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WFP Emergency Report No. 49 of 1999

Source
Posted
Originally published
This report includes: A) Russian Federation/Chechnya B) Balkans C) Afghanistan D) Somalia E) Tanzania F) Democratic Republic of Congo.
From Jean-Jacques Graisse, Assistant Executive Director. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at http://www.wfp.org/ or by electronic mail from Deborah.Hicks@wfp.org or Natasha.Nadazdin@wfp.org (fax 39 06 6513 2854). For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Aleesa.Blum@wfp.org or Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

This issue of the Emergency Report was prepared by Natasha Nadazdin.

PART I - HIGHLIGHTS

(Details below in Part II)

A. RUSSIAN FEDERATION - CHECHNYA

1. Assistance for war-displaced in Ingushetia

a) New WFP emergency operation (Northern Caucasus EMOP 6197) approved on 6 December: total WFP cost USD 5.5 million, for 7,960 tons to 150,000 Chechen IDPs in Ingushetia over three months (December 1999 - February 2000); Russian Ministry of Emergencies (Emercom) will be responsible for distributions; some 250,000 IDPs have sought refuge in Ingushetia.

b) UN inter-agency flash appeal for Northern Caucasus, at cost of USD 16.2 million, to complement assistance provided by Government and other organizations (ICRC) and to enhance ongoing UNHCR and UNICEF activities.

B. BALKANS

1. Update - information as of 9 December

a) WFP air bridge from Rome to Pristina still suspended.

b) Kosovo: WFP/UNHCR assessment of situation of ethnic minorities currently under way; WFP distribution of winter food stocks in some 130 remote villages completed; rail transport of food aid to Kosovo continues.

c) In Serbia, gaps in food pipeline expected in first quarter of year 2000; donors urged to contribute. WFP continues food distributions to 337,500 refugees and 312,500 social cases; deterioration of humanitarian situation in Serbia of great concern.

C. AFGHANISTAN

1. Update - information as of 9 December

a) Panjshir Valley: UN convoys on 6, 7 and 9 December cross the front line carrying WFP wheat, UNICEF clothing and other items to Panjshir from Kabul for distribution to IDPs.

b) WFP to distribute wheat to IDPs in Takhar and Kunduz provinces. c) Distribution of WFP food to returnees in Bamyan Valley recently completed; IDPs in Panjao and Yakaolang a concern.

d) UN coordinates distribution of food and non-food items to 1,000 most vulnerable families in Samangan province.

e) Prices of cereals remain high despite border opening with Pakistan and Iran.

D. SOMALIA

1. Update - information as of 9 December

a) Total of 1,225 tons of WFP food distributed in November, 46 percent of which in south and central regions.

b) Bakool: lack of Deyr rains results in lack of water, wild foods, pasture and complete crop failure, food security situation in agro-pastoral zone deteriorating. Gedo: Deyr rains poor and unevenly distributed in area, causing pastoral migration. Bay: Deyr rains scattered and uneven, some farmers moving to Baidoa. Hiran: rains arrived late and cattle start to die due to drought.

c) Heavy rains hamper access to Bay region for aid.

d) WFP suspends deliveries to Bakool region following theft of part of a consignment of 370 tons of food aid in Hodur last week.

E. TANZANIA

1. Update - information as of 5 December

a) In two weeks, WFP provided some 3,010 tons of food aid to refugees in Kigoma, Kasulu, Kibondo and Ngara districts and some 32 tons of assorted commodities to patients in supplementary and therapeutic health centres in Ngara and Kigoma.

b) New refugees from Burundi over two weeks total 3,260; influx decreased but still steady; some 400,000 refugees currently in Tanzania, mostly from Burundi, some from Congo and Rwanda.

F. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

1. Update - information as of 9 December

a) Government requests assistance for flood victims; WFP provides initial 24 tons of emergency food aid; Crisis Committee organized to coordinate relief operations; some 30,000 persons left dwellings and are temporarily accommodated in collective centres.

b) WFP visits Lubumbashi, Pweto, Goma, Bukavu and Bunia; aid agencies reach more beneficiaries, but many needy remain out of their reach.

c) WFP emergency operation (EMOP 6110) to assist 350,000 IDPs at total WFP cost of USD 3 million has received only 30 percent of funds needed; WFP urges donors to further contribute.

PART II - DETAILS

A. RUSSIAN FEDERATION - CHECHNYA

1. ASSISTANCE FOR WAR-DISPLACED IN INGUSHETIA

1.1 A new WFP emergency operation (Northern Caucasus EMOP 6197) was approved on 6 December. At a total WFP cost of USD 5.5 million, the EMOP will provide 7,960 tons of emergency food aid to an estimated 150,000 IDPs in Ingushetia for a period of three months. WFP will work closely with the Ministry of Emergencies (Emercom) of the Russian Federation which will be responsible for distribution of food aid to beneficiaries. Military activities in Chechnya which started at the beginning of October have resulted in the displacement of a part of the civilian population to the nearby republics. Estimates are that approximately 250,000 IDPs, mostly women and children, have sought or will seek refuge in Ingushetia.

