WFP Emergency Report No. 21 of 2000

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 26 May 2000
This report includes: A) Horn of Africa: Ethiopia and Eritrea B) Sudan: Eritrean refugees C) Kenya D) Sierra Leone E) India - drought.
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 Natasha.Nadazdin@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: ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA

1. Ethiopia - information as of 25 May

a) Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict: On 25 May, Eritrean troops pulled back from Zalambessa and UN Security Council called on Ethiopia to withdraw; number of internally displaced in Tigray following the conflict is increasing.

b) Somali Region: inter-agency assessment mission from 19 to 22 May focused on Afder and Liben in the South; conditions in Afder zone described as the worst seen in Somali region; health situation alarming with high global malnutrition rates; WFP will be supporting supplementary feeding interventions.

c) Amhara, Oromiya, SNNPR, Tigray: Seasonal assessment missions took place between 25 April and 15 May; as late rains did not allow for traditional belg crops, those are replaced by short or long cycle crops, to be potentially harvested after August; mission recommends present assistance to be extended to current belg dependants and additional beneficiaries; further belg assessment planned 3-15 June; pocket areas of Wolaitya have alarmingly high rate of malnutrition (25.6 percent) and 4.3 severely malnourished.

2. Eritrea - information as of 26 May

a) WFP provides ready-to-eat and high energy food for populations displaced by renewed fighting with Ethiopia; WFP also agreed to mill 6,000 tons of wheat grains at cost of USD 144,000.

b) Trucks with WFP high protein biscuits left Asmara early on 26 May; biscuits to be delivered to beneficiaries in Teletasher, on the Sudanese border, in Dige, Gash Barka region and in Goluj, Southern Gash Barka region.

c) An initial 82 tons of high protein biscuits airlifted from Kenya and Uganda on 23 and 24 May to a recently established camp in Ziron near Keren; wheat has been distributed in Adi-Barin, Nedwe and Miziba areas in Debub.

d) WFP staff relocated from Barentu to Asmara and WFP aid activities in Gash-Barka region temporarily suspended due to insecurity.

e) Further assessments to identify needs for food, logistics, personnel, telecommunications, currently taking place.

B. SUDAN

1. Update - information as of 25 May

a) WFP launches appeal for USD 3.4 million operation to provide food over six-month period for Eritreans fleeing into Sudan.

b) Approximately 50,000 refugees, most of whom women and children from rural south-western Eritrea, fled homes due to war with Ethiopia; refugees left their farms before June planting season.

c) WFP to provide 6,560 tons of food including cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, blended foods, sugar and milk powder; WFP

C. KENYA

1. Update - information as of 26 May

a) WFP provides food assistance to a total of 584,330 beneficiaries in Turkana, Marsabit, Moyale and Mandera; long rains, finishing end of May, are below normal in most of the country.

b) Arrangements under way to provide WFP food aid for additional eight districts from June 2000.

c) New target figures for June total 2,112,434 beneficiaries, comprising some 1,292,700 for general distribution and some 819,700 children included in WFP Expanded School Feeding Programme.

D. SIERRA LEONE

1. Update - information as of 25 May

a) Security: Two UNAMSIL staff killed in Freetown on 23 May; investigation under way to confirm identity of corpses wearing uniforms with UN patches found at Rogberi Junction; UN Security Council authorizes UNAMSIL strength to 16,500 in coming months.

b) WFP assistance continues to new and previously displaced: in Freetown, WFP distributed 746 tons of food to 56,106 beneficiaries; in Bo, WFP distributed 177 tons of food aid to 13,102 beneficiaries, while in Kenema 19,482 people received 192 tons of food aid commodities.

E. INDIA

1. Update - information as of 24 May

a) Drought persists; most affected are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

b) Gujarat: WFP allotted 1,500 tons of wheat for distribution in four drought-affected districts; food to be handed out to drought-affected through food-for-work activities.

c) Rajasthan: WFP provides food targeting six most marginalised districts; additional 500 tons of blended fortified food planned to be allocated to assist a further 60,000 beneficiaries through 2,963 feeding centres; WFP food-for-work projects targeting most vulnerable families, many of them female-headed.

d) WFP chairs UN-NGO coordination group.

