Angola + 6 more

Southern Africa Humanitarian Crisis: Situation Report 05 Dec 2002

(Reporting period: 16 November - 29 November)
Key Updates

The WFP EMOP is now 56.2% funded. There remains a shortfall of US$222.8 million.

On Monday 25 November, the Government of Zimbabwe imposed a sudden ban on the milling of GM maize in country. As a result the food aid pipeline for December faces severe shortages.

Zambia's food aid pipeline for December faces a potential breakage, especially in the first two weeks, mainly as a result of delays in the issue of import licences.

UNAIDS launches an epidemiological report with latest HIV/AIDS figures. The UN also highlights the problems of HIV/AIDS, the food crisis, and other humanitarian problems in southern Africa as being inter-related, representing a vicious cycle that calls for a more comprehensive response to the crisis.

Regional Issues

The short-term food situation in the region presents a mixed picture. The short-term prospects for Zambia and Zimbabwe are extremely worrying. In Zambia, due to reported delays in the processing of recent import permits by the government, expected food arrivals for December are in the region of 25,000MT, against a monthly requirement of 33,000MT (76%). None of these commodities are expected to arrive before mid-December, leaving only approximately 5,000MT of in-country stocks for the first two weeks of the month (30%). The remaining two weeks of December will depend on the swift delivery of recently purchased cereals from Tanzania and South Africa, and, specifically, on WFP's rapid completion of transport contracts and the Zambian government's fast issuance of import permits. Even if these supplies do arrive in the third or fourth weeks of December, the impact of a 2-3 week break for most beneficiaries, combined with the cumulative effect of the past months' minimal distributions, could be very serious at this critical point in the hungry season. For Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique, the WFP food pipeline looks relatively comfortable, at least until February 2003.

Looking beyond immediate needs, additional resources will be required for all six countries to boost the EMOP until end of March 2003.


Steven Lewis, HIV/AIDS Special Envoy for the UN Secretary General, travelled to the region on 30 November to launch a UNAIDS epidemiological report giving the latest HIV/AIDS figures. The report is available on . It gives a good overview and highlights that the Southern African crisis is an example of how the impact of HIV/AIDS goes beyond the direct issues of loss of life and health care costs associated with it.

Earlier in the month, at a Regional Summit organised by UNAIDS and held in Johannesburg on 6-7 November, UNDP Resident Co-ordinator and Chairperson of the HIV/AIDS Theme Group in South Africa, Mr John Ohiorhenuan, emphasized that the problems of HIV/AIDS, the food crisis, and other humanitarian problems in southern Africa were inter-related, and represent a vicious cycle that calls for a more comprehensive response to the crisis.

Country Issues


On 25 November, the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) announced that it would no longer allow WFP to import GM maize for milling in country although no explicit restriction was placed on the importation of maize meal of GM origin.

The WFP requirement for December is approximately 64,000MT for 4.5 Million beneficiaries in 44 districts. WFP reported on 27 November it expected realistically to receive 23,000MT of non-GM maize during December of which 36% is made up of an Australian donation (7,600MT).

DFID partners provided supplementary feeding to approximately 1,100,000 people in need during the month of October of whom the majority were under five years old or school children.


DFID funded activities will begin next month with AIDS support organisations distributing food to AIDS-affected households and children.


The status of the humanitarian food pipeline remains a key concern. December marks the beginning of the traditional hunger period and an increase in those needing assistance.

During the month of September, WFP received 5491MT of maize. In October this increased to 7220MT. The November figure fell to less than 5000MT despite a forecast of 13,500MT. WFP Zambia reported that this was largely as a consequence of lack of transport from South Africa to Zambia.

Data from a UNICEF-supported survey in primary schools in six provinces in Zambia shows dramatic declines in school attendance for both boys and girls. A community school in Siavonga district recorded a drop in girls' school attendance from 75% in April 2002 to 17% in September; attendance for boys declined from 71% to 24%.

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved, on 19 November, an assistance package of $50 million (=A330m) for the Zambia Emergency Drought Recovery Project to help meet needs arising from the drought affecting all of southern Africa. The package consists of a $20 million grant and a $30 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA). This is the second emergency assistance package the World Bank has provided to a southern African country, following a similar assistance package approved for Malawi earlier this month.


WFP is planning two general food distributions, at the beginning of December and February, to reach an additional caseload of 270,000 beneficiaries. WFP argues that given the end of the planting season, this group requires urgent income generation assistance. (This component was initially designed in partnership with GoL as a Food for Work (FFW) initiative).


WFP announced on 22 November that the pipeline for all commodities, including supplementary and therapeutic feeding was 100% full to the end of January 2003. A recent donation of 30,000MT of maize from the EU will cover the remaining cereal requirements for March.

The Government of Malawi has agreed contracts for the importation of 360,000t of maize. 167,000t has been imported so far. The EC and the GoM have agreed in principal to loan some commercial stocks to the WFP to ensure that the humanitarian pipeline remains constant. The loan of 10,000t of maize from NFRA to WFP is being approved.

Four WFP locomotives were unloaded in Nacala port, northern Mozambique on 19 November. These are a part of the DFID-funded rehabilitation of the Nacala-Malawi rail link that will be used for the transportation of food aid into Malawi direct from the port. WFP said that another four locomotives are expected in Nacala in January 2003.