1.2 The WFP ration will consist of wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and sugar. In addition, high-energy biscuits will be provided for children. UNHCR will provide complementary food items to host families sheltering the IDPs.

1.3 The newly approved WFP operation is part of the recent UN inter-agency flash appeal for Northern Caucasus, Russian Federation, which requests donors to contribute USD 16.2 million to provide relief supplies for populations displaced by the conflict. The flash appeal, which was issued on 23 November, is meant to complement the assistance provided by the Russian Government and other humanitarian actors such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to enhance the ongoing UN humanitarian action by UNHCR and UNICEF. This flash appeal is for three months, but the international humanitarian effort is expected to continue beyond February 2000.

B. BALKANS

1. UPDATE - information as of 9 December

1.1 Following the tragic crash of a WFP passenger plane near Pristina on 12 November, and upon the recommendation of investigators, KFOR closed the Pristina airport to all civilian flights. Investigations into the causes of the crash continue. As the WFP air bridge is temporarily suspended, visitors to Pristina must travel by air to Skopje, from where overland transport is available.

1.2 Confirmed contributions to the ongoing Balkans region EMOP 6136 as of 6 December cover 78 percent of requirements in USD value and 74 percent in food requirements. Pledges total USD 82 million (117,000 tons of food commodities). The US is the largest single donor, with pledges amounting to USD 46 million, followed by the EU with USD 11 million. WFP is already accepting contributions for the newly approved EMOP 6136.01 for its operational requirements in year 2000.

1.3 Stocks available in the Balkans region are sufficient to meet requirements well into the second quarter of the year 2000, except in Serbia, where gaps in the food pipeline are expected during the first quarter of the new year. Donors are urged to confirm their commitments as soon as possible.

1.4 Kosovo

a) In October, WFP provided food aid for some 561,100 persons. WFP in cooperation with UNHCR is conducting an assessment of the situation of ethnic minorities, in order to precisely assess their food aid needs and identify crucial non-food needs which affect food security, such as access to markets and personal security.

b) WFP has finalized the distribution of winter food stocks to some 130 villages considered as inaccessible during the winter. Rail transport is now used to deliver food aid to Kosovo and is expected to remain functional throughout the winter; seven trains with wheat flour have arrived in the last week. WFP has a new warehouse in Mitrovica and additional storage capacity will be available in Pristina before mid-December.

1.5 Serbia: Food distribution to 337,500 refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and 312,500 social cases is under way. The deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Serbia is of great concern.

1.6 Montenegro: The November distribution of WFP rations to IDPs, refugees and social cases is completed. UNHCR re-registration of refugees and IDPs was completed on 4 December and new registration cards were issued.

C. AFGHANISTAN

1. UPDATE - information as of 9 December

1.1 Panjshir Valley: On 6 December, a convoy of 20 UN trucks carrying 90 tons of WFP wheat and UNICEF winter clothing left Kabul in the morning, crossed the front line at midday and delivered food and non-food items in the valley in the afternoon. The trucks returned to Kabul in the evening. On 7 December, a convoy of 20 UN trucks transported 260 tons of WFP wheat and a third convoy on 9 December transported 120 tons of wheat. WFP team in Panjshir will attempt to complete the second phase of distribution by 21 December and it is planned that a total of 750 tons wheat reach the valley by that time.

1.2 Takhar and Kunduz Provinces: A recent UN mission to the provinces of Takhar and Kunduz has observed destruction of housing and local productive infrastructure, including flour and oil mills. Population previously displaced by fighting started returning and is currently receiving non-food items from ICRC and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). WFP will distribute 850 tons of wheat and 484 tons of CSB to some 27,000 displaced people in the area.

1.3 In the Bamyan valley, the first round of WFP food distribution has been completed, reaching all those who have returned to their homes. Those who remain displaced in the neighbouring districts, such as Panjao and Yakaolang, receive some assistance from ECHO support projects, but NGOs report that some of them may be ill-prepared for winter.

1.4 Samangan province: A UN assessment mission travelled to Darra Souf district where the mission members observed destruction and looting of houses and infrastructure. UN has coordinated a one-off distribution of essential food and non-food items to 1,000 most vulnerable families. In addition, WFP will provide 150 tons of wheat for distribution amongst the displaced population.

1.5 Kabul: Living conditions of some 16,000 internally displaced persons from the Shomali plains housed in the ex-Soviet compound have improved significantly since August when IDPs first entered the compound. CSB distribution by WFP and bread distributions by the local authorities continue. A joint distribution of non-food items (cooking utensils, blankets, plastic sheeting) has been conducted by the UN and NGOs. CARE has almost completed its winterization and water and sanitation projects. Heating in the compound is being provided by Save the Children Fund/US.

