WFP Emergency Report No. 49 of 2002

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 06 Dec 2002


This report includes:
A) Global Alert

B) Middle East Region: (1) Palestinian Territories

C) Asia Region: (1) Democratic People's Republic of Korea

D) West Africa Region: (1) Côte d'Ivoire (2) Liberia (3) Sierra Leone (4) Guinea, (5) Guinea Bissau (6) Mauritania

E) Eastern and Central Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Somalia, (3) Eritrea, (4) Djibouti, (5) Burundi

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

G) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Ecuador, (3) El Salvador, (4) Haiti, (5) Other countries

H) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan

I) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Northern Caucasus, (2) Georgia, (3) Armenia

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) Global Alert

(a) On 3 December, WFP's Executive Director James T. Morris warned the UN Security Council of an unprecedented hunger crisis in Africa, where at least 38 million people are at risk. "This is an unprecedented crisis, which calls for an unprecedented response," said Morris. "The magnitude of the disaster unfolding in Africa has not yet been fully grasped by the international community. An exceptional effort is urgently needed if a major catastrophe is to be averted. Business as usual will not do."

(b) Morris said the crisis in Africa was part of a worrying new global phenomenon of shifting weather patterns, which have led to unparalleled natural disasters. Drought has ravaged not only the Horn and vast areas of southern Africa and Western Sahel but also Central America, Afghanistan and Cambodia. This year, WFP is struggling to assist up to 25 million additional beneficiaries in Africa alone; last year, WFP assisted 77 million people worldwide. Besides the millions of people requiring assistance in Africa, populations in other continents are also facing food shortages such as in Afghanistan, DPRK and Colombia.

(c) Given the absence of political will in tackling hunger, WFP's Executive Director challenged UN member states to re-commit themselves to the Millennium Development Goals which set 2015 as the date for halving the world's number of hungry people to 400 million. Concerned about the plight of Africa, the general public has initiated various initiatives to try to raise awareness and more funds. A new campaign, Africa Hunger Alert (see www.wfp.org/africahungeralert) supported by WFP, is gaining momentum, with 16 December set as a date for vigils and meetings to channel support to Africa.

B) Middle East Region: (1) Palestinian Territories

1) Palestinian Territories

(a) On 30 November, a four-storey building of which the entire ground floor was a WFP warehouse was demolished by the Israeli Defence Forces in the town of Jaballia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, which was targeted in a military incursion. Despite the fact that the storage area was well marked as a WFP warehouse, with a large WFP flag and stickers on the doors, the soldiers proceeded to destroy the doors of the warehouse using tanks. The owner of the building witnessed dynamite sticks being placed in various parts of the building and several blasts were heard, followed by a large explosion from a projectile dropped from a helicopter. The building collapsed and everything left in it, including 540 tons of food, was destroyed.

(b) The food, worth US 271,000, was to be distributed by the Ministry of Social Affairs to 41,300 people affected by the ongoing humanitarian crises in the Gaza Strip. WFP should have been permitted to remove the food. This act has been carried out against basic humanitarian principles. WFP is asking the Government of Israel to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident and take full responsibility for the losses incurred by WFP.

(c) Movements to, and within the West Bank have been severely restricted for WFP staff during the second half of November. Security clearances have been rarely granted, especially to Jenin, in the wake of the killing of UNRWA staff member by the Israeli Defense Forces. Despite these constraints, WFP was able to provide over 700 tons of food to 52,500 vulnerable people from 16 to 30 November.

C) Asia Region: (1) Democratic People's Republic of Korea

1) Democratic People's Republic of Korea

(a) WFP expects distribution cuts to worsen at the start of 2003. Without immediate, additional contributions nearly 3.2 million vulnerable people, including children, pregnant/nursing women, elderly persons and caregivers in child institutions and hospitals will not receive WFP cereal rations from the beginning of the new year. In addition, all Food for Work (FFW) activities must be suspended and Local Food Production (LFP) factories will be forced to suspend production.

(b) Immediate pledges of 97,000 tons are required (to supplement the expected arrival of 23,000 tons of wheat) to ensure that the pipeline is full during the first quarter of 2003. Commodities required include over 89,000 tons of cereals, 1,750 tons of Dried Skimmed Milk to enable LFP factories to continue to operate, 5,100 tons of Corn Soya Blend for nurseries, kindergartens and pregnant/nursing women and 580 tons of sugar, mainly for nurseries.

(c) On 3 December, WFP urged the international community to support a new USD 201 million emergency operation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which aims to assist 6.4 million particularly vulnerable people during 2003. With better recent cereal harvests lowering next year's overall food gap to a projected 1.1 million tons from an estimated 1.3 million tons this year, WFP's 2003 emergency programme requires 512,000 tons of cereals and other commodities, down from the 611,000 tons sought for 2002. However, owing to an unprecedented slump in donations, WFP expects to distribute less than 430,000 tons this year.

