WFP Emergency Report No. 45 of 2002

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 07 Nov 2002


This report includes:
(A) West Africa Region: (1) Côte d'Ivoire (2) Sierra Leone (3) Guinea (4) Mauritania

(B) Eastern and Central Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Eritrea, (3) Burundi, (4) Democratic Republic of Congo

(C) Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zambia, (3) Zimbabwe, (4) Lesotho, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Swaziland, (8) Angola

(D) Asia Region: (1) India

(E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran

(F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Cuba, (3) Ecuador, (4) El Salvador, (5) Haiti

(G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Georgia

From Francesco Strippoli, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs; 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 Africa Region: (1) Côte d'Ivoire (2) Sierra Leone (3) Guinea (4) Mauritania

1) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) The 50 tons of stocks which were missing from WFP 's warehouse in Bouake have been partly returned by the insurgents; the remainder will be refunded in cash. Moreover, further to high-level discussions with insurgent leaders, WFP has been guaranteed that WFP warehouses and personnel will be protected. In view of this context, the re-opening of WFP's sub-office in Bouake is foreseen. WFP will retain its presence in Yamoussoukro, where an office is now open. It is estimated that up to 44,000 people will benefit from food aid in Bouake.

(b) WFP 's head of the Regional Crisis Response Unit visited Bouake and defined working arrangements with the insurgents, to both parties' satisfaction, in order to implement WFP 's assistance in Bouake.

(c) WFP, as the head of the initiatives for emergency food assistance, has had a number of co-ordination meetings with other organisations. A meeting on 6 November resolved that CARE and Africare are ready to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for distributing emergency food to affected regions. Total stocks as of 6 November amount to 5,550 tons. This includes foodstuff that has been ordered, and which is expected to arrive soon.

(d) Preparations are underway for a UN interagency mission to the insurgent-held areas. The mission, originally scheduled for 31 October - 3 November was postponed for security reasons. The mission will focus on assessing the human and material resources and needs for the National Immunisation Days which will take place nation-wide between 9 and 11 November. The mission will include members from different humanitarian organisations who will take this opportunity to undertake rapid assessments of the humanitarian needs of the IDPs in these previously inaccessible areas.

2) Sierra Leone

(a) The movement of Liberian refugees into eastern and southern Sierra Leone noticeably declined from 21 October to 3 November, while WFP continued to provide food assistance for both new influxes and existing caseloads.

(b) Countrywide, WFP supported over 65,700 beneficiaries with over 650 tons of food aid, through vulnerable group feeding programmes (refugees, resettlement, returnees and institutional feeding), emergency school feeding, therapeutic feeding, supplementary feeding, mother and child health, food-for-training and safety net programmes.

(c) On 23 October, WFP, UNICEF, The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation launched a de-worming campaign in schools supported under the Emergency School Feeding (ESF) programme. De-worming pills for 130, 000 pupils were distributed. The next phase of the campaign is in April 2003.

(d) Following the closure of the WFP helicopter services, a regional coastal flight based in Conakry recently started operations in Sierra Leone. WFP helped to arrange modalities of operations and bookings and circulate flight schedules.

(e) The Security situation in the country was generally peaceful and quiet with no reports of any incidences of major concern. However, security in the border areas, especially around the Kailahun axis remained fragile due to an upsurge in fighting in the northern Lofa County in Liberia. All security forces remained on high alert and the Sierra Leone Army reported that additional troops have been deployed in some of the border villages.

3) Guinea

(a) The situation in Côte d'Ivoire continues to be of concern. Guineans and other country nationals (Malians and Senegalese) are entering Guinea into the Kankan and N'Zérékoré regions. WFP is participating actively on information collection, assessments, and coordination with partners. The Government of Guinea has prohibited access to Macenta and border areas. The security of refugees in Kouankan camp continues to be of concern. The capacity of Kola camp is 6,000 and yet houses 6,800 refugees; Kouankan camp has a capacity of 20,000 yet shelters 34,500 refugees and Lainé camp's capacity is 6,000 however it houses 6,450 refugees. UNHCR is to verify the Kouankan refugee number. Nonah transit camp remains empty.

