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WFP Emergency Report No. 13 of 2000

Source
Posted
Originally published
This report includes: A) Horn of Africa drought - regional update B) Somalia C) Southern Africa floods: Madagascar and Mozambique D) East Africa: Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania.
From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Advisor. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at http://www.wfp.org/ or by e-mail from Deborah.Hicks@wfp.org . For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Aleesa.Blum@wfp.org or Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

PART I - HIGHLIGHTS
(Details below in Part II)

A. HORN OF AFRICA DROUGHT - REGIONAL

1. Update - information as of 30 March

a) The Secretary-General appoints WFP Executive Director as his Special Envoy on the Drought in the Horn of Africa; the Executive Director will travel to the Horn of Africa on 11 April.

b) More than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania are facing a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. The most seriously affected populations are agro-pastoralists in southern and eastern Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya.

B. SOMALIA

1. Update - information for the period 11 -31 March

a) UN agencies working in Somalia issue alert of the looming drought crisis in southern Somalia should the upcoming Gu rains fail; some 650,000 people throughout the country are experiencing severe food and water shortages.

b) Greatest concern continues to be the southern regions of Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Hiran.

c) In Somalia's north-east and north-west regions, up to 200,000 people are facing food and water shortages, mostly in the Haud; WFP distributed 298 tons of food aid from 12-14 March to various parts of the region.

d) The cross border operation of 463 tons of cereals, pulses and oil from El Wak, Mandera on the Kenyan border to the Gedo region is expected to arrive in the region on 3 April.

C. SOUTHERN AFRICA FLOODS: MADAGASCAR AND MOZAMBIQUE

1. Madagascar update - information as of 3 April

a) A new cyclone, Cyclone Hudah, hit north-eastern Madagascar with rain and strong winds on 2 April, in same region hit by Tropical Storm Gloria and Cyclone Eline. Residents in the affected area have been dependent on WFP food aid for several weeks.

b) Relief agencies will conduct survey flights over the north-east as soon as weather permits to assess the damage of the latest cyclone.

2. Mozambique update - information as of 31 March

a) Erratic rains continue to fall, flooding landing strips and roads and hampering urgent repairs along the main routes; vast areas remain under water.

b) Cyclone Hudah, crossing to Mozambique from Madagascar, is being monitored carefully; logistics contingency plans in place in case resulting rains hamper helicopter and aircraft activity.

c) As of end of March, WFP was assisting 561,000 flood victims; in villages that became isolated as a result of the floods, household food reserves will soon be depleted and an increasing number of people will require food aid until the next harvest.

d) Of the total food delivered over the past week, 1,200 tons, 60 percent transported by truck and boat.

e) USD 24 million needed from donors to cover the food needs of 650,000 flood affected persons in the coming months under EMOP 6225.01. The resourcing shortfalls for air transport and road repairs total USD 11 million.

D. EAST AFRICA: BURUNDI, UGANDA AND TANZANIA

1. Burundi - information as of 29 March

a) WFP emergency operation (EMOP 6221) was approved to assist regrouped populations in Bujumbura Rural at a total cost of USD 16.2 million. Approximately 27,000 tons of food commodities will be distributed to more than 250,000 persons for a period of six months. Under a two-year Quick Action project (QAP) food will be provided to an average of 25,000 individuals per month; project cost is USD 5.43 million representing 9,240 tons of food commodities.

b) Government has announced a second phase of dismantling regroupment sites in Bujumbura Rural province, to start in April; some 125,000 persons from nine sites are to return to their places of origin.

c) According to the Governor of Bujumbura, 9 sites out of 11 were dismantled during the first phase, in February/March; but approximately 28,000 people out of 58,000 in the camps did not return to their places of origin due to prevailing insecurity.

d) Government rations fuel to 20 litres per vehicle for a period of fifteen days; prices of commodities and services have more than doubled as a result.

