Lesotho + 5 more

Southern African Humanitarian Crisis Update - 10 September 2003

Situation Report
Originally published

United Nations Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Support Office for the Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa
Bi-monthly Update

RIACSO provides support to the national efforts in addressing the Southern African crisis and ensures cohesion and complementarity of the effort at a regional level. In addition, RIACSO supports the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, Mr. James Morris, in his mandate to raise awareness of the situation, its underlying causes and to provide recommendations on how to strengthen the humanitarian response and mobilize donor support for the affected countries.


New NGO policy in Zimbabwe negatively impacts funds for region

The new NGO policy in Zimbabwe, stipulating that local government structures would become responsible for both beneficiary registration and food distribution, has had a negative impact on donor pledging to the regional appeal. Numerous major donors informed RIACSO that their assistance is on hold until the matter is solved. The UN assured donors that so far the new policy has not had any effect on the ground and distributions have been able to go on according to established practices. The UN further reiterated its strict abidance to the policy of political non-interference, which means that when an incidence does occur, distributions are immediately stopped. WFP is also in the process of drawing up a memorandum of understanding with the Zimbabwe government, which includes distribution modalities. The Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, Mr. James Morris, wrote to Minister July Moyo expressing his concern over the new policy. The same message has been conveyed to the President. In the mean time, WFP implored donors not to withhold funds to avoid a pipeline break.

The government also instructed the UN to close the Relief and Recovery Unit (RRU) field offices, as they were operating without national level approval. The field-based teams have been moved to Harare from where they will continue to carry out their functions. The provincial field units are mandated to provide support to provincial and district level co-ordination structures in the humanitarian fields. They are also supposed to monitor, from an independent perspective, assistance provided with donor resources. For more information see the Zimbabwe humanitarian situation report on www.sahims.net

Winter drought in Lesotho

In response to the prevailing drought in Lesotho, WFP is considering bringing forward the general food distribution scheduled for November. Lesotho has not had any rain for the past five months, resulting in severely reduced winter wheat crops. It is also feared that the dry soil conditions may affect negatively on the upcoming summer crops. The Mashai constituency is the worst affected, with food security at house hold level said to be critical.

Strikes in Zambia continue

After a 10-day break in order to allow the government to look into their demands, civil servants in Zambia have resumed on 26 August an indefinite nation-wide strike. Their demand is that the government honours the agreement of April 2003, in which the government approved a pay rise and housing benefits. The government deferred the implementation of the new agreement to cushion the anticipated K611 billion (US$ 124 million) budget overrun this year. Also see the Zambia situation report on www.sahims.net

Deteriorating macro economic situation in Malawi

A recent FEWSNET report has warned that the deteriorating macroeconomic situation in Malawi will have a negative impact on household food security. The report noted that the local currency, the Kwacha, depreciated at a faster rate in August compared with previous months - by around 15 percent from July's levels. The Malawi Kwacha was trading at an average of K105 per USD1 by the third week of August as compared to K89 per USD1 end of July. "This depreciation may result in a hike in the price of inputs, which are already difficult for farmers to afford, thereby affecting food production for the next season." Fuel prices have not gone up yet, but if they do, this development will have wide repercussions on commodity prices, including those of food. "A rise in food prices will increase the risk of food shortages for a majority of the poor urban and rural market-dependent households," the report said. Donors fund up to 80 percent of Malawi's development budget. The IMF is withholding US47million in budget support, in response to government overspending. See for the full report www.fews.net

High levels of vulnerability in Mozambique

The Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) in Mozambique recently released the results of a food security and nutrition survey of 5,165 households in the six provinces affected by drought. The survey found 659,000 people living in 40 districts in Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Manica and Tete provinces face a situation of "extreme vulnerability", and require immediate and continued assistance until the next harvest in early 2004. The survey also identified 254,779 people in the same districts who are "at-risk" of food insecurity and require close monitoring until the next harvest. High levels of global acute malnutrition rates were also registered, with the prevalence of malnutrition in Tete Province being of particular concern. The full report can be obtained from SETSAN. E-mail: setsan@setsan.org.mz

OPEC fund visits the region

A high level delegation from the OPEC Fund for International Development toured the southern Africa region from 24 August to 2 September. The mission visited Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe to follow up on a USD 9.2 million donation made to WFP's emergency operation in February. With this generous donation, WFP was able to organize the regional purchase of 13, 494 tons of essential food supplies.

A meeting was held at the RIACSO offices in Johannesburg afterwards to discuss assistance to the current appeal. The need for simultaneous actions in the food and non-food sphere in order to curb the crisis was discussed. Representatives of the OPEC fund expressed interest in funding projects addressing HIV/AIDS.

