Bolivia + 4 more

ODM-WFP emergency situation report on Latin America & the Caribbean 05 Feb 2003

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1. Bolivia
Reporting Period: 01/27 to 02/04/2003

a) Significant Events:

According to the National Civil Defense Service, the effects of El Niño have intensified in Bolivia. Floods in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, as well as droughts in the valleys of Chuquisaca and Cochabamba have affected more than 10,000 families. Cochabamba, as the most affected department, suffered a drought during the seeding season. Floods in La Paz have claimed 7 lives.

Reports of the Ministry of Sustainable Development indicate that 34,347 hectares have been affected and agricultural losses are calculated in more than USD 12 million.

The National government has declared a state of emergency and has prepared a Plan to mitigate the effects of El Niño. However, resources to support the Plan are not yet in place.

b) Implementation:

WFP has carried out several assessment missions to the affected areas, which indicated that 1,570 families in Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz are in need of assistance. Since WFP Bolivia has started to implement its new Country Programme, most of the Warehouses are low of resources.

Interventions are closely coordinated with USAID, the Government, and UNDMT is coordinating actions.

2. Colombia

Reporting Period: 01/2 to 02/03/2003

a) Significant Events:

The Department of Choco (northwest) has been affected by new massive displacements due to armed groups. On the week of 27 January, 450 people from the provinces of Divisa and El Tambo joined other 2,610 persons in shelters in the city of Quibdo. The UN Humanitarian Action Plan for Choco includes WFP actions with local authorities, NGOs and church.

The first months of 2003 show an increase of 30% in food deliveries. More than 10,000 new IDPs are participating in short-term FFW activities in their places of transition. They are also benefiting from community kitchens and nutritional recovery projects.

Preparations to initiate the new PRRO - which starts early next month - with school feeding for this school year are underway, while the Government is in the process of signing the LOU.

b) Security:

WFP field presence, in particular for, food monitoring is crucial in view of local pressures and controls of armed groups. UNSECOORD interventions were needed during the week of 27 January to help the Sincelejo sub-office, working in one of the Government declared rehabilitation zones, to continue their community visits. This week the Bogotá sub-office faced the same access problem. Sub-offices continued to be instrumental in projecting the feasibility of possible distribution points and delivery timing in San Juan del Cesar (Guajira), Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Magdalena) and the municipality of San Carlos, western of Antioquia lately affected by violence.

UNSECOORD alerted WFP Medellin Sub-office staff to take all precautions needed when carrying out field visits due to conflicts between armed groups.

3. Ecuador

Reporting Period: 01/27 to 02/02/2003

a) Significant Events:

Refugees

In January 2003, WFP and UNHCR signed an agreement to help improve the livelihoods of Colombian refugees in Ecuador. Institutional coordination between the two agencies will be the basis for an interagency management model that will be implemented at a regional level in Latin America.

The number of refugees and asylum seekers has increased up to 10,958, of which 98% are Colombian.

Food assistance to the refugees starts on the week of 3 February, in the five provinces with the highest number of refugees: Pichincha, Sucumbios, Carchi and Esmeraldas.

El Niño

During the weekend of 1 February, heavy rains affected communities in the city of Guayaquil leaving the population isolated.

Los Rios Province also reported heavy rains in the cantons of Ventanas, Montalvo, Vinces, Baba, Pueblo Viejo and Babahoyo.

4. El Salvador

Reporting Period: 01/27 to 02/03/2003

a) Significant Events:

The coffee crisis is expected to continue causing severe child malnutrition in the months to come. Periodic field assessments and collaboration with partners will remain necessary as to confront the situation.

WFP is installing the ARGOS satellite monitoring system in 12 schools around the country. This will constitute a part of a worldwide effort to measure the effectiveness and durability of the system.

b) Security:

As the dry season starts, a growing number of dengue cases is being reported. There is also a substantial increase in fatal gastronomical infection cases caused by a rotavirus.

National elections are scheduled for 18 March. The political race between the various parties is heating up. Security measures are being implemented to avoid violence.

5. Haiti

Reporting Period: 01/27 to 02/04/2003

a) Significant Events:

Food shortage during the protracted drought affected the Far West Region in the Northwest. Mole Saint Nicolas, Bombardopolis, Baie de Henne Jean Rabel are the communes most affected by two consecutive droughts and crop failures. The deteriorating economic situation due to the rapid devaluation of the Gourd has further affected food security and purchasing power of the population.

WFP in joint collaboration with CARE will be providing a total of 800 MT of food to approximately 23,589 families during the month of February 2003. WFP's Immediate Response Operation will benefit 12,800 families with 320 MT of food. Beneficiaries include farmers who have lost all their crops and livestock, families with more than five dependents, the handicap, elderly, low-income women head of households and malnourished children (in particular children from 5-11 years). Meanwhile, WFP is preparing a humanitarian operation, which could last for up to six months.

The "Grande Riviére du Nord" flooded due to heavy rainfall during 27-29 January, causing severe damage to the population of Cap Haitian. Livestock and other property were destroyed and about 320 persons are homeless. On 29 January, local government authorities in the North Department requested the WFP sub-office in Cap Haitian for immediate food assistance. WFP provided six days food rations to the affected families. A total of 1,029 kg of food was distributed.