(d) Stressing the need for a strong donor response to its latest appeal, WFP noted that while disparities in food availability between the food-surplus south and west of the country and the food-deficit north and northeast are severe, urban-rural disparities are even more pronounced. The 2003 operation primarily targets urban residents unable to easily access food outside the government-run Public Distribution System, which plans to provide no more than 270 grams of food per person per day, 45 percent of an individual's minimum caloric needs, next year. It is important for WFP to maintain operations according to plan. Failure to do so will put at risk the gains, in terms of improved nutritional status, achieved in the past years.

(e) WFP is also concerned about the capacity of the economy to re-deploy excess labour created by a reform-induced drive for industries to become more efficient. This group will be one of the main targets of WFP-supported food-for-work activities designed to promote beneficiaries' longer-term food security. WFP will also supply raw materials and other inputs to 18 factories that produce enriched blended foods and biscuits for millions of underfed infants and young children, and fortified noodles for malnourished pregnant and lactating women.

(f) While insisting its policy of "no access, no food" would continue, WFP reiterated its concern about the plight of people in the 43 out of 206 counties, accounting for some 13 percent of the country's 22.6 million civilian population, its staff cannot enter. WFP also called for a further relaxation of restrictions on the ability to monitor aid distributions in accessible counties.

(g) Concern about the effects of suspension of heavy fuel supplies to the DPRK from December has been recently expressed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Fuel sanctions may have a negative impact on the lives of people facing another difficult winter. The country already suffers from a severe fuel shortage that is costing lives and is responsible for a high incidence of acute respiratory infections in winter-time as people are unable to keep warm. A lack of transport fuel might also affect the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver much-needed relief assistance, including food supplies, to the most vulnerable sections of society in the DPRK.

D) West Africa Region: (1) Côte d'Ivoire (2) Liberia (3) Sierra Leone (4) Guinea, (5) Guinea Bissau (6) Mauritania

1) Côte d'Ivoire

(a) New fighting broke out on 28 November on two fronts in Côte d'Ivoire. In recent days, military activities have been reported around the western town of Vavoua. Further west, near the border with Liberia, the town of Danane, was attacked. On 2 December, Liberian officials said they had closed their border with Côte d'Ivoire, where fighting is ongoing some 100 kms from the frontier, as "a safety measure". The Foreign Minister of Liberia said that border authorities will continue to allow passage of Ivorians and Liberian nationals fleeing the fighting in western Cote d'Ivoire. As fighting started in the North-West, the WFP sub-office staff in Guiglo was evacuated to Abidjan. Security situation at the border areas is reported to remain calm and registration of returnees and refugees is ongoing.

(b) The renewed fighting has triggered a new wave of displaced people in the North-West. According to UNHCR, around 7,000 people, most of them returning refugees fleeing fighting in Man and Danane, have crossed over into Liberia and have settled in the town of Loguatuo, 300 kms north-east of Monrovia. According to a MERLIN' s official, 4,000 people including 860 Ivorian nationals are currently in Gborplay, south of Loguatuo. Liberian officials estimate on the other hand that 26,000 people have crossed the border from Côte d'Ivoire.

(c) WFP has been addressing the needs of the affected population under EMOP 10243/4. Registration of 41,600 beneficiary families, including 51,000 children below five years of age in Bouaké was completed last week. A general distribution started on 3 December and will continue for 10 days in 28 sites in the Bouaké area. The one-month rations, totalling 400 tons of rice, will only cover 10 percent of the total nutrition needs, as most people do have complementary sources of food. The distribution is undertaken in collaboration with CARE, Action Contre la Faim (ACF), as well as staff from the Catholic Mission (CM) and Conseil National Islamique (CNI).

2) Liberia

(a) The escalating conflict in Côte d'Ivoire has caused thousands to flee across the borders into Liberia. An estimated 25,000 Liberians, 1,200 Ivorians and other nationals streamed across the border when rebels attacked Danane, Man and Toulepleu in Côte d'Ivoire. WFP has responded to this emergency by distributing High Energy Biscuits and is mobilising a follow up distribution of one week food rations to these new arrivals in transit camps in Karnplay, Toe's Town and Zwedru. WFP staff have been re-deployed to Karnplay and Zuedru transit centres to ensure WFP field presence. The number of returnees will certainly increase WFP beneficiary figures. So far the returnees who have arrived appeared to be in good physical condition albeit with little personal effects. There are concerns however, that the refugees and returnees staying for prolonged periods in transit areas with minimum facilities could be exposed to possible pandemic outbreaks.