ACBF meets with UNDP in Mozambique and Lesotho

In the last week of August, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) met with the UNDP in Mozambique and Lesotho. In both countries, ACBF and UNDP agreed to collaborate in conducting a capacity needs assessment in the public sector. The assessment will serve as baseline for efficient monitoring of the situation, especially in light of the HIV/AIDS toll on the public sector. It will also assist Government and its partners in formulating suitable policies and taking relevant action to mitigate the effects of the AIDS pandemic. Similar studies are planned for Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Retracting human development in the region

UNDP launched its 2003 Human Development Report on 8 July 2003. The report showed that from the 15 countries with a negative human development index growth during the period 1995 through 2001, nine are in southern Africa. These are Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Five out of the six countries of the regional appeal had a retracting index. Only Mozambique defied this trend. Zimbabwe experienced the largest draw back, from 0.567 to 0.496. In all nine countries HIV/AIDS was the leading explanation for the decline. The HDR can be obtained from the UNDP website: http://www.undp.org

Zambia launched its own National Human Development Report on 28 August 2003 titled "Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger in Zambia: An Agenda for Enhancing the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals". The report identified the main socio-economic challenges facing the country: a higher population growth rate against declining GDP growth rate; a declining but still high HIV/AIDS rate; reduced access to social services; the rural-urban divide and social problems; the Copper crisis; the unstable macroeconomic environment; and a high and unsustainable debt portfolio. The report identifies the policy measures needed to address these underlying causes of chronic poverty and to ensure food security. The Zambia HDR can be obtained from the UNDP Zambia website: http://www.undp.org.zm/

C-SAFE baseline survey on vulnerability

C-Safe completed its baseline survey on vulnerability in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Malawi, 2,189 households were interviewed, 1,678 in Zambia and 1,625 in Zimbabwe. The study defines female and elderly headed households, households with chronically ill members and households hosting orphans as vulnerable. The table below shows the number of households per category per country. See for the individual country reports www.sahims.net or contact C-SAFE directly.

% of HH in at least one vulnerable categories
% of 'very poor' under the 'resource poor' topic*
Female HHH
Elderly HHH
HH with chronically ill members
HH hosting orphans

- HH with chronically ill members: HH with members that have been constantly sick during the 3 months preceding the survey

- HH hosting orphans: could be single or double orphans

- Elderly HH: Head of household aged 60 or more and no other adults member living in the HH

- % of HH in at least one vulnerable category: A Female Headed HH, hosting orphans and having chronically ill members will be classified in 3 vulnerable categories.

- % of 'very poor' under the 'resource poor' topic: Assets have been used to create four wealth groups, which are useful for defining relative levels of poverty and for analyzing baseline indicators. This column describes the lowest of the four categories.


1. Food security

WFP funding and pipe line information

During the month of August, WFP welcomed a 25 million Euro donation from the European Commission to help alleviate widespread hunger in Zimbabwe. This is part of a 100 million Euro gift to WFP for its operations around the world. The donation enabled WFP to fast track a regional purchase of about 66,000 tons of maize. Last year the European Commission and European Union member states contributed over 80 million Euros to Zimbabwe, representing about 40 percent of all contributions raised for the country.

An additional contribution from Ireland totaling USD 1,140,251 was also confirmed during August. Confirmed contributions as of 31 August are USD 72,969,613 or 23.65 percent of the total EMOP Requirement.

The carry over stock from the previous EMOP 10200.0 and bridging EMOPs totaled 239,065 tons. However, the general pipeline status for the EMOP 10290 is critical and urgent funding is required to avert pipeline breaks for all commodities.

In Mozambique, current cereal stocks will only meet 55 percent of requirements in September with critical cereal shortfalls projected from December onwards. Stocks of pulses and vegetable oil were exhausted at the end of August and there will be 100 percent shortfalls in September and October. In Lesotho, there is a 100% shortfall of vegetable oil foreseen to extend until October. In Swaziland, shortfalls for pulses are critical as stocks will run out in September and no new contributions have been confirmed. In Zimbabwe, the cereal pipeline from December onwards remains a major concern.