1.6 Despite the reopening of the borders with Pakistan and Iran, prices of cereals in Afghanistan remain high. Unless the prices decrease, they might cause hardships to the vulnerable population and call for emergency food aid distributions in some areas.

D. SOMALIA

1. UPDATE - information as of 9 December

1.1 WFP distributed 1,225 tons of food commodities to Somalia during the month of November. Of this, 46 percent was distributed to the south and central regions, 35 percent to the north-east and 19 percent to the north-west. This brings the total distributed from January to November to some 20,250 tons.

1.2 Food security highlights:

a) Bakool: The lack of Deyr rains has resulted in the lack of water, wild foods, pasture and complete crop failure. Whilst short-term showers have slightly improved the livestock condition (except for cattle) in the pastoral zones, the food security situation in the agro-pastoral zone is seriously deteriorating. Unseasonal, above-normal population movements are observed towards the main villages and district centres.

b) Over the last few weeks, hundreds of very weak families have been arriving in Hodur, Bakool region, from surrounding rural areas and latest reports from Hodur indicate that the agro-pastoral families have now exhausted all coping mechanisms.

c) Gedo: Deyr rains remain unsatisfactory and are very poor and unevenly distributed throughout the region. Again, serious water shortages accompanied with poor pasture have resulted in pastoral migration within the region and to neighbouring regions where opportunities exist.

d) Bay: Deyr rains have been scattered and uneven. As a result, some farmers have moved towards crop established zones, like Baidoa, in search of agricultural and self-employment.

e) Hiran: The expected rains were late and cattle have started to die as a result of drought conditions. Water, pasture and grazing conditions are below normal in pastoral areas.

1.3 A convoy carrying 1,300 tons of food aid to Bay and Bakool (Wajid area) was re-routed back to the southern port of Merca on 8 December as heavy rain hampered its access into the Bay region. An agreement has been reached to use an alternate tarmac route to the Bay region - from Afgoi to Baidoa - a journey that will involve the crossing of front lines.

1.4 Security:

a) WFP has suspended distribution in the Bakool region (excluding Wajid region) following the theft of part of the approximately 370 tons of food aid being delivered in Hodur last week. Following meetings with the authorities of the region in Baidoa, it was decided that WFP would stop operating in the Bakool region until the food had been replaced and distributed to identified vulnerable groups.

b) A WFP official residing in Mogadishu was briefly held hostage by unknown armed men and released unharmed on 9 December.

E. TANZANIA

1. UPDATE - information as of 5 December

1.1 In its two-week distribution cycle, WFP provided some 3,010 tons of food aid commodities (cereals, pulses, CSB, oil, salt) to refugees in Kigoma, Kasulu, Kibondo and Ngara districts. During the same period some 32 tons of WFP-provided maizemeal, pulses, CSB, oil, sugar, salt and biscuits have been distributed to patients in the supplementary and therapeutic health centres in Ngara and Kigoma refugee camps.

1.2 A total of some 670 newly arrived Burundians were registered by UNHCR in Myovosi camp in Kasulu over the two-week period ending 5 December. A steady but decreasing trend of influx of Burundian refugees into Kigoma, Kasulu, Kibondo and Ngara Districts was observed, the total amounting to some 3,260 persons in the period of two weeks ending 5 December.

1.3 UNHCR estimates there are approximately 400,000 refugees currently in Tanzania, most of them from Burundi and a smaller number from Congo (Kasulu District -135,259 out of which 52,700 Congolese, Kibondo District - 110,269, Kigoma District - 45,053, Ngara District - 109,280).

F. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

1. UPDATE - information as of 9 December

1.1 Floods: Upon the request of the Government, WFP started providing food assistance to the populations affected by recent floods in coordination with donors, NGOs and the Government institutions. A Crisis Committee, chaired by the Minister of Health, is in charge of coordination of relief operations. To date, WFP has made available a total of 24 tons of emergency food aid. The number of people who have had to leave their dwellings and live in temporary collective sites is around 30,000.

1.2 On-going relief operations:

a) Aid agencies working out of major urban centres in D.R. Congo are beginning to reach more people displaced by the conflict. However, recent assessments indicate that many more remain out of reach of humanitarian assistance. Over the past weeks, WFP staff visited Lubumbashi, Pweto, Goma, Bukavu and Bunia, locations in both government-held and rebel-controlled areas, to try to gather more information on the condition of the displaced. In the northern Katanga town of Pweto the mission found 4,000 displaced persons living with the local population in poor conditions and without aid. Many were malnourished and in need of basic medical assistance.

b) In June, WFP launched an emergency operation (EMOP 6110) worth USD 30 million to provide food assistance to 350,000 internally displaced and vulnerable persons on both sides of the conflict in D.R. Congo. To date, WFP has received only 29 percent of the funds needed. Over 800,000 people in D.R. Congo have left their homes and live in precarious conditions. WFP urges donors to contribute to this operation to support the displaced population.

Note: all tonnage figures in report above refer to metric tons

(End WFP Emergency Report No. 49 of 1999 - December 10, 1999)