This report includes:
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iran, (2) Afghanistan
B) East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) Eritrea, (3) Ethiopia, (4) Kenya, (5) Republic of Congo (RoC), (6) Rwanda, (7) Sudan, (8) Tanzania, (9) Uganda
C) West Africa: (1) Liberia, (2) Côte d'Ivoire, (3) Guinea, (4) Sierra Leone, (5) Chad
D) Southern Africa: (1) Regional, (2) Angola, (3) Lesotho, (4) Madagascar, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Namibia, (8) Swaziland, (9) Zambia, (10) Zimbabwe
E) Asia: (1) Myanmar, (2) DPRK
F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Regional, (2) Bolivia, (3) Colombia, (4) Ecuador, (5) Peru, (6) El Salvador, (7) Guatemala, (8) Nicaragua, (9) Haiti
From David Morton, Director of the Transport, Preparedness and Response Division (OTP); available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Carlo.Scaramella@wfp.org, Chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (OEP).
For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone +39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to Brenda.Barton@wfp.org, telephone +39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iran, (2) Afghanistan
(a) Latest official statistics indicate 41,000 people died from the earthquake. Date plantations and warehouses constituting an important source of employment in Bam have been heavily damaged.
(b) Twelve tent camps in and around Bam currently house 1,400 families (6,500 people). Most people are still reluctant to move into camps.
(c) People who fled to live with relatives outside Bam are starting to return to Bam. UNHCR is reinforcing its presence in Bam to better assist Afghan refugees, who are facing greater challenges in accessing humanitarian aid.
(d) Under the new EMOP 10332.0, Food Assistance to Earthquake victims in Bam, WFP will provide assistance to 100,000 most vulnerable people. For that purpose, WFP has established a field office in Bam. A Tripartite Agreement is being finalized between WFP, IRCS and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), defining roles and responsibilities of each partner for WFP Emergency Operation in Bam. IRCS will be responsible for distribution of WFP commodities, while IFRC will have an advisory and technical support role. Monitoring will be undertaken jointly by WFP, IRCS and IFRC.
(e) At the end of January, WFP will deliver to IRCS commodities meeting 50% of overall EMOP requirements, thanks to confirmed contributions to date (India & Australia), and thanks to the Immediate Response Account advance of US $ 1m. Rice, vegetable oil, beans and sugar are being borrowed from existing WFP stocks in refugee camps. Salt and more beans are being purchased locally. Wheat is being borrowed from in-country stocks under the custody of SOG (State Organization of Grain). Sugar is being borrowed from in country PRRO stocks, and from WFP Afghanistan. Rice is being borrowed from in-country camp stocks and from scheduled new PRRO arrivals, but will still be insufficient to meet all requirements. The 45 Mt of salt have been purchased and will be dispatched to IRCS warehouse in Kerman in the next few days.
(f) Three hundred tons of HEB will be dispatched to Kerman from the port of Bandar Abbas in the next few days.
(g) To easy storage capacity constraints, WFP sent 4 mobile storage tents. Furthermore, WFP will provide a storekeeper training course for IRCS staff in Bam.
(h) As of 26 January, 8.4 % of total appealed funds under the UN Flash Appeal (US $ 2,632,365 out of US$ 31,316,907) has been resourced. With a total confirmed contribution of US $ 790,574, WFP has met 30.6% of its requirements under the Flash Appeal.
(i) Up to date, confirmed contributions for EMOP 10332.0 include: 1) India: Government of India donated 450 mt of High Energy Biscuits, for a total value of US $415,520. 2) TPG: The Dutch Post & Courrier Company TPG donated and facilitated transportation for the 4 mobile storage tents of a capacity of 300-400 Mt from Brindisi to Kerman. 3) Australia: Australia made a cash contribution to the EMOP of US$ 746,268. (AUS $ 1m).
(j) The use of UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) passenger aircraft to provide transport services for UN staff, NGOs relief workers and donor representatives from Tehran to Bam has been extended until 31 January. For further extension of this service a new donor should be identified.
(k) Further donations are urgently needed to reach the intended 100,000 most vulnerable people affected by the earthquake and repay the loans contracted from the actual operation for Afghans and Iraqi refugees and to replenish the Immediate Response Account.
(a) In the eastern provinces, all UN missions remained suspended, except for 12 districts in Nangarhar province. Following a security re-assessment in the province, the situation was found to be suitable to resume operations as of 26 January. UN missions to southeastern and southern provinces remained largely suspended. Missions to surrounding districts of Kandahar city and Larshkagar district in Hilmand province are cleared with armed escorts. UN missions to certain districts in Paktia province are allowed on a case-by-case basis, with armed escorts. A few UNHCR and IOM staff returned to Gardez to resume operations. Based on a re-assessment on the security situation in Khost province it was recommended to lift the movement restriction to the province. In the west, the number of armed robberies along the Hirat - Qalay-I-Now road increased. UN missions to Badghis province were suspended following the shooting incident involving a UNHCR vehicle on the mentioned road. Road travel between Shindand-Dilaram and missions to Bakwa and Bala Buluk districts in Farah province remained suspended. In the north, UN missions to Gusfandi and Kohistanat districts in Saripul province remain suspended.
(b) A suicide bomb attack on 27 January in Kabul killed one Canadian soldier and one Afghan and injured 11 others. Another suicide bomb attack took place in Kabul on 28 January, directed at UK and German bases. One British soldier died and at least 9 others were injured. All road missions beyond Sayedabad in Wardak province and missions to Logar and Gardez have to travel with armed escorts.
(c) During the reporting period, 420,012 beneficiaries received 1,888 MT of food. On 25 January, 3,465 MT of food commodities had been dispatched from external logistics hubs to extended delivery points inside Afghanistan.
(d) Department of Education staff installed 19 ARGOS monitoring devices in Kandahar and Zabul provinces. Installation in Nimroz is ongoing, while activities in Hilmand province are halted due to insecurity.
(e) Several food for work projects were completed, including: 9 drainages with a length up to 10 km and 117 karezes were restored in Garamsar and Washer districts of Hilmand province. 300 large wells were cleaned and irrigation systems rehabilitated in 51 villages of Lash-e-Jowain district, Farah province; In Chawki district, Kunar province, 13.3 km of canals and 11 km of road were rehabilitated; In Saighan district, Bamyan province, 25 km of road was rehabilitated.
(f) WFP Kabul and partners discussed the implementation progress of food distributions in areas difficult to access during winter. One of the main recommendations was to establish a consortium of national NGOs, which should plan assistance during winter well in advance, including the development of longer-term projects that are not limited to implementation during winter only.