WFP urgently requested donors to make food pledges now to address foreseen shortfalls for the critical period beginning in September through to June 2004. To date, the Regional Emergency Operation is only 24 percent funded and the outlook for the period from January onwards is alarming. Additional donations and funding for all commodities are urgently required in order to avoid further disruptions in food distributions. Also see the ODJ regional report on www.wfprelogs.org

Transition from EMOP to PRRO - WFP Appraisal Mission

In July of 2003, a new WFP Emergency Operation (EMOP 10290) was approved that will continue through June of 2004. EMOP 10290 is considered a transitional intervention, designed to begin addressing the long-term affects of HIV/AIDS and food insecurity. The successor to EMOP 10290 is anticipated to be a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) that addresses additional and more specialized food assistance needs of specific population groups to regain/maintain coping capacities lost over the past years due to adverse climatic conditions and poor health.

The ODJ Bureau has proposed that an appraisal mission composed of UN agencies and NGO partners under the direction of the Emergency Coordinator, review and analyze the strategic focus of a PRRO within an HIV/AIDS environment. The scope of this mission will be to review ongoing interventions and to assess capacity to address the food vulnerability needs of HIV/AIDS affected and infected populations. The mission will further explore additional opportunities/country specific initiatives that could serve to integrate the food assistance strategy.

For WFP, incorporating HIV/AIDS as the central theme of a PRRO is moving into new and uncharted territory. Therefore this mission will be looking beyond the normal issues of food aid activities, targeting and beneficiary selection. The mission should provide insights on how the appropriate mix of aggregated targeted activities could positively impact on populations affected and infected by HIV/AIDS.

Reports of critical food needs in the south of Zambia

Chief Macha's Representative, Headman Robert Musanje said in an interview with the Daily Mail of Zambia (The Daily Mail, 22 August 2003) that four thousand people are on the verge of starvation. The District Administrator, Mr. Simon Sianchimba, confirmed that 23 villages were experiencing a severe food crisis.

Following the reports of starvation in Sesheke district, WFP carried out a Rapid Food Needs Assessment. In Kalobolelwa, Sesheke Central and Mwandi findings indicated that harvests have indeed been poor due to drought and the late arrival of agricultural inputs.

Generally, the food security situation in Zambia improved following the successful harvest of the 2002/03 agricultural season and a decrease in grain prices. However, as illustrated above, there remain some areas, most notably in the southern parts of the Western and Southern Provinces, where the situation requires careful monitoring as verified field reports indicate that food security is steadily declining.

Distribution of agricultural inputs underway in Zambia and Zimbabwe

In Zambia, FAO together with NGOs completed a monitoring exercise to coordinate the 2003-04 agricultural input distribution programmes. The beneficiaries are households with crop failure. FAO will be working in the following districts: Kalabo, Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Chama, Choma, Luangwa, Monze, Siavonga and Shangombo. Implementing partners are: CLUSA (Gwembe, Monze, Choma), EFZ (Luangwa, Gwembe), WCS (Chama, Luangwa), CRS (Shangombo), WVi (Kalabo), and Dunavant (Sinazongwe). Seed packs will be distributed to 20,000 households and contain sorghum, millet, cowpeas, groundnuts, fertilizer and lime.

In Zimbabwe, pre-placed funds by ECHO are being used to directly benefit 110 000 vulnerable small-holding farming households through the distribution of agricultural inputs (seeds and limited quantities of fertilizer). Distribution is scheduled to start in late September/early October.

2. Health and nutrition

Cholera prevention activities in Malawi

To prevent a cholera outbreak in Mzimba District in Malawi, 445 teachers and 29 Primary School Education Advisers (PEAs) have been trained by UNICEF in effective hygiene and sanitation practices in primary schools. Consultations are ongoing in other educational zones in the district to train an additional 100 teachers for the same purpose.

Measles and Vitamin A mop up campaign in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe UNICEF facilitated the measles mop-up and Vitamin A supplementation exercise in 16 districts in Zimbabwe. Some 1,000,000 auto-destruct and reconstitution syringes, 16,000 safety boxes and 39,626 liters of fuel were used in the campaign. US$230,000 from CIDA and the UK Natcom was used for the exercise. The exercise was successful, achieving the target of >90% for measles and >80% for vitamin A in 14 districts. One district, Buhera had a low coverage (64%) due to fuel problems. Mt. Darwin district also had a low coverage (77%). The provincial and district teams have already come up with a strategy to conduct local measles immunization days in areas that were not reached. Refusal among members of the "Apostolic faith" was significant, especially in Zvishavane district were the team observed that they missed about 1 500 targeted children within some three camps of the Apostolic Faith groups. Funding of US$700,000 was provided by CIDA to support improved coverage of routine vitamin A distribution in the future.

