Ethiopia + 5 more

WFP Emergency Report No. 12 of 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
This report includes: A) Horn of Africa drought: Ethiopia and Eritrea B) Southern Africa floods: Mozambique and Madagascar (as Supplement) C) Angola D) Sierra Leone.
From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Advisor. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at or by e-mail from . For information on resources, donors are requested to contact or at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. Media queries should be directed to telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

(Details below in Part II)


1. Ethiopia drought update - information as of 20 March

a) Belg prospects bleak, with less than 25 percent of average rainfall in Belg producing areas; failed rains will increase number of people in need of food aid and will have negative impact on main Meher harvest.

b) Situation in Somali Region is of major concern; poor security situation prohibits updated assessment in the area. Priority needs remains water and health interventions.

c) US pledges 115,000 tons towards WFP emergency operation; this pledge, with Government of Ethiopia pledge of 100,000 tons and various NGO pledges mean that over 280,000 tons committed to date against total appeal for almost 890,000 tons; donors strongly urged to confirm pledges to avoid a break in the food pipeline in mid July.

2. Eritrea drought - information as of 24 March

a) Drought situation in Eritrea is being closely monitored; WFP EMOP for drought-affected populations to be finalized shortly.

b) Severe drought conditions have led to widespread crop failure in several areas in Northern Red Sea and Anseba Regions; 1999 harvest in general has been poor.

c) Joint Government/UN Needs Assessment survey took place in November and December 1999; findings showed that farmers in the affected Regions hit by two consecutive years of drought and extended dry spells from the end of April to the end of July 1999. Agro-pastoralists especially badly affected.

d) Border conflict has interrupted grain supply to the two Regions.

e) Findings of the joint assessment indicated that an estimated 211,750 beneficiaries will need assistance up to the end of December 2000.


1. Current details of Mozambique and Madagascar operations are attached in a supplement to this Emergency Report.

2. Mozambique highlights - 18 to 24 March

a) Government of Mozambique, in collaboration with UN, launches USD 100 million appeal for emergency relief and rehabilitation for the period March to August.

b) Renewed but mostly localized flooding continues; by 24 March river water levels in general decreasing, but most rivers remain above critical and alert levels.

c) Some 500,000 people currently being supplied with WFP food at over 100 distribution points; majority of drought-affected are in southern and central provinces.

d) People return to Chiacalane and Macia camps in Gaza after authorities issue alert about possible new flood wave in the Limpopo river. In Save area in Sofala, 950 families ferried by boat to higher location. Some displaced return home as water levels go down.

e) An average of 11,000 tons of food aid per month needed for the next three months, targeting 650,000 people. Donor contributions required for recent EMOP.

f) Deliveries of food and other basic items continue to be made by a combination of helicopter, aircraft, boat and trucks. Road access remains restricted. Over 2,600 tons of food delivered by WFP during the past week.

3. Madagascar highlights - information as of 28 March

a) WFP emergency operation for Madagascar (EMOP 6239) approved; under EMOP WFP is appealing for USD 5 million to provide emergency food rations to 129,000 people for four months (April-July) and to cover costs of Special Operation for logistics support.

b) Helicopter and airlift operations remain crucial to bring food to many towns and rural communities which were isolated because of floodwaters.

c) By 27 March WFP had delivered 300 tons of food aid to the most affected areas.


1. Update - information for the period 15 - 22 March

a) WFP passenger vehicle hits an antitank mine in Cuvelai; WFP staff member badly injured. Security situation in general remains tense and unpredictable.

b) In Bie, no lasting solution for Kuito airport foreseen until end of the rain season.

c) In Cunene province, the number of returnees from Namibia is increasing.

d) Uige: population displacement due to insecurity in Bungo, Mucaba, Songo and Uige.

e) Rail operations start; 612 tons maize transported by rail from Lubango to Matala.

f) No major contributions to the WFP PRRO have been received in the past two months. Confirmation of donor contributions required to avoid pipeline break in July.

g) UN Inter-Agency Mission on IDPs takes place.


1. Update - information as of 22 March

a) Donor conference for Sierra Leone scheduled to be held in London on 27 March; WFP is appealing for funds for current operation for Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme, for operation for refugees, IDPs and returnees and for special operations for logistics support.



1. ETHIOPIA DROUGHT UPDATE - information as of 20 March

1.1 Belg prospects remain bleak, with rainfall less than 25 percent of average in Belg producing areas. Monitoring of Belg areas is being prioritized by all agencies, with constant exchange of information. The coming week will be crucial, as planting is highly unlikely to take place beyond this time. Should the rains fail for this extended period, not only will significantly greater numbers of people be in need of food aid, but there will also be a negative impact on the main Meher harvest's long cycle, high yielding crops.

1.2 There is growing concern regarding the situation in Somali Region as conflicting information is reported, with the security situation prohibiting an up-to-date analysis of needs in the area. WFP held a meeting on 17 March with NGOs and UN agencies working in the area to try to compile a comprehensive picture of the actual situation on the ground. A one-day air/ground assessment of the situation by the country office is planned. Food distributions are on-going. The top priority remains appropriate water and health interventions. To this end, WFP is dispatching a 10,000 gallon bladder to the region and is seeking to purchase additional water storage tanks locally. In addition 2,000 sets of family cooking utensils have been dispatched to assist people in areas most in need.