(b) WFP has commenced food distribution for the month of December to 181,700 IDPs, 22,700 Sierra Leonean refugees and for therapeutic, supplementary and institutional feeding activities. Over 221,200 persons are targeted with 3,100 tons of food. Despite a loan of 100 tons of oil, WFP does not have sufficient oil stocks to cover the monthly requirement of 180 tons. WFP is also expecting to experience shortfalls of salt, CSB and pulses over the coming months. These pipeline breaks are likely to worsen the current humanitarian situation.

3) Sierra Leone

(a) No large influxes of refugees occurred from 18 November to 1 December. UNHCR reported that all refugee camps in the country are currently full to capacity and any major influx will affect the already overstretched resources of some aid agencies. WFP provided food to its regular caseload of 13,200 beneficiaries in Jembe and Gerihun Refugee camps during the last two weeks. Repatriation of returnees from Guinea and Liberia remained on hold, and UNHCR has communicated that there can be no more than a maximum of three land convoys from Guinea before the end of the year.

(b) Countrywide, WFP supported 136,150 beneficiaries with 1,600 tons of food aid from 18 November to 1 December, 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. WFP initiated Supplementary Feeding in the five refugee camps operated by WFP, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision (Jembe, Gerihun, Jimmi Gbabo, Gondama and Banda Juma), which had earlier been identified for intervention in a survey by MSF-Belgium. With the expected expansion of WFP feeding programmes to cover all six refugee camps in the country, the pipeline is currently being revised to reflect WFP's food aid requirements for 2003.

(c) The overall security situation is stable, except for isolated incidents. Three food-searching cross border raids were reported North-East of Buedu in Eastern Kailahun, from the Liberian side into Sierra Leone during the last two weeks. In addition to regular patrols UNAMSIL and the Sierra Leone Army have effected temporary deployments to problematic areas. In an attempt to strengthen security around the Kailahun border area, the SLA has moved further inland and increased the number of troops. Meanwhile, WFP staff are observing precautionary measures in that area. Also tension was reported in the Kissi chiefdoms of Kailahun on 27 November, when loud explosive sounds were heard from the border area.

4) Guinea

(a) The situation in Côte d'Ivoire continues to be of concern. The influx of people into Guinea is increasing every day, with about 2,200 people entering N'Zoo on 30-31 November. Those who have recently fled fighting in Côte d'Ivoire have left all their belongings. They are mainly Guineans but also Liberians, Malians, Nigerians and Ghanaians. In addition, people continue to enter from Côte d'Ivoire via Kankan region and Mandiana prefecture.

(b) At the moment, WFP together with HCR, GTZ, ACF, BCR, OCHA, UNICEF, OCPH are jointly assessing road conditions and identifying entry points along the border with Côte d'Ivoire. WFP, in collaboration with the national Red Cross and ICRC, is distributing high energy biscuits to people arriving in N'Zerekore region. Discussions with local authorities, UN agencies and NGOs on how to respond to this new and continuing influx are ongoing.

(c) General distribution at Kouankan camp continued during the last two weeks benefiting to 33,900 beneficiaries. Kouankan camp is still exceeding capacity. From 18 November to 3 December, WFP distributed 730 tons of food to 39,600 beneficiaries. The repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees by UNHCR remains suspended and is expected to resume in January. UNHCR is currently assessing the needs for repairing the road through Gueckedou to Sierra Leone, which will be used once repatriation resumes.

(d) A donor contribution of USD 400,000 to the air operation was recently confirmed. Thanks to this generous contribution, the WFP air passenger service in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire will be maintained until its expected ending date.

5) Guinea Bissau

(a) Agricultural crops were dramatically affected by late rains and rainfall deficits over the whole country, with particular emphasis on the north-eastern regions, bordering with Senegal. Despite rainfall improvement in September and October, the reduction of the cultivated areas countrywide will lead to a sharp decline in the total agricultural production, especially cereal production which is estimated at 147,358 tons in 2002/2003 (Sources: FAO/CILSS/WFP Crop Assessment Mission, October 2002) against 165,063 tons for the 2001/2002 agriculture campaign. Households' food availability and purchasing power will consequently be reduced. WFP is devising strategies to respond to the growing needs for food assistance.

(b) During the last two months, several field visits were undertaken to identify new projects and partners and monitor projects under implementation. The total beneficiaries assisted were 25,616 in October and 27,440 in November. 625 tons of food were distributed in October and November under FFW, School Feeding, Health and Nutrition and Food for Training programmes. Malnutrition remains a key issue in Guinea Bissau. The results of nutritional surveillance undertaken by CARITAS in three surveillance centres (Bula, Cacheu and Gabu) in October revealed a global malnutrition prevalence exceeding 24 percent. In its endeavours to increase food security and lower the malnutrition prevalence, WFP is presently focusing on implementing activities such as rural rehabilitation projects, including reforestation and land recovery for agriculture purposes in the regions affected by the rainfall deficit.

(c) WFP is expecting shortages of CSB, sugar and oil in the following months. These commodities are still unresourced. In addition, the late arrival of some donations could jeopardise food distribution in January and February.

