WFP Emergency Report No. 52 of 2003 / No. 1 of 2004
This report includes:
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iran, (2)
B) Afghanistan East and Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) DRC, (3) Eritrea, (4) Ethiopia, 5) Rwanda, (6) Sudan, (7) Tanzania, (8) Uganda
C) West Africa: (1) Liberia, (2) Guinea, (3) Cote d'Ivoire, (4) Chad, (5)
D) Central African Republic Southern Africa: (1) Regional, (2) Angola, (3) Lesotho, (4) Madagascar, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Namibia, (8) Tanzania, (9) Zambia, (10) Zimbabwe
E) Asia: (1) Myanmar, (2) DPRK
F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) Dominican Republic, (4) Guatemala, (5) Haiti
G) Eastern Europe: (1) Azerbaijan
From David Morton, Director of the Transport, Preparedness and Response Division (OTP); available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Carlo.Scaramella@wfp.org, Chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (OEP).
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 Brenda.Barton@wfp.org, telephone +39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
A) Middle East and Central Asia: (1) Iran (2) Afghanistan
(a) On Friday 26 December 2003 at 0528 local time (0158 GMT), an earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck Kerman province, in the Southeastern region of Iran. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the vicinity of the historic city of Bam, 180 km away from the capital of the province Kerman and about 1000 Km southeast of Tehran. The entire population of city of Bam and surrounding villages, estimated around 120'000 is affected. According to the Ministry of Interior the number of casualties is estimated to 34 000, with at least 30 000 injured, and 100,000 homeless.
(b) The Disaster Task Force under the Ministry of Interior coordinates the operation, whereas the provincial authorities have established coordination offices in Kerman and Bam.
(c) The first meeting of the UN Disaster Management team was held on Friday 26 December 2003. The first report of the UN assessment team was circulated indicating 120,000 people in need of food aid
(d) WFP Country Director, under his delegated authority, approved an emergency operation for a value of US $ 200 000 for 144 mt of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to cover part of the food requirements of 120 000 people affected by the earthquake: 35 mt of HEB have arrived from Brindisi (Italy) on 30 December at Kerman Airport, from where it is moved to BAM and distributed by Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS). The other 109 MT of HEB, donated by India, were dispatched January to Kerman from the port of Bandar Abbas. Distribution has already started.
(e) In addition, WFP has offered to IRCS to immediately make available wheatflour, rice, vegetable oil, beans and sugar from existing stocks in the country. Wheatflour and oil could cover the needs for three months, whereas the other commodities for 1-2 months.
(f) WFP CO will participate in a UN Interagency Assessment mission (3-5 January), to the affected area to assess the assistance required. Following the official request by the Government of Iran, UN agencies in Iran are preparing a joint Flash appeal, to be launched by the UN ERC, Mr Jan Egeland in Teheran on 8 Jan 04. The appeal will cover a period of three months. WFP CO is planning a medium term response emergency operation to assist about 100,000 people in need of food aid during a period of three to six months.
(g) WFP Country Director has requested to use a UNHAS (UN Humanitarian Air Service) aircraft now at Amman temporarily for Iran emergency operation, to facilitate transport of UN staff, NGOs relief workers and donor representatives from Tehran to Kerman and Bam. Negotiations have started with Iranian Authorities for the use of this aircraft, while administrative and logistic preparations are being undertaken.
(h) The erection of 3 tent camps has started in the outskirts of Bam, and most vulnerable people identified by IRCS are being moved there. Three more permanent camps are planned for mid and long-term rehabilitation.
(i) WFP is planning to join other UN Agencies at the UN campsite in BAM to be established this week. Accommodation for foreign relief workers at Bam is overstretched. The number of beds, even provisional ones is absolutely insufficient.
(j) An aircraft with 4 mobile storage tents with a storage capacity of 300-400 Mt coming from Brindisi were redirected to Tehran airport, as a result of congestion at Kerman airport. This airlift is a donation of TPG, undertaken by its subsidiary TNT. IRCS will arrange for forwarding to Bam by C130 aircraft. They will ease storage constraints in Bam and Kerman.
(k) The international community has responded generously to the request for assistance: assistance from 36 bilateral donors, including USA, 6 major international NGOs and 7 UN Agencies has been provided up to now, for a total value of US $ 74.8 m (source: OCHA financial tracking. 03 Jan 2004).
(l) UNDAC team expected to leave on 5 Jan to be replaced by more permanent UN staff.
(m) The CO has been in touch with some donor representatives with the request for directed multilateral contributions. Apart from WFP's regular donors to its operations in Iran, such as Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Australia, France and Germany, other donor countries will also be contacted such as Denmark, Norway, South Korea, USA, Netherlands, Italy and Ireland.