PART II - DETAILS

A. HORN OF AFRICA: ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA

1. ETHIOPIA - information as of 25 May

1.1 Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict: On 25 May, Eritrean troops pulled back from the strategic town of Zalambessa, occupied by Eritrea since the beginning of the two-year long conflict. Eritrea said it withdrew to comply with Organization of African Unity's pledge on Wednesday 24 May to end the war (which reignited on 12 May), whereas Ethiopia on Thursday celebrated what it considers an important military victory. The UN Security Council on Thursday welcomed Eritrea's announcement of a military withdrawal, and called on Ethiopia to do likewise. However, further development in the conflict remains uncertain at the moment. The number of internally displaced in Tigray following the conflict is increasing, but no exact figures are known to date. WFP and MSF-Holland will follow up on this issue with Government officials. WFP distributions to West Tigray will resume next week.

2. Somali Region

2.1 Afder and Liben:

a) A second inter-agency assessment mission took place in Somali Region from 19 to 22 May. This mission concentrated on Afder and Liben zones in the southern parts of Somali Region. In Afder zone, the mission visited Hargele, El Kere and Bare and in Liben zone only Filtu was visited. The mission visited clinics, water resources and storage facilities, and held discussions with officials, elders and beneficiaries. The condition in Afder zone is described as the worst of the zones in Somali region visited by the inter-agency assessment missions. The mission found the health situation alarming, with very high global malnutrition rates. There are no functional health facilities within the two zones. With improved accessibility, it is expected that more non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will move into the area. WFP will be supporting supplementary feeding interventions as recommended by the mission.

b) The roads in Afder are still reported to be poor condition even though it has hardly rained for the past two weeks. Communications are generally bad. There are internally displaced persons (IDPs) in all the locations visited, and the need for shelter is dire. In many places it was reported by the elders that the host population shares the food rations with the drought displaced persons.

c) Pastures were reported to have recovered, however, the number of livestock deaths reported is disquieting.

3. Amhara, Oromiya, SNNPR, Tigray:

3.1 Seasonal assessment missions took place between 25 April and 15 May in Amhara, Tigray, Oromiya and Southern Nations (SNNPR) Regions. The missions concluded that, in general, late rains from 8 - 12 weeks duration did not allow for planting of traditional belg crops. A portion of belg dependent communities has instead planted either short or long cycle crops that would potentially result in a harvest after August, given late or erratic kiremt/meher rains. Regardless, given the failure of rains between January and March, belg and other transitory crops (potato, cassava, and enset) will not be available for consumption between June and August. Based on the findings of the missions, it is recommended that present assistance be extended to current belg dependants and additional beneficiaries, including those previously in the category of 'closely monitored' at least until end of August and potentially until end of December. The belg assessment that will take place between 3 and 15 June will verify the need for extended assistance.

3.2 Wolaitya area in North Omo is very vulnerable to food insecurity. In pocket areas of Wolaitya, malnutrition is found to be alarmingly high (25.6 percent, of which 4.3 are severely malnourished).

3.3 North and South Omo and the special woredas (Konso, Derashe, Burji, Amaro Kello) are also areas at risk, due to near total failure of crops.

3.4 For the above areas (Wolaitya, North and South Omo, Konso, Derashe, Burji, Amaro Kello), WFP has been liaising closely with the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) to discuss what food has been going to these areas, and to ensure that they are included in future distribution plans.

2. ERITREA - information as of 26 May

2.1 Fierce fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia started on May 12 on the Merb-Setit front has caused massive population movements. An estimated 550,000 persons have been displaced according to the Government reports. The displaced in Ziron come from Akordat, Enghrne, Aderde, Kotobya, Adi-Bgidi, Dersene, Mai-Lam, Bushuka, Molki. Few deportees came from Jejah camp. Some 20,000 displaced from Gash-Barka are reported to have arrived in drought-affected Anseba region and settled in Ziron which is 29 km north of Keren in Hamelmalo area.

2.2 In response to the Government's appeal to assist the displaced, WFP mobilized USD 2 million from its Immediate Response Account to provide ready-to-eat and high energy food for the newly displaced under its current emergency operation (EMOP 6044). In addition, WFP has agreed to mill 6,000 tons of wheat grains that are currently in the country at the cost of about USD 144,000. The processing of wheat flour will reduce the burden of grinding during the initial period when the IDPs are settling.