6) Mauritania

(a) The Ministry of Rural Development estimates the net 2002/03 grain production at 67,800 tons, thus 24 percent short of the 2002/02 harvest already regarded as the crop in the previous 5 years. This is in a large part due to an estimated 81 percent drop in rain-fed crop, which represents 30 percent of overall production. Nationwide, the condition of vegetation is poorer than last year. The problem of most households remains food access. Staple foods are available but continue their upward spiral in part as a result of an anticipated rise in demand as the Ramadan period come to a close. The situation of farmers in the Senegal River valley and Aftout zone remains critical and water supply in some of these areas remains a serious problem.

(b) WFP has completed its first distribution of 3,900 tons of wheat covering the needs of over 81,400 people for 4 months. A second WFP distribution of 2,270 tons of food will start immediately after Ramadan in the Wilayas of Gorgol, Assaba and Brakna. A full ration of wheat, beans and vegetable oil will be provided to 64,200 beneficiaries for a period of 2 months. A third distribution of 1,353 tons of wheat is being organised to provide a four-month ration to 28,200 beneficiaries.

(c) Confirmed donor contributions to EMOP 10147 have now reached 13,300 tons or 82 percent of the commitment level. In dollar terms USD 5.7 million out of USD 7.5 million commitment level has been received. Timely contributions and an adequate level of funding are very important. Malnutrition rates in some areas of Mauritania are already at crisis levels and the risk of starvation is very high between June and September 2003, not only in Mauritania but also in the other four countries covered by the new Regional EMOP (Senegal, Cape Verde, Mali and the Gambia). The new Regional EMOP assisting 635,000 people and requesting 51,000 tons for a total cost of USD 20 to 25 million will be available by the end of December but contributions to Mauritania can already be channelled through the ongoing Mauritania EMOP.

E) Eastern and Central Africa Region: (1) Ethiopia, (2) Somalia, (3) Eritrea, (4) Djibouti, (5) Burundi

1) Ethiopia

(a) The joint Government of Ethiopia/United Nations appeal for emergency assistance for 2003 will be launched on 7 December. Information on the Appeal will be available on ReliefWeb soon after the launch.

(b) The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission teams debriefed with Government, UN and donors on 2 and 3 December. The Mission has concluded that because of late and uneven rainfall patterns, the widespread shift to low-yielding short-cycle crops and the decrease in agricultural inputs, the total cereal and pulse harvest is down significantly compared to last year's harvest. In addition to relief food needs, cereal supplies for the market will have to be secured to cover the period when local marketable stocks are depleted, to cover the requirements of the part of the population that depends on purchasing food. Details of the FAO/WFP mission findings will be available in a Special Report which is scheduled to be released later in the month.

(c) UNICEF Executive Director Ms. Carol Bellamy arrived on a visit to Ethiopia on 4 December. Ms. Bellamy was accompanied by the WFP Country Director on a field trip to Afar Region to give her a first hand look at the current food and water crisis and to view the UNICEF-supported water tankering programme for people in the Region. Pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in Afar Region have been particularly badly hit by the drought; livestock deaths were considerable earlier in the year and are expected to increase again soon when limited pasture resources are finished, hitting the livelihoods of the people. A school supported by a joint WFP/ UNICEF project was part of the itinerary. Both UNICEF and WFP are concerned about ways to increase the attendance of girls at schools throughout the country. The present drought has resulted in many children dropping out from school and zonal authorities have credited the WFP school feeding programme with helping to prevent this in the areas where the programme is in place. In Afar region, about eighty percent of rural schools are receiving assistance from WFP.

2) Somalia

(a) On 3 December, WFP has condemned major obstacles imposed by various local authorities and militiamen in Somalia while recently transporting 700 tons of relief food by road to southern Somalia. A food convoy, which departed from the Port of Merca on 17 November and arrived only on 2 December, was delayed at over 40 checkpoints. This is normally a three-day trip. This is the first WFP food convoy to reach Wajid in the Bakool Region since June when WFP's Baidoa office was closed due to rival faction-leader claims of authority over the town.

(b) Food stocks that remained in Baidoa were exhausted in September, and the lack of renewed food supplies over many months has seriously compromised the food security of the poorest people in the area. The food aid to be distributed over the next week in the Bay and Bakool regions will be given to Mother and Child Health Centres (MCH), where WFP provides food rations to poor families with malnourished children, reaching some 9,600 beneficiaries. Food is also being distributed in support of community based FFW projects, benefiting some 12,000 people involved in rehabilitation projects, such as the construction of water catchments.