(n) The Government of Iran has allocated $ 425 million for relief operations and in credit and banking facilities for the reconstruction of Bam, which should take place immediately. The Iranian banking system in general envisages to give $ 82.5m in credit to build 10,000 houses and farms in Bam.
(o) The emergency operation is coordinated by the Disaster Task Force under the Ministry of Interior, whereas the provincial authorities have established coordination offices in Kerman and Bam.
(p) The international community has responded generously to the request for assistance: assistance from 36 bilateral donors, including USA, 6 major international NGOs and 7 UN Agencies has been provided up to now, for a total value of US $ 74.8 m (source: OCHA financial tracking. 03 Jan 2004).
(q) The CO has been in touch with some donor representatives with the request for directed multilateral contributions. Apart from WFP's regular donors to its operations in Iran, such as Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Australia, France and Germany, other donor countries will also be contacted such as Denmark, Norway, South Korea, USA, Netherlands, Italy and Ireland. The Government of India has authorized the diversion of 600 Mt of fortified biscuits meant for Afghanistan. 104 Mt will be immediately available from stocks in Bandar-Abbas port.
(a) In the north of the country, heavy weapons withdrawal continues with more than 400 weapons collected so far. UN operations in Sangcharak district in Saripul province remain suspended. In the northeast, due to heavy snow and ice on the runway, airports in Kunduz and Fayz Abad were closed. In the east, UN missions to Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces remained suspended.
(b) In the south, UN missions to Kandahar, Hilmand, Zabul and Nimroz provinces also remained suspended, with the exception of a few districts where missions were cleared with armed escorts. UN missions throughout the southeastern region were suspended.
(c) In the west, the WFP Hirat Area Office was robbed at late night on 21 December with some US$156,000 stolen. The armed robbers escaped with a WFP vehicle, which was later returned by the police. UN missions to Bakwa district in Farah province and on Shindand Dilaram highway were suspended. In Ghor province, movement was restricted due to snow and bad road conditions.
(d) On 21 December, two rockets exploded in Kabul city with minor damage. On 25 December, an improvised explosive device exploded near the wall of a UN guesthouse in Kabul city. The staff staying in the guesthouse were moved to another location. An explosion took place near the entrance of the Kabul airport on 28 December, killing five policemen and the suspect.
(e) During the reporting period, 803,261 beneficiaries received 9,739 MT of food.
(f) 2,786 MT of food commodities were dispatched from external logistics hubs to extended delivery points inside Afghanistan, including 123 MT of vegetable oil and 121 MT of lentils from Peshawar to Jalal Abad; 300 MT of wheat flour, 101 MT of chick peas and 152 MT of wheat from Peshawar to Kabul; 854 MT of wheat, 176 MT of wheat flour and 490 MT of wheat-soya blend and 50 MT of sugar from Quetta to Kandahar; 105 MT of vegetable oil from Quetta to Hirat; and 364 MT of wheat from Kurgan Tyube in Tajikistan to Kunduz.1,277 MT of wheat-soya blend were dispatched from Port Qasim to Quetta and 70 MT to Peshawar. 129 MT of vegetable oil and 988 MT of sugar arrived in Port Qasim.
(g) The Ministry of Health and WFP signed an interim agreement on 17 December to commence wheat flour fortification in ten mills in Kabul city in January 2004. The activity will eventually be expanded to other provinces, starting from Badakhshan.
(h) The preliminary findings of 2003's countrywide Government/UN/NGO and Donor National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA), indicate an improvement of the food security of Afghanistan's rural population. At the same time, however, out of an estimated 16 million rural Afghans, 3.2 million will not be able to meet 80 percent of their minimum food requirements and will be the main focus of cash-based national programmes such as the National Emergency Employment Program (NEEP) and WFP's food assistance interventions. More detailed analyses of the NRVA data will be available by mid-February, 2004.
(i) In Kabul, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and WFP met to identify interventions to address the needs of internally displaced persons living in open areas in Kabul city during winter.
(j) In support of a joint response by local authorities of Hirat and Farah, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations, WFP Afghanistan will provide food assistance and transport facilities to Afghans who survived the devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran and have started returning to Afghanistan to bury their lost family members (see Iran, above).
(k) WFP has pre-positioned enough to give 3,000 people a three-month ration. Part of the food has already been dispatched to assist some 700 families. In addition, in agreement with the Government of India, some 109 MT of Indian donated biscuits, intended for WFP's school feeding programme in Afghanistan, were diverted to Iran.
B) East And Central Africa: (1) Burundi, (2) DRC, (3) Eritrea, (4) Ethiopia, 5) Rwanda, (6) Sudan, (7) Tanzania, (8) Uganda
(a) The CO began an intensive analysis of the field data collected during the Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, jointly conducted by WFP, FAO, UNICEF and the Government.