2.3 The first trucks with WFP high protein biscuits for the newly displaced people left Asmara early on 26 May. A total of 77 tons of biscuits were carried for an estimated 38,800 people in 3 areas - Teletasher, 28,000 people on the Sudanese border, 5,000 persons in Dige, Gash Barka region and 5,000 people in Goluj, Southern Gash Barka region, very close to Ethiopian border. The convoy will go to Teletasher, then split off with one group going to Goluj, and the other to Dige.

2.4 About 82 tons of high protein biscuits were airlifted from Kenya and Uganda on 23 and 24 May for the immediate feeding of about 30,000 displaced persons in a recently established camp in Ziron some 29 km from Keren. A total of 120 tons of wheat has been distributed to 8,160 displaced in Adi-Barin, Nedwe and Miziba areas in Debub. Italy and Norway confirmed airlifting of their donations of high-energy biscuits.

2.5 When air raids of Barentu started on 14 May, WFP staff were relocated from Barentu to Asmara and the WFP aid activities in the Gash-Barka region were temporarily suspended until security improves.

2.6 WFP participated in a joint preliminary assessment mission comprising of the Government and UN agencies on 19 May. The mission visited Ziron about 29 km north of Keren and obtained information on the movement and humanitarian conditions of the people affected by renewed hostilities on the Ethiopian-Eritrea border. Further assessments to identify needs for food, logistics, personnel, telecommunications, are taking place this week. Preliminary findings will be presented in Asmara on 27 May.

2.7 The WFP operation to assist the war displaced (EMOP 6044.01) has received to date approximately 18 percent of its USD value or 26 percent of its food requirements. Further donor pledges are requested. The ongoing WFP operation to assist the drought victims (EMOP 6227) has received 64 percent of its USD requirement of USD 7.9 million leaving an unmet balance of USD 2.8 million.

B. SUDAN

1. UPDATE - information as of 25 May

1.1 WFP launched an appeal for an emergency feeding programme for thousands of Eritreans fleeing into Sudan to escape war in their own country. The new USD 3.4 million worth operation will provide food aid to approximately 50,000 refugees, most of whom are women and children from farming communities in south-western Eritrea, for an initial period of six months.

1.2 The recent renewal of a two-year-old border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has forced thousands of Eritreans to abandon their homes. In the first wave, some 15,000 fled into Sudan's Kassala State followed by another 35,000 people. The refugees were forced to flee just before the beginning of the June planting season.

1.3 WFP will require 6,560 tons of food to feed the refugees. In addition to food rations for general distribution, WFP will provide therapeutic and supplementary feeding for malnourished children and adults. Food rations will include cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, blended foods, sugar and milk powder. WFP has appealed to donors to support this operation.

C. KENYA

1. UPDATE - information as of 26 May

1.1 WFP continues to provide assistance to four of the districts most affected by insufficient long rains: Turkana, Marsabit, Moyale and Mandera, providing food to a total of 584,330 beneficiaries. The period for the long rains is finishing at the end of this month, and the overall assessment indicates below normal rains in most parts of the country.

1.2 More areas and populations are becoming affected by the drought. WFP is currently finalizing arrangements with the Government and implementing NGO partners to provide food assistance to additional eight districts from June 2000. The new target figures for June total 2,112,434 beneficiaries, comprising 1,292,734 people for general distribution and some 819,700 children included in the WFP Expanded School Feeding Programme (ESF).

1.3 WFP food pipeline: up to 59 percent of the cereal requirements for the current emergency operation have been delivered. However, the immediate deliveries of pulses and vegetable oil are not sufficient to meet total needs and because of the general shortage of the two commodities in the region it has not been possible to borrow from any other operation.

D. SIERRA LEONE

1. UPDATE - information as of 25 May

1.1 Several military personnel including two UNAMSIL staff were killed in Freetown during an attack on the residence of the chief of presidential security's house on 23 May. As a security precaution, it was decided by the SMT (Security Management Team) that international staff living in that area should temporarily relocate to safer areas of Freetown.