(c) Southern Somalia in general suffers from chronic food insecurity. This year, in the Bakool region, the main harvest was down by more than half its pre-war level. Perpetual food shortages are further aggravated by the prevailing insecurity. Food and relief assistance in general is critical over the months ahead, until at least the next harvest in January. WFP plans to send another convoy with some 700 tons of relief food within the next couple of weeks. Cooperation from authorities is crucial to maintain the provision of live-saving food assistance.

3) Eritrea

(a) Local cereal production in 2002 was estimated at 54,000 tons, meeting approximately 10 percent of the national requirement. In order to avoid a humanitarian crisis in 2003, Eritrea will require a minimum of 400,000 tons of imported cereals. While some commitments have been made already, the substantial gap in resourcing must still be covered through commercial and food aid imports to avert critical and life-threatening shortages.

(b) WFP is preparing a new EMOP to follow the existing EMOPs after April 2003 to address the emergency needs of 900,000 people affected by the drought. About 140,000 tons of food will be required to cater for their food needs. Targeting of beneficiaries for this EMOP will be improved using the outcome of a livelihood survey of 5,000 households. This survey will be carried out in collaboration with the Government of Eritrea and CARE International at the beginning of 2003.

(c) A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the construction of prefabricated warehouses in Massawa Port was signed between WFP, Department of Maritime transport, Massawa Port and ERREC on 21 November. The MoU sets the framework for co-operation between the 4 organizations to enhance and maintain the operations capacity of the Massawa port to handle vessels. The project aims to erect two prefabricated warehouses of 5,000 tons capacity each inside Massawa port.

4) Djibouti

(a) WFP has temporarily suspended monthly general food distributions to 96,000 drought victims under EMOP 10099 due to the late arrival of a shipment of 3,050 tons of rice. The consignment arrived in Djibouti on 28 November and distribution will resume in December. With the arrival of 588 tons of pulses expected in December, EMOP 10099 will be 92 percent funded.

(b) From mid July to end October 2002, over 2,100 Somali refugees from Holl-Holl camp were repatriated to various destinations in Somaliland under the joint WFP/UNHCR repatriation programme. The repatriation programme was suspended in November during the month of Ramadan. The second voluntary repatriation phase which concerns 10,000 refugees from Ali-Addeh camp is expected to resume in January, after the presidential elections in Somaliland and the Djibouti Parliament elections, scheduled on 10 January.

(c) The camps population is currently estimated at 20,255 refugees (8,581 in Holl-Holl camp and 11,674 in Ali-Addeh). In November, WFP distributed 343 tons of food under a general distribution for all the refugees leaving in Holl Holl and Ali Addeh camps under its PRRO 10134.0. In addition, WFP provided support to the supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes implemented by AMDA and benefiting 1,000 vulnerable people and 120 malnourished children. Vegetable oil was also distributed to 1,200 school girls in the refugee camps as take-home rations to encourage attendance.

(d) As of end November, PRRO 10134.0 was 71 percent funded. With an overall shortfall of 2,360 tons of commodities, WFP expects to face breaks in the salt and vegetable oil pipeline in February and March 2003.

5) Burundi

(a) On 2 December, WFP launched an urgent appeal for food aid donations ahead of an alarming food shortage expected in Burundi this month. A two-month delay in rains combined with a poor harvest from the previous growing season, could cause the number of people needing relief food to double from 580,000 to 1.2 million by as early as this month.

(b) WFP urgently needs 40,000 tons of food, valued at USD 19 million, to assist over a million people until the main harvest in April 2003. WFP is also trying to cope with the current influx of Congolese refugees, which has reached about 14,000 people. A current outbreak of malaria, which is endemic to Burundi during the rainy season, could also affect vulnerable populations. The precarious food situation will be further exacerbated if fighting - which is causing major population displacement - and refugee influxes intensify. The provinces of Ruyigi, Gitega, Bubanza Muramvya and Bujumbura rural have already been severely affected by fighting.

(c) WFP is starting to distribute food aid to the worst affected areas early enough to contain the crisis, but if more pledges are not confirmed quickly, relief stocks will run out and the situation will deteriorate rapidly. In addition, WFP continues to feed some 14,000 refugees who have fled the ongoing insecurity in Uvira, DRC. Further donor support is needed to support the current number of people, and to prepare for greater influxes, which could reach 40,000 people.

(d) Food aid resources are also needed to strengthen food-for-work activities in the Northern provinces, which will help contain the crisis. These projects will provide vulnerable groups with food aid in exchange for doing rehabilitation and reforestation projects as well as preparing fields for cultivation. In the Southern provinces, where access is difficult due to insecurity, WFP will pre-position food in strategic locations to ensure a timely response.

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

1) Regional overview

(a) In Zambia, farmers are reportedly consuming seeds intended for planting. In response, the Ministry of Agriculture has launched an appeal to all farmers to re-plant their already failed crops and not to be discouraged by a dry spell which currently affects part of the country.