(b) During the last week of December, the Country Office distributed 860 Mt of food to 72,601 beneficiaries through different food aid activities.
(c) The total quantity of food received in the country was 793 Mt of cereals, oil and UNIMIX. The CO and the Regional Bureau are vigorously pursuing the purchase and delivery of cereals procured regionally, in order to cover current requirements. A pipeline break with cereals is anticipated in January.
(d) Although many provinces remained relatively calm during last week, the areas around the capital were still unsafe.
(a) PRRO 6274.0 terminated on 31/12/03. As of 1st January 2004, remaining stocks will be transferred to PRRO 10288 which will be implemented until 31st December 2005. In addition to activities carried out during the past three years, WFP will start projects that include HIV/AIDS, DDRR and emergency school feeding.
(b) During the reporting period, WFP delivered 1,512 MT of food commodities for about 270,500 beneficiaries, of whom IDPs, returnees and malnourished children.
(a) The effects of the dry season are already beginning to be felt in the Debub, Gash Barka and Anseba regions. Water shortages are expected to be an increasingly serious problem in these areas over the coming months. In Debub, insufficient rainfall has left dams nearly empty and wells are already drying up in many parts of the region. In Anseba, many areas are already experiencing severe water shortages. For example, in Shegali in the Asmat sub zone, some residents have begun to migrate due to lack of water in the area. Others are walking up to 18km to fetch water.
(b) On 23rd December 2003, a Ministry of Education official was killed during an ambush in the Adobha sub zone of the Northern Red Sea region. This is the second ambush in the area during the last five months. UNSECOORD has renewed its Phase III security designation for areas north of Afabet in Northern Red Sea, introduced two months ago, and has now also placed additional northern sections of the Anseba region under Phase III.
(c) Overall confirmed pledges for the drought Emergency Operation (EMOP 10261.0) amount to approximately 99,329 MT of mixed commodities (76% of the total requirements). A total of 48,691 MT of mixed commodities, representing 62% of the total needs, has been resourced for the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO 10192). Further indications for possible contribution for EMOP 10261.0 have been received from the USA and the EC. Resourcing the remaining commodities for both operations is of critical importance to WFP that is increasingly concerned about the resourcing situation for 2004. At present WFP is the only organization in the country with a food pipeline. Given its current carryover and the lack of additional pledges, a pipeline break for all commodities is expected by March 2004. Food aid pledges for 2004 are an urgent priority in order to avoid continued widespread malnutrition in Eritrea.
(a) Relative calm is reported in the areas of Gambella Region recently hit by civil disorder following the ambush and death of eight highlanders, (Ethiopians originating from outside Gambella), near Gambella town on 13 December 2003. Highlanders, in retaliation to the attack, burned Anuak homes in Gambella and a number of people were killed. Official sources put the number of dead at 58 while unconfirmed reports put the number between 100 and 150 people, mostly Anuaks. Banks, shops, schools, government offices, and many other facilities were closed for several days. Ethiopian Airlines flight services were discontinued for a few days, however, have now resumed their normal schedules. Clashes between highlanders and Anuaks spread to other parts of the Gambella Region including Fugnido town that hosts about 32,000 Sudanese refugees.
(b) Most UN staff, including WFP staff, working in Gambella Region has been relocated. NGOs have also temporarily moved their staff out of the region. After the arrival of Federal Police and the army soon after the clashes erupted, the situation in Gambella town and Fugnido came gradually under control although there are unconfirmed reports of fighting still going on some pocket areas of the Region. Life in Gambella town is now slowly returning to normal as closed facilities and services have reopened/resumed over the last two weeks. Anuaks (mostly women and children) who fled Gambella town earlier are returning gradually. In what appears to be a reconciliatory move, some members of the army and highlanders are reportedly rebuilding burnt-out Anuak tukuls in Gambella town. January food rations for Fugnido and Bonga refugee camps have been sent by WFP, and some of the food has already reached the camps; after reaching Gambella town, trucks with food aid are travelling in convoys escorted by the military to Fugnido camp.
(c) The Joint Government/NGO/UN assessment of Somali Region has been completed and results are being finalized. While the October to December "deyr" rains were very delayed in most of the southern parts of the region, rain in late November and then in early December eased the water and pasture situation somewhat even in the worst-affected zones of the region. However many people remain vulnerable and in need of food aid due to the impact of several years of drought and livestock losses. Fuller details will be available after the assessment team has debriefed with the federal Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission. Approximately one million people required assistance in Somali Region in December.