(b) There is still no official government's position on the transfer of refugees from Kouankan to Albadariah camps nor on assistance to people entering from Côte d'Ivoire. UNHCR announced halting repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees because of lack of funding for UNHCR Sierra Leone operations. There are currently 46,000 Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea. The halt in the repatriation will negatively affect the relocation of refugees from Kouankan to Albadariah.

(c) From 21 October to 3 November, WFP distributed a total of 937 tons of food to 60,450 beneficiaries. The pipeline break in CSB is complete. Pulses will be substituted for CSB from November onwards. 300 tons of CSB have been shipped from Sierra Leone to cover basic requirements for selective feeding and have arrived in Conakry port.

4) Mauritania

(a) Two recently confirmed contributions totalling USD 856,000, will enable WFP to quickly purchase emergency food rations to assist hundreds of thousands of people suffering from the cumulative effects of three consecutive years of drought in Mauritania. Farming communities across Mauritania face bleak prospects until the next harvest in November 2003. The Aftout region in particular, has been severely affected by poor harvest. In addition, a freak storm in January 2002, killed tens of thousands of livestock on which households depend for making it through the lean season.

(b) WFP already runs an under-funded emergency operation to help feed some 250,000 Mauritanians threatened by serious food shortages. However, WFP considers that some 700,000 of Mauritania's 2.7 million people are food insecure to varying degree and require urgent assistance. The Government of Mauritania has already declared a state of emergency and has appealed for 37,000 tons cereals and 14,000 tons of complementary foods to cover emergency needs. More than six months after launching a USD 7.5 million appeal, WFP's operation is still facing a shortfall of 44 percent of its total requirements.

B) Eastern and Central Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Eritrea, (3) Burundi, (4) Democratic Republic of Congo

1) Ethiopia

(a) The annual multi-agency pre-harvest needs assessment has begun, with twenty-three teams led by the government Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) now in the field. While these teams will be collecting information on the drought-affected population and establishing the numbers in need, the concurrent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission will be collecting information on crop production throughout the country. Needs for 2003 will be presented in the annual DPPC appeal at the end of the year; the FAO/WFP findings will be presented in a mission report.

(b) Additional confirmed pledges are making it possible to cover the most acute food aid requirements in November and December, albeit at reduced cereal rations of 12.5 kg. Cumulative needs for November and December, calculated on the basis of a 12.5 kg ration, amount to 125,000 tons (November 70,000 tons for 5.6 million people; December 56,000 tons for 4.5 million people). Further confirmations of existing pledges and pledges under consideration are required to cover needs into the first part of 2003, especially for proposals presented by the NGOs for expanding their distributions. Cereal needs for the first quarter will be over 300,000 tons.

(c) More food has been sent to Bale zone of Oromiya region, where in addition to the needs of the drought affected population in the lowlands, the condition of a group of migrants from East and West Hararghe who have settled near Bale National Park is of serious concern. Conditions for the migrants have been deteriorating since they arrived in increasing numbers in recent months. Numbers are estimated at around 20,000 at this time. Further assessments are being carried out.

2) Eritrea

(a) Mr. Kenzo Oshima, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator accompanied by the WFP Regional Director for Eastern and Central Africa and major donor representatives recently visited Eritrea. The mission visited the main agricultural areas of the country, which are greatly affected by the current drought, Gash Barka and Debub Regions, where they received detailed briefings from the regional governors. In Asmara the delegation held a press briefing where Mr Oshima affirmed on the magnitude on the drought situation and the need for donors' attention.