(b) In South Africa, an independent consulting firm reported this week that the maize crop in Mpumalanga province can survive for another week or ten days but without rain the crop could soon fail. Growing conditions in the Free State and North-West provinces are also poor. Although farmers did plant, producers have indicated that they will switch to growing sunflower seeds if rains arrive later than mid-December. In 2002, South African cereal surplus has been a major source of procurements for the region. Poor crops in South Africa in early 2003 could therefore have an enormous detrimental impact on regional food security. Governments and humanitarian agencies are closely monitoring developments.

(c) WFP was pleased to confirm several new contributions to the EMOP during the week. The WFP EMOP is now 59 percent funded with a shortfall through March of approximately USD 210 million.

2) Lesotho

(a) During the week, WFP distributed 793 tons of food to 62,600 beneficiaries. A MoU was signed with the Salvation Army for distribution of WFP food rations in Butha Buthe. It is reported that while areas of 317,300 acres have been ploughed, planting has only been completed on 46 percent of the area due to the limited availability of ploughing machinery, poor soil conditions due to dry weather, and delays in the supply of seeds and fertilizers. In the districts of Thaba-Tseka and Quacha's Nek, frost has badly affected the maize crop

3) Malawi

(a) UNHCR reported an influx of asylum seekers across the border from Tanzania. WFP and UNHCR are tentatively moving forward on contingency plans to address the needs of this increased caseload in Mwanza district. Due to low purchasing power at the household level, demand for Government maize, even at heavily subsidized prices, remains low. In November, WFP distributed approximately 27,000 tons of food to nearly 2.3 million beneficiaries.

4) Mozambique

(a) Malnutrition is reported to be on the rise in Tete province. In addition, WFP field monitors report that lack of sustained rains is desiccating seed planting in Tete province. Some maize that had germinated is now withering.

5) Zambia

(a) WFP has worked out an agreement with the Government of Zambia to distribute Government maize in conjunction with WFP's regular distributions in December. As a result, distribution targets for the month will remain on track despite recent challenges posed by developments concerning Genetically Modified (GM) foods. Conditions in Chama district are reported to be worsening as mango season is finished and the granaries are empty. In Monze District, WFP has received reports that families have started to consume seeds distributed for planting under agricultural recovery programmes.

6) Zimbabwe

(a) During November, WFP distributed nearly 20,000 tons of food to 1.5 million beneficiaries in 28 districts. Distributions were lower than planned for the month due to delays in food deliveries related to milling and fortification. Reports have been received of people buying grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at subsidized prices and re-selling at a substantial mark-up on the informal market. In Mudzi district, 20kg of maize is selling for ZIM$ 4,000 on the informal market.

(b) People were reportedly picking each grain from the ground at distribution sites. In Nyanga district, WFP field monitors found children eating banana peels beside the roads thrown by passing motorists.

7) Angola

(a) In Kuando Kubango province, a mine incident involving an MSF-CH car occurred on 29 November on the Kunjamba - Mavinga road. Seven passengers died, five were seriously injured and evacuated to Luanda by WFP. MSF-CH has reportedly decided to phase down its programmes in Mavinga area. In the same province, a mine exploded in the local police headquarters' yard, wounding one person.

(b) No contributions were confirmed during the week to WFP Angola operations. The PRRO remains 33 percent funded to date. WFP's vegetable oil stocks are currently extremely low owing to the late arrival of a consignment, now expected to become available for distribution only by the end of January. December and January oil ration will be dramatically reduced as a consequence of delay. Nutritional and social programmes will continue to receive the usual oil rations as a priority.

(c) With the onset of the rainy season, access is becoming more difficult, a situation likely to further deteriorate. WFP is trying to pre-position commodities in strategic locations despite pipeline and logistical constraints. Some areas have already become inaccessible. Movements of the population to and from Family Reception Areas (FRA) continue at different rates in many provinces. Some areas are reported closed, while in others it is expected that FRAs will remain open well into 2003.

(d) Seeds and tools distribution for 2002/03 agricultural campaign is on-going in Bie province. As of 5 December, CARE, CONCERN and AFRICARE assisted almost 55,900 families among the displaced and resident communities in the Bie province. Approximately 24,600 of those families were targeted for parallel food distributions to protect their seed package.

(e) Returnees from Zambia and DR Congo continue to arrive in Cazombo, Lumbala Nguimbo and Luau (Moxico province). WFP carried out a food needs assessment mission in the area Cazombo and Luau, and WFP monitors are on the ground in both locations to identify returning refugees carrying UNHCR cards and/or Voluntary Repatriation Forms from the camps in Zambia and DRC. It is expected that around 8,000 such returning refugees showing valid documentation will be registered and receive their food entitlements in December.

G) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Colombia, (2) Ecuador, (3) El Salvador, (4) Haiti, (5) Other countries

1) Colombia

(a) In the northern part of the country, roadblocks and clashes between armed groups continue to affect food deliveries, especially in Antioquia where populations targeted under WFP PRRO have been forced to leave their farms. WFP Bogota office continues to be on high alert for security reasons. Permanent protection was requested from the authorities.

