Colombia + 3 more

ODM-WFP emergency situation report on Latin America & the Caribbean 04 Dec 2002

Situation Report
Originally published
1. Colombia
Reporting Period: 11/25 to 12/03/2002

a) Significant Events:

On the weekend of 30 November, a national vaccination campaign was set forth. WFP and other United Nations agencies participated in the campaign.

b) Security:

In the northern part of the country, roadblocks and clashes between armed groups continue affecting food deliveries, especially in Antioquia where PRRO beneficiaries have been forced to leave their farms. In the provinces of Choco, Antioquia and Cordoba, illegal groups forced WFP supply trucks to pay tolls to transport commodities.

WFP Bogota office continues to be on high alert for security reasons. Permanent protection was requested from the authorities.

c) Implementation:

During the following two weeks WFP will deliver 178.5 MT (156,610 food rations) for FFW and Community Kitchen projects.

2. Ecuador

Reporting Period: 11/26 to 12/02/2002

a) Significant Events:

El Reventador Volcano

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.

Warehouse Explosion

Damages caused by last week's explosion are estimated at U$ 50 million dollars. People from San Antonio and Riobamba will move to temporary shelters until the Government provides alternative residences.

The explosion left a toll of 8 dead persons, 535 wounded and 237 missing children.

The Civil Defense and the Operations Committee of Riobamba are supplying daily food assistance to approximately 600 persons. Furthermore, they plan to provide medical, psychological and recreational assistance.

El Niño Event

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.

b) Implementation:

El Reventador Volcano

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 limitations (constant ash falls, obstruction of roads, etc), the rehabilitation process of crops and infrastructure has started.

WFP, along with other UN agencies, NGOs, Universities, Church and local municipalities is monitoring the situation.

Warehouse Explosion

WFP is delivering food rations to community dining halls and shelters. A total of 500 rations have been distributed to 2,500 people.

3. El Salvador

Reporting Period: 11/18 to 12/02/2002

a) Significant Events:

After distributing one-month family rations to 1,433 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.

b) Security:

Two minor earthquakes were felt throughout the country: 4.4 on the Richter scale on 28 November and 4.9 on 02 December. No casualties were reported.

c) Pipeline:

The delivery of locally purchased 830 MT of White Maize from Irish and Italian contributions has been completed. The local purchase of 206 MT of red beans will be financed through a Norwegian donation.

4. Haiti

Reporting Date: 12/02/2002

a) Significant Events:

According to the October edition of Haiti North West Early Warning System (NEWS), the Northwestern region experienced only three days of rain during the month of October 2002, 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 over the next weeks. The communities most affected are Bambarde, Jean-Rabel, Bleuin, and Port-de-Paix.

Five cases of severe malnutrition were reported in the communities of Jean Rabel and Mole Saint-Nicolas. In October, five cases of marasme and severe diarrhea were reported in the same region. Two cases of kwashiorkor were reported in Port-de-Paix.

As a result of the currency fall, prices of maize and grains, mainly imported, have increased by 7.6% in October. Beans' price went up by 35.21% in October 2002 compared to the same period during 2001. Wages remain the same and poverty level continues to increase.

There are reports of livestock dying in the northwest because of respiratory diseases. The most affected animals are horses, donkeys, mules and chickens.

5. Other ODM Countries

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 02 October. In Boqueron, the drought has had a particularly negative impact on agriculture, affecting 4,968 rural indigenous families.

Costa Rica- On the weekend of 30 November, heavy rains affected the country's Caribbean region. As a result, 1 person died, 2 are missing and more than 5,000 people are affected. The government has declared a state of emergency in the area.

Argentina- The situation continues to deteriorate. According to news services, 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.