1.2 During the week, half a dozen dead bodies wearing Zambian, Nigerian, and Kenyan uniforms with UN patches were found at Rogberi Junction. UNAMSIL officials cautioned that an investigation would be needed to determine if they were indeed UN soldiers, or non-U.N. forces wearing their uniforms. The Security Council authorized the UNAMSIL strength to 16,500 in the upcoming months.

1.3 WFP activities:

a) WFP continues providing food assistance to new and previously displaced people through its ongoing long term food-for-work, food-for-training and food-for-agriculture projects in Sierra Leone. During the reporting period, WFP started registration ahead of a planned distribution for an estimated 14,000 newly displaced people who arrived in Kafu Bullom. WFP will deliver over 100 tons of food by road to the displaced while assessing the needs in the near by area of Loko Masama.

b) In Freetown, WFP distributed 746 tons of food to 56,106 beneficiaries. Out of that figure, 26,326 are new and old displaced people that received 334 tons of food aid. For the new displaced, WFP together with other National Technical Committee (NTC) members agreed to distribute a two week vulnerable-group ration in Freetown for the IDPs coming from beyond Hastings. New IDPs coming from in between Hastings and Newton are being encouraged by the Government to return home and receive food in their villages (central distribution site in Waterloo). IDPs coming from beyond Newton will receive food assistance in the displaced camps in Freetown. As part of the food-for-work road repairs project in Sierra Leone, WFP distributed 44 tons of food to 1,664 male and female beneficiaries for the second phase of the road reconstruction from Freetown to Loko Massama. Please sees attached excel file for completed distributions in Freetown.

c) In Bo, WFP distributed 177 tons of food aid to 13,102 beneficiaries, while in Kenema 19,482 people received 192 tons of food aid commodities. The Bo office reported a resumption of normal programming to levels reached before the crisis, but in Kenema there are still security concerns that are impeding WFP activities outside the town.

E. INDIA

1. UPDATE - information as of 24 May

1.1 The drought persists and in some areas is likely to worsen. According to the Government of India, eleven states are experiencing drought of varying severity, with Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan being worst affected.

1.2 Food security continues to be a critical concern in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the situation is likely to deteriorate further in the coming weeks and months with the projected dry spell. Primarily dependent on rain-fed agriculture for their gross domestic product and household income, neither of the states can expect economic sustainability at the aggregate state or individual household level during the drought. An assessment on 22 May by World Vision India and World Vision APRO in one drought-affected district in Rajasthan concludes that in the immediate term (next four to six months), the prime task should be to enhance family purchasing power and livelihood security.

1.3 Gujarat: WFP's response to drought-affected regions continues to be shaped by its situational assessment, substantive discussions with principal partner agencies and Governments (central and state), and the desire to develop concerted action. Following recent high-level meetings with state Government officials, WFP has allotted 1,500 tons of wheat for distribution in four drought-affected districts of Gujarat. The food assistance will be handed out to drought-affected populations through food-for-work activities. The wheat is to be distributed at two kilograms per day over 75 days to an average of 10,000 beneficiaries daily. At least one-third of the beneficiaries will be women.

1.4 Rajasthan:

a) WFP continues to provide food assistance to drought-hit people in Rajasthan, targeting six most marginalized districts. WFP, in consultation with Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), has agreed to double the allocation of fortified food to ICDS (feeding) centres in order to include new needy beneficiaries in VGF (Vulnerable Group Feeding), and give additional nutritional support to current beneficiaries (mainly children below age six and expectant and lactating women) now at increased risk of nutritional depletion. An additional 500 tons of blended fortified food is planned to be allocated over the next three months to cover additional 20 beneficiaries per ICDS centre, adding in total some 60,000 beneficiaries through 2,963 centres.

b) WFP food-for-work projects are targeting the most vulnerable families, at least half of whom are female-headed, currently experiencing higher than usual food insecurity. Re-positioned commodity quantities released so far for Rajasthan are 1,300 tons of wheat, 130 tons of pulses, 50 tons of vegetable oil, and 500 tons of fortified blended food "Indiamix."

1.5 As chair of UN-NGO Coordination Group, WFP is working closely to leverage its food aid with specialized local knowledge and expertise of NGOs, and also to cooperate in capacity building measures.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No. 21 of 2000 - May 26, 2000)