B) East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) Eritrea, (3) Ethiopia, (4) Kenya, (5) Republic of Congo (RoC), (6) Rwanda, (7) Sudan, (8) Tanzania, (9) Uganda
(a) The overall security situation in the Burundi has been calm in most of the provinces although fighting and looting were reported in Bujumbura Rural and Bururi provinces. Talks between the President of Burundi and a high level FNL delegation took place in the Netherlands from 19-20 January. The Tripartite Commission of the Governments of Burundi and Tanzania and UNHCR met in Arusha (Tanzania) from 19-21 January 2004. To facilitate the return of Burundian refugees living in Tanzania, it was agreed two additional entry points will soon be opened.
(b) During the reporting period, the Joint Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission conducted by WFP/FAO/UNICEF and the Ministry of Agriculture is finalizing the report. The CO reviewed the caseload of food beneficiaries and estimated food requirements for 2004. WFP CO started preparing for the Seeds Protection Ration (SPR) campaign planned to start during the second half of February for the Agricultural Season 2004. WFP met with FAO and other partners involved in the SPR operation in order to review priority provinces and the caseload to be targeted.
(c) From 19 - 25 January 2004, the WFP Country Office (CO) distributed a total of 470 MT of food to about 128,700 beneficiaries through different food aid interventions.
(a) The UN Country Team is still negotiating with the Government in order to try to find an acceptable solution to the new regulation limiting travel that has been placed on all UN Agencies, Embassies and International Organizations based in Eritrea. The new regulation has raised serious concern among UN Agencies, as it greatly hinders their operations and monitoring of humanitarian activities; increases concerns about staff security; and raises issues with respect to UN agreements with Eritrea.
(b) Some rainfall was received in the Northern Red Sea region this week, but was limited to only a few sectors. Other parts of the region continue to experience dry spells. Increased and continuous rain is needed to ensure sufficient fodder for livestock in this mainly pastoral region. Access to water is becoming a serious issue in most areas of the Debub region. Local dams are drying up and grazing land for livestock is becoming increasingly scarce. There is concern that by February/March, much of the region could face severe water shortages.
(c) Confirmed pledges for the drought Emergency Operation, EMOP 10261.0, amount to approximately 38,535 MT of mixed commodities (81% of the 2004 requirement). A total of 32,178 MT of mixed commodities, representing 37% of the needs for 2004 have been resourced for the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO 10192). WFP is increasingly concerned about the resource situation for 2004. Given its current carryover and the lack of additional pledges, a pipeline break is expected to occur by March 2004.
(a) In mid-January, unusual rains in many parts of Ethiopia have had a positive effect in facilitating land preparation by farmers for the "belg" or short-season planting in coming months. These unseasonal rains in Somali Region, locally referred to as Lixkor rains, have been falling in six of the nine zones that make up Somali Region - Degehabour, Korahe, Fik, Liban, Jijiga and small parts of Shinile Zone, for several days during the period starting 10 January. According to the WFP-supported regional government/SC-UK early warning project for Somali Region, in the "deyr" (October-November rains) receiving areas, these rains were last received about ten years ago, and pastoralists say that they normally signal a delay in the following "gu" rains (March-May). However, the rains have had a positive effect in pastoral areas by improving the availability of water and pasture.
(b) All Somalian refugees in Aysha camp, a total of about 14,000 (the vast majority from the Isaak clan) have registered for voluntary repatriation. UNHCR has reached an agreement with the military for the de-mining of the road that will facilitate the repatriation process. It is expected that the de-mining will take three months and thus repatriation could start in April 2004.
(c) WFP and the European Community are currently finalizing a Cereals Availability Survey to examine the full potential for local purchases of cereals. Local purchase of food commodities can enhance the purchasing power of farmers and reinstate the flow of food from surplus to deficit areas, as well as supplying people in need of food assistance. With combined harvest and local surpluses in many areas of the country, there will be significant opportunities for local purchases during 2004. Donors and other organizations are urged to do their utmost to meet food aid needs, to the extent possible, through local purchases. If procurement is effected (or announced) in the early months of 2004, this will help to stabilize prices and benefit farmers. With 2004 cereal requirements at over 700,000 tons (under the 2004 Humanitarian Appeal for Ethiopia, released December 2003), there is scope for local purchases to cover part of these needs. However, the extent to which local purchases are possible will depend a great deal on the donors' willingness to contribute in cash for relief food needs. Pulses and famix (fortified blended food) can also be purchased in substantial quantities in Ethiopia.
(d) The Refugee PRRO 10127.0 is facing a shortfall of cereals in April, pulses in May and vegetable oil in June 2004. In order to be enable WFP to continue with it's assistance to refugees up to the end of June 2004, needs 7,000 tons of cereals, 400 tons of pulses and 100 tons of vegetable oil. The food will also allow WFP to support the repatriation of some 10,000 Somali refugees, mostly from the Aysha camp in the northern Somali Region, during this semester.
(a) The Government of Kenya has announced that 15 districts in the Country have been affected by famine due to lack of rain in the last year. The districts facing severe food and water shortages include Marsabit, Turkana, Kajiado, Baringo, Moyale, Narok, Bomet and Laikipia. The latest Kenya vulnerability update, published by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-NET), attributed the deteriorating food security in the country to successive poor rainy seasons and the poor 2002-2003 short rains season. It said the January 2004 rains that had come "too late", providing only a "measured" relief to agricultural households in the key agricultural regions of the eastern and central Kenya provinces. An interagency assessment is assessing the impact of last year's poor rains and of the widespread food shortages in several districts, in order to determine the exact number of people in need of food assistance in the country.
5) Republic of Congo (RoC)
(a) A group of 255 people, who were displaced by war in the Pool region of the Republic of Congo returned home on Sunday in a government led effort supported by UN agencies and NGOs. The Congolese Office of Humanitarian Affairs reported that close to 500 IDPs in Brazzaville were offered transport home. The government, UNDP, Médecins sans Frontières, the Congolese Red Cross and WFP were all involved in the voluntary return of all 500 displaced.At the same time, another 1,500 vulnerable people resident in villages, to which the displaced are being returned, have been given food and non-food aid. Some 100,000 people fled fighting in 2002 and 2003 between government troops and Ninja militia loyal to Frederic Bitsangou, alias Pasteur Ntumi.
