Colombia + 2 more

ODM-WFP Emergency Situation Report on Latin America & the Caribbean 25 Feb 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
1. Guatemala
EMOP 10174.0 "Emergency assistance to families affected by drought with acute malnourished children"

Reporting Period: 02/18 to 02/25/2003

a) Significant events:

The continuing crisis in the coffee sector, mainly in the Departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and Santa Rosa, and some municipalities of the eastern Departments of Chiquimula and Jutiapa, is resulting in increased poverty and, as a response, increased migration to urban centers. The government has initiated a food assistance programme, planned to reach 5,000 families in the most affected zones.

b) Implementation:

WFP assistance through the EMOP will end on 28 February. The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO 10212.0) for Central America, "Targeted Food Assistance for People Affected by Shocks and for the Recovery of Livelihoods" will commence on March 1, continuing to address the needs of those affected by the nutritional emergency.

Food needs for the months of January and February are being met through existing stocks, with the exception of vegetable oil, for which the ration was reduced by half to cover the remaining two months of the EMOP.

The provision of therapeutic formula for treatment of children suffering from acute malnutrition is being requested for an additional 12 national hospitals. Nutritional Recuperation Centers and hospitals already providing this treatment are also being supplied with the same formula as preventive measures over the next 3-6 months, as the nutritional situation among the most vulnerable groups is expected to deteriorate as a result of the worsening socio-economic situation.

2. Ecuador

Reporting Period: 02/18 to 02/25/2003

a) Significant Events:

The number of refugees and asylum seekers rose to 839 by mid-February. The cause for the increase is the intensification of the armed conflict in the Putumayo Department of Colombia, contiguous to the border with Ecuador.

In January 2003, WFP and UNHCR signed an agreement to provide food assistance for three months to Colombian refugees in Ecuador. This assistance ends on 31 March.

Food requirements are increasing every month. In response, WFP-Ecuador is preparing a proposal for donors for that would provide sufficient funds to cover the food requirements for targeted refugees for the remainder of the year.

11,610 Colombian refugees are currently living in Ecuador.

3. Colombia

Reporting Period: 11/02 to 24/02/2003

a) Significant events:

Congressman James McGovern visited WFP-assisted schools in the municipality of Soacha (on the outskirts of Bogotá). Mr. McGovern reiterated that investment in education is the most effective way to achieve peace, and that food is vital in permitting displaced children to learn and make informed choices in their lives. Informed by WFP of the needs to feed 113.000 displaced children in at-risk situations, Mr. McGovern confirmed he will reinforce his efforts to channel food for the education of displaced children in Colombia.

A displacement of 400 persons in the Province of Sonson (Antioquia Department) triggered local authorities to request support from all institutions involved with IDPs to supply food security kits, medicines and tents for provisional shelters. WFP, through its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, is implementing complementary nutrition projects in this area, assisting pre- and primary school children and nursing mothers.

b) Security

Clashes between armed groups in the Remedios Province (Antioquia Department) caused the displacement of 150 persons and killed a WFP food-for-work beneficiary. Only one fourth of the rations could be distributed, as most beneficiaries fled to the mountains.

Threats by armed groups towards any organization that work with IDPs placed Barrancabermeja on high alert.

c) Implementation

WFP was unable to deliver food rations to the municipality of Murindo (Choco Department) due to roadblocks caused by armed groups. This situation will cause delays in the deliveries of more than 3,000 food rations scheduled for next week.