Oxfam have established a water and sanitation sectoral group and is currently involved in a process of identifying emergency needs in this sector. There is a chronic lack of facilities especially in rural areas. It is evident that there is a need to improve water and sanitation in health facilities, which are believed to be the cause of the disproportionate numbers of mortality in the previous national cholera epidemic. UNICEF has revised its appeal (to $1,085,000; currently 80% funded) for Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES) to address this issue.


In October WFP distributed 2,300MT food to 190,000 (32%) of the estimated vulnerable population of 590,000. Targets for WFP indicate they aim to meet the needs of 440,000 (75%). WFP claims it has confirmed contributions / resources to meet the needs of 350,000 (60%) until the end of March 2003. Currently 90% of the food distribution carried out by WFP is food for work (FFW) and 10% free food distribution. Focus will now shift to more free food distribution in order to meet the needs of the more vulnerable groups who are not able to work. The agreement in the MOU between WFP and GoM was for 58% FFW and 42% free food distribution.

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MOPH) in the construction and rehabilitation of wells, bore-holes and sanitation facilities. The programme focuses on health units and primary schools. A programme is planned to capacity build community groups on the maintenance and repair of these facilities and general water management. The National Water Department has submitted a letter of request to UNICEF to support the implementation of the immediate response plan in four of the most affected provinces. The estimated budget for these interventions is $300,000.


UNICEF will provide (from January 2003) basic education materials for teachers and pupils in an effort to reduce drop-out rates from lack of funds. Water and sanitation improvements will be prioritised for those schools where WFP runs school feeding programmes in an attempt to prevent these becoming just feeding centres.


On Monday 25 November, the Government of Swaziland announced that it will provide a further E8.9 million (approximately =A30.5 million) of assistance to purchase 4,000MT white maize. The Government of Swaziland did provide E5 million at the start of the emergency.


In the worst-affected countries, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, drought has created food shortages that have come on top of a poor season last year, and people's coping mechanisms have already been severely stretched. Poor governance (including corruption in Zambia under the previous administration, poor management of food stocks in Malawi, and disastrous policy decisions in Zimbabwe) has played a major role in the shortages, particularly in Zimbabwe, where lack of inputs for small holder agriculture, and the ruling party's disastrous economic and land policies, have both caused shortages and undercut survival strategies. Throughout the region HIV/AIDS has weakened families' and individuals' capacity to cope with additional stress.


DFID has played a leading role in responding to the crisis. DFID's bilateral support has been channelled through a range of UN agencies, Red Cross and NGOs. The UK is the third largest donor to the Southern Africa crisis after the USA and the European Community, having committed over =A393 million since September 2001. This includes around =A327 million to WFP. The UK also provides 19% of the EC's responses to the humanitarian crisis - approx. =A322m. (excluding Angola). The principle objective of DFID's humanitarian regional strategy for Southern Africa is to support efforts that enable vulnerable people to survive and cope through the provision of life saving services and goods, while seeking to establish the basis for recovery activities that promote sustainable development.

UK response since September 2001

Date Country Description
Total (=A3million)
Sept. 2001 Zimbabwe Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) feeding programme
Zimbabwe World Food Programme (WFP) Emergency Appeal
Malawi Agricultural Targeted Inputs Programme
Angola UN Appeal for Angola 2001
Jan-May 2002 Malawi NGO feeding programmes
Malawi Winter Agricultural Inputs programme
Angola Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) - Assistance to Displaced People in Kuito & Camacupa
Angola UN Appeal for Angola 2002
Angola International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Appeal for Angola 2002
June 2002 Zimbabwe WFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation
Lesotho WFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation
Malawi WFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation
Swaziland WFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation
Zambia WFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation
Zambia NGO food for work programme
Region WFP logistical support in Johannesburg regional hub, Lesotho and Zimbabwe
Region Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)vulnerability assessments to improve targeting of humanitarian assistance
Region International Federation of Red Cross/Crescent Societies (IFRC) Feeding HIV/AIDS affected people
Region WHO regional health operation
Malawi Agricultural Targeted Inputs Programme
Zimbabwe NGO agricultural inputs
Zimbabwe World Health Organisation (WHO) essential drugs and medicines
Angola UN Bridging Request for Humanitarian Operations
July 2002 Angola MSF - Assistance to Displaced People in Bunjei and Huambo
Angola MSF - Assistance to Population of Saurimo and Cuando Cubango
August 2002 Angola ICRC Appeal for Angola 2002
Sept 2002 Zimbabwe NGO feeding programme
Malawi/Region WFP - Nacala Rail-link
Oct 2002 Zambia Agricultural recovery through NGO's and FAO
Zambia Improved nutrition programme
Zambia Support to the health sector
Region OCHA Southern African Humanitarian Information Service
Region Southern Africa Humanitarian Crisis Unit for monitoring and liaison
Lesotho Livelihoods recovery through agriculture programme
Zimbabwe Epidemic preparedness
Zimbabwe Improved nutrition programme
Angola UN Development Programme (UNDP) - Emergency Mine Action Co-ordination
Angola International Organisation for Migration (IOM) - Assistance to Internally Displaced People in Kuanza Sul and Huambo
Nov 2002 Region SADC vulnerability assessments
Zambia WFP Emergency Feeding Operation
Lesotho WFP Emergency Feeding Operation
Angola WFP - Food Assistance to Vulnerable People
Angola WFP - Logistical Support
Angola UNOCHA - Emergency Response Fund
Angola UNOCHA - Co-ordination of Emergency Activities Humanitarian assistance and recovery programmes
Total since Sept 2001

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