(d) January food aid needs for the whole country, for 2.6 million beneficiaries (including 1 million in Somali Region), total 52,300 tons (cereals 39,400 tons, blended food 7,800 tons, pulses 4,000 tons and vegetable oil 1,200 tons). All requirements are covered by food stocks currently available in-country.
(a) The Ministry of Agriculture, FAO, WFP and FEWSnet conducted a crop and food needs assessment mission between 16th and 27th of December 2003 in various parts of the country, including the Bugesera region and the Umutara and Kibungo provinces. Preliminary findings confirm poor harvests in the Bugesera region, with a complete crop failure in several sectors. The harvest in Umutara appears to be better than expected, with only six sectors experiencing serious food shortages. Late rains and the general lack of manure and other agricultural inputs have led to poor harvests in Kibungo and in Gikongoro, households continue to suffer from chronic food insecurity. WFP continues to prioritize and implement food-for-work activities in the affected regions, along with its existing portfolio of activities including support to nutrition centers, school feeding and HIV/AIDS programmes. The mission's findings and report are currently under discussion between the Government and partners. The first draft is scheduled to be released on the 15th of January 2004.
(a) The continued fighting in South and West Darfur in the western parts of Sudan resulted in cease of humanitarian activities despite the government's requests for humanitarian agencies to resume emergency operations. WFP staff relocated from Genina, are still relocated in Nyala town. However, during the last week of December WFP distributed a one-week food ration of 3 MT to 827 new IDPs (248 male and 579 female) in Nyala town. The situation in North Darfur is also tense and the nutritional status of IDPs especially children, is expected to deteriorate due to impeded humanitarian access since November 2003.
(a) The Tanzania drought EMOP 10313.0 began on 1 December 2003. It is currently 53% funded.
(b) Since just over half of the operation is funded, WFP through a Government led Food Security Information Unit have prioritized the allocation of food to 10 regions based on a selection criteria of having unimodal rainfall and a high percentage of food insecure households. The EMOP is aimed at supporting these communities with a two-month food ration during their cultivation period.
(c) At the national level, the Government reported poor performance on the short rains, which in turns means that food supply, is reduced also in bimodal areas. The long rains are just starting now and are reportedly good but it is too early to assess performance for the whole season.
(a) The security situation in northern Uganda was relatively calm over the past two weeks, although Awere IDP camp (83 km from Gulu town) and Lalogi IDP camp (58 km east of Gulu town) were attacked by the LRA rebels on 28th of December 2003. An estimated 300 people abducted by the rebels and were later rescued by the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) during the same period
(b) WFP food assistance continues to reach 1,397,000 IDPS, 154,000 refugees, 300,000 displaced or conflict-affected school children and 100,000 vulnerable persons under PRRO 10121.0. From 15th to 21st December 2003, WFP distributed 4,126 tons of food to 384,145 IDPs in 11 camps in northern Uganda and refugee settlements in the west Nile region.
(c) In the eastern Teso sub-region, WFP completed distribution of relief food to 18,315 IDPs in Kumi district on 15 December 2003, 100,000 displaced persons in Soroti district, 145,728 displaced persons in Kaberamaido district and 160,000 IDPs is Katakwi district. Distributions in all locations resumed in the first week of January 2004.
(d) WFP is entering data for analysis of the revised WFP Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) methodology.
C) West Africa: (1) Liberia, (2) Guinea, (3) Cote d' Ivoire, (4) Chad, (5) Central African Republic
(a) For the month of January 2004, WFP Liberia has planned to target 416,199 beneficiaries of various programme activities with about 5,863 MT of assorted food items. However, these figures are expected to increase with the submission by UNICEF of the caseload for the Interim Care Centres as part of the DDRR process. Food distribution begins on January 5, 2004.
(a) Presidential Elections were held as planned on 21 December. The situation was reported as calm country wise throughout the election campaign period. Election results were announced the evening of December 24 when the President Lansana Conté was declared the winner and to serve a third term in office.
(b) During the period 15-28 December, 56,878 beneficiaries received 475 MT of food; only one general distribution and two special distributions took place in December 2003. Distributions of up to 45 days were made at the beginning of December as a precaution against possible disturbances arising from possible tensions during the election and holiday periods.
3) Côte d'Ivoire
(a) During the period 24 - 30 December 2003, 153 MT of various food commodities were distributed to about 20,721 beneficiaries.
(b) Burkinabe continue to arrive at the transit camp in Guiglo. Over one hundred have arrived in the last week. Many recent arrivals are from the village of Troya, in the sub-prefecture of Blolequin, which was until recently one of the last villages in the area in which Burkinabe were still living.
(c) Populations that have returned to Bin Houye and Zouan Houye report that their harvest for December and January is almost a total failure. Only 10 percent of seeds have germinated but with no significant harvest expected (the seeds were intended for river planting, not swamp planting). Food assistance may be needed until the nest harvest.
