Calai in the southern province of Kuando Kubango. Nearly half (20,000) of all returns to date have come from the Democratic Republic of Congo via Luau and M'banza Congo. Zambia follows with nearly 17,000 returnees, with Namibia standing at approximately 3,500 returnees. While the pace of returns is slowing down with the arrival of the rainy season in some parts of the country, cross-border discussions between UNHCR offices are underway to assess options for continuing the repatriation process over the next months. However, including spontaneous returnees that have been assisted with food and/or non-food items, it is anticipated that voluntary repatriation will reach its revised projection of 75,000 assisted returns by the end of 2003.

(c) Due to current transportation related delays of WFP commodities, it might be necessary to reduce maize rations for returning refugees and IDPs by 50 percent during November and December. Pulses, vegetable oil and salt rations are anticipated to remain at the current levels. UNHCR offices in the main countries of asylum have been advised of the situation in order to allow refugees to make a fully informed choice about whether to return in 2003.

(d) Due to a recent contribution and internal loans from WFP's Immediate Response Account (IRA), Special Operation 10146.1 'Passenger Air Transport Service for the Humanitarian Community' and Special Operation 10149.1 'Logistics Services to the Humanitarian Community' will be able to operate until 31 December. Future contributions will be used to replenish the IRA in lieu of money advanced to the projects.

3) Zambia

(a) The joint Interagency PRRO Appraisal Mission was in Zambia from 20 to 26 October to look at three segments of WFP activities: HIV/AIDS, orphans/vulnerable children and agricultural recovery. Discussions with relevant stakeholders took place to further explore collaborative opportunities between UN agencies, NGOs and Government for the upcoming 2004 - 2007 PRRO.

4) Malawi

(a) From 23 to 29 October, WFP distributed 1,792 tons of food to vulnerable beneficiaries in collaboration with implementing partners.

5) Zimbabwe

(a) The price of maize grain varies across the country and availability is affected by various factors such as government subsidies and transport. Grain availability has not increased over the past month. As an example, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) delivered 180 tons of maize grain to Umzingwane District in Matabeleland, compared to a total monthly requirement of 800 tons. In Manicaland, the GMB now requires three families to share a 50 kg bag of grain. GMB officials in Midlands report that significant stock is stalled in Bulawayo due to a fuel shortage affecting the national railway operator.

(b) The first rains of the planting season fell and communities have started preparing the land. However, the twin problems of a lack of seed and draught power are hindering preparations. Parts of Manicaland have reduced draught power due to foot and mouth disease and the sale of livestock to buy food. The shortage of seed is widespread.

(c) Distress migration continues to increase. Household sizes are increasing as sick relatives, orphans and those who have lost their jobs in urban areas return to rural areas. Of great concern is the fact that many of these households either have little seed maize for the coming season or cannot afford what is on available on the parallel market.

(d) As of 25 October, WFP and implementing partners had distributed 19,620 tons of food to 1.5 million people representing approximately 77 percent of the targeted 2 million people for October. Reports from the field are still being received and WFP expects to meet the monthly target by the end of the month.

6) Mozambique

(a) WFP has reduced the number of targeted beneficiaries for food for work (FFW) and vulnerable group feeding (VGF) activities to 560,000 people in order to extend the food that is available through December 2003. This will also allow for the pre-positioning of food in locations that are known to become inaccessible during the rainy season. Given the lead in time required for new allocations to become available for distribution, if additional cereal allocations are not provided by mid-November, WFP will have to consider further reducing the level of FFW and VGF activities.

7) Swaziland

(a) According to predictions from the National Early Warning Unit (NEWU) and the National Meteorological Department, another dry year with little rainfall is predicted in critical areas, such as the Lowveld. The Lowveld has been suffering from three consecutive years of drought and failed crops.

(b) From 21 to 27 October, WFP and implementing partners distributed food to 37,597 people.

(c) WFP, FAO and implementing partners have finalized plans for a joint 'Food for Agriculture' initiative, scheduled to begin in November. The initiative will bring together food aid packages, agricultural inputs and extension and training in the areas of alternative drought-resistant crop production, consumption and marketing. The focus will be on promoting and facilitating crop diversification in the drought-affected areas. The project is expected to involve approximately 87,000 WFP beneficiaries between November 2003 and March 2004.

8) Lesotho

(a) Reports from the Lesotho Meteorological Services predict that rainfall will remain poor until the second half of November. Agricultural activities will be limited and food security will continue to deteriorate.

(b) From 22 to 28 November, WFP distributed relief commodities to 15,104 beneficiaries through supplementary feeding programmes targeting HIV/AIDS and mother-child health patients as well as vulnerable children and orphans.