(a) According to the latest WFP/FEWSNET food security update, past months have been characterized by very erratic and low rainfall. Two long dry spells and a period of heavy rainfall in early November led to the destruction of crops in parts of Byumba, Kibuye and Umutara. Preliminary results from the joint crop and food assessment mission conducted in December 2003 confirmed that national production fell by 1 percent as compared to 2003. However, staple crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes and beans dropped significantly by 23, 18 and 12 percent. Drought-affected Bugesera experienced a 13 percent drop in crop production as compared to last year. VAM reports confirm the continuing food crisis in Gashora district, Bugesera region, with the majority of vulnerable households depending completely on casual labour opportunities in neighboring districts of Bicumbi and Kibungo. Food availability in the markets visited in Gashora district has reduced significantly and people are reportedly eating one meal a day consisting mainly of bananas, sweet potatoes and no beans. WFP is closely monitoring the situation with the Government of Rwanda, and continues to prioritize and implement food-for-work activities in the affected regions, along with assistance to WFP-supported nutrition centers, school feeding and support to HIV/AIDS-affected households.
(a) The Government of Sudan and SPLM (Sudan's People Liberation Movement) have extended the cease-fire by one month, effective February 1, and adjourned the Naivasha peace talks until February 17. The cease-fire has been extended several times since it came into effect in October 2002, facilitating humanitarian work. The security situation in the three Darfur states remained volatile but comparatively calm when compared to the previous week. Two localities in North Darfur were attacked by Janjaweed and a local leader was kidnapped in Jebel Si. The Governor of North Darfur state was in Khartoum to appeal for urgent humanitarian aid for 700,000 people displaced by the ongoing military action in the state (see also Chad).
(b) WFP was finally granted movement clearance to Kuttum, host to some 60,000 IDPs, by both local authorities and the UNFSCO. WFP immediately started loading trucks with food aid for the IDPs, which should reach them by the end of the week, the situation remaining stable.
(a) According to the Tanzania Meteorological Agency's (TMA) report for December 2003, above normal rainfall was recorded in Mwanza, Tabora and Dodoma. Near normal recorded in Musoma, Mbeya, Sumbawanga, Songea, Mahenge, Arusha and Kilimanjaro International Airport. Below normal rainfall was reported in Moshi, Same, Tanga, Pemba, Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam Airport and Mtwara. Short rains performance in Kagera, Mwanza, Mara and Shinyanga during the remainder of the season are expected to be normal over much of the area. Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara rainfall is expected to pick up in intensity but is likely to remain normal during the remainder of the season. For Coastal areas of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast and Morogoro and isles of Zanzibar and Pemba region, rains are expected to be mainly below normal with a few areas getting rainfall during the remainder of the season Several parts of the country have continued to experience rainfall deficits since the past season. The seasonal rainfall may therefore not fully offset the negative impacts which are already experienced by some areas.
(b) The Tripartite Commission Working Group meeting held in Arusha from 19 to 21 January 2004, approved the opening of the Mabamba crossing point in Kibondo. This is expected to increase the number of voluntary repatriation. However, during this period facilitated repatriation was around 2,340, while spontaneous repatriation was 658. The repatriation seems to be slowing down rather than speeding up for January.
(c) During the month of January WFP provided food assistance to an estimated 471,000 refugees with 8,220 tons of various commodities. Another 145 MT of various commodities were used for supplementary feeding programmes that reached 18,370 beneficiaries and therapeutic feeding covered 2,460 beneficiaries.
(d) Donors have contributed some 27,000 tons (60 percent) of the 45,000 tons of maize requested for EMOP 10313.0, Assistance to Drought Affected Persons in Tanzania. WFP already began distributions in December 2003. To date, some 5,510 tons have been delivered to priority areas by WFP and about 17,000 tons have been distributed by the Government of Tanzania. The available resources will cover just over one million beneficiaries that will receive a two month ration by the end of March 2004.
(a) Under a tripartite agreement signed by the Government of Uganda, Government of Rwanda and UNHCR, a total of about 900 refugees were repatriated between 19 and 23 January 2003 under the voluntary repatriation programme. The security situation in the eastern Teso sub-region remains relatively stable, and should the situation improve, the displaced population will be able to return to their homes and plant crops in March for the July-August 2004 harvest.) In the eastern Teso sub-region, WFP, together with the Christian Children's Fund (CCF), has completed a verification exercise of IDPs in Soroti Municipality. The IDP population has been established at 87,110 persons. In Katakwi, WFP food assistance was targeted to reach 160,000 persons displaced in the district. WFP, together with the Uganda Red Cross Society, and the district authorities, will conduct verification exercises to establish the IDP population in Katakwi and Kaberamaido districts respectively. WFP completed food distribution in Kumi in December 2003.
(b) WFP food distribution continues to reach over 1.4 million displaced persons, 160,000 refugees and other vulnerable persons. During the week of 19 to 24 January, WFP distributed 1,965 tons of food to 207,306 IDPs in nine camps in Gulu, six camps in Kitgum, one camp in Pader; refugees in two settlements in Arua and vulnerable people at the feeding centres. The food distribution was affected by low trucking capacity and poor mechanical conditions of the military escort vehicles.
C) West Africa: (1) Liberia, (2) Côte d'Ivoire, (3) Guinea, (4) Sierra Leone, (5) Chad
(a) On 22 January, a 17 truck convoy and WFP traveled to Saclepea, Nimba county to conduct food needs assessments and provide much needed food assistance to thousands of vulnerable people. This was the first time since July 2003 that a full scale food distribution was carried out in Saclepea town and the surrounding villages. The implementing partner YMCA (Young Men Christian Association) distributed 178 tons of assorted food commodities to 22,000 people in Bahn, Nyao, Dumpan, Gblah, 6 irregular shelters and a refugee camp in Saclepea town. Beneficiaries received a two week ration.
(b) On 23 January, WFP completed food distributions in 27 IDP and refugee camps in Montserrado, Margibi, Bong and Bomi counties. In addition, some IDPs living in irregular shelters in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County also received food assistance. More than 300,000 IDPs and refugees received one-month rations of assorted food commodities.
(c) During the period 21 - 28 January, food distribution to IDPs targeted 6,073 beneficiaries, among whom 99 tons were distributed. Under the Emergency School Feeding Programme, WFP delivered 145 tons of food commodities to 87 schools in Montserrado. The first food delivery to schools in Margibi is currently being carried out. A total of 105 tons of food is being delivered to 72 schools for 24,000 children.
2) Côte d'Ivoire
(a) During last week, 486 tons of various food commodities were distributed to about 63,846 people. In the South-Western areas, through the WFP/FAO emergency agriculture project, 16 tons of rice were provided to 279 households (1395 people) in seven villages around Tabou. In Western areas, distributions were made to 4,296 Liberian refugees in nine villages around Goulaleu in Bin Houye sub-prefecture. A remaining 2,584 refugees will be served next week.