2. Uganda

a) Inter-tribal clashes in southern Sudan result in increased influx of Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda; 440 arrive since January, bringing total in the area to 137,662.

3. Tanzania

a) Refugees from Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda continue to cross into north-western districts of Tanzania; 39,536 new arrivals have been registered by UNHCR in Kigoma, Kibondo and Ngara transit centres since the beginning of the year. Total refugee caseload now 465,238 persons.

PART II - DETAILS

A. HORN OF AFRICA DROUGHT - REGIONAL

1. UPDATE - information as of 30 March

1.1 The Secretary-General has appointed Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, as his Special Envoy on the Drought in the Horn of Africa.

1.2 According to estimates of the WFP, more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania are facing a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. Persistent drought and poor rainfall, coupled with the effects of conflict and insecurity, have eroded food stocks in the region, which also plays host to several thousand refugees and internally displaced persons. The most seriously affected populations are agro-pastoralists in southern and eastern Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya.

1.3 The magnitude of the problem may well increase; prospects for the rains expected in May and June are uncertain. Without increased donor support for immediate food relief assistance, the international community may be confronted with the sort of food crisis the region tragically had to deal with 15 years ago. It is urgent that pre-emptive measures are taken now to avert such a catastrophe.

1.4 Ms. Bertini will be travelling to the Horn of Africa on 11 April, following her meetings with the Secretary-General in Rome between 5 to 7 April. During her visit to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Kenya, she will raise public awareness of the deteriorating situation and the growing threat of famine. She will also seek commitments from governments and other parties to conflict to provide secure access for humanitarian agencies, examine the country-specific and regional dimensions of the crisis, and address logistical concerns. Ms. Bertini will also look into the manner in which the immediate response may lay the groundwork for longer-term food security in the region.

B. SOMALIA

1. UPDATE - information for period 11 -31 March

1.1 On 30 March, UN agencies working in Somalia together launched a press release to alert of the looming drought crisis in southern Somalia should the upcoming Gu rains fail. An estimated 650,000 people throughout the country are experiencing severe food and water shortages as a result of prolonged drought in several areas.

1.2 Climate experts who recently met at the 5th Annual Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa, held in Arusha Tanzania, predicted a 50 percent chance that the upcoming April Gu rains - which account for close to three-quarters of crop yields, and are crucial for livestock pasture, could fail.

1.3 The situation is of greatest concern in the southern regions of Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Hiran where up to 425,000 people struggle to cope with meeting their daily food needs. Whilst some areas experienced a bumper crop during the most recent Deyr harvest, crop failure occurred in Bakool, northern Gedo and other localized rainfed areas which had already been hit by dry conditions over the past few seasons, with heavy consequences on livestock production and water availability. Only a meagre 113 tons of sorghum was produced in Bakool, compared with over 1,500 tons produced in the same season during pre-war times.

1.4 Nutrition surveys carried out by UNICEF in Bakool region indicate a global malnutrition rate of 30 percent in Rabdure, with a 6 percent severe malnutrition rate. In 1994, at the height of the famine, the rate in Rabdure was 21.3 percent. In Hodur the malnutrition rate is currently 22 percent and in Wajid the malnutrition rate is 21 percent.

1.5 There are no functioning boreholes in the region and water tables of shallow wells which are well below normal and are being overused; the distance between water points and the grazing zone has further increased. The collection of bush products and hunting has increased as coping mechanisms and due to the large quantity of bush products now in markets, prices are low.

1.6 North-east and north-west regions:

a) Elsewhere in Somalia's north-east and north-west regions, up to 200,000 people are facing food and water shortages. The majority of this number are in the Haud region. UN agencies are together working on emergency preparedness plans for the procurement and provisions of food, health and nutritional supplies.

b) WFP distributed 298 tons of food aid from 12-14 March to various regions of the Haud in the north-west in response to various assessments carried out. Four years of poor rainfall in the Haud areas of Toghdeer and Sool regions, in the north-west, has resulted in the migration of households to the northern regions where water and pasture was available. The food was distributed to close to 17,000 beneficiaries in Odweyne (60 tons), Duruqsi (59 tons), Bali-dhig (59 tons) and Buhoodle (42 tons) districts in Togdheer and in Las Anod (78 tons) in Sool.

c) In the north-east, a total of 19 tons was distributed to internally displaced persons.