9) Madagascar

(a) Rain fell in most of the southern region and farmers have begun early preparations for the planting season. The weather forecast for the upcoming cyclone season in the southern Indian Ocean indicate that 26 cyclones are likely to form over the period October 2003 to April 2004. Three of these are likely to pose threats to Madagascar. In preparation for the cyclone season, WFP commodity pre-positioning plans are being finalized.

(b) From 23 to 29 October, WFP and implementing partners distributed food to 34,119 beneficiaries through food for work projects in the drought-affected areas in the south and participants in cyclone, flooding and urban works activities in Antananarivo, Tamatave and Fianarantsoa Provinces.

E) Asia: (1) Myanmar, (2) DPR Korea

1) Myanmar

(a) Religious riots erupted last week between Buddhists and Muslims in Kyaukse township near Mandalay, the central region of Myanmar, in which several people reportedly died. As a result, tension between the two religious groups flared into other cities, including Yangon.

(b) The first emergency food distribution for poor farmers in Kokang region started on 23 October. As of 26 October, food was distributed to 1,140 beneficiaries in five villages of Konkyan areas. Under the EMOP, WFP plans to assist 50,000 poor farmers who have been affected by the poppy cultivation in Kokang, the northeastern region of Myanmar. The operation is being implemented in collaboration with the NGOs World Vision, CARE and ADRA.

(c) WFP and UNDP signed an agreement on 20 October to implement a HIV/AIDS project in Pakokku and Pauk townships in central dry zone of Myanmar. The project will assist 400 HIV/AIDS affected people through home-based care systems. This week, WFP is visiting the area to prepare the food distribution mechanism.

(d) WFP procured locally 2,192 tons of rice for its operations in the Rakine State to assist returnees and other vulnerable groups in the townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung. Of the above quantity, the government has so far delivered 720 tons. The remaining quantity is due to be transported from the port of Sittwe, pending authorization.

2) DPR Korea

(a) The FAO and WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission report released on October 30 noted that despite the steady recovery in agricultural production from 2001, domestic production still fell well below the minimum food needs and that the country would again have to depend on substantial external food assistance as its capacity to import commercially remained highly constrained. The 2003/04 cereal production is forecast at 4.16 million tonnes, 4.7 percent up from the revised 2002/03 estimate of 3.97 million tonnes. Factors behind this include favourable weather, a relatively low incidence of crop pests and diseases, increased application of donated fertilizer and better irrigation. The cereal deficit in the crop year 2003/04 (November/October) is estimated at 0.944 million tonnes.

(b) The DPRK government announced that Dukchang district in the South Pyongan province is now accessible to WFP and other international agencies for humanitarian aid and monitoring. This brings the total number of

accessible counties/districts to 163. WFP will visit the district next week on a needs assessment mission.

(c) WFP conducted emergency assessments in Mundok, Sukchon and Onchon counties in the South Pyongan province under the Food For Work scheme. These counties had been severely affected by tidal waves on 27 October.

(d) Pipeline shortfalls of 150,000 tons, including 123,000 tons of cereals, are projected for November through April 2004. Due to these shortfalls, as of November 700,000 elderly persons and caregivers in child institutions will be deprived of their cereal rations to allow continued coverage to the core beneficiary groups - the youngest children and pregnant and nursing women. Despite this, about 2.7 million children in nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools, as well as pregnant/nursing women will not receive cereal rations from February-March onwards, unless new pledges are immediately forthcoming. Local food production factories will face shortages of wheat flour from March and will have to cease operations.

F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Bolivia, (2) Ecuador, (3) Colombia, (4) El Salvador, (5) Guatemala, (6) Haiti

1) Bolivia

(a) Calm has returned to the country following the resignation of former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. The new president Carlos Mesa has made an appeal to the international community to support the government and to help in the reconstruction of the cities of La Paz and El Alto. In view of the statements of the different social movements, relative calm is expected for at least a three-month period.

(b)The Iberoamerican President's Summit will take place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, from 14 to 15 November. It is expected that 10 Heads of State, the King of Spain and the UN Secretary General will attend the Summit.

(c) WFP and UNICEF agreed to increase support to poor and food-insecure families who lost their daily income during more than 10 days of crisis in El Alto. WFP has through CARITAS contributed 11 tons of food, mainly flour, rice, oil, salt and canned fish for some 5,600 children and 800 mothers.

2) Ecuador

(a) The volcano Tungurahua continues to register strong ash explosions, reaching a height of 3 km above the crater, seriously affecting the settlements located to the west and northwest of the volcano. The Geophysical Institute confirmed the probability of seismic activities continuing with new explosions and has also recommended that the population be on the alert for floods following heavy rains in the area.

3) Colombia

(a) On Saturday 25 October a national referendum took place. The presidential project to reform the Colombian Constitution of 1991 failed due to insufficient participation. The Referendum was considered a step against corruption, political misconduct and a much needed financial reform. This failure is a major setback to the Government's aspiration for making quick and much needed reforms to Colombia's political and economic systems.