1.3 The United States has pledged 115,000 tons against WFP's Emergency Operation (EMOP 6218). Given this pledge, the Government of Ethiopia pledge of 100,000 tons and miscellaneous NGO pledges, over 280,000 tons has been committed to date against the appeal for almost 890,000 tons, representing over 30 percent of requirements. While there is general confidence that this situation will improve as further indications of pledges are converted to firm commitments, the need for this to be done as soon as possible cannot be emphasized strongly enough, given the long lead time between confirmed pledges and actual arrivals in country.

1.4 While there continues to be concern regarding timely food aid supplies in the short and medium term, the situation has evolved over the past few weeks so that the immediate food pipeline outlook has improved. There is concern of a break in the pipeline in mid July unless additional pledges are received immediately. Once confirmation of pledges is received, further borrowings can be immediately activated from Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) and cereals mobilized internationally to ensure timely repayments.

1.5 Recent WFP action taken to increase food aid availability:

a) The accelerated international purchase of 15,000 tons is scheduled to arrive at Djibouti Port on March 22.

b) Given the desperate need for supplementary food in certain parts of the country, all options are being investigated to try to ensure that such resources are available for distribution as soon as possible, including diversions of CSB and high-energy biscuits from other WFP operations.

c) A loan agreement for 13,000 tons from WFP Development resources to meet needs in priority weredas (districts) has been sent to relevant government agencies for signature. In addition, 200 tons biscuits have also been borrowed from the School Feeding project in anticipation of a possible gap in supplementary food resources in Somali Region.

2. ERITREA DROUGHT - information as of 24 March

2.1 WFP is closely monitoring the drought situation in Eritrea, as it is in the rest of the region. A WFP emergency operation for drought-affected populations in Eritrea has been prepared and is expected to be finalized shortly.

2.2 The 1999 harvest in Eritrea has been poor due to severe drought conditions, which in several areas in Northern Red Sea and Anseba Regions led to widespread crop failure.

2.3 Given reports of increased food insecurity, food economy assessments were undertaken in these areas as part of the joint Government/UN Needs Assessment survey in November and December 1999. The assessment findings indicated that with poor winter rains, farmers planted less land than usual and the crops failed. It was reported that farmers had been hit by two consecutive years of drought and extended dry spells from the end of April to the end of July 1999. This adversely affected planting, crop growth and yields.

2.4 The two years with no rainfall in the Northern Red Sea and Anseba Regions, which are transitory food insecure areas, have taken its toll on the population. The Assessments reported a migration of families moving to other areas in search of food and employment, and increasing sales of livestock. In many cases, however, people no longer have any livestock to sell. Exceptionally dry conditions affect not only crop production but also milk yields, resulting in less milk available for storage as butter during the coming year. This has also lead to a higher than average demand for grains. Hence drought-affected agro-pastoralists whose livelihoods and survival revolve around the possession of livestock (mainly goats) will have a very difficult food situation in 2000. Households increasingly rely on sale of livestock to purchase grains to meet their food needs.

2.5 The grains consumed in these two regions are usually supplied from other regions including Gash-Barka and Debub. However, in 1999 there was a reduction in grain production because tens of thousands of farmers fled and abandoned their farms due to the border conflict with Ethiopia. Consequently, grain is in short supply and grain prices have increased far beyond the reach of most households. The population in the drought-affected areas has also been negatively affected by the loss of cross border trade because of the ongoing border conflict. In addition, migrant labourers no longer have access to seasonal employment opportunities in Debub and Gash-Barka, the traditional grain surplus producing areas in Eritrea, because of large scale displacement and decrease in farming activities.

2.6 Relief food assistance will be needed in the areas identified as most affected by crop failure and drought in accordance with the findings of the Joint UN/Government Needs Assessment survey. An estimated 211,750 beneficiaries are targeted for assistance up to the end of December 2000 when the next crop harvest occurs. These are mostly subsistence and asset-poor peasant farmers, with limited access to low productive land, with no employable skills, and with insufficient purchasing power to secure their food needs.



1.1 Current details of Mozambique and Madagascar operations are attached in a supplement to this Emergency Report.


1. UPDATE - information for the period 15 - 22 March

1.1 The security situation remains tense and unpredictable. On 18 March, a WFP car transporting WFP staff and a MINARS delegate supporting food distribution to displaced people in Cuvelai (Cunene Province) hit an antitank mine. The car was equipped with a ballistic blanket, which is thought to have reduced the impact of the detonation substantially. However, the driver, Benjamin Liberdade, a WFP national staff, was severely injured and lost his legs in the accident. A UNDP/WFP security mission is presently making investigations. At the end of February, a Security Assessment Mission had confirmed that the security situation had improved and that humanitarian aid could resume in this newly opened area of Cunene Province.