(a) The situation was reported as generally calm throughout the country The repatriation operation was resumed for Sierra Leonean refugees as 325 Sierra Leonean embarked on 3 convoys from camps in Kissidougou. The next convoy is planned for 26 January with 104 people signed up. UNHCR is planning to repatriate a total of 12,000 Sierra Leonean by March 2004. Twenty-four people were recorded entering the border in the Lola prefecture, of which 7 were Ivorian and the rest Guinean.
(b) During the past two weeks 100,637 beneficiaries received 1,505 tons of food, under the West African Coastal PRRO 10064.
4) Sierra Leone
(a) The security situation in the country remained calm during the reporting period. Repatriation activities restarted for Sierra Leonean refugees returning from Guinea. WFP anticipates that 12,000 people will return in 2004, although so far, less than 1,000 have signed up to leave Guinea. UNHCR will use the Pamelap axis in Kambia for all Kono caseloads and the Dandu axis for Kailahun caseloads. As of the end of the reporting period, 242 Sierra Leonean had returned via Kailahun axis and received the first part of a two-month ration.
Countrywide, WFP supported a total of 84,118 beneficiaries (57% female) with 656 tons of food during the reporting period (12-25 January). General Ration Programmes (refugees, resettlement, returnees, amputees, war wounded and institutions) supported 49,900 beneficiaries (57% female) with 423 tons of food. The Therapeutic Feeding Centers/ Supplementary Feeding/ and Mother and Child Health Programmes (TFC/SFP/MCH) provided 50 tons of food to 6,019 beneficiaries comprising under-fives, pregnant women, lactating mothers and TFC Caretakers. The Emergency School Feeding (ESF) Programme supported 17,206 school children with 69.20 tons of food. Safety nets (Institutional Feeding) provided 2,938 beneficiaries with 46 tons of food aid. In the Food for Training (FFT) Programme a total of 6,653 beneficiaries received 43 tons of food.
(a) Continued fighting between Sudanese government forces and two rebel movements seeking autonomy for Darfur, keeps pushing more people over the border. UNHCR reported about 18,000 arrived last week, after Sudanese government forces, backed by Arab tribal militiamen on horseback, raided and burned 10 villages. The newly arrived refugees in Chad are being registered by UNHCR. Since Sunday, around 2,000 people have been registered in the villages of Kourbileke, Ogona and Kabrara.
(b) Some minor security incidents occurred in Danamadji, when local officials decided to recruit local people to guard the camp. This decision was not well accepted by the refugees who would have preferred their own people to undertaken this task. Calm was however restored after some negotiations took place. A new refugee site was identified by the Government in Yaroungou, to relocate 15,000 refugees from Maro and Danamadji.
(c) Médecins sans Frontières reported an average acute malnutrition rate among the children of refugees and of local population in Tine of 15%.
(d) WFP's Regional Logistics Officer and an official of the USAID Regional Office in Dakar visited Adré, Farchana and Birak (Eastern Chad) from 23 to 27 January 2004. During this mission, meetings were held with UNHCR officials to discuss the situation and activities regarding Sudanese refugees, like beneficiary numbers, security conditions, logistics, food assistance and refugee resettlement to more secure sites. According to UNHCR, their planning figure was raised to 80,000 refugees (according to Chadian officials the number is estimated at 130,000). UNHCR opened its first formal camp for between 9,000 and 12,000 Sudanese refugees at Farchana, a village 55 km west of the border town of Adre, and transfer of refugees began on 15 January.
(e) Under EMOPs 10325.0 and 10327.0 assisting Sudanese refugees, 263 tons of food were distributed to about 39,600 people in 9 sites. In the next few days, 14 tons of commodities (maize meal, vegetable oil and CSB) will be distributed to 2,000 beneficiaries in the before mentioned refugee camp of Farchana. As at 25 January 2004, total available stocks amounted to 73 tons of food including sorghum, vegetable oil and CSB. 2,145 Tons of sorghum (of which, 395 tons will be reimbursed to the Government) and 400 tons of pulses are expected within the next few days. There are shortfalls for iodized salt and sugar. Monitoring activities by WFP sub-office in Abeche are hampered by constraints such as lack of vehicles and insufficient means of communication. A Rub Hall was transferred from Abéché to the new refugee site of Farchana.
(f) For the implementation of EMOP 10295.0 assisting refugees from the Central African Republic, a WFP Head of sub-office was assigned in Moundou in early January 2004 and a UNHCR Head of office posted in Danamadji. During the past two weeks, 64 metric tons of food including sorghum, pulses and vegetable oil were distributed to 3,430 beneficiaries in Danamadji. MSF also installed water pumps in refugee camps to replace the bladders. As at 19 January 2004, total available stocks amounted to 158 metric tons including, maize meal, sorghum, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and CSB. 1,098 metric tons of sorghum are expected. There is a shortage of iodized salt.
D) Southern Africa: (1) Regional, (2) Angola, (3) Lesotho, (4) Madagascar, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Namibia, (8) Swaziland, (9) Zambia, (10) Zimbabwe
(a) Dry conditions and above-normal temperatures in recent weeks have caused stressed growing conditions across southern Malawi, eastern Zimbabwe, and central Mozambique. Seasonal rainfall totals since 1 November have been less than half of normal. Due to erratic rainfall and false starts to the season, farmers have had to replant up to three times after early crops failed. Crops are therefore at different stages of development. Rainfall in the second half of January has relieved dryness somewhat in a number of countries. However, unless the rains extend beyond their normal end in March-April, yields of late-planted crops will be low. Drought conditions have also affected southern Mozambique, western Swaziland and eastern Mpumalanga Province in South Africa and western Lesotho, where seasonal rainfall deficits range from 25-50 percent. Despite recent rainfall, moisture deficits persist and groundwater levels, reservoirs and stream flow are at multi-year lows. This limits winter irrigation crop potential throughout the remainder of 2004. Now that the planting period for maize has ended, there is little hope of achieving even an average crop in the region. To compound the situation, most of these countries have had poor rains for the past two to three seasons.
(b) Most worrisome is the crop outlook in the highly productive Maize Triangle in South Africa, the source of most of southern Africa's maize imports. The area planted is down by at least 15 percent from last year according to USDA. While the past few days saw rainfall over some areas, central to western maize production areas have still received very little rain. Substantial rainfall during the last part of February is crucial, due to the prominent flowering period of 2003/04 late maize plantings. Projected yields are below the 5-year average due to planting delays and low soil moisture, and maize production for 2003/04 is now estimated at about 6.7 to 7 million tons. These low figures have significant consequences for the rest of southern Africa.
