Lesotho + 5 more

Regional Consolidated Situation Report for the Southern Africa crisis 03 Mar 2003

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REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
The latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report on food security in Zimbabwe indicates that people in two thirds of the country will continue to be food insecure in 2003, leaving households in all farming sectors dependent on food aid and purchases of supplies from the state owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB). Households in Zimbabwe have a high dependence on crop production for food and income. Adding to the complexity of the current crisis, nearly one third of the adult population in Zimbabwe is infected with the HIV virus. According to the report of 24 February, most of the southern and central districts are likely to have below-average maize yields, which could result in a food deficit for 2003/4. A total of 1.9 million hectares were planted during the 2002/3 growing season from October to April, of which 63 percent was maize. Last year, more than half of the country experienced crop failure or below average yields, and this year's harvests are not expected to be better. Already a lack of inputs and inadequate rainfall has affected crops which are reported to be in a worse situation than last year.

Floods hit Muzarabani District, Mashonaland Central Province of Zimbabwe last week. Preliminary information indicates that two people were killed and thousands were affected as crops were washed away. Repair work on damaged bridges and roads has commenced, according to an interview with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing who was quoted in The Herald newspaper on 3 March. WFP and implementing partners are distributing relief food in the affected areas.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst fuel crisis in two decades and fuel prices nearly doubled last week. The Energy and Power Development Minister confirmed in a statement last Wednesday that the retail price of petrol increased by 95 percent to Z$ 145.20 (USD 0.182), while diesel prices rose by 80 percent to Z$ 119.43. The price hikes, which follow a rise in imports, distribution and other costs, comes on the heels of the government's decision last year to effectively end the monopoly held by the state National Oil Company. Under that move, oil companies with retail outlets were required to import petrol but sell it to consumers at state-fixed prices. Oil industry officials welcomed the price rises but are continuing to lobby for a three-fold price increase. The price of paraffin, used for cooking by poor households, also increased last week by 20 percent, adding to the peoples' frustrations over shortages of numerous basic consumer goods.

Tropical cyclone 'Japhet' hit Inhambane Province in Mozambique on 2 March. Households and crops have been adversely affected by the torrential rain and strong winds.

Parts of Mzimba and Rumphi Districts (Northern Province) of Malawi were affected by flooding during the week, with areas located along the Rukuru, Luviri, Kasitu and Chagumukili rivers being hardest hit. In Rumpi District, an estimated 1,500 hectares of various crops have been destroyed and some 3,000 households affected. Meanwhile, in Mzimba District around 700 hectares of various crops were damaged and 300 households were affected.

Zambia's former President Chiluba has been arrested on charges of corruption and the plunder of natural resources. Any allegations implicating the current government could intensify calls for new elections. WFP is closely monitoring the situation.

WFP OFFICES - COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS

LESOTHO: The vegetative state of standing crops is reported to be good, while irregular rains in the southern districts have damaged maize production. Heavy rain affected access to most areas in Thaba Tseka, and to a lesser extent in Maseru Rural.

MALAWI: Distribution of the Nelson Mandela Foundation donation started on 21 February. The donation of 25 tons of assorted commodities will be distributed to HIV/AIDS affected households in the southern region. An agreement has been finalised with UNICEF for a donation of 85 learning kits and balls to WFP assisted primary schools under the country and EMOP programmes. WFP, UNICEF, implementing partner Action Against Hunger and the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security emergency (C-SAFE) have agreed to form a working group which will explore possibilities for establishing joint sentinel site system.

MOZAMBIQUE: The food security situation in the drought-affected areas continues to deteriorate, with internal areas of Inhambane and Gaza Provinces and southern Tete Province being most affected. WFP continues to monitor the situation to ensure food assistance is reaching the most vulnerable people. A joint WFP, National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) mission visited four districts in Nampula Province during the week to review the need for emergency food assistance. The mission found the areas affected by tropical depression 'Delfina' to be recovering well, and food assistance in the province is not recommended after April. WFP is currently assessing the food security situation in two localities in drought-hit Maputo Province following news reports of deaths from malnutrition and hunger.

