Colombia + 1 more

ODM-WFP Emergency Situation Report on Latin America & the Caribbean 11 Mar 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
1. Colombia
PRRO 6139.0 - "Assistance to Persons Displaced by Violence"

a) Significant events

A fire that broke out in a slum area of Medellin where WFP PRRO implements nutrition, food-for-work/food-for-training, and community kitchen activities completely destroyed 650 makeshift homes. A total of 2,129 WFP beneficiaries, 500 of them children, were affected. Over 3,700 WFP food rations, as well as a community kitchen and a mattress factory set up through WFP food-for-work projects were lost in the fire. WFP and counterparts quickly set up telethons to replace lost commodities and assist families in restarting the projects. Support is also being sought from local authorities to relocate IDPs away from high-risk areas, which are often the only places they can occupy without causing major conflicts with recipient communities.

WFP field staff is liaising with protection agencies to provide support for community leaders who are being threatened by armed groups.

2. Guatemala

EMOP 10174.0 "Emergency Assistance to Families Affected by Drought with Acute Malnourished Children"

a) Significant events

According to a national meteorological analysis, the phenomenon of El Niño is resulting in dryer than average conditions and is expected to increase the possibilities of drought in the country in 2003.

The continuing crisis in the coffee sector is affecting more than 300,000 agricultural workers, mainly in the Departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Santa Rosa, Chiquimula, and Jutiapa. WFP continues to carry out activities in these Departments through the Emergency Operation (EMOP) that began last May.

The Governmental Assistance Plan has begun distribution of food to 5,000 affected families. The agrarian platform, which represents small-scale farmer organizations country wide, has expressed its dissatisfaction with the plan due to its limited coverage, and as a result has threatened to launch protests.

The teacher's strike that has paralyzed the public educational system was resolved on 10 March, with the government and teachers agreeing to initiate classes on 12 March. The delay has affected pre- and primary school feeding activities.

b) Implementation

The WFP Country Office is preparing an impact evaluation for the EMOP. Five workshops will be carried out in various parts of the country next week to train local staff in support of this effort. The technical operational handbook for the new Central America Regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) will also be on the agenda for discussion. This PRRO ("Targeted Food Assistance for People Affected by Shocks and for the Recovery of Livelihoods") will serve as a continuation of the assistance provided through the EMOP over the last nine months to malnourished children and their families.