(b) According to the Crop production, water and Livestock assessment conducted on 4-5 October under the leadership of the Ministry of agriculture, over 309,000 hectares planted under various crops are expected to yield only 54,358 tons of food or 11 percent of the total estimated food production. During the visit of Mr Oshima, the Government of the State of Eritrea, through the Eritrean Relief and Refugees Commission (ERREC), has shared some figures indicating that the country expects to face a shortfall of 350,000 tons of cereals to cover the needs of about 3.34 millions people for one year. In addition, 100,000 tons of food are required to secure a two months national cereals reserve for the country. An updated appeal is being prepared by the Government based on those figures. The two WFP emergency operations have some 21,000 tons available and an additional 6,000 tons of various commodities expected to arrive between October and December 2002, which will meet the needs until the year-end. Another shipment of 11,400 tons of cereals is expected in January 2003. Resourcing of the remaining balances in both EMOPs and in the PRRO is considered an urgent priority.

(c) In terms of response, WFP intends to extend the current EMOPS 10049 and 10052 until April 2003 in order to accommodate any immediate contributions. From May 2003 and February 2004, a new single EMOP will take over to address the needs of about 900,000 drought-affected people, amounting to 130,000 tons of food. This will go along with the recently approved PRRO which will focus on the targeted groups such as School Feeding, IDPs, Returnees, Supplementary and Therapeutic Feedings. Under this programme, 104,000 tons of food will be required to assist 585,000 people during two years (2003/2004).

(d) WFP is in the process of supporting over 76,000 school children under its emergency school-feeding programme, which will be an important intervention for the nutrition of the children in the face of the drought situation. WFP also has continued to support over 9,800 beneficiaries under nutritional feeding programmes targeting malnourished children, pregnant/lactating mothers and HIV/Aids-affected persons and their families. The assistance is being provided through hospitals and clinics in the affected areas in Northern Red Sea, Anseba, Gash Barka and Maekel referral hospitals/clinics. Over 1,800 beneficiaries received food under the HIV/AIDS supported programme in October alone.

(e) WFP and CARE are in the process of carrying out a household livelihood survey with the aim of developing a better targeting tool for humanitarian assistance in Eritrea. The fieldwork is planned for December 2002. WFP will assist with the financial implications, staff support, and logistics/communication and project strategy. CARE will prepare the proposal for training, capacity building, and supervision. All agreed that the Government is involved from the beginning of the project. An Advisory Group to include Ministry of Local Government, National Statistics Office, ERREC, WFP and CARE will oversee the exercise.

3) Burundi

(a) Despite the cease-fire talks between the Burundian warring parties underway in Dar-Es-Salaam, the security situation continued to worsen in the country. Insecurity was reported in Gitega, Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza and Ruyigi provinces. As insecurity is still persistent in these areas, people continue to flee their homes. WFP, UNICEF and OCHA participated in a joint mission carried out in Kabezi commune, Bujumbura Rural province to assess the urgent needs of people displaced by the confrontation between the army and the rebels.

(b) WFP is liaising with UNHCR to provide an appropriate response to the influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, over 16,600 persons are estimated to live in Gatumba and Rugombo refugee sites and this number could rise to 40,000 if the security situation is not stabilised in the DR Congo. New arrivals of refugees are still reported along the border. UNHCR reported to have started the construction of a new transit site to host refugees in Rugombo.

(c) WFP jointly with UNICEF, FAO and the Early Warning Task Force on food security, have started to review the estimations of people requiring food aid, taking into consideration the increasing number of Congolese refugees as well as a significant number of internally displaced people affected by insecurity and a delay of rainfall that may jeopardise future crops. Three scenarios have been elaborated, planning for an increase of the number of beneficiaries between 2 and 30 percent of the current caseload. WFP and other partners involved in food assistance and food security continue to monitor the situation and adjust assistance as necessary. WFP remains concerned about its current pipeline situation and fear that current food stocks are not sufficient to cover the increasing needs.