1.2 Bie province: The runway at Kuito airport will not be repaired until the end of the rain season; WFP Air Operations Officers visited Kuito airport authorities to try and find a solution to the problems caused by the poor condition of the runway. The Government will only repair the tarmac at the end of the rain season in May as any material used now would immediately be washed away by the rains. At present, holes are filled in as they appear, which will cause yet further closures of the airport. WFP is therefore looking for alternative options to complete the March delivery plan. The main road Huambo-Kuito was reopened and WFP is assessing the possibility of using the corridor for convoys.

1.3 In Huambo, an attack in N'gove Municipality on 16 March caused large movements of populations towards Caala. WFP is assessing the situation and preparing contingency plans to support further IDPs.

1.4 Cunene province:

a) WFP food distribution started in Cuvelai where WFP and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) carried out the registration of new IDPs on 14-17 March. The distribution started on 18 March, but were ended by the mine accident.

b) Returnees from Rundu (Namibia) and areas in Kuando Kubango formerly controlled by UNITA have been arriving in Ondjiva Municipality, through Santa Clara on the Angolan/Namibian border. In the first two weeks of March, more than 600 people have arrived in Ondjiva Municipality. They are presently being registered by MINARS. WFP has been requested by the Government to assist those populations pending their repatriation to their areas of origin. A joint mission composed of WFP and MINARS visited locations where the influx has been received. WFP will temporarily assist the returnees with food until the Government arranges their return to their areas of origin.

1.5 Uige province:

a) Considerable population displaced due to insecurity has been reporting in Bungo, Mucaba, Songo and Uige. Attacks in the area may affect roads in the area, until now accessible to humanitarian staff. Travel outside the city of Uige is now considered dangerous and travel between Negage and Uige is being discouraged.

b) MSF/Spain has opened another feeding centre in Uige to relieve the congestion in the old feeding centre. According to the NGO, there are notable improvements amongst children who have attended the selective feeding programme and there is now need to harmonize the feeding programme efforts with an improved targeting strategy.

1.6 Zaire province: There have been reports from M'banza Congo of sporadic attacks from armed groups in surrounding villages. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reports that 1,481 returnees from DR Congo arrived during the month of February and 739 arrived in the first half of March. More returnees are expected.

1.7 Resourcing situation/food pipeline: No major contributions to the PRRO have been received in the past two months. Confirmations of large contributions are required as a matter of urgency to avert a break in the pipeline as of July. Resourcing of PRRO 6159.00 rests currently at USD 66 million (figures updated 28 March) against the USD 158.4 million requested, or 41 percent of the total requirements. Resourcing of Special Operation (SO) 5857.01 rests at USD 574,000 against the USD 1.99 million requested, or 29 percent of the total requirements. Resourcing of SO 5970.01 rests at USD 574,000 against the USD 1.5 million requested, or 37 percent of the total requirements. The only contributor to the Special Operations so far has been Sweden.

1.8 Logistics/delivery summary: From 12-19 March, WFP Angola delivered a total of 1,758 tons of food aid and 483 tons of non-food items by air. Repairs on the Kuito Kuanavale airstrip are underway, which will facilitate WFP's delivery of food and non-food items from Menongue. During the same period, WFP transported 144 tons of food by road. For the first time, movement has been effected from Lubango to Matala by rail, and WFP transported 612 tons of maize by this means.

1.9 Missions

a) A UN Inter-Agency Mission, headed by Ms. Carolyn McAskie, Deputy Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, is visiting Angola from 18 to 23 March to analyze and evaluate the existing humanitarian assistance and coordination mechanisms for the protection of IDPs. The difficulties in accessing IDPs and the impact on the coordination and planning of humanitarian assistance operations are also being assessed. The Mission made field trips to Huambo, Kuito, Uige and Negage and visited locations with a high concentration of IDPs.

b) Pre-mission activities started on 15 March in preparation of the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to be held mid-April.


1. UPDATE - information as of 22 March

1.1 The WFP Representative and Country Director and the Government of Sierra Leone, represented by the Minister of Development and Economic Planning signed the Letters of Understanding for WFP emergency operations (EMOP 6187) for food assistance for the Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Programme and the protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO 4604.07) for targeted food assistance for relief and recovery of refugees, internally displaced persons and returning refugees, at an official ceremony on 21 of March. At a donor conference for Sierra Leone to be held in London on 27 March, WFP Sierra Leone will appeal for funds for the two operations and for special operations for logistics support.

1.2 WFP carried out targeted feeding programmes in Bombali and Tonkolili districts in northern Sierra Leone, within the RUFP-controlled areas. Various Emergency School Feeding programmes were initiated between the 15 to 18 March 2000. In collaboration with Caritas-Makeni food aid is being distributed to schools in Lunsar and Makeni.

1.3 The Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Affairs, Mr. Bernard Miyet visited Sierra Leone this week, where he urged the deployment of UNAMSIL forces in all areas of the country in order to increase the accessibility of the humanitarian community to all regions and populations of Sierra Leone.

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

(End WFP Emergency Report No. 12 of 2000 - March 24, 2000)