(b) On Sunday 26 October, municipal elections passed off without major violence. Luis Eduardo Garzón, a former union leader and member of the center oriented left-wing party, was elected Mayor of Bogota. This is considered another political setback for President Uribe, as results show the election of many opposition leaders. These elections marked also a defeat of the traditional political parties in the major cities of Cali, Medellin and Barranquilla.

(c) The referendum was marked by terrorist attacks from illegal armed groups in different parts of the country, leaving 13 people dead. This was seen as an attempt to discourage participation in the referendum. Throughout the campaign, illegal armed groups threatened candidates considering them as potential military targets. These threats forced more than 160 candidates to withdraw from the electoral process. Thirty candidates were killed and 10 others kidnapped during the campaign period.

(d) Armed conflict caused new tensions in the rural areas of the department of Chocó. In addition to a new displacement of 170 persons, the indigenous organization OREWA, a WFP partner for PRRO 10158, has expressed concerns about the forced blockade of various indigenous communities that could face a serious food and health crisis in the coming days.

(e) Five hundred people have been displaced from their village in the region of Catatumbo, department of Norte de Santander, driven by hunger as a result of forced blockades and intensive fighting between government military and illegal armed groups. These people have relocated to an area near the Venezuelan border and have not yet been reached by humanitarian aid organizations.

(f) Heavy rains caused significant flooding in the department of Chocó. According to the ICRC more than 26,000 people are seriously affected by the floods in an area already touched by armed conflict and displacement.

(g) 111 tons of food has been delivered in seven departments under PRRO 10158 during the past two weeks. Training of beneficiaries in the implementation of projects under PRRO 10158 is ongoing.

4) El Salvador

(a) Dengue Fever continues to affect the country, principally in the capital San Salvador, while the numbers of larvae appear to be diminishing. The Ministry of Health continues to treat an average of 100 suspected cases per day of both the classic version and the mortal haemorrhaging strain of the virus.

(b) The Ministry of Agriculture has proclaimed this year's rainy season as the most productive in terms of agricultural outputs in the past five or six years. It is expected that the main harvest of maize and beans, currently underway, will be bountiful.

(c) WFP continues to closely monitor the nutritional situation in the departments affected by the coffee crisis. Field monitors visit an average of four municipalities per week. Operations for PRRO 10212 continue to expand as disaster mitigation projects are incorporated in the eastern departments of San Miguel, Morazan and La Union. World Vision has joined Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam America/FUMA, Save the Children USA and the Swiss Red Cross as a WFP PRRO implementing partner.

5) Guatemala

(a) With the rainy season coming to an end, it is expected that temperatures will decrease progressively in the coming weeks. The National Coordinating Committee for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) has announced that the so-called Plan Frío will be activated shortly to respond to the foreseeable consequences of low temperatures. Erratic storms may still cause some minor floods and landslides locally, as was the case this week in the departments of Suchitepequez and Quezaltenango.

(b) On 24 October, the Fuego volcano showed increased activity with strong explosions producing thick black and grey ash columns reaching up to 1.5 km. high and short distance lava flows. Slight fine ash rain was reported in the community Panimaché II. CONRED is on alert as this increased activity could result in stronger explosions in the coming days.

(c) Payments to Ex-Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (ex-PAC) continue to generate social unrest in various areas throughout the country, with protests taking place this week in Mazatenango.

(d) A delegation from the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), with headquarters in New York, concluded this week that Guatemala is one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America to practice journalism due to threats and intimidations.

(e) Political violence related to the 09 November elections remains high. A new report produced by Mirador Electoral, a civil coalition monitoring the electoral process, informs that up to 22 October a total of 29 political activists, candidates, and officials have died as a consequence of political violence, and 251 violent incidents related to political activities have been registered since June. The civil coalition has received 1,113 complaints for aggressions, threats, or coercions since elections were called.

(f) The Social Investment Fund (FIS), government implementing partner for the recovery component of PRRO 10212, is organizing the distribution of 1,468 tons of food which will benefit some 173,835 people.

6) Haiti

(a) 600 families became homeless as a result of flooding in Grand Saline and Saint Mark on 24 October. Three persons were confirmed dead, and road infrastructure, crops, livestock and 60 houses were destroyed. This is the second time within the last two months that the commune of Saint Mark has been hit by flooding.

(b) In Gonaive, a youth was killed and two police officers were wounded on 26 October, following an attack on the local police station by an armed vigilante group from the "Front for Aristide's Departure", formally known as the "Cannibal Army".

(c) The civil protection unit of the Ministry of Interior and Internal Affairs has requested food assistance from WFP to feed the affected families in Grand Saline and Saint Mark. WFP will distribute 100 tons of food from PRRO 10275 to the flood victims.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 44).