(d) Last week, WFP conducted assessment missions in Mwaro and Muramvya provinces and reported a deteriorating food security situation resulting from population displacements, looting and reduced arable land for the majority of the households. The situation is even more critical in areas reputed to serve as corridors for the rebel movements. WFP also assessed food needs in five communes of Gitega and Rutana provinces and reported that over 14,000 households in Gitega and 16,670 households in Rutana have been seriously affected by insecurity and were in urgent need of food assistance.

(e) From 28 October to 3 November, WFP, in collaboration with UNHCR and GTZ, assisted 1,800 Congolese refugees through general food distributions in Muyinga and Bujumbura Rural provinces. In addition, over 100 returnees from Tanzania in Ngozi and Muyinga provinces received a return package, including food rations for 90 days. WFP also authorised the release of 40 tons of food to assist 2,300 vulnerable persons in 14 social centres under QAP. Finally, WFP distributed 45 tons of food through Food for Work (FFW) projects in Karuzi province.

4) Democratic Republic of Congo

(a) Renewed fighting between RCD soldiers and militia groups has resulted in serious restrictions of humanitarian access in the South Kivu province. The RCD authorities in Bukavu have refused the delivery of relief assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Shabunda, Mwanga, Bunyakiri, Baraka and Fizi, areas under militia groups' control. Restrictions of access and the subsequent lack of food supplies are expected to induce the relapse of a significant number of malnourished people admitted in several Therapeutic Feeding Centres in Shabunda and Ulvira. It is also likely to contribute to a deterioration of the already alarming overall nutritional status in the eastern region. Furthermore, as a result of the renewed fighting, 7,000 IDPs fled from Shabunda towards Mwenga and Kamituga.

(b) Over 100 tons of food were distributed from 1 to 19 October to over 19,600 beneficiaries in South Kivu province. Due to insufficient stocks, WFP was forced to first distribute food rations with no cereal to beneficiaries involved in FFW and FFT activities and then to suspend totally the ongoing FFW activities pending the delivery of maize meal.

(c) Following the withdrawal of the Rwandan troops from the North Kivu province, major security incidents have been reported during the last weeks. The Goma-Rutshuru axis remained out of humanitarian access. As a result of the prevailing insecurity, many road rehabilitation activities supported by WFP were suspended. Nonetheless, over 160 tons of food was distributed to cover the needs of 5,240 targeted beneficiaries, of which 4,020 malnourished children and their families in the Rwanguba health zone.

(d) A monitoring mission fielded by the Norwegian Refugee Council in the Kitchanga transit camp (North Kivu province) identified 3,340 households greatly in need of food and non-food items. Some of these households had been forced into repatriation from Rwanda and others were internally displaced. NGOs involved in the protection of the neighbouring Virunga National Park raised some concerns about the presence of so many families in the Kitchanga transit camp.

(e) Alarming rates of malnutrition were still reported in villages surrounding Kalemie (Northern Katanga province), as confirmed by the latest nutritional screening conducted in September. Approximately 15 percent of children suffered from moderate malnutrition and 11 percent of children affected with severe malnutrition. A WFP/Alisei joint mission is planned in the coming days for a strategy of intervention. A total of 65 tons of food was distributed to 8,800 beneficiaries.

(f) WFP is currently revising the budget of its PRRO budget in order to contend the need of an additional caseload of 264,000 people, especially IDPs and refugees and an increase of up to 7,000 tons in the monthly food requirements. The revision requires also an extension in time to allow for the completion of an Evaluation mission.

C) Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Zambia, (3) Zimbabwe, (4) Lesotho, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Swaziland, (8) Angola

1) Regional overview

(a) During the week, WFP received confirmed donations of USD 3 million. With these donations, WFP's regional Emergency Operation faces a shortfall of approximately USD 254 million. Vulnerable populations in the region are approaching the critical period, January - March 2003. Against the WFP Regional EMOP requirements of 992,459 tons through March, WFP will still requires the un-resourced balance of approximately 440,000 tons.

(b) Over 50 representatives from UN agencies, NGOs and the Southern African Development Community met in Johannesburg, on 6-7 November, to discuss the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the food crisis in the region. The meeting devoted special attention to how food aid can best be used to assist families affected by HIV/AIDS.