(a) According to UNHCR, a new influx of Sudanese refugees in Chad was observed during December 2003. Reportedly the influx is due to increased interethnic violence and bombing in Southeastern Sudan. M. Kamel Morjane, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner visited Sudanese refugee sites and held talks with high level government officials and UN heads of agencies, including the WFP Representative.
(b) No general distributions took place during the reporting period because of increased insecurity in and inaccessibility of some areas. Commodities pre-positioned in EDPs will therefore cover requirements until the end of the current year. During the period under review, 0,255 metric tons of vegetable oil and CSB were distributed by MSF-Holland (MSF-H) to 100 malnourished children under the complementary feeding component.
(c) Equipment from Brindisi, funded by TPG/TNT, including two entirely equipped four-wheel drives, four prefabricated warehouses, rub halls, depot equipment and several medical kits were received in N'djamena in December 2003.
5) Central African Republic (CAR)
(a) The former Prime Minister Abel NGOUMBA was appointed Vice President, a newly created position. The new Government is headed by Prime Minister Celestin GAOMBALET. In Bangui, from 10 December several incidents have occurred between different military groups. The President's security officer and his brother were arrested on 23 December 2003, accused for illegal possession of war arms. In the provinces, road bandits are still active. Several in-country transporters of WFP commodities have started hiring military escorts.
(b) During December 2003, 15.854 tonnes of foodstuffs were distributed in Bangui, under PRRO 1O189.00 "Food Assistance to the populations affected by armed conflict, including 1,919 returnees from Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon (a 3-month ration for each returnee to facilitate their reinstallation). Distribution activities have continued in the North and the East during this period.
(c) Public Schools and Kindergartens were provided with foodstuffs for emergency school feeding among children of reinstalled persons in Kemo: 8,160 persons received 67.927 metric tonnes of foodstuffs; Bossangoa area: 9, 950 returnees were provided with 87.062 metric tonnes of commodities; Kaga-Bandoro area: 3,937 reinstalled people benefited from 42.856 metric tonnes of foodstuffs; Batangafo-Kabo area: 6,155 individuals received 47.650 tonnes of commodities; In Bambari area, distributions were carried out by a religious NGO (Caritas) to HIV/AIDS affected persons. In the same area 1,500 HIV/AIDS affected people were provided with 59.210 metric tonnes of foodstuffs.
D) SOUTHERN AFRICA (1) Regional, (2) Angola, (3) Lesotho, (4) Madagascar, (5) Malawi, (6) Mozambique, (7) Namibia, (8) Tanzania, (9) Zambia, (10) Zimbabwe
(a) WFP's Regional Emergency Operation in southern Africa faces serious pipeline disruptions that are affecting over 6.5 million people. As of 02 January, projections reveal critical shortfalls of all commodities through June 2004. Donations are urgently required in order to prevent continuous disruptions in food distributions at a crucial time before the April - May harvest.
(b) Two-month rainfall totals for November and December are 40 to 80 percent of normal across much of eastern South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, eastern Zimbabwe and a large portion of central and southern Mozambique. Temperatures in many areas have been above normal, increasing evaporation rates and raising concerns over main season agriculture and reduced water supplies. The drought has resulted in severely degraded pastures, very low stream flows and reservoir levels, and greatly reduced soil moisture content.
(a) Due to delayed and damaged cereal shipments, the pipeline situation remains unchanged and a 50 percent cereal ration is being distributed for all activities, with the exception of nutritional and social programmes, which are receiving 100 percent.
(b) On 19 December, an anti-tank mine was detected in Huambo Province, between Bailundo and Luvemba roads. The road was immediately closed for humanitarian assistance affecting over 24,000 WFP beneficiaries and projects in Bimbe, Luvemba, Lunge and Hengue Localities. The detection of anti-tank mines has also affected WFP distributions for 10,000 people in Catchiungo.
(c) UNHCR's organized repatriation exercise for Angolan refugees is currently suspended in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia due to the rainy season. The repatriation programme will continue in February 2004.
(a) From 17 to 29 December, WFP distributed 1,591 tons of food to over 102,225 beneficiaries through supplementary feeding programmes in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and mother-child health clinics, vulnerable group, school feeding and food for work projects.
(b) The summer planting of legumes has not been successful due to ongoing drought conditions and resulting soil moisture loss. Lack of rains will also affect winter crops and a poor harvest is expected. In order to lesson the impact of the drought, the Government is making plans to divert small rivers to fields for irrigation in the foothills and lowlands.
(a) From 17 to 30 December, WFP and implementing partners distributed food to 6,694 food for work participants in the drought-affected areas of the south.
