Ethiopia + 11 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 1 of 2001

This report includes: (A) Ethiopia (B) Angola (C) Sudan (D) Burundi (E) West Africa Coastal a) Guinea 2) Sierra Leone 3) Liberia (F) FYRo Macedonia (G) West and Central Asia 1) Afghanistan 2) Tajikistan 3) Pakistan 4) Iran
From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Adviser. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Zlatan.Milisic@wfp.org. For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. 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.

(A) Ethiopia

(a) A pledge of 27,200 tons has been received from US in support of emergency operation (EMOP) 6080.01, which provides food assistance to those internally displaced by the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict. This pledge has ensured that the operation is almost fully resourced to the end of June 2001. No additional pledges have been received for the Natural Disaster operation (EMOP 6218) during the reporting period. The lack of pledges to cover global needs beyond February 2000 remains a critical concern. Cash pledges are urgently required to enable local purchases from pocket areas of surplus production, while pledges in kind will ensure that loans from the relatively high stocks in the EFSR can be activated.

(b) Somali Region: Reports from WFP monitors indicate a mixed situation in the region, in spite of good Deyr rains in many areas. Water sources have been replenished by the Deyr rains in Degehbour, Fik, Korahe, Gode and hard-hit Warder zone, though the usual dry season problems will be faced in some areas when water sources dry up. In parts of Degehbour, Fik and Korahe the rains were not sufficient for the planted sorghum crop to reach maturity. Conditions in parts of Afder and Liben, although improved from the height of the drought, appear to be deteriorating again as little rain was received. In Shinile, which does not receive Deyr rain, pasture exists, but in the vicinity of both permanent and temporary settlements, it has been exhausted. The absence of small livestock means that dependence on food aid, especially among the drought displaced, remains high.

(c) The livestock import ban imposed by Gulf States in September continues to have a serious impact on the market for livestock in Somali Region, with few animals now being sold. The price of relief wheat in the markets, sold by beneficiaries to obtain other needed commodities, remains low, as do the prices of maize and sorghum. However, livestock prices remain high.

(d) Wolytia: Preliminary reports from the recent DPPC led multi-agency Emergency Needs Assessment indicate that the situation in Wolytia, SNNPR, is improving due primarily to an above average meher harvest and food assistance received over the past few months.

(e) Between January and December 2000, over 622,000 tons was transported by WFP to various hubs throughout Ethiopia. The peak period was July and August, during which time over 230,000 tons was dispatched. Some 89 percent of dispatches related to WFP commodities while the balance of almost 70,000 tons or 11 percent related to delivery of bi-lateral commodities.

(f) Of the 10,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan scheduled to be repatriated, some 1,190 have returned to Ethiopia. A total of 4,500 are expected to be repatriated under the first phase, which should be completed over the coming weeks. The remainder will be repatriated under a second phase, which will be activated following a review of phase one.

(B) Angola

(a) The overall contributions towards the WFP's protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) in Angola remains at USD 120.3 million (58 percent of the total operational requirement). A request has been made to ECHO for 2000 tons of maize to cover the February shortfall. WFP is awaiting a response.

(b) Benguela: On 28 December the Benguela civilian airport was subject to mortar fire in an apparent attempt to explode the fuel depot. A civilian aircraft is reported as heavily damaged. On 16 December fourteen youths were killed and eighteen wounded when a group of armed men entered and opened fired at a small discotheque in Barrio Oito, between Cubal town and the Catholic Mission. In Cubal the local authorities and NGOs are reporting a lack of rainfall during the September to December 2000 planting season. Only 37.7 mm of rain is reported, which could seriously affect the May 2001 harvest.

(c) Bie: Although the security situation was calm in the Kuito during the third week of December, it still remains volatile in the provinces. On 21 December, close to the IDP camp of Cambandua, a Soba (traditional leader) was killed. The site is said to be heavily mined and according to the local police people have been warned against entering the area. Another site to relocate the IDPs has yet to be located. The fourth week of December is reported to have been calmer in the region. 2,887 IDPs were registered during the reporting period. The Ministry of Social Assistence and Reintegration (MINARS) has informed of the arrival of another 515 IDPs who will be registered during the first week of January. 161 tons of dry fish arrived in Kuito from Catumbela to cover the needed energy intake in place of sugar and CSB. 86 tons have already been distributed.