2) Zambia

(a) The pipeline pressures posed by the recent decision on GM foods are proving to be increasingly challenging. WFP is using recent cash contributions to purchase non-GM commodities in the region while removing and re-allocating GM stocks that were already in country. In light of current levels of resourcing, WFP needs to further target distributions in order to best meet reference ration recommendations from the SADCVulnerability Assessment Committee.

3) Zimbabwe

(a) In Zimbabwe, inflation rates are extremely high, foreign exchange rates are dropping, and shortages of bread, maize, milk and sugar appear to be worsening. Price controls remain fixed on basic goods. The Government has initiated discussions to end its monopoly on procuring fuel for the country. An increasing number of cases of malnutrition and pellagra have been observed at Murambinda District Hospital. Informal interviews with beneficiaries in Mutasa District suggest that many families go for more than two days without a proper meal. There is a noticeable increase in consumption and selling of wild fruits in Masvingo.

(b) Some WFP implementing partners are using a group distribution method of implementation in which sets of ten households collect their monthly ration as an individual group. Beneficiaries and IP staff note that the system appears to be both rapid and transparent. WFP stocks of oil and pulses, necessary for maintaining the nutritional balance of the food basket, are in short supply.

4) Lesotho

(a) During the week, WFP distributed 770 tons of maize meal, 14 tons of pulses and 28 tons of vegetable oil to approximately 72,000 beneficiaries. [corrected version] The onset of seasonal rains is posing logistical challenges, as well as hampering the access of beneficiaries to distribution points. However, WFP logistics has been bolstered by the WFP/IFRC fleet of trucks operating out of Mafeteng and Thaba Tseka.

5) Malawi

(a) During October, WFP distributed food under the current EMOP to approximately 2.3 million beneficiaries. This figure represents more than a 100 percent increase from September. A workshop reviewing the current Joint Emergency Food Aid Program guidelines was held during the week with 43 participants from WFP and Implementing Partner agencies. Particular attention was paid to issues of targeting, sensitisation of beneficiaries, and monitoring and reporting.

6) Mozambique

(a) Heavy rains have begun to hamper road access in remote areas of Inhambane and Tete provinces. WFP will continue to pre-position commodities in those areas in November. A local press agency reports more than 30,000 people experiencing a severe hunger crisis in the district of Manjacaze, Gaza Province. In the same region, WFP is already reaching more than 2,800 families under FFW projects and plans are in place to further respond to needs within the WFP EMOP.

7) Swaziland

(a) The WFP Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping focal point attended a planning session on 29 October for the next rolling SADC Vulnerability Assessment to be held in November/December. WFP and Implementing Partners discussed the increased food needs from December onward, as identified by the VAC, and reached consensus on the allocation of food to additional beneficiaries. Identification of beneficiaries by the NGOs is taking place to ensure appropriate targeting. Heavy rains hit the country for the first part of the week. A total of 219 tons of food was dispatched to Implementing Partners for distribution.

8) Angola

(a) No further contributions were confirmed during the week to WFP's Angola operations. WFP's stock of maize, the main component of rations, will run out in December based on current projects. Thus, WFP is expecting to face pipeline breaks for maize from January onwards. Further cash or in kind donations are critically needed for the PRRO, which is 33 percent funded.

(b) In Mavinga (Kuando Kubango province), WFP is now assisting around 113,900 people while IDPs continue to arrive from surrounding areas in search of humanitarian assistance. Seeds and tools are urgently required to allow this population to begin becoming self-sufficient after the next harvest. WFP is already planning to include locally purchased cereals as part of the November food basket, so that IDPs may plant some of these cereals as seed.

(c) Transport problems that had hampered WFP food distributions in Capaia Reception Area (RA) in Lunda Norte, and Cacolo and Alto Chicapa RAs in Lunda Sul since end of August 2002 have been overcome and an agreement with transporting companies has been reached. Distributions of a two-month ration to families and ex-soldiers have now begun.