(a) Heavy rains are limiting UN access in Huambo Province and jeopardizing distributions to over 204,300 beneficiaries. WFP is working with partners to find alternative solutions such as urgent road repairs supported by food for work projects and/or arranging alternative distribution points with beneficiary communities. Cargo flights to Mavinga are being significantly hampered due to extremely degraded airstrip conditions, which have been exacerbated by heavy rainfall. As WFP is currently unable to replenish food stocks due to the condition of the airstrip, reduced rations are in effect for over 58,300 beneficiaries, with priority given to feeding programmes for the most vulnerable.
(b) Due to the increasing number of mine accidents brought about by heavy rains, many roads are being closed to UN staff further hampering WFP distributions. Overland supply routes to Bié and Kuando Kubango provinces are restored but continue to be threatened by appalling road conditions and landmine accidents. Despite repairs to two bridges by the government, overland access to Kuito remains problematic. On 19 January another bridge, over Caluapanda River, 8 km west of Kuito, collapsed after heavy rains. Lack of access in this location is threatening WFP food deliveries for over 200,000 people. Despite abysmal road conditions and threats of landmines, commercial transporters are using detour routes where possible in order to reach vulnerable beneficiaries.
(c) Where access to beneficiaries is possible, January distributions are underway throughout the country. However, reduced rations for most beneficiaries in Bié, Huila and Cunene provinces have been necessary due to the late arrival of an international shipment of pulses. Priority is being given to maintain rations for nutritional programmes to the malnourished. Food stocks are expected to run out in April without further urgent donor contributions.
(a) Recent rainfall has resulted in a slight improvement in soil moisture content. However, rains have come too late to save the summer maize harvest and predictions are for a near total crop failure. Dams are near empty, wells are drying up and rivers are reduced to a trickle. According to reports from key government officials, the Prime Minister is expected to make a statement on the drought crisis and to appeal for increased international assistance to the international community.
(a) Tropical storm 'ELITA' passed through the northwestern port city of Mahajanga and surroundings on 28 January, bringing heavy rains and winds averaging 200 km/hour, with gusts as strong as 210 km/hour. According to preliminary reports released by the government, one person has been killed and hundreds left without shelter. Maize crops have also been affected and fallen trees are making access to the city difficult. The risk of flooding is of concern and warnings have been issued for many localities. In anticipation of decreased accessibility, WFP has pre-positioned a total of 1,200 tons of food in various Extended Delivery Points (EDP's) along the east coast.
(b) In the drought-affected south, farmers are forecasting a food crisis that could be more severe than that experienced in 2003. Along with potable water, the prices of basic food commodities remain high and are steadily increasing in rural market places.
(a) Erratic rains are raising fears of possible drought, especially in the southern region. The Department of Meteorological Services reports that over half of the country has received below normal rainfall (with the worst hit being southern Malawi), particularly the western sector, which has received below 50 percent of normal rainfall. With more families dependent on the market as household stocks are depleted, the government is set to release maize from the grain reserve to meet high demand. In response to drought concerns, the government has also imposed restrictions on maize exports. The price of maize in local markets continues to rise as demand increases.
(a) Recent heavy rainfall has been reported over many parts of the country. In Maputo province, the excessive rainfall temporarily submerged some bridges and collapsed some dams. The situation will temporarily impair WFP food deliveries, especially in Magude district. However, pre-positioned stocks will continue to be distributed to beneficiaries in isolated areas of the district by boat. Heavy rains in Zimbabwe also raised river levels in Magoe district (Tete province) resulting in a lack of access to certain northern areas. Pre-positioned stocks will allow WFP distributions to continue.
(b) WFP's implementing partners in Inhambane province have expressed concern over the deterioration of the food security situation in the northern districts of the province and the rise in malnutrition rates among children. The lack of rain has resulted in an almost compete failure of maize yields and scarcity of other staple foods, which are normally available at this time of year. In addition, the price of maize in local markets has increased by 40 percent. WFP and implementing partners are planning food assessment missions in the coming weeks to further verify the situation. A previous food security assessment in Panda district has confirmed that the northern part of the district has been seriously affected by the drought. Approximately 7,000 people in the district will continue to rely on food assistance in the coming months.
(c) The death toll from cholera has risen to 19. During the preceding week 857 patients were admitted into the Malelane Cholera Treatment Centre in Maputo, a significant increase over the past four weeks. In Beira City and in Nampula Province, the number of cholera cases has also risen due to worsened hygiene conditions following the heavy rains. WFP has held discussions with the Ministry of Health for possible need for food assistance in treatment centers.
(a) As a result of rising Zambezi River levels, concerns are mounting that destructive flash flooding in the northeastern part of the Caprivi region could be imminent. The Namibian Government's Emergency Management Unit has conducted flood-threat assessments and officials in Katima Mulilo are advising residents living in the flood plains to relocate to higher ground. WFP responded to an official government appeal for assistance in 2003 and provided approximately 120 tons of emergency food aid to 12,000 flood-affected people in the Caprivi region. Preparations are underway to provide assistance in the current situation if necessary.
(b) Delays in the delivery of maize procured in South Africa are threatening the timely distribution of February rations to refugees. Due to the support of a local miller, WFP was able to provide the full maize meal ration in January.
(a) Government officials through the National Disaster Task Force have convened a second emergency meeting to discuss issues regarding the declaration of a national disaster. Following the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister undertook field visits to the drought-affected areas and continued consultations with officials and humanitarian organizations. A Cabinet paper is being prepared by the Deputy Prime Minister's office and will be presented shortly. The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Government Organizations has urged the Government to put aside some of its major development projects and allocate adequate resources in order to cushion the humanitarian disaster.
(b) Currently, cumulative rainfall is reported to be 55 percent below normal. Recent rainfall has contributed to some improvement in grass growth and water replenishment in some areas, which may improve livestock conditions and availability of water for human consumption. However, improvement in crop prospects is unlikely.
(a) Rains are reported to have been close to seasonal norms and the food security situation has remained fairly stable. However, while the availability of maize has continued to improve, accessibility is becoming increasingly difficult for low- income families. To date, the Food Reserve Agency has over 60,000 tons of maize in stock for strategic reserves.
(b) A cholera epidemic in Lusaka has resulted in the suspension of wet rations in a number of sites under the Urban Intervention Programme (UI). While water purification tablets have been distributed to the sites, WFP monitoring is currently restricted. Plans are underway to expand the UI programme to Livingstone and the Copperbelt, the other two major urban areas, and areas with the second and third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates. A major focus of the programme will be the targeting of out-of-school vulnerable youths and orphans.
(c) Kala refugee camp in Luapula Province continues to receive a steady flow of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, citing hunger and harassment as reasons for seeking asylum. Since October 2003, the number of beneficiaries in Congolese refugee camps has increased by 3,600 people.