(b) Over the coming two weeks, WFP will deliver 156,600 food rations for FFW and Community Kitchen projects. On the weekend of 30 November, WFP and other United Nations agencies supported a national vaccination campaign.

2) Ecuador

(a) El Reventador volcano continues to be active. Ash emissions and magma flux obstructed the main road connecting adjacent provinces. The city of Quito and the surrounding valleys are experiencing strong sulphur fumes. WFP, in coordination with the Civil Defense and local municipalities, is providing food rations to 600 families directly affected by the event. In spite of the constant ash falls and the obstruction of roads, the rehabilitation of crops and infrastructure has started. WFP, along with other UN agencies, NGOs, Universities, Church and local municipalities is monitoring the situation.

(b) A warehouse explosion left a toll of 8 dead persons, 535 wounded and 237 missing children last week. Damages caused by the explosion are estimated at USD 50 million. People from San Antonio and Riobamba will move to temporary shelters until the Government provides alternative residences. The Civil Defense and the Operations Committee of Riobamba are supplying daily food assistance to approximately 600 persons and plan to provide medical and psychological assistance. WFP has been providing food to 2,500 people in community dining halls and shelters.

(c) According to the Oceanographic Institute of the Ecuadorian Army (INICAR) temperature variations on the ocean surface will probably cause El Niño to have a low-to-moderate intensity towards the end of 2002 and into the first months of 2003.

3) El Salvador

(a) After distributing one-month family rations to over 1,400 families with malnourished children in Ahauchapan and Sonsonate, WFP is collecting information on the malnutrition status of children in provinces affected by the coffee crisis. WFP is working closely with USAID, OXFAM, CRS, and World Vision to ensure coordination of nutrition-related interventions in the identified areas. Total WFP distribution reached 58,000 beneficiaries in the month of November.

4) Haiti

(a) According to the Haiti North West Early Warning System (NEWS), the north-western region experienced only three days of rain during the month of October, registering an average of 36 mm. This is below the average of 95mm for October during the same month for the past decade. A severe drought and crop failure are expected if no further rainfall occurs over the next weeks. The communities most affected are Bambarde, Jean-Rabel, Bleuin, and Port-de-Paix. Some cases of severe malnutrition were reported in the communities of Jean Rabel and Mole Saint-Nicolas.

(b) As a result of the currency fall, prices of maize and grains, mainly imported, have increased by 7.6 percent in October. Beans' price went up by 35 percent in October compared to the same period during 2001. Wages remain the same and poverty level continues to increase.

5) Other countries

(a) In Paraguay, the prolonged drought continues to affect the western provinces. The Government made an appeal for emergency assistance, including food aid. According to IFRC, a national state of emergency was declared on 2 October. In Boqueron, the drought has had a particularly negative impact on agriculture, affecting almost 5,000 rural indigenous families.

(b) In Argentina, the situation continues to deteriorate. Media reported that at least 14 children died during the last few days due to malnutrition in the province of Tucuman. The Provincial Health System estimates that some 12,000 children are suffering from different levels of malnutrition. A total of 62,000 families are currently being affected in the region. A joint WFP-UNICEF mission was carried out in the first week of December to assess the situation.

H) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan

1) Afghanistan

(a) The security situation remained calm in most of the areas during the week, except in Mazari Sharif where ongoing factional conflicts continued. In addition, all the missions to Shindand district in Hirat were suspended due to factional conflicts.

(b) From 27 November to 3 December, WFP distributed 2,600 tons of food to 470,000 vulnerable people through various programmes. The beneficiary caseload included 200,000 people who received bread under the urban vulnerable bakery project as well as 140,000 school children targeted under the Food for education programme. In addition, nearly 40,000 beneficiaries received 300 tons of food through Food for work and Food for asset creation activities and 60,100 IDPs and refugees received 1,000 tons of food. Finally, WFP continued to provide regular support to 12,000 malnourished people admitted in Supplementary Feeding Programmes, 20,000 particularly vulnerable people targeted though general distributions.

(c) As of 3 December, 51,000 tons of food have been delivered for assistance to 1.3 million vulnerable people living in rural areas across the country that potentially will become inaccessible during the winter. Some additional 1,200 tons of food need to be further delivered. In November, a total of 61,000 food commodities have been dispatched to Afghanistan. With sufficient stocks now available in WFP Area Offices in Afghanistan, food dispatch activities have been slowed down.