(d) A mine accident took place on road from Ndele to Kuito in Bie province. A commercial truck detonated an anti-personnel landmine when it drove onto road-siding to give way to a truck transporting WFP food. There were no casualties. As the mine was on the side of the main track, this crucial transport route for humanitarian supplies and personnel remains open. Several people were killed in a separate incident involving an anti-tank mine near the Kuiva River in Kamacupa municipality on a road, which is still closed to humanitarian agencies for security reasons.

(e) WFP food distribution began in Tchinjenje municipality (Huambo province) to 2,500 people in critical need. This is the first time in four years that WFP was able to provide assistance in Tchinjenje, which remained out of reach for the humanitarian agencies during the war.

(f) Food distribution was completed to 27,200 people in the Menga RA after serious logistical difficulties were overcome to transport the food to the area due to a broken bridge and reduction in the number of trucks available for transporting the food. Distribution to 33,000 beneficiaries was also completed in Sambo RA after similar difficulties with transport.

D) Asia Region: (1) India

1) India

(a) In a unique humanitarian partnership that will transform India into a donor nation, WFP and the Government of India announced an unprecedented donation of 1 million tons of wheat for WFP's under-funded emergency operation in Afghanistan. Officials of the Government of India, making the largest single pledge in WFP's history, said the first tranche of the donation, 40,000 tons, will be converted into 9,526 tons of high-energy biscuits destined for the WFP school feeding programme in Afghanistan.

(b) This extremely generous donation will enable WFP to move forward with an important investment in the school feeding programme in Afghanistan. With production of the biscuits about to start in three bakeries in India, WFP plans to distribute them to 1 million schoolchildren, most of them in rural areas. The school feeding programme will be fully operational by March 2003.

(c) In addition to the one million tons of wheat, the Government of India is contributing 15,000 tons of rice to WFP that will be used to offset the incidental costs of producing and distributing the biscuits. The biscuits are made from flour enriched with much-needed micronutrients, which are essential to good nutrition.

(d) In India, WFP currently has an assistance programme that includes nutritional support for 2.7 million young children, expectant women and nursing mothers, and extra food rations for 815,000 people in low-income tribal areas to bolster their food security. In another collaboration with the Government of India, WFP launched on 23 October the Food Insecurity Atlas of Urban India, a companion to a ground-breaking hunger atlas of rural India published in April 2001. The two documents are important planks in the government's campaign "Toward a Hunger-Free India."

E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran

1) Afghanistan

(a) Tensions continued in the central area (in particular, in the provinces of Khamard, Saigan and Bamyan). UN missions to the Khost/Gardez area have been suspended. In the northern area, the security situation remained volatile, and field missions have been restricted. In the eastern area, the security situation deteriorated as a result of fighting between local factions, detection of explosive devices and missile launches toward the Coalition Forces.

(b) From 29 October to 4 November, WFP assisted more than 742,000 beneficiaries, providing them with at least 13,100 tons of food through various programmes. This caseload included mainly 215,000 school children assisted through the Food for Education programme as well as 354,000 beneficiaries receiving bread under various urban vulnerable bakery projects.

(c) In addition, 21,000 beneficiaries received 1,800 tons of food under various Food for Work and Food for asset creation projects. The rehabilitation of irrigation systems has provided the local communities with access to potable and irrigation water. 7,000 returnees also received 80 tons of food through the resettlement programme. In Hirat, WFP approved a new IDP relief and resettlement project, with commitment of 690 tons of food for distribution to 63,300 IDPs.

(d) Finally, WFP supported more than 3,500 beneficiaries from 29 October to 4 November through supplementary feeding scheme. In Jalal Abad, WFP monitored a SFP targeting malnourished children and expectant/nursing mothers, which reportedly contributed to the decrease of malnutrition rate by 45 percent among the children.