Reproductive health

UNFPA established project coordinators in Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Zambia. In Lesotho, UNFPA programming will focus on improved availability of SRH information and services through counselling, provision of STI drugs and contraceptive commodities, including condoms for an estimated 20,000 factory workers (of whom about 75% are women) as well as assist 45 adolescent to continue their education and stay HIV negative. In Swaziland, UNFPA, in collaboration with WFP, will support the training of 358 Women Relief Counsellors (WRCs) on HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and exploitation and other health issues. In addition, men in affected communities will also be mobilized through the establishment of Men's Discussion Groups to assess the degree of their contribution to the reduction of HIV/AIDS and gender based violence. In Malawi, UNFPA will procure reproductive health kits and support the community response through civic education programmes for district civic protection committees, village relief committees, TBAs and the police. In Zambia, the UNFPA relief project will complement the UNFPA country programme by empowering four specific target groups (Zambia defence force; the Teachers' Training College; the agricultural extension workers; and the miners) with knowledge and skills on HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

3. Protection

Registration of orphans and vulnerable children

UNICEF has embarked on an intensive registration campaign of orphans and vulnerable children to facilitate evidence based programming and targeting. In Lesotho, the orphan registration format is being piloted in one district. Following this the Ministry of Local government should approve it for nation - wide roll out as part of the vital statistics system. In Malawi, UNICEF in collaboration with the National Statistical Organization (NSO), the Office of the Registrar General and other Government Institutions, has launched the Vital Registration System. The first phase of the project targets all children born from January 01, 2002 in nine high impact districts. A total of 730,000 children will be registered in the first phase. The second phase will cover all remaining children born before January 1, 2002 and other districts in the country. Enumerators trained by the NSO are conducting house-to -house registration of children. In Mozambique, a draft national plan to strengthen birth registration has been developed. A workshop to define the responsibilities of the Ministry of Women and the Co-ordination of Social Action (MMCAS) and the Ministry of Justice (MINJUST) has been held at the end of August. UNICEF will support accelerated registration in Maputo City and Zambezia and Manica provinces. In addition, MMCAS and the Ministry of Labour (MINTRAB) are reviewing the child labour monitoring system, with UNICEF supporting both ministries in this process.

Early Childhood Development policy for Lesotho

An expanded Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Task force, initiated by UNICEF, has been formed in Lesotho, with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as a key member. The Terms of Reference include reviewing of the draft IECD policy, developing an implementation plan, advocacy and ensuring approval of the policy before the end of the year. UNICEF is providing technical support and resources for policy development.

Community based support to orphans and vulnerable children

A training workshop for district youth officers from Lesotho, aimed at strengthening the support environment for OVCs at district level, will be held early September. Each youth officer is expected to develop his or her own 2004 district work plan, incorporating OVC related activities. The compilation of the district work plans will become the 2004 work plan for the Lesotho Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation's.


Task Force on Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS

The working group coordinating the work of the United Nations Secretary General's Task Force on Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa has started work at the UNAIDS Inter-country Team for Eastern and Southern Africa based in Pretoria, South Africa.

The aim of the Task Force is to catalyze and intensify action on women, girls and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, positioning it as a central priority for action by the United Nations system, in collaboration with governments and civil society. The Task Force will focus in particular on six issues: prevention among girls and young women, violence against women and girls, property and inheritance rights, the role of women and girls in caring for the sick and orphaned, access to treatment for women, and girls' education. The Task Force will comprise of eminent persons from governments and civil society in Southern Africa that have assumed leadership on issues of HIV/AIDS, women and girls.

Mozambique: Policy revision needed to incorporate HIV/AIDS and food security

FAO Mozambique and VETAID hosted a three-day workshop from August 26-28 entitled "The Effects of HIV/AIDS on Rural Communities and Agriculture". The Workshop brought together 65 participants from government, UN and NGO agencies at the central, provincial and international levels to examine the impact of HIV/AIDS on rural communities and discuss implications for both emergency and longer-term development interventions in agriculture and food security. FAO, WFP, GTZ, PROAGRI, and the European Community co-funded this activity. The most urgent and immediate outcome of these discussions is to revise HIV/AIDS and food security considerations and language in three key GoM strategy documents: The new GoM Rural Development Strategy, the GoM National Aids Strategy, and the GoM Food Security and Nutrition Strategy. Follow-on work will address possible revisions to specific programme- and project-level interventions. Another outcome of the three-days of discussion was the creation of an inter-agency Working Group on HIV/AIDS and Food Security under the auspices of the GoM Technical Secretariat on Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN).