(a) The food security situation in the country continues to deteriorate and increasing numbers of people in Chimanimani District (Manicaland Province) are crossing the border into neighbouring Mozambique in search of employment in exchange for food. A report of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Mission conducted in urban areas late last year will be released shortly. Initial indications are that the number of food insecure is much higher than previous estimates of 1.1 million people.
(b) The SADC Regional Warning System Special Agromet update for January indicates that the late start to the rainy season and erratic rainfall in some areas have led to a decrease in areas planted, raising fears for a reduction in potential crop yields. Although a wet spell has recently been experienced in most parts of the country, there are pockets of dry areas in the southern districts of Masvingo, Matabeleland South and parts of Manicaland. Field reports by the UN Relief and Recovery Unit indicate that in some areas, the early-planted maize crop is wilting due to moisture stress although small grains have not been affected as much. Areas most affected are Mwenezi, Chipinge, Chivi and most districts in Matabeleland South. This is cause for concern since the same districts experienced critical food shortages last year.
(c) Pipeline projections for February indicate commodity shortfalls of over 40 percent for cereals, nearly 60 percent for pulses, and around 75 percent for vegetable oil. Projected February opening stocks of cereal are only a little over 2,000 tons compared with needs of 50,000 tons. A further 26,000 tons of cereals are expected to arrive before mid-month. Due to recent donor pledges, WFP expects to provide a ration of 10 kg of cereal together with vegetable oil and CSB to an estimated 2.2 million most vulnerable beneficiaries. A further 1.5 million vulnerable people will only receive cereals. No one will receive pulses due to a shortfall of stocks. This comes at a critical time of the year for over 3.7 million vulnerable beneficiaries, who are facing escalating food insecurity.
E) Asia: (1) Myanmar, (2) DPRK
(a) On 27-28 January, WFP briefed a diplomatic mission, organized by UNHCR, about its activities in the Northern Rakhine State (NRS). On the same occasion the mission, consisting of six Ambassadors and 20 senior officials (including Australia, Switzerland, Canada, France, Denmark), visited WFP's school-feeding programme and food distribution centre in Maungdaw.
(b) A logistics and programme assessment mission was fielded to the Kokang, Wa and other areas of the Northern Shan State from 17-26 January. The mission visited 11 townships in that region, where poppy cultivation has already been eradicated. The mission met with several local authorities and discussed the possibility of WFP food assistance, criteria for identification of beneficiaries, logistics arrangements and food distribution mechanisms in the region. WFP considers extending the EMOP- 10307 for one year starting 1 March 2004.
(c) WFP staff in Magway Division concluded a two-day training programme on 27-28 January related to HIV/AIDS community home based care activities. In this training, at which 25 volunteers from Pakokku and Pauk townships participated, topics such as counseling, home care of patients, community approach and the volunteer's participation in the project were covered.
(d) Following the government's liberalization of rice trading in Myanmar, WFP has been seeking alternative means to procure rice from open market rather than buying from the state-owned Myanmar Agricultural Products Trading enterprise. As the government's directives and procedures are unclear, government agencies and private traders are still confused to deal with WFP for local rice procurement.
(a) In case no immediate additional pledges will be received for EMOP 10141.02, all 4 million core beneficiaries, with the exception of some 75,000 pregnant and nursing women and 8,000 children in orphanages and hospitals, will be deprived of WFP cereal rations in February-March. With the expected arrival of 38,000 MT of maize from the US (end-March) and 34,000 MT of wheat from Russia (mid-May at the earliest), core beneficiary groups will receive 3-4 months cereal rations. Even with those arrivals, distribution cuts will still affect 2 million core beneficiaries from July. By September the number will rise to 3.8 million. In addition, most of the 10 LFP factories on the East Coast will stop production in June due to a lack of wheat flour. FFW projects for the spring season will have to be drastically reduced unless new pledges are immediately confirmed.
(b) Counties continue to respond to the WFP pipelines breaks in nurseries and kindergartens in a variety of ways. Nurseries and kindergartens at the cooperative farms seem better able to cope with the break than their urban counterparts. In urban areas nurseries reported this week having either reduced the number of meals, or asking children to bring food from home. Some counties also distribute nursery and kindergarten children's PDC rations to the institutions instead of to the families, drastically reducing food availability at household level. Some counties are not able to respond and fear that attendance rates will drop.
F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Regional, (2) Bolivia, (3) Colombia, (4) Ecuador, (5) Peru, (6) El Salvador, (7) Guatemala, (8) Nicaragua, (9) Haiti
(a) During this reporting period, the most significant events in Latin America and Caribbean countries are related to the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation which affects WFP operations. In Haiti violence escalated affecting food distribution. WFP staff members were threatened and physically injured in Far West. In Trinidad, Bolivia, 45,000 people were affected by floods and landslides due to severe rain storms. In Colombia, new displacement took place, and the humanitarian situation of IDP's deteriorated.
(a) On 23 January, Bolivia's Labor Federation called for general strike next 21 February to protest against government policies.
(b) Due to severe rain storms, Bolivia is still experiencing floods and landslides that have been affecting the country since 23 December 2003. Several areas of the country have been affected, including, La Paz, Cochabamba and recently Dept of Pando. On 9 January, the most intense 14-hour rainfall of the last 60 years left approximately 240mm of water over the city of Trinidad, capital city of the department of Beni. The storm flooded more than 90% of the city, affecting some 45,000 people. Some 11,316 persons (1,886 families) victims of the floods are still living in 35 shelters in the city of Trinidad. Shelters, mostly public schools, do not have enough basic services (drinking water and sanitation). If rains will keep slowing down, it is expected that most of these families will return to their homes. However, about 2,500 people living in neighborhoods that are still under water will remain in the shelters. WFP and UNICEF joint assessment mission reported that among the most affected are 12,000 people - of which 5,500 are children. In the department of Cochabamba floods also affected several regions. There are about 237 families whose houses collapsed, and other 791 families with seriously affected crop lands. Meanwhile, another flood hit the city of Cobija, Capital City of the Department of Pando, has affected about 200 families. There is no land transportation to Cobija during the rainy season (December to April). Any assistance should be sent by plane.
(c) The number of cases of the Dengue disease is growing. National authorities are monitoring the disease and providing medicines as well as spraying the city of Trinidad.