2) Iran

(a) The new PRRO 10213.0 "food assistance and support to education of Afghan and Iraqi refugees in Iran" was approved by the WFP Executive Board on 24 October. Under this new operation, WFP plans to assist 120,000 beneficiaries, including 80,000 Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in 29 camps as well as 40,000 non-encamped Afghan refugees. WFP expects to face a shortfall of almost 3,150 tons of food to cover the needs of its targeted beneficiaries until March 2003.

(b) WFP sub office in the Zahedan provincial capital of Sistan and Balouchestan is preparing for the implementation of WFP recovery activities under the new PRRO 10213.0. These activities will be designed to facilitate the repatriation of Afghan refugees and their smooth reintegration upon return. In addition, the WFP sub office will oversee assistance to camp refugees in Kerman and Khorasan (adjacent provinces) as well as Sistan and Balouchestan.

(c) WFP, in collaboration with the Iranian Red Crescent Society, completed food distribution under the EMOP 10227 to 25,000 earthquake victims in Qazvin province on 31 October.

(d) As of 4 November, over 245,200 Afghan refugees had repatriated through the UNHCR-assisted repatriation initiated on 9 April 2002. In addition, a further 89,650 refugees have returned on their own. The UNHCR-assisted operation to repatriate Iraqi refugees in Iran has resumed after a five-month lull. A group of 78 people, most of whom formerly resided in Fars province, travelled through the southern border crossing of Shalamcheh en route to Basra in Iraq on 23 October.

F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Cuba, (3) Ecuador, (4) El Salvador, (5) Haiti

1) Colombia

(a) In addition to landslides, which have affected a number of provinces, heavy rains caused the loss of pulses, corn and vegetables harvests in the province of Antioquia. Furthermore, clashes between armed groups, on the road to the province of San Carlos, have blocked the deliveries of food to WFP school and preschool projects. The supplier was unable to deliver 7,300 rations to 260 beneficiaries.

(b) Armed groups incursions in the province of Sucre have caused restrictions on the free movement of people in the municipalities of Chalan and Coloso. Food deliveries are not allowed and school activities are suspended. The WFP preschool project in the province of El Coloso could not receive food due to restrictions, however deliveries will be re-scheduled.

The municipality of Since is cut off due to the blowing-up of a bridge. National authorities declared a curfew in the area.

(c) Despite this unstable context, security clearances to staff have been issued to all areas between 22 October and 5 November. This has enabled WFP to deliver 261 tons of food to 351 WFP preschool and nutritional recovery projects in 10 Colombian provinces. In addition, 235 tons of food were distributed in 20 Colombian provinces to support FFW and food security projects under the PRRO 6139. Finally, WFP plans to deliver 109 tons to 22 FFW projects and 96.4 tons of food to WSFI and school projects benefiting more than 35,000 beneficiaries.

2) Cuba

(a) WFP recently approved the EMOP 10239, for a 30-day period, until 30 November, using its Immediate Response Account. The tendering process for the local purchase of 580 tons of food has begun. Food distribution to 44,150 children under 5 and 3,800 expectant women is expected to begin in November.

(b) UNDP has also mobilized USD 50,000 through OCHA to repair damages suffered by 420 families in Pinar del Rio province and Isla de la Juventud, affected by hurricanes Isidore and Lili. UNICEF is planning to mobilize USD 98,000 for the purchase of water-pumping stations and water-chlorinating units for Pinar del Rio province and Isla de la Juventud.

3) Ecuador

(a) Reventador Volcano erupted on 3 November leaving thousands of people affected. The three most affected provinces are Napo, Sucumbios and Pichincha Quito. A state of emergency has been declared in the area. As of 4 November, approximately 200 families had been evacuated. WFP mobilised family rations to be delivered to the evacuated households.

(b) As of 5 November, the volcano's activity had diminished but was still eruptive. According to the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic, the volcano had released at least a million tons of ash. There is no certainty on the duration of the eruptive process. However, it is estimated that it will last at least 3 to 4 more months. One death was reported, and 10 persons are missing. Airports are still closed.