(b) Prices of basic food commodities, in particular maize and rice continue to rise. As a result of recent rainfall, some rural roads are currently inaccessible making replenishment of food stocks difficult. Prices are expected to rise further in the coming weeks due to a poor December harvest.
(c) WFP is conducting a rapid harvest assessment in the 18 vulnerable communities in the south. Preliminary findings indicate that maize planted in October is not progressing well. In the absence of significant rains in the coming weeks, April harvest prospects for the southern region will be seriously affected.
(a) From 18 to 24 December, WFP distributed over 1,900 tons of food in collaboration with implementing partners.
(b) WFP field reports from the Blantyre sub-office indicate that the food security situation in Thyolo, Mbawela and Thukuta is deteriorating with food insecurity affecting from 58 to 70 percent of farming households. A lack of food at Government depots has resulted in increased maize prices.
(a) The November food security monitoring exercise, undertaken by the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC), has reconfirmed the need for emergency food assistance for 659,000 people until the next harvest. As a result of less than 50 percent of normal rainfall during November and December, the VAC is closely monitoring rainy season developments, which are critical factors towards the performance of already planted crops and the resulting food security outlook.
(a) Subsequent to the Government's emergency appeal for assistance, and in response to the findings of a WFP, UNICEF and WHO assessment mission, WFP is formulating a six-month Emergency Operation, which will target orphans and vulnerable children in drought-affected areas in Namibia. The EMOP will compliment the Government's drought assistance programme.
(a) In addition to WFP food distributions for the drought-affected areas, the Government has released 15,938 tons of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve for distribution to 58 districts considered to be food insecure. Food shortages are also affecting school attendance and WFP is providing hot meals to vulnerable school children.
(a) From 16 to 29 December, WFP and implementing partners distributed 2,186 tons of food. WFP's urban intervention programme is currently targeting 59,025 vulnerable orphans and children and 22,790 caretaker households. WFP has a presence in over 170 community schools and centres for drop-in children in Lusaka, Kafue and Chongwe Districts. Over 19,000 school children are also being targeted in 50 schools in WFP's school feeding programme.
(a) WFP's cereal supply remains critical and for the second consecutive month, beneficiaries will receive reduced rations in January. Stocks of pulses and vegetable oil are also insufficient to meet requirements and urgent pledges are required to avert further reductions. The pipeline constraints come at a critical period when the majority of people are running out of the little harvested last season. The crucial period lasts from January through to April when harvesting begins. WFP remains the main source of food for the majority of people in need of food assistance.
(b) The food security situation throughout the country continues to deteriorate as witnessed by the rise in numbers of people turning to WFP for assistance. Cases of child labour are on the increase in Manicaland as people exhaust all possible coping mechanisms.
(c) Most parts of the country have so far received insignificant rainfall. The planting season is almost midway through but the shortage of inputs coupled by high prices, which are beyond the reach of many, have dampened hopes of a good harvest. In some districts, drinking water is now difficult to find, as rivers run dry making it impossible to have vegetable gardens.
E) Asia: 1) Myanmar 2) DPRK:
(a) In Northern Rakhine State (NRS), the market price of rice increased by 20% after the last week's government announcement to stop rice subsidy to government employees effective from January 2004. So far, the government had been supplying 25 kgs of rice/ employee/month at the rate of 1,250 Kyat (eq. US$ 1.5) where as the market price was double than the government subsidized price. The government will now pay 5,000 Kyat/ month to each employer as a compensation. This announcement came as a follow-up to the government's new policy to liberalise rice trading in the country.
(b) Under PRRO 10066.1, food distribution in NRS for the month of December is completed. 832 tons of Rice was distributed among 105,040 beneficiaries for various activities, such as, returnees, vulnerable feeding, school feeding for girls and food-for training during this month.
(c) Food distribution for ex-poppy farmers in the Kokang region under EMOP 10307.0 is completed. About 180 tons of rice was distributed, through NGO partners (ADRA, CARE and World Vision), to carry out rural infrastructure activities through food-for-work. As this EMOP has completed this month, WFP conducted a rapid foods needs assessment together with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to continue emergency food assistance in Kokang, Wa and other regions of the northern Shan State.
(d) WFP staff in Megway Division conducted training for volunteers dealing with HIV/AIDS community home based care project. WFP plans to distribute food commodities namely, rice, vegetable oil and pulses to 400 households effected by HIV/AIDS and other chronically ill persons in January in dry zone region.