(d) WFP and UNICEF assist 12.000 victims in Trinidad and additionally are providing 23.000 food rations in Cochabamba. The NGO Caritas and the local authorities are now providing WFP and UNICEF food to the Trinidad victims. Family rations are being distributed, and families are being encouraged to rehabilitate their houses, roads, and basic services in their neighborhoods. For the people that cannot return to their houses -because they are still flooded- food is being prepared in the shelters. Resources from CP-10159, Activity 1, were used for this emergency. UNICEF complemented WFP food basket with 20 MT of sugar, canned fish, and pasta. All UNICEF's local food procurement was carried out with WFP assistance. Transportation from the nearest WFP warehouse in Santa Cruz (around 600 km from Trinidad) was provided by the Civil Defense. Contributions of OCHA and the Canadian International Cooperation will be used to provide hygiene kits, mattresses, clothes, and other needed items.
(e) More resources are required, since the available stocks in the country will not meet the specific needs of the most affected population in Trinidad. UNDMT is trying to mobilize additional resources.
(a) Clashes between rival illegal armed groups and also with polices has been reported in several Departments causing deaths and injuries: Municipality of La Llanada, department of Nariño, attacked -three police killed, homes destroyed with explosives and one rebel was captured; 40 people have been killed in clashes between illegal armed groups in the Guajira province, northern Colombia; On 22 January, four rebels and one soldier died in clashes between Colombian army and illegal armed groups in Frontino, east Antioquia. Five men were killed and seven more were wounded inside a bar in the municipality of Anza, department of Antioquia, by members of an illegal armed group using a grenade launcher. A car bomb blew up in the northeastern department of Arauca, as soldiers attempted to defuse the device. One soldier died in the explosion. On 21 January, 50 presumed rebels, members of an illegal armed group, were captured by Colombian police in Medellin, department of Antioquia. Apparently, two of these men are top level members of an illegal group. The Colombian government is investigating reports that more than 20 indigenous people were killed in the remote jungles of eastern Colombia. The governor's office, in the eastern department of Vichada, sent officials to the village of Palmarito to investigate reports of fighting there last week.
(b) The humanitarian situation of IDP's remains critical in Colombia with continued daily forced displacement. During this reporting period new displacement took place particularly in Bolivar and Antioquia Departments. In Antioquia, at least 15 families were displaced to the urban areas of San Carlos municipality, due to clashes between Colombian army and illegal armed groups. In Urrao, northwest Antioquia, individual displacements were reported apparently for the same reason. In Bolivar, approximately 240 people were forced to move out of rural areas near the municipality of Arenal, due to rebel groups' threats. At least 84 people from this group have temporarily settled in the municipality of Micoahumado.
(c) Olara Otunnu, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative for children and armed conflict, said the time had come for the Security Council to take concrete action against groups using child soldiers --defined by the United Nations as youths 17 and under. Annan's report that was released on 16 January, listed 15 countries (including Colombia) in which governments or rebel groups -- or both -- are recruiting and using child soldiers in combat.
(d) U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's top envoy in Colombia, James Lemoyne, urged Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the rebels to take steps toward a prisoner exchange accord to revive peace talks. Lemoyne said he still holds out hope that a negotiated solution to the civil war could be found.
(e) The yellow fever outbreak reported by health authorities has killed eight people and spread fear throughout the Colombian Caribbean coast. According to statistics from the Social Welfare Ministry, twenty-seven (27) people have been diagnosed with the disease since December 28, 2003. All the victims were infected in the Sierra Nevada region and nearby areas of the Departments of Magdalena, Cesar, and Guajira. Colombian Government received 1.5 million doses of vaccines on 24 January to face the situation.
(f) Due to the continuous deterioration of the humanitarian situation of the IDP's, a high level WFP regional mission took place during the reporting period to assess the current interventions and re-orient the current PRRO operation.
(g) WFP Colombia distributed 91.5 tons of food in three departments for approximately 16,000 beneficiaries. These commodities were distributed to Food for Work activities of PRRO 10158 and directed to the construction of school restaurants for displaced children, temporary housing for displaced families, and skills training.
(a) The Tungurahua Volcano continues with constant ash emissions that have reached up to 1000 meters height above the crater. 30,000 people in the nearby areas have been affected by ash fall and are concerned on the effects this will continue to have on their crops and their living conditions. The local authorities have requested support from the central government, international institutions and local NGOs, to carry on the activities already defined in the contingency plan (assistance, rehabilitation and prevention). The eruption of the Sangay Volcano (located 195 km south of Quito most active) was first registered on 14 January; the ash fall extended over 40 km northeast, including Morona Santiago, the closest city to the volcano. According to the medical staff, the ashes have reached Puyo and surrounded areas causing acute laryngitis, eye irritation and cough in residents, especially children. The volcanic material has also cloaked the sewage system because the rain had washed away the ashes from the roof and sidewalks.
(b) A Quick Action Project (QAP) for Emergencies amounting US$722,635 was submitted aiming to provide assistance to the affected communities from the Tungurahua Volcano ash falls, the floods of the coastal area and Colombian refugees. The intervention is planned to last a year and will have about 23,000 beneficiaries.
(a) About 1,115 families of the Department of Puno (provinces of Puno, Azanagaro, Carabaya, Chuquito, Huancane) in the southern part of the country are being affected by the overflowing of rivers and landslides as a consequence of heavy rains which are blocking access, destroying crops and killing husbandry. As a result of this supplies of food and communications have been cut off. Civil Defense has informed that the situation will be worst the following days bearing in mind that the rains will be heaviest.
(b) The Government is distributing food, medicines and tents to the affected people. WFP is monitoring the situation.
6) El Salvador
(a) The build up to this year presidential elections set for 21 March continues to gain steam with heavy campaigning throughout the country. The elections are expected to be the most intensely contested since the signing of the peace accords in 1992 which ended the 12 year long civil war. Sporadic pre-electoral violence between supporters of the ruling right wing party ARENA and the left wing party FMLN continues to mar the build up to the elections; local UNSECOORD and UNDP officials are closely monitoring the situation. The departments of Sonsonate, La Paz, Usulutan, and San Miguel remain at Security Phase II with the rest of the country at Phase I.
(b) The Ministry of Health has announced 300 new cases of dengue fever with 12 suspicious cases of the fatal hemorrhaging strain of the virus. It is feared that another outbreak will hit the nation this year; in 2003 outbreaks of dengue fever infected 3,679 people.
(c) WFP continues to closely monitor the nutritional situation in the coffee crisis hit departments of Ahuachapan, Sonsonate and La Libertad; field monitors are visiting an average of 4 municipalities per week. Operations for the PRRO 10212 continue to expand as disaster mitigation projects are incorporated in the Eastern departments of San Miguel, Morazan and La Union. Three local NGOs focusing on the creation of productive assets will be the newest addition of Implementing Partners joining Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam America/FUMA, Save the Children America and The Swiss Red Cross whom are already working with WFP under the PRRO 10212.