1.7 A cross border operation of 463 tons of cereals, pulses and oil from El Wak, Mandera on the Kenyan border to the Gedo region is en route and expected to arrive in the region on 3 April. This is the first cross border operation by WFP since 1998. An inter-agency assessment of the Gedo region led by the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) in February, confirmed pockets of high and extreme food insecurity in parts of the region, affecting 75-100,000 people. The small agro-pastoralist population of Burdhubo district is considered nutritionally insecure at present, due to past conflict which has severely affected asset levels, price levels and population movements. Agro-pastoral villages in Dolo, Luuq and Belet Hawa are also in need of immediate assistance. The internally displaced are amongst the most vulnerable communities in these areas, due in part to their isolation from the social network and the increasing competition from the urban poor.

C. SOUTHERN AFRICA FLOODS: MADAGASCAR AND MOZAMBIQUE

1. MADAGASCAR - NEW CYCLONE HITS - information as of 3 April

1.1 A new cyclone hit north-eastern Madagascar with rain and fierce winds on 2 April. Cyclone Hudah hit the island in the same region where Tropical Storm Gloria passed one month ago. Two weeks before Gloria, Cyclone Eline destroyed the homes or crops of more than 40,000 people on much of the eastern coast of the island.

1.2 The eye of Cyclone Hudah crossed near the north-eastern town of Antalaha at approximately 9pm local time. According to news sources, the cyclone, which is about 248 miles across, was accompanied by average winds of 138mph and gusts as strong as 193mph (over 300 kilometres per hour) and caused tidal waves along much of the coast.

1.3 WFP reports that relief agencies met in Antananarivo on Sunday to make plans to provide disaster assistance. Aid organizations will conduct survey flights over the north-east as soon as weather permitted.

1.4 Residents in the affected area have been dependent on WFP food aid for several weeks.

2. MOZAMBIQUE UPDATE - information as of 31 March

2.1 River levels throughout southern and central Mozambique are either stationary or decreasing but several are still above flood alert levels. Erratic rains continue to fall, flooding landing strips and roads and hampering urgent repairs along the main routes. The rains have diminished in intensity but vast areas remain under water.

2.2 Conditions could change again if Cyclone Hudah, crossing to Mozambique from Madagascar, results in further heavy rains in northern and central Mozambique, and the activity of the cyclone is being closely monitored. WFP is making logistics contingency plans in case the rains hamper helicopter and aircraft activity.

2.3 As of the end of March, WFP was assisting 561,000 flood victims. Initial food distributions targeted primarily displaced persons in accommodations centres who lost their crops, homes and means of survival. Over the weeks, WFP started also to assist vulnerable persons in villages that became isolated as a result of the floods. In those areas, meagre household food reserves are fast becoming depleted and an increasing number of people will require food aid until the next harvest.

2.4 During the past week WFP delivered approximately 1,200 tons of food to accommodation centres and isolated villages in the southern and central provinces of Mozambique. This bring the total food distributed by WFP since early February to close to 6,000 metric tons. The more severely affected provinces of Gaza, Maputo and Sofala received the bulk of the food assistance. WFP food is also being distributed in Zumbo, in the northern province of Tete, an area along the Zambezi river flooded after the opening of the Kariba dam.

2.5 Some 60 percent of the WFP food delivered in the past week was transported by truck and boat. This represents a significant increase in land and sea transportation as compared to the initial weeks, when air transportation accounted for 75 percent of the deliveries. Air capacity coordinated by the joint logistics centre has decreased from over 53 to 34 aircraft at the end of March.