(d) Huambo: In a coordination meeting held at MINARS on 20 December WFP announced that both Chipipa and Joni II will be included in the January plan. The NGO Okios will be responsible for food distribution as well as run the soup kitchen in Chipipa. During the reporting period beneficiaries of assistance were assessed and broken down into the following three categories, (i) Vulnerable Groups: 19,621, (ii) Refugees and IDPs: 468, (iii) Rehabilitation: 1,415. On 21 December training for inter-agency monitoring teams for family rations was carried out. Distribution of rations to families of children who have left the feeding centres is reported as running smoothly.

(e) Kuando Kubango: A total of 303 new IDPs have been reported in the second and third week of December. During the second week of December 189 new IDPs from the areas of Chinguanja and Licuve were reported. On 24 December, the IDP camp in the village of Chiongo was attacked. Six people were killed and 14 wounded. The camp is located 13 km north of Menongue. The third week of December 114 new IDPs were reported from Chinguanja and Cuchi area as arriving at the transit centre in Menongue.

(f) Moxico: No security incidents were listed during this reporting period. A total of 354 new IDPs have arrived in the Cawango IDP Camp. 299 from Luanda Sul, Dala municipality, 12 from Sauter, Malange, 31 from Moxico, Luacano municipality, and 12 returnees from Zambia, originally from Moxico, Bundas, Luchazes and Moxico localities. Separate meetings with MINARS and UTCHA were held with the Government to discuss the need to open two new IDP camps in Cassongo and Cawango. The Sangondo II camp was declared completely full by the NGO in charge of the camp. It is reported that the results of the meetings were positive and that the Government has plans to open the new camps.

(g) Huila: A WFP/MINARS mission was carried out from the 18 - 21 December to update the number of yet to be re-located IDPs considered to be vulnerable in the IDP camps of Palanca and Huila Unene in Humpata municipality. The count confirmed 545 elderly, disabled and orphans in those camps.

(h) Uige: According to MINARS/Negage 237 new IDPs from Bungo, Puri and Milunga arrived in Negage during the reporting period. This number is still awaiting verification.

(i) The provinces of Malange, Benguela, Huambo, Huila and Kuando Kubango were visited in December for the Mid-Season Assessment, which is being coordinated by the WFP led Vulnerability Assessment Group . The assessment is taking place December 2000 - January 2001 and will serve as the basis for a predicted change in overall strategy. This change would include moving away from the current large scale food distributions, to a three fold plan including: (i) Emergency response via free distributions for newly arrived IDPs and returnees (ii) Emergency/recovery via safety nets and (iii) Recovery/rehabilitation via food for work. The results from the VA will be consolidated during the third and fourth weeks of January. Evaluation will be done at the municipal level to see to what extent the assumptions are valid.

(C) Sudan

(a) More than 3.2 million Sudanese are facing serious food and water shortages due to the combined effect of civil war and a widening drought. WFP is urgently asking donors to contribute to its appeal for USD 106 million in order to feed 2.5 million people in the country. This includes 1.3 million women and 460,000 children. WFP 2001 appeal is targeted to purchase 117,000 tons of food. This is almost double the number of people and tonnage that was needed in 2000.

(b) WFP is currently air-dropping food to people in the hardest hit regions of East Equatoria and Jonglei, as part of its 13-plane airbridge operation. The organisation expects that the regions of Northern Darfur and Northern Kordofan will also be severely affected.

(D) Burundi

(a) Christmas Day and Eid-el-Fitr were celebrated without major security incident in the capital Bujumbura. People also celebrated the advent of the year 2001 without incident, although rumours of possible attacks circulated in Bujumbura. Security forces were deployed and increased security measures including identity control were reinforced.

(b) During the past two weeks a serious ambush occurred at Muhweto area, between Muramvya and Bujumbura Rural provinces. The ambush caught three vehicles including a lorry and two buses. One of those buses was ensuring transport between Bujumbura and Kigali and was managed by a Rwandan transport company. Witnesses said the bus was shot at and stopped by assailants who demanded all the passengers to step out. All but four passengers were executed, including a voluntary worker from Britain and students from Canada and Europe. Another ambush occurred in the southern province of Bururi where five people were reported killed. Incursions of rebels continued to be reported in Rutana province and fifteen people were reported killed in the attack perpetrated in Bukemba commune.