UNDP Mozambique assisted in the formulation of an integrated strategy to respond to the combined effects of the AIDS and food crises. The intention is to enhance the provincial, district and local capacity to plan for and provide integrated basic services in risk management, disaster prevention and management, nutrition, water and sanitation, agriculture, education, primary health care, AIDS prevention, care and hopefully treatment. United Nations Volunteers will be placed at provincial and district level and the capacity of available community workers will be strengthened. The initiative will be implemented in the most vulnerable districts (hotspots), with full collaboration of Government relevant authorities, UN concerned agencies, NGOs and CSOs.

Zambia Central Statistic Office to assist in collecting data on HIV/AIDS and food security

WFP met with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Zambia in early August to review tools and instruments that would effectively capture HIV/AIDS data in relation to food security. CSO provided WFP with the following surveys: Health Facility Information Form, Rural and Urban Household Questionnaire on Food Security, Nutritional and Health Information. CSO indicated that they are conducting a pre-test of the respective surveys within the next few weeks and will share preliminary findings with WFP. CSO pointed out that health proxies are still the most effective indicators related to HIV/AIDS. They argued that collection of direct indicators of HIV/AIDS would have strong ethical concerns.

Workshop on HIV/AIDS for traditional leaders in Lesotho

A workshop on "HIV/AIDS: The Role of the Senate" took place in Lesotho from 28th to 29th of July 2003. It targeted Traditional Leaders, and was attended by over 15 Principal Chiefs and appointed members of Senate. The workshop aimed at encouraging them to use their strategic positions and social responsibility to address the impact of AIDS on their wards and communities. The participants agreed to participate in the formation of a new strategy to combat the pandemic under the direction of the Senate Select Committee on HIV/AIDS. Following the workshop, awareness campaigns for traditional leaders, doctors and healers were launched in three districts: Leribe, Mafeteng, and Maseru. The UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Scholastica Sylvan Kimaryo pledged the support of the United Nations to assist traditional system with programmes to address the pandemic.

5. Water and Sanitation

Access to clean water in Mozambique

With funds advanced by UNICEF to the National Water Directorate at the end of 2002 for drought response interventions, 28 water supply facilities have been completed in Tambara, Macossa, Chibabava, Changara, Inhassunge and Chinde districts in Mozambique, benefiting approximately 14,500 people. Implementation of this programme has been slower than expected due to the weak technical capacity of the private sector drilling companies. Water Committees have been established and trained for each of these new water points to ensure proper management and sustainability. Community hygiene education sessions have also been conducted.

6. Population movements

Workshop on Refugee Bill in Zambia

UNHCR organized a workshop on refugees for Zambian members of Parliament. The MP participants were mainly drawn from Zambian constituencies hosting refugees. The workshop covered UNHCR policy, programmatic and protection issues including the role of the government of Zambia vis-à-vis refugees. The strategic objective of the workshop was to ensure that the MPs are well versed in issues pertaining to refugees, so that when the Refugee Bill, which was withdrawn from Parliament last year, is re-introduced in the House, the MPs would be able to debate on it from an informed position and in a positive manner.

Angolan refugees are currently being repatriated from Zambia. Since the voluntary repatriation was launched on 11 July 2003, 7,141 refugees have returned. UNHCR is considering opening up a new area of operation in order to repatriate a targeted 20,000 refugees.


Donor consultative meeting in Zambia

A Donors' consultative meeting on the Zambia Chapter of the 2003 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP) for Southern Africa was held on 21st August 2003. The focus of the meeting was to obtain donor's views on the various projects in the document. The meeting brought together heads and senior technical personnel from the Donor community, UN agencies and NGOs that are part of the Appeal.

The context and focus of the Appeal was generally well received by the Donors though they expressed concern on the sustainability of some projects vis-à-vis long-term development.

Donor consultative meeting at RIACSO

A donor consultative meeting on the regional consolidated appeal was held at RIACSO on 5 September 2003. The objective of the meeting was to provide an overview of progress on the appeal since its launch in July and to hear back from the donors on their response.

Donors indicated their support for the conceptual approach pursued by the UN and its partners of building developmental objectives within the humanitarian response and vice versa. There was however widespread recognition of the dilemmas this presents in terms of how to respond. Few donors therefore indicated at this point a willingness to fund activities that support social service provision. They expressed the need for a further discussion on this at the Humanitarian Liaison Working Group meeting on 15 September in New York.

Donors further appreciated that the needs in the smaller countries should not go unheeded and that the needs in the region should not be overshadowed by the larger scale needs of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.



WFP regional operation**
530,405,696 (100%)
80,353,535 (15%)

*As reported by UN-OCHA on 9 September 2003. Does not reflect pledges under negotiation.
**As reported by WFP Regional Office