2.6 In order to shorten distances and reduce costs, WFP is now trucking food to Chokwe, for onward air delivery to various locations in Gaza province. The transit hub in Palmeiras will continue to be used two days a week, to serve areas in Maputo province which are still only accessible by air.

2.7 Contributions worth USD 24 million need to be pledged by donors to cover the food needs of 650,000 flood affected persons in the coming months. These requirements, part of WFP's emergency operation EMOP 6225.01, are included in the Government's appeal issued in Maputo on 23 March. The food pipeline for April looks fragile for cereals, but adequately covered for pulses, oil, corn-soya blend, salt and sugar. Additional maize needs to be purchased locally or regionally to meet needs in April and contributions of dried skimmed milk are also required.

2.8 WFP needs to build up sufficient food stocks to allow pre-positioning in preparation for the return of the displaced persons. It is planned that on leaving the camps, the displaced persons be provided with a one-month food package, in addition to non-food items provided by other agencies.

2.9 Resourcing shortfalls for air transport and road repairs total USD 11 million. Contributions are required to allow the delivery of relief assistance to populations in areas still not accessible by road or boat, through the month of April. As water levels decrease and the rainy season comes to an end, WFP will carry out essential repairs on access roads and river crossing, so that truck deliveries can replace the costly aircraft operations.

D. EAST AFRICA: BURUNDI, UGANDA AND TANZANIA

1. BURUNDI - information as of 29 March

1.1 WFP has approved an Emergency Operation (EMOP 6221) to assist regrouped populations in Bujumbura Rural at a total cost of USD 16.2 million. Approximately 27,000 metric tons of food commodities will be distributed to more than 250,000 persons for a period of six months. The operation aims at reducing the number of malnourished persons, especially children below five, at the regroupment sites, and facilitate their re-instalment in their areas of origin.

1.2 WFP also launched a two-year Quick Action project (QAP) that will provide food to an average of 25,000 individuals per month. The project will assist the most vulnerable, including orphans, abandoned and street children, chronically ill persons, physically and mentally affected people, elders and the disabled. The project costs USD 5.43 million representing 9,242 tons of food commodities.

1.3 The Government of Burundi announced the second phase of dismantling regroupment sites in Bujumbura Rural province, during which approximately 125,000 persons from nine sites will be allowed to return to their places of origin; this phase is scheduled to start in April. According to the Governor of Bujumbura, 9 sites out of 11 were dismantled during the first phase, during February and March. Approximately 28,000 people out of 58,000 in the camps did not return to their places of origin due to the prevailing insecurity.

1.4 WFP has completed the distribution of Seeds Protection Rations (SPR) in Muramvya, Bujumbura Rural and Bujumbura Mairie provinces, reaching more than 42,000 persons. The SPR distribution began in mid January and approximately 5,450 tons of WFP food commodities were distributed to some 895,000 persons countrywide.

1.5 Fuel products are still scarce, despite a 20 percent price increase. The Government has now rationed fuel to 20 litres per vehicle for a period of fifteen days. Consequently, prices of commodities and services have more than doubled.

2. UGANDA

2.1 Inter-tribal clashes within southern Sudan are resulting in an increased influx of Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda (440 since January, bringing total number of Sudanese refugees in the area 137,662). Reports also indicate that Sudanese refugees in Ugandan camps are crossing the border into Sudan, to benefit from registration as new arrivals. Food rations to Sudanese refugees have been reduced within the self-reliance strategy programme implementation.

3. TANZANIA

3.1 Refugees of Burundian, Congolese and Rwandese origin continue to cross into north-western districts of Tanzania. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 39,536 new arrivals have been registered by UNHCR in Kigoma, Kibondo and Ngara transit centres. UNHCR reports the present refugee caseload as 465,238 persons.

Note: all tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons

(End WFP Emergency Report No. 13 of 2000 - March 31, 2000)