(c) The Provincial Director of Agriculture and Livestock in Mwaro province announced that bad weather could possibly affect the crops in the province. Heavy rains mixed with hail in some areas provoked erosion and floods in valleys hence spoiling plants in fields. He also reported that fertilisers and pesticides were not sufficient in the province.

(d) A joint monitoring mission between the Government of Burundi, WFP and UNICEF was conducted in Muramvya and Mwaro provinces to monitor food availability. The mission found that food availability might be reduced due to bad precipitation. Concerning the nutritional situation, the mission found global malnutrition rate of 11.6 percent and 1.5 percent of severe malnutrition in Muramvya province. As for Mwaro province, the global malnutrition rate was estimated at 9 percent whereas the severe malnutrition rate was at 2 percent. These rates may, however, rise as food availability is not ensured in the future due to bad weather.

(e) A total of 168,440 beneficiaries in Kirundo province, who are victims of drought, were assisted by WFP during week 51. A total of 329 tons of food were distributed. In Bujumbura Rural 99 tons were distributed by implementing partners to a total of 20,121 beneficiaries. Due to security precautions and holiday season most partners did not carry out distribution through week 52.

(f) WFP authorised dispatch of 54 tons of food to 14 projects benefiting 4,576 people. WFP staff monitored seven of these projects assisting orphans, street children, chronically ill persons and physically handicapped people. The staff found that some of those projects were not regularly filling stock lists and provided necessary information and advice in line with WFP requirements.

(E) West Africa Coastal

(1) Guinea

(a) ECOWAS decided on 28 December to send 1,676 peacekeepers to the border region between Guinea and Sierra Leone, in order to halt the spreading of insurgency and to get relief to tens of thousands of endangered civilians. The troops will be deployed by mid-February.

(b) Hundreds of Sierra Leonean refugees, seeking passage home, continue to stream daily in crowded transit centres of Conakry. Nearly 2,400 refugees are presently at the centre. The UNHCR-chartered ship made its fifth trip to Freetown, bringing the total number of refugees who have been repatriated to 1,560. Thousands of refugees are emerging daily from the bush, north of the south-western town of Guekedou.

(c) The Government has given approval for 60,000 refugees north-west of Kissidougou. Two other sites, north and west of Faranah, will shelter up to 40,000 refugees.

(d) In the past week, WFP has carried out two assessment missions. The first one took place in Kankan, where additional staff were hired for registration and distribution to compensate for the lack of implementing partners on the ground. It is estimated that 15,000 displaced are present in Kankan, most of them IDPs. The second assessment took place in Faranah, where 18,500 people have been displaced (11,000 IDPs and 7,500 refugees).

(2) Sierra Leone

(a) The head of the UN peacekeeping mission UNAMSIL met rebel leaders to discuss the prospects for UN deployment in rebel controlled areas under the current ceasefire. He travelled to the central town of Magburaka with humanitarian officials to talk to the rebel leader.

(b) Sierra Leonean refugees displaced in south-east Guinea continue to be repatriated to Freetown. Some will be able to go back as returnees to their areas of origin, if safety allows. People who are from rebel controlled territory will, however, come back as IDPs and be reinstalled on temporary settlement in areas of relative safety. WFP and the humanitarian community continue to increase contingency measure to deal with the possible large influx of returning refugees.

(3) Liberia

(a) A UN panel recommended a total embargo on diamonds coming from Liberia. The panel also recommended that the UN Security Council consider an embargo on overseas missions by Liberian authorities and diplomats.

(b) Lofa and Nimba counties remain volatile due to cross-border incursions. WFP has emptied its warehouses in Nimba county and relocated its staff. In other counties, food distribution has been running smoothly.

(F) FYRo Macedonia

(a) The registration and verification exercise for Humanitarian Assisted Persons in FYRo Macedonia, dated 30 November 2000, shows a total of 9,060 refugees. 7,656 of these refugees were targeted with food assistance by WFP during the months of November/December.

(b) During the reporting period the November/December double distribution of food commodities to refugees accommodated with host families was completed. WFP will continue with double distribution for refugees living with host families, due to winter conditions.