(e) Under EMOP 10141, cereal rations for about 2.7 million beneficiaries are stalled (January), including some core beneficiary groups such as nursery children and pregnant and nursing women on the West Coast, and primary school children country-wide. With the arrival of wheat in late January cereal distributions to all core-beneficiaries will resume, but a new shortfall will set in by late March unless new pledges are immediately confirmed
(f) New pledges of about 176,000 tons of food are needed for the coming six months, including approximately 147,000 tons of cereals. This does not include recently announced contributions of 70,000 tons of mixed commodities.
(g) A steady increase in pneumonia cases among children has been observed in hospitals over the last months, due to the cold weather and the insufficient heating in homes and child institutions. Many hospitals also have limited heating, deterring sick people from seeking treatment.
F) Latin America and the Caribbean: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) Dominican Republic, (4) Guatemala, (5) Haiti
(a) Rainfall deficit of up to 66% and high temperatures are affecting people, crops and cattle, particularly in the departments of Oruro, Potosí, Cochabamba and the Chaco Region. Preliminary assessments of DRIPAD (WFP ACT1 counterparts) have identified 6,699 affected families in the Departments of Cochabamba and Potosí. Assessments will be completed and regularly updated in other departments. Last weekend the affected Departments began to receive some rainfall, a situation that according to SENAMHI will last the following weeks.
(b) On the other hand, heavy rainfalls are also hitting strongly the flood-prompt areas. One of the country's most important roads, between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz has been interrupted because of the collapse of a 350-meter bridge. At least two vehicles, including a bus with some 40 passengers, fell into the water along with the bridge. It is estimated that at least 30 people died. More victims of floods are expected in the next days.
(c) The Government has declared National Emergency, and will formulate an Emergency Plan to be submitted to the international agencies. The Ministry of Agriculture and FAO will launch a broad drought/floods impact assessment.
(d) WFP is coordinating different actions with the Civil Defense and the Ministry of Agriculture in order to assess the impacts and establish the needs. Government will gather the international donors the first week of January 2004 to inform about preliminary results of the assessments and to appeal for resources.
(a) On 22 December, a Colombian illegal rebel group released four Israeli hikers and a British backpacker they had kidnapped 100 days ago, handing them over to a church-led humanitarian commission, in which the UN participated.
(b) The UN Secretary-General called on the parties in Colombia's long-running civil conflict to release any civilians they have kidnapped and renew dialogue towards ending the violence. The SG also said dialogue between the parties should be re-established in a bid to end the violent civil conflict that has plagued Colombia for four decades.
(c) New displacements have been reported in the department of Sucre. An undetermined number of families were forced to move out from the rural areas of Caña Fría and Buenos Aires.
(d) About 2,500 families have been affected by flooding and heavy rainstorms in the departments of Sucre, Cordoba and Antioquia. The situation is critical for most of these people, who are still waiting for humanitarian assistance.
(e) The Province of Norte de Santander signed an agreement with the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI by its Spanish acronym) and the Colombian National Coffee Growers Association to create a project on food security for displaced people living in rural areas. About 6,000 families will benefit from this project.
(f) The situation is still tense in Montes de Maria, Department of Bolivar. The surrounding area of the municipality of Morroa was attacked by armed groups. Two civilian women were murdered and several houses were burned.
(g) Confrontations between public forces and illegal armed groups have been reported in the rural areas of Ovejas and Chalán, Department of Sucre. In Antioquia, eight members of different illegal armed groups died in separated confrontations with public forces. In Hacarí, Department of Norte de Santander, inhabitants fear a possible take over of the town by rebels.
(h) On 19 December, the US State Department reaffirmed an earlier warning to US Citizens to avoid travel to Colombia. A travel warning issued by the department said there has been an increased threat to U.S. citizens and interests in urban areas, including Bogotá, Barranquilla, and Cartagena.
(i) WFP Colombia distributed 202.79 MT of food in nine departments to a total of 35,215 beneficiaries in the modalities of pre-school, primary school, and FFW/FFT of PRRO 10158. WFP is distributing take-home rations to school children, who are out of school due to the holiday season.
3) Dominican Republic
(a) In the northwest and northern area of the country, some one thousand families were affected from the heavy rains in Montecristi, Villa Vasquez, and Puerto Plata. In Montellanos, the Civil Defense rescued two dead bodies dragged by the Camu River and in the borderline the main roads left more than 6,000 people in-communicated.
(b) On 22 December, several sectors in Villa Vasquez were also in-communicated. The strong rains caused damages in Ubero, Bastón, and Botoncillo bridges. In Villa Vasquez, the agricultural authorities confirmed that the crops of rice, banana, and plantain were completely destroyed by the floods. Also affected was Puerto Plata.
(c) The President of the Civil Defense informed that the affected population was relocated in families' homes and they were receiving foods and medicines.