(c) WFP is collaborating with government counterparts to strengthen the information, support and evaluation systems, envisaging different scenarios, according to the size of the affected area. WFP is organizing 3 missions to evaluate the need for food, water, health, education and feasibility within these scenarios.

(d) Based on the preliminary reports, WFP is preparing an Immediate Response Emergency Operation to respond to food and non-food items needs. The Civil Defense has confirmed the evacuation of 70 families. 800 people are reported to be in shelters. 500 people refuse evacuation to immediate volcano surroundings fearing for their livestock. 1,500 people located farther away from the volcano, in Santa Rosa, are affected. The estimations of evacuated people ranges from 2,000 to 3,000. 40,000 hectares of cultures and pastures are destroyed. 700 livestock heads have been evacuated.

4) El Salvador

(a) WFP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has visited the coffee growing areas to determine the number of malnourished children. Health clinics in the most affected areas are being asked to provide the exact number of children suffering from moderate and severe malnutrition. Since the immediate intervention will target the whole family, including the affected child, it is vital to gather information on the number of families with malnourished children under five.

(b) A strike that began on 19 September, by health care workers protesting the Government's plans to privatize the Social Health Care System, continues to affect the country with only emergencies being taken care of at all the nation's hospitals. With all major roads and highways blocked off by the protesters, WFP field trips were cancelled on 23 October. The WFP's drought response reaching affected families in the northeastern part of the country continues without significant delays or problems

5) Haiti

(a) The food security situation of people affected by the protracted drought has worsened since May 2002. The most affected areas include Port-a-Piment, Les Cayes, l'Acul, Arniquet and Camp-Perrin in the South province and Anse A Veau, Petit Trou de Nippes, Asile and Baradères in the province of Grand'Anse.

(b) According to USAID, the affected areas are facing crop failure. The region is experiencing abnormally high food prices, residents are leaving the region, and health centres are registering increased numbers of malnourished children. In response, food commodities are being provided to approximately 100,000 people between July 2002 and January 2003 to help them through the next harvest, expected in January 2003.

(c) USAID committed USD 2.5 million in emergency food assistance to Haiti. The food is intended to reach more than half the population of the northwest province, the most drought-affected area. The program's activities focus on the most vulnerable population.

(d) In October 2002, FAO conducted an assessment of the damages caused by flooding, during May to June 2002. The provinces of South and the Grand Anse were mostly affected. More than 3,000 hectares of crops and over 15,000 heads of livestock were destroyed. The fishing industry was also adversely affected. Before the flooding, most communities in the two provinces were already experiencing drought.

(e) FAO has requested WFP participation in support of a long term strategy to assist the drought and flood affected region through agricultural assistance to farmers who lost their crops and livestock; developing income-generating activities; and repairing dams and water irrigation systems within a rehabilitation program, which would set farmers back to work.

(f) In September, Hurricane Lili caused flooding in the southern part of the country, especially in Ravine du Sud River and Camp-Perrin. Population in the area have lost most of their assets and are experiencing severe economic hardship.

G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Georgia

1) Georgia

(a) WFP announced the approval of a USD 23 million operation to support over 200,000 people over a three-year period, starting from April 2003. WFP's work in Georgia is focused on three areas: feeding the most vulnerable people who have limited access to government support, assisting 4,000 Chechen refugees, and rehabilitating agricultural and social infrastructure through FFW projects in the poorest regions in this largely agrarian country.

(b) WFP began providing food assistance to Georgia in 1993; continued assistance is desperately needed. The former Soviet republic, with a current population of 5.5 million people, still faces economic constraints and civil strife. Hyperinflation in the mid-1990s eroded the population's income and savings. The elderly, who depend on inadequate State pensions, have been hit especially hard. The country is barely able to meet half of its cereal needs due to a damaged agricultural infrastructure coupled with periodic natural disasters, including a series of drought in 2000 and 2001.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 45).