WFP Emergency Report No. 36 of 1997: East Africa

Situation Report
Originally published
Issued weekly by the United Nations World Food Programme
Report No. 36 of 1997 Date: 5 September 1997

This report includes: A) East Africa: Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda B) Central Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) C) West Africa: Angola.

From J.-M. Boucher, Chief, Programming Service. Available on the Internet at WFP Home Page or by e-mail from (fax 39 6 6513 2837). For information regarding resources, donors are requested to contact Mr. F. Strippoli ( or Ms. A. Blum (, WFP Rome, telephone 39 6 6513 2504 or 6513 2004.

(Details below in Part II)


1. Kenya

a) Four-month expansion of current WFP drought emergency operation is under preparation, for period September to December, to assist 542,000 beneficiaries in pastoral areas.

b) Current maize harvest increases availability in rural markets in Eastern, Coast and Nyanza provinces, but prices remain high in main urban markets.

3. Tanzania

a) Drought: food situation in coming months extremely bleak in central and north-western regions; formal request from Government for food aid for 1.5 million people expected shortly.

b) Moves to encourage commercial imports by private traders are being put in place by the Government.

c) Transfer of cereal supplies from crop production areas in south limited by poor road networks.

b) Refugee operations: voluntary repatriation of Congolese refugees from Tanzania to DR Congo starts 1 September; first group of 573 refugees arrive in Uvira. Refugees receive three-month WFP food ration on departure.

4. Uganda

a) Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) now handling distribution of WFP food to displaced persons in Gulu district.

b) Attack along Fort Portal-Bundibugyo road displaces additional 5,000 persons; ad hoc assistance provided by WFP.

5. Burundi

a) Distribution of reinstallation packages to formerly regrouped persons in Kayanza province continues.

6. Rwanda

a) Repatriation of Burundian refugees currently in Rwanda begins.


1. Update

a) The AFDL military reports that Rwandan and Burundian refugees from the transit centre near Kisangani have been expelled from DR Congo; refugees were taken from the transit centre and moved by military plane to Kigali on 4 September. A total of 830 refugees were previously registered at the transit centre.

b) Flow of refugees from Congo/Brazzaville continues.

c) Security situation deteriorates in Masisi; influx of 5,000 people arrive in Goma town.




1.1 A four-month expansion of the current WFP emergency operation in Kenya is under preparation. The present operation was scheduled to conclude in mid-August; the expansion phase, for the period 1 September to 31 December 1997, is to assist some 542,000 drought-affected beneficiaries in the pastoral districts of Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Moyale and Wajir, under a general distribution programme implemented by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Also to be assisted will be school children in selected divisions in Makueni and Kitui districts, under the expanded school feeding programme implemented by the Ministry of Education. The expansion of the emergency operation in pastoral areas is of particular importance because of the slow recovery of the pastoralist economy.

1.2 Harvesting of maize has commenced in the low-lying agricultural areas of Eastern, Nyanza, Coast and Central provinces, where the bulk of the harvesting took place at the end of August. Availability of maize in rural markets in Eastern, Coast and Nyanza provinces has increased as a result. Maize prices have remained high in the main urban markets as well as in the surplus producing markets of Kitale, Nakuru and Eldoret. A substantial decline in the price of beans has occurred in most markets, following the completion of bean harvesting nation-wide.


3.1 Drought situation

a) As a result of drought conditions, the food situation in Tanzania during the coming months looks extremely bleak, particularly for central and north-western regions. A formal request from the Government for assistance to meet estimated food aid requirements of some 1.5 million people is expected shortly. The Government is encouraging private traders to import to cover most of the deficit, by removing the import levy on maize and other selected cereals, providing import licenses and waiving additional taxes and fees.

b) An estimated 90 percent of the food deficit is in the ten central and north-western regions, while 90 percent of current cereal production is in the south. Road networks linking the south and the central regions are almost non-existent, limiting transfer possibilities and increasing prices to unaffordable limits.

3.2 Refugee situation

a) The voluntary repatriation of Congolese refugees from Tanzania to DR Congo started on 1 September. A first group of 573 refugees left Kigoma late on that date and arrived by barge in Uvira, in eastern DR Congo on the border with Burundi, on the following morning. Prior to their departure, the refugees received a WFP three-month food ration and were medically screened. All the refugees of this group were originally residents of Uvira.

b) A complete food basket was distributed in all the refugee camps in Kibondo district during the past week. It is planned that for the next distribution exercise, all camps will receive their ration on the same day, in an attempt to reduce the number of recyclers. The total refugee population in the four Kibondo camps as of the end of August totals 62,150 refugees, mostly Burundians.