(a) The Central American Bank for Economic Integration approved a loan of US$12.5 million for disaster prevention. This amount will be used to build and equip 165 meteorology, hydrology and seismology stations throughout the country, which will double monitoring coverage capacity. The National Institute of Seismology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh) will be responsible for implementing the project.
(b) Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and four Central American countries, including Guatemala, concluded in Washington, D.C. Even though the details of the agreement have not been fully disclosed, press reports suggest that national basic grains production will still retain some level of protection against foreign competition.
(c) The "Big Campaign for Education", which includes nearly 80 indigenous, church, press, and civil society organizations, universities, and research institutes, presented this week the results of their social audit 2003. According to this report, by the end of the school year in October, 72% of public schools had received government allocations for school feeding.
(d) A new cold front have affected the country bringing temperatures down significantly. Temperatures registered -2º C in Quetzaltenango and 7º C in the capital. The cold front was accompanied by strong winds, which toppled trees, electricity posts, corrugated metal roofs and publicity boards, causing injuries to several people and killing one person. The winds also brought about power outages throughout the country, including the capital.
(e) The run-off election for presidency was held on December 28. Preliminary results suggest that Oscar Berger, former mayor of Guatemala City, will be the next president of the country. In spite of very few and isolated incidents, the event took place peacefully. More than 10,000 national and international observers watched and monitored the elections to ensure they were free and fair. These observers have expressed their satisfaction for the generally peaceful conduct of the elections. Voter turn-out almost reached 50%.
(f) The Office for Human Rights has signed agreements with authorities and representatives of political parties in conflictive municipalities to respect the results of the final elections for presidency. These agreements are expected to water down tensions raised during the last municipal elections carried out on 9 November.
(g) A pipeline analysis for PRRO 10212 for the year 2004 suggests that a pipeline break of CSB is expected by May unless new donations are pledged. Similarly, pipeline breaks of maize and vegetable oil are expected by August and September respectively. These estimates have been made under the assumption of a medium-high level of distributions.
(a) According to "Direction de la Protection Civil" heavy rain during the weekend of 20 December 2003 led to severe flooding and landslide in the North of Haiti. Five thousand families (25,000 persons) have become homeless in and around the provisional capital of Cap Haitian. Houses and roads have been damaged. Livestock have been destroyed and farmers have lost their crops. Two people were reported dead.
(b) Local authorities in the North have requested WFP to intervene with relief food distribution. WFP has used part of the contingency relief resources for the PRRO to assist the flood victims. As an initial response, 100 MT of rice and 9 MT of vegetable oil will be distributed to the most needed 2,000 families to cover food need for one month. Oxfam, World Vision and Red Cross are coordinating relief assistance. Port de Paix was also affected by flooding.
(c) A joint relief agency assessment team sent to evaluate the situation has reported that families affected by the floods are already facing health threats due to poor hygiene, while hundreds of households are relying on unsafe floodwater for drinking and cooking. Due to already high malnutrition rates in Haiti, the population is more vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases.
(d) Based on the recent assessment, WFP estimates it will require some 322 tons of food at a value of US$200,000 for the month-long emergency response. Also required will be funds and partners to implement food-for-work projects to rehabilitate the damaged infrastructure while assisting those who are displaced or have lost their belongings and harvest.
(e) President Aristide is currently facing continuous street protests since late November 2003. As a result of the deteriorated security situation over the past three weeks, the country has been placed under phase two by UNSECOORD.
(f) Roads in some regions are closed due to demonstrations and political and civil unrest could make aid distributions even more difficult. In addition, food distribution in the Far West of Haiti is being hampered by flooding of the "trois rivieres", which separates the far West from Port de Paix. Delivery of food by boat to the affected flood victims is being contemplated in consultation with OTI/Rome.
G) EASTERN EUROPE: (1) Azerbaijan
(a) Under the PRRO 10168 entitled "Targeted Food Assistance for Relief and Recovery of Displaced Persons and Vulnerable Groups in Azerbaijan" during the sixth round of food distribution in November-December 2003, a total of 1,738 tons of mixed commodities were distributed to 128,526 beneficiaries (127,811 IDPs plus 715 other vulnerable groups), of which 52 percent were women.
(b) In addition, a total of 12 tons of the school feeding rations (wheat flour, oil, sugar, salt and wheat-soya blend) were distributed to 1435 children (44 percent girls) in 26 schools.
(c) During December, only one-month ration of wheat flour was distributed since four-months rations were distributed in August, to avoid infestation of wheat flour due to high humidity.
(d) As of 31 December 2003, a total of 20,992 tons have been pledged against the 43,087 tons required under the PRRO 10168. This figure indicates that some 49 percent of requirements have been met, leaving a shortfall of 22,095 tons or 51 percent of the total requirements.
Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons.
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