(c) 11 tons of various food commodities were delivered to collective centres and 42 tons of various food commodities to MRC branches during the reporting period.

(G) West and Central Asia

(1) Afghanistan

(a) Following the new sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the ruling Taliban, WFP together with other UN agencies pulled out all international staff from the country by 19 December. The national staff in WFP's six sub-offices continued their daily activities during the absence of the international staff. Their reports indicated that the situation remained calm. No protests took place and no UN property or individuals were targeted. As a result, WFP international staff as well as other humanitarian workers are gradually returning to Afghanistan.

(b) The current grave humanitarian situation in Afghanistan shows no signs of easing-up. Large number of people are fleeing the drought and the renewed fighting. In the western province of Herat, the number of IDPs is increasing rapidly. The number of newly arrived in Maslagh Camp alone had gone up to 130 families per day in the first half of December. In Herat City 4,600 families arrived during the second half of December.

(c) A total of 60,000 tons of US-donated wheat arrived in Karachi on 3 December. About 40,000 tons are now stored in WFP warehouses in Peshawar and Quetta. Another 7,789 tons of wheat donated by Switzerland, the U.K., Germany and Ireland started to arrive in late December and are being sent to Faizabad. 15,000 tons of wheat are in transit through Iran.

(d) In response to the increased need, WFP Logistic Unit sends up to 1000 tons to Afghanistan every working day. The bakeries in Kabul were open throughout December providing bread to the most needy.

(e) To avert a humanitarian crisis, WFP proposed a new EMOP planned to start in April 2001 through March 2002. This operation requires over 170,000 tons of food to help 2.2 million people.

(2) Tajikistan

(a) So far, WFP has been unable to access more than 10,000 Afghan refugees stranded on two islands in a river straddling the Afghan Tajik borders. There are two camps located on different islands beyond the protection line of Russian border forces and the Afghan territory, hosting 9000 and 1026 persons respective. WFP has enough food stocks to feed those displaced Afghans, but access remains the main obstacle.

(b) By the end of December 2000, some 68,0000 vulnerable Tajiks in the southern Khatlon province had received a two-month food ration. This was part of the first large scale food distribution under a WFP EMOP to help more than one million Tajiks to cope with the severe drought.

(c) Distribution continues, but at a slower pace due to limited in country stocks. New food consignments are expected to arrive as early as the end of January. WFP reached an agreement with CARE for the distribution of food commodities in several districts of the Regions of Republican Subordination (RRS). CARE will cover 224,000 beneficiaries and the distributions will start upon arrival of new food consignments.

(d) A recently finalised agreement with the International Federation of the Red Cross will help provide food rations to 68,000 people in the northern Leninabad province and to 59,131 people in Kulyab area.

(e) As of January, 24 percent of the EMOP requirements (30,738 tons) have been met.

(3) Pakistan

(a) EMOP 6321 to help 60,000 newly arrived Afghan refugees was approved on 28 December. The new operation will bring more than 12,000 tons of food at a total cost of USD 4.87 million. WFP is already providing monthly food rations to about 57,000 refugees in two camps near Peshawar and under this new EMOP it plans to continue feeding them for up to another 12 months.

(b) A Taliban offensive in September displaced more than 70,000 civilians in the north-east Takhar Province, sending thousands of refugees into neighbouring Pakistan. According to UN estimates, during October and November up to sixty Afghan families entered Pakistan every day, most of them from the northern provinces of Takhar, Baghlan and Parwan. At least 10 percent of the newly arriving families are headed by women and cases of malnutrition among children have already been reported.

(c) The new EMOP has not received any funding yet but it will start immediately using food borrowed from WFP/Afghanistan and Pakistan that will be sufficient for three months.

(4) Iran

(a) There is an increasing concern over the influx of new Afghan refugees into Iran where, according to the Government of Iran (GoI), about 500 Afghan refugees enter Iran illegally every week. The refugee movement is also verified by the head of MSF in Iran. The GoI and MSF expect a sizeable influx because of the ongoing large migration of Afghans into Herat city near the borders with Iran. It is believed that Iran would be the next stop for some of the IDPs in Herat.

(b) Iranian media reported movement of people from drought stricken areas of Iran into the cities.

All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons

(End WFP Emergency Report No 01)