4.1 The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is taking over food distributions to displaced persons in Gulu district. Until now, these distributions have been carried out by WFP, with the assistance of the local district relief committee. Between 25 and 31 August, WFP distributed 313 metric tons of cereals, pulses and vegetable oil in Gulu, assisting 38,150 internally displaced persons. This represents 10,030 families in eight different camps.

4.2 Also in Gulu, GUSCO (Gulu Save the Children Organization) a local non-governmental organization, has been contracted by WFP to assist and help resettle unaccompanied children who are victims of the armed conflict. Some of these children have escaped from rebel captivity, having experienced torture and abuse. WFP is providing food commodities to assist in this programme.

4.3 Following an attack along the Fort Portal-Bundibugyo road late last week, 5,000 persons became displaced and received ad hoc assistance from WFP. Another 67,600 displaced people are receiving WFP food assistance in three locations in and around Bundibugyo. During the month of August, WFP provided 450 metric tons of various food commodities to the area. Convoys to the various delivery points continue to be escorted by the army. Action Aid, World Harvest Mission and MSF-France continue their assistance to the area.


5.1 The distribution of reinstallation packages to formerly regrouped persons continues in Kayanza province. Between 25 and 31 August, close to 6,000 beneficiaries received 90-day rations; a total of 184 metric tons of food, 12 metric tons of bean and vegetable seeds and 1,200 hoes were distributed. These distributions are being carried out by CARE teams in coordiantion with WFP.

5.2 Return packages are also being distributed to Burundians returning home from neighbouring countries. During the week, 313 returnees from DR Congo received WFP packages at the Gatumba transit centre, distributed by Oxfam Quebec, while 580 returnees from Tanzania received packages distributed by UNHCR.

5.3 Food Economy Assessment teams completed assessments at eight more sites for displaced persons in Ngozi province. All these sites have existed since 1993. Urgent food assistance was found to be required for two sites with a population of over 9,000 people.


6.1 The repatriation of Burundian refugees currently in Rwanda has started, with 417 refugees leaving Musange transit centre voluntarily. The refugees were provided with a one-week food ration before departing. Another 487 Burundian refugees remain in this transit centre awaiting repatriation. Plans are also under way to repatriate the 1,480 Burundian refugees from Kigeme camp, who will also receive WFP one-week food rations.



1.1 Information from Kisangani as of 5 September on the refoulement of refugees: the AFDL military has reported that the expulsion from DR Congo of Rwandan and Burundian refugees previously at the transit centre near Kisangani, which began 4 September, has been completed. The refugees were flown to Kigali by military plane. As of the morning of 5 September, aid agencies still had no access to the refugee transit centre. Before the expulsion, 830 refugees were registered at the transit centre. WFP Kisangani reports that WFP food-for-work and other relief activities for Congolese in the area continue as scheduled.

1.2 With the arrival of another 7,370 persons, close to 14,000 refugees from Congo/Brazzaville are now receiving WFP assistance in Kinkole and Kinshasa. An average of 800 to 1,000 refugees are arriving each day. Among these arrivals are both nationals of Congo/Brazzaville and non-nationals, fleeing fighting in Brazzaville.

1.3 Within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), displaced Congolese are returning to home areas. A group of 340 persons was flown by UNHCR to Kisangani and another 6,000 displaced have left Lubumbashi. The total number of persons receiving food assistance through WFP Kinshasa now stands at 54,846, including 28,368 displaced persons, 12,534 Rwandan refugees and 13,944 Congolese refugees. WFP distributed 290 metric tons of food in Lubumbashi and Kinkole from 25 to 31 August.

1.4 The transport of seeds from Lubumbashi to Bukavu continued during the week and 135 metric tons of seed have been airlifted by WFP so far. The distribution of these seeds by the various NGOs is starting at the beginning of September. Deliveries of WFP food during the past week in the Bukavu area amounted to 248 metric tons, benefiting 10,615 persons.

1.5 Security is deteriorating in Masisi, and an influx of some 5,000 people fleeing the area has arrived in Goma town. WFP carried out a quick assessment and Caritas has distributed a two-week food ration. These groups are mostly Tutsis who were being assisted by WFP through World Vision and Caritas in Mushaki. They are presently accommodated in various parishes in Goma. Further plans for assistance will be considered as soon as an accommodation site is identified outside of town and a head count is carried out.

1.6 The first distribution of seed protection packages to displaced persons returning to Goma took place during the week. These displaced families receive seeds, farming tools and a 45-day food ration of maize, beans, oil and salt. Assistance is also provided in transportation to areas of origin. A total of 800 families will be assisted in their reinstallation, with WFP providing 71 metric tons of food for this programme.