(d) Severe shortages of water and food in Kohband Valley (northern part of Moqur district) of Ghazni province in Kabul has been confirmed by a Joint Survey Mission composed of the government (i.e. Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development) and WFP representatives. Three years of consecutive drought have left the agricultural land unfertile, with local karezes dried up. Farmers have been displaced in search of food and some other means of livelihood, while women and children left are carrying water from a long distance. Sale of household assets and livestock is prevalent as a coping mechanism. The Government-WFP Joint Survey Mission recommended an increase of WFP food assistance to the community during the next five or six months and the implementation of FOODAC activities to assist the community in increasing access to water resources. Food should be dispatched to the community before snowfall.

I) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Northern Caucasus, (2) Georgia, (3) Armenia

1) Northern Caucasus: (a) Ingushetia, (b) Chechnya

(a) Ingushetia

1. On 1 December 2002 the Ingush authorities closed down the Imam IDP tent camp, located near the village of Aki-Yurt in Malgobek district. As a result, 850 IDPs, nearly half of the total camp population, were forced to return to Chechnya while the other half had to seek shelter in the neighbouring spontaneous settlements and with Ingush host families. The closure of the tent camp in Aki-Yurt followed the numerous reports about the plans of the authorities to close all IDP tent camps set up in Ingushetia, where approximately 23,000 Chechen IDPs are currently living.

2. The humanitarian community voiced grave concern over the fate of displaced people who had been living in the tent camp in Aki Yurt and expressed its strong condemnation of the plans of the federal and local authorities to close the camps in Ingushetia until decent alternative shelter solutions could be found in Ingushetia, reiterating the right of IDPs to return to Chechnya on a voluntary basis.

3. According to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) database, the number of IDPs from Chechnya registered in Ingushetia continued to go down, standing at 108,500 in November. Over half of the IDPs are living with host families, while the others are accommodated in tent camps or in spontaneous settlements.

(b) Chechnya

1. According to DRC, in November 785,500 persons were living in Chechnya. Of these, 142,000 are registered as IDPs and 126,000 are vulnerable persons in need of humanitarian assistance. During the month of November, the number of registered WFP beneficiaries increased by about 1,400 persons. The majority of them are returnees from Ingushetia.

2. WFP assisted over 276,000 people in Ingushetia and Chechnya with 3,400 tons of food during the month of November. Due to pipeline breaks, WFP was forced to reduce its basic food ration for relief distribution to 13.5 kg of wheat flour and 0.15 kg of iodised salt. Vegetable oil was distributed only to IDPs in the camps of Ingushetia. WFP relief distributions covered 229,000 beneficiaries in both republics. WFP's School Feeding project provided sweet buns and hot meals to about 41,000 schoolchildren in Grozny, Grozny rural, Gudermes, Achkoi-Martan and Sunzha districts. Finally, 870 persons participated in FFW projects. WFP ration distributed through these FFW projects benefited approximately 4,500 beneficiaries.

2) Georgia

(a) Latest reports indicate a poor cereal harvest of 677,000 tons in 2002/03 marketing year, which is about 40,000 tons less than the harvest of the preceding year. Cereal harvest this year includes 216,000 tons of wheat and 400,000 tons of maize. Maize harvest improved slightly due to good rains in the summer. According to FAO, food aid would once again be necessary to fill the gap between consumption needs and supply.

(b) WFP distributed 400 tons of food during the month of November under various programmes of PRRO 6122.01. 71 tons of food was delivered to Pankisi Valley, covering the needs of 3,800 Chechen refugees for November and December. FFW projects involving 600 participants were approved for four villages located in Pankisi valley. 12,500 vulnerable persons were also assisted through Government institutions and soup-kitchens run by local municipalities and NGOs.

(c) In response to a request from the Government of Georgia, WFP, in collaboration with CARE, plans to distribute 250 tons of food to 11,000 beneficiaries in Mestia district in Samegrelo/ Upper Svaneti region. A rapid assessment conducted by Save the Children showed that around 80 percent of the staple crops have been lost. Coupled with the remoteness of this region and inaccessibility during winter, the crop loss is likely to lead to a deterioration of the food security situation.

3) Armenia

(a) WFP's assistance under PRRO 10053.0 includes relief food distribution, food-for-work, food-for-training, elderly support and school feeding. During the month of November, WFP distributed 1,145 tons of food under the Relief Food Distribution and Food-for-Work projects. Relief food distribution helped cover the nutrition needs of 30,000 beneficiaries for November and December, while FFW activities involved 7,350 beneficiaries. Project activities were mainly in the area of agriculture including irrigation, barley seed production, establishment of fruit orchards as well as rehabilitation of drinking water infrastructure, school and kindergarten repairs.

(b) WFP, in collaboration with GTZ, is planning a Food-for-Training project, starting in December and reaching 35,000 vulnerable farmers, almost twice the number of participants covered in the previous cycle. WFP's School Feeding Project turned into its third month of implementation benefiting 10,700 children in the four most vulnerable provinces of Gegharkunik, Syunik, Tavush and Shirak.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No 49).