(d) During the reporting period 690 metric tonnes of CSB arrived in country and 1,089 metric tonnes of maize arrived at Port Santo Tomas in Guatemala. The maize will be shipped overland to El Salvador external delivery points in the coming days; both shipments are part of the first tranche of USAID contributions slated for the PRRO 10212.
(a) On 14 January, Oscar Berger, a former mayor of Guatemala City, was sworm as new president as well as the the158 congressmen. The new government has repeatedly declared that hunger and malnutrition will be first priority in its agenda and to work with close collaboration with UN agencies. Mr. Andrés Botrán was appointed as the commissioner of the "Front Against Hunger". This flagship programme is a government coordinating mechanism which will lead government efforts in the fight against hunger. It will also seek the support of civil society, private sector, and international organizations in reducing malnutrition rates in the country. The newly appointed authorities have already requested the support of WFP for this initiative, which will be launched in the coming weeks
(b) Preliminary results of the 4th National Agricultural Census were presented. According to this census, the number of individual farmers and cooperatives increased, whereas the average farm size decreased considerably, as compared to the previous census of 1979. Total farmed area also decreased as a result of urban growth.
(c) An appointment of 13,000 teachers awarded by outgoing President Portillo two days before leaving office, has been temporarily suspended by the new authorities of the Ministry of Education, which has established a commission to review the awarding process. The Ministry of Education has announced, however, that classes will not be disrupted, and therefore the school feeding programme will continue as planned.
(d) The Spanish and British aid agencies signed an agreement for a joint cooperation programme aimed at poverty reduction of small coffee farmers. Collaboration with WFP will be considered under the Regional PRRO.
(e) The Fuego volcano continues to show signs of increased activity, with moderate explosions and lava flows. Columns of gases and ash emissions reach 1 to 1.5 km high.
(f) A road blockage by transporters in protest for a new municipal directive, which establishes circulation restrictions for heavy load vehicles in the capital, delayed field visits of food monitors. This disrupted field monitoring plans for the week as originally scheduled. A new increase of gasoline prices will raise transport costs for upcoming distributions of PRRO 10212.
(g) The Ministry of Health is asking its Therapeutic Feeding Wards and Community Distribution Centers to submit their food requirements as a basis for determining the next food distributions. The first distribution of 2004 under the relief component of PRRO is expected to take place by mid February.
(h) On 21 January, a shipment of 2,050 MT of maize for PRRO 10212 arrived in the country. Transportation of the commodity from port to central warehouses is taking place.
(a) Volcano Cerro Negro, in western Nicaragua, has been registering some activity. A series of tremors have been felt in the area. According to press reports, some 1,200 families would be affected if an eruption occurred. Throughout history, the volcano has erupted a total of 5 times, most recently in 1992 and 1995. The Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) is closely monitoring the situation and, at the moment, no levels of alert have been set.
(b) PRRO 10212.0 will begin assisting a total of 57,510 pre and primary school children in flood-prone areas of the Northern Atlantic Region of the country that were formerly assisted by Country Programme's Activity 4. A total of 291.3 tons of food will be distributed. Food rations include rice, beans, CSB and vegetable oil. Food assistance to vulnerable groups (expectant and nursing women and children under 2 years of age), poor rural families and pre and primary school children (Municipality of Matagalpa) continues under PRRO 10212.0 in the coffee crisis-affected areas of the country.
(a) The rate of violence in Haiti has been increasing in a daily basis. Demonstrations and clashes between police and groups opposing President Jean-Bertrand Aristide have been reported. The protesters are demanding Aristide (who currently is ruling by decree) to resign before the end of his term in 2006. On 21 January, thousands of pro-Government demonstrators organized a protest demanding: (1) the respect of the constitution, (2) that President Aristide stays until the end of his mandate, and (3) that schools remain open. On the same day, the Police banned anti-government student's demonstration using tear-gas. On 22 January, the PAP Airport activity was disturbed by one day traffic controller strike requesting a salary increase.
(b) On 20-21st January, CARICOM leaders met in Bahamas with opposition, aiming to find a solution for the current political crisis. The CARICOM leaders proposed main actions that should be taken, like the President to dismantle armed gangs, the appointment of new Prime Minister, the release of people arrested during ant-government protests.
(c) WFP staff members were threatened and physically injured. On 12 January, during the distribution in Port de Paix, the beneficiaries forced the FDP gate saying that "We can not wait, our kids are hungry". After prompt intervention of the police force, the crowd was dispersed. No losses or injuries reported. On 19 January, a WFP local staff based in Bombardopolis field office was attacked by a male, accusing WFP of not hiring locals. The Mayor of Bombardopolis announced apologies for the incident and ensured that WFP's assistance was widely valued and that there was not anti-WFP sentiment by the citizens of the Far West. (The Far west is the region targeted by the WFP PRRO operation). On 23 January, demonstrations took place in Port-de-Paix and a WFP project officer, traveling from Bombardopolis to Port-de-Paix, was trapped in Jean-Rabel (half way in between the two cities). The demonstrations resulted in an exchange of gun fire between government supporters and opposition. Several persons were injured. The "swap team" from national police flew in a contingent to calm down the violence.
(d) Due to danger of violence escalating in Haiti, UN agencies met on 19 January to coordinate efforts. It was agreed in Framework Team teleconference that one single contingency planning mission to Haiti be organized to revise and update contingency plans and tools to respond to possible natural disasters and social and political crisis.
(e) Distributions in all projects have been disturbed because of the current political crisis. About 90% of the schools in Haiti are closed and those that are functional have a very low rate of attendance. Therefore, children cannot receive the school meals provided by the WFP School Feeding Programme. Since the Health Centers are also affected by the security situation, the attendance of WFP beneficiaries has reduced significantly.
(f) In the Far West some discontented anti-Aristide demonstrators have accused WFP staff of "bringing in food to appease the local population in an attempt to perpetuate the Aristide regime". In recent times the regime has used food and financial resources to quiet down people hostile to the current government. Meanwhile, a series of meetings are taking place between WFP local field office and citizens of the area to sensitize them that WFP is in the area for humanitarian reason of helping people affected by disasters.
(g) WFP has signed on 22 January an LoU with a local NGO called "Parole & Action" (P&A). P&A is a Dutch funded NGO based in Anse Rouge. They are currently implementing nutritional and food security activities in Artibonite and certain communes in the Far West. P&A will distribute about 500 tons of commodities to the vulnerable population.
(h) With the resources received through a Canadian grant, the country office has recently established an RBM Unit to strengthen the quality of program implementation and reporting. An M&E specialist consultant has been hired to manage the RBM unit. She started on 12 January and will be working for nine months.
Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tonnes
(END WFP Emergency report No 5, 2004)