Costa Rica + 5 more

ODM-WFP emergency situation report on Latin America & the Caribbean 15 May 2002

Situation Report
Originally published
1. Cuba
Reporting Period: 05/01 to 05/14/2002

Significant Events:

Local authorities have expressed their concern over the lack of rain, which may cause a severe drought. The Cuban National Weather Center reports that a drought is affecting the eastern provinces. If the situation continues, crops will be severely hurt, affecting food security.

A WFP-Cuba monitoring mission visited the provinces of Granma, Holguin, Las Tunas, Santiago and Guantanamo to assess the situation of farmers that are planting less than normal. A livestock state of emergency has been declared in these eastern provinces.

During the week of 13 May, several meetings are expected to take place among UN agencies to analyze the situation and take the necessary steps to cope with the situation. A meeting with government officials is also planned to collect information on what measures are being taken and the possible impact of a drought.

2. Ecuador

Reporting Period: 05/07 to 05/13/2002

a) Significant Events:

Water levels have dropped greatly and there has not been a substantial amount of rain in the last few weeks. No new floods have been reported.

On 9 May, WFP staff participated in an emergency simulation exercise, hosted by the United Nations Emergency Team for Ecuador (UNETE). All the United Nations agencies in Ecuador took part.

During the week of 13 May, WFP emergency teams in Ecuador began a training and education programme for counterparts. Training objectives include how to carry out an Emergency Food Needs Assessment (EFNA).

According to a report published by U.S. government climate experts, a weak to moderate El Niño is likely to develop by the end of 2002. Its impact is not expected to be as strong as the El Niño of 1997-98. However, WFP is preparing itself for the possible effects.

3. Guatemala

Reporting Period: 05/01 to 05/13/2002

a) Significant Events:

More than 40 forest fires have been reported. In the province of El Peten, the Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) has declared a state of orange alert due to the large amount of affected land and the lack of water. Fires are registered in 9 provinces. Meanwhile, there is presently no indication of the onset of the rainy season (normally mid-May), causing concern regarding a possible drought/El Niño phenomenon.

b) Security:

Private farms continue to be occupied by indigenous groups. At least 13 farms have been occupied in the provinces of Izabal, Alta Verapaz, San Marcos, Suchitepequez, Chimaltenango and Retalhuleu. According to these groups, occupations are a consequence of limited access to land. Since last year, 49 farms have been occupied in the provinces of Los Alta and Baja Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Izabal and Suchitepequez.

c) Implementation:

EMOP 10174

Seven joint WFP/UNICEF/Government training sessions took place on food management, storage and distribution; selection for community centers; and monitoring of CRN and hospital rooms.

On 10 May, distributions began at 53 nutritional centers of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS), 14 national hospitals with nutritional recovery rooms and 9 private nutritional centers. These centers are located in the areas identified by the government as priority in the fight against acute malnutrition.

60 % of WFP-Guatemala staff is in the field supervising distributions.

4. Costa Rica

Significant Events:

The Government of Costa Rica declared a national state of emergency during the week of 7 May. Between four and five thousand people were evacuated due to major flooding in the provinces of El Limon, Heredia and Cartago.

According to OCHA, the National Emergency Commission has set up temporary shelters and has activated the Local Committees on Disaster Prevention and Response. The Costa Rican Red Cross distributed food and mattresses to flood victims. The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator reports that authorities will carry out needs assessments to quantify the sectoral needs once the waters have receded.

OCHA reports that the Government will analyze the mobilization of local resources as well as the possible need for international assistance in the rehabilitation/reconstruction process. The Government of Costa Rica has not requested international assistance

5. Panama

Significant Events:

Heavy rain has been falling on the border area with Costa Rica, causing major flooding. It has affected the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Veraguas and Chiriqui.

The Panamanian Red Cross estimates that around 10,000 people have been affected. Approximately 1,500 persons were evacuated.

6. Paraguay

Significant Events:

Major flooding has been registered as a result of heavy rainfalls from January to April 2002 in the province of Neembucu (Southern Paraguay). The government declared the province of Neembucu an emergency area on 6 May. According to the Secretariat of Production, 80% of the subsistence crops and 60% percent of the maize crops have been lost.

The government of Paraguay has not requested international assistance.

WFP does not have country offices in Costa Rica, Panama and Paraguay. ODM Bureau continues to monitor the situation in these countries.