SWAZILAND: A two-day training workshop on targeting and monitoring was conducted under the Capacity Building Assistance Programme for WFP implementing partners, in which WFP Food Aid Monitors, Women's Relief Committees, the National Disaster task Force and community leaders also participated. On 24 February, WFP started training of the Women's Relief Committees on targeting, beneficiary selection criteria, WFP commitment to women, roles of responsibility and emergency food aid policies. All seven implementing partners, covering 179 food distribution points, will undertake similar training.

ZAMBIA: Planning for workshops on refinement of post-march targeting for Western, Southern, and Eastern Provinces as well as Lusaka are ongoing.

ZIMBABWE: Substantial rains were recorded in most parts of the country during the reporting period, affecting roads and delaying some food distributions. Fieldwork for the joint WFP, Ministry of Health, UNICEF and NGO health and nutrition survey was completed on 23 February. The preliminary findings will be presented mid-March. It is reported that communities in Hurungwe District (Mashonaland West Province) are resorting to the consumption of wild roots and leaves as an extended coping mechanism. School enrolment is reported to have declined, and one primary school reported a drop in students from 476 last year to 235 this year, a decrease attributed to hunger by the deputy headmaster.

UPCOMING EVENTS

6 March

RIACSO/NGO Partners meeting at RIACSO offices at 14:00 at Idion House, Sunninghill, Johannesburg

20 March

RAICSO Stakeholders meeting at RIACSO offices at Idion House, Sunninghill, Johannesburg

MISSIONS TO THE REGION

9 Feb. - 7 March

Coordinated WFP/FAO RIACSO and GIEWS-FAO Early Warning and Crop Status Mission in the region

8 - 23 March

Joint visit of the Members of WFP, UNICEF and UNDP/UNFPA boards, Mozambique

IMPLEMENTATION

In January, WFP reached a total of 8.7 million beneficiaries in the six countries under the regional EMOP:

Lesotho
297,223
151,991
145,232
Malawi
2,403,688
1,243,905
1,159,783
Mozambique
237,586
123,783
113,803
Swaziland
241,269
130,916
110,353
Zambia
1,981,279
1,044,410
936,869
Zimbabwe
3,551,057
1,910,493
1,640,564
Regional Total
8,712,102
4,605,498
4,106,604

RESOURCES

WFP was pleased during the week to confirm cash contributions of USD 1 million from Norway in support of the associated costs for the South Africa 100,000 tons, as well as USD 8.5 million from the UK, 6.5 million of which is for associated costs related to the portion of South African maize going to Zimbabwe. With these contributions, the WFP EMOP 10200 is now more than 76% funded against needs through March 2003.

Current Resourcing Status - WFP EMOP 10200.0

Confirmed Resources
(as of 10 February 2003)
Total EMOP Requirement
Shortfall
(against 31 March 03)
US Dollars
US Dollars
US Dollars
389,498,851
508,745,176
119,246,326

PIPELINE

The cereal requirements for March will be met in all six countries under the regional EMOP. Malawi and Zambia will possibly experience some shortfall of pulses.

LOGISTICS

Dispatches of GMO from Zambia to Malawi are ongoing. To date some 10,000 metric tons have been dispatched to Zimbabwe and Malawi. Total dispatches for the week amounted to 1,355 metric tons. Road construction works on the Zimbabwean side of the Beit-Bridge border caused delays in crossings, with a seven-kilometre queue forming last week. Trucks carrying WFP cargo also experienced delays, but rapid WFP intervention resulted in the allocation of a temporary route allowing humanitarian food trucks to pass. This interim passage now allows 40 to 50 WFP trucks into Zimbabwe and in transit to Zambia. WFP visits to South African silos and mills continue in an effort to gain first-hand and personal contact with contractors and to better understand potential difficulties and constraints. This week, silos and mills were visited at Migdol, Wolmaransstad, Hallat's Hope, Schweizer Renke, Nelspruit, Driefontein, Buckingham and Nylstroom.