Liberia: WFP Weekly Sitrep 07 - 13 May 2007

Situation Report
Originally published

1. Highlights

Following weeks of collaboration among UN Agencies, UNMIL, Government Ministries and NGO partners, Liberia staged a highly successful Fight Hunger: Walk the World event this year. The 40,000 plus walkers in eleven locations around the country included the Vice President of Liberia, Ministers of Government, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, foreign diplomats, peacekeepers and school children. The President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, could not join the walk this year as she was out of the country.

An eight-man delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by an official of the Finance Ministry and including members of the Saudi press, visited Liberia this week to tour WFP work in the country, especially the utilization of a Saudi Government contribution of one million dollars made late 2006. The delegation visited two programme centers which have directly benefited from the Saudi donation, including a school and an orphanage.

A delegation of seven from the United States HELP Commission (Helping to Enhance the Livelihood of People around the Globe Commission) visited Liberia in the week and toured one school receiving food for education support from WFP, and Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) support from USAID. The HELP Commission is a citizen's commission appointed by the US President and bipartisan Congressional leaders. It develops and delivers actionable proposals to the US President, Secretary of State and Congress to enhance and leverage the efficiency and effectiveness of US foreign assistance programs for reducing poverty.

2. Security

As UNMIL continues with Operation "Sweeping Wave II", stepping up night time patrol and conducting cordon and search operations, the general security situation in Liberia remained calm during the week, with criminality remaining the main threat to staff safety and security. The residence of a WFP national staff member in Monrovia was robbed by four unknown men armed with cutlasses who took away valuables including cash, a WFP VHF radio, and other personal effects. The staff member was roughed up during the encounter and her child threatened. In the face of high unemployment and limited economic opportunities, gang related crime, along with road traffic accident and disease, pose the highest threat to UN personnel and property. Though direct malicious targeting of UN staff is not expected, criminals during robbery can endanger life if resisted or threatened. WFP operations progressed steadily without any security incident over the reporting period and are expected to continue safely across the country in the coming week.

3. Food Distribution and Use

Distributed (MT)
Returning IDPs & Refugees
Emergency School Feeding
Special Feeding (HIV/AIDS,
Orphans, TB, in-patients, etc)
Food Support to Local Initiatives

a. General Distribution to Refugees

General food distributions this week targeted refugees, and persons with special needs (PSNs); i.e. residual IDPs who are only now making it back home. In Maryland County, WFP distributed 3.62 Mt of food to 109 Ivorian refugees and third country nationals (47% female) at the Barraken Refugee Village, and 10.03 Mt was distributed to 150 PSNs (51% female), 89 in the southwest and 61 in central Liberia.

b. Repatriation and Resettlement

With the repatriation and resettlement exercise for Liberian refugees drawing to a close in June, 448 returnees (52% female) arrived during the week from Libya, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone, some of them spontaneously and others by UNHCR-assisted repatriation. WFP distributed 15.51 Mt of food to these returnees as part of their resettlement package, representing first tranche of two-month rations for UNHCR-assisted repatriates and one off four-month rations for spontaneous returnees. Second tranche rations of 29.6 Mt were given to 890 earlier resettled returnees. The number of returnees resettled in 2007 to date is more than 25,000.

c. Emergency School Feeding (ESF)

Emergency School Feeding (ESF) distributions this week targeted schools in ten of Liberia's fifteen counties, with 1,404.28 Mt distributed to 120,596 beneficiaries (47% female), including 372.54 Mt of take home rations distributed to 6,774 girls as incentive for their families to keep them in school. In southeastern Liberia, WFP distributed 134.48 Mt to 10,419 beneficiaries at schools in Sinoe, River Gee and Grand Gedeh Counties, and 659.59 Mt to 66,815 school feeding beneficiaries in Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa. Some 24,600 beneficiaries at schools in the central provinces of Bong and Nimba received 321 Mt of food assistance, while 289.21 Mt was served to 18,762 children in northwestern Liberia attending schools in Lofa and Bomi Counties.

d. Food Support to Local Initiatives

No distributions were made this week in this programme category.

e. Nutrition

WFP reached 3,501 beneficiaries (56% female) with 80.97 Mt this week through its various nutritional programmes across Liberia. Intervention areas included Maternal and Child Health (MCH), HIV/AIDS, TB, as well as therapeutic and institutional feeding. Some 899 MCH beneficiaries at eight health centers in Bong, Gbarpolu and Cape Mount Counties were served 15.5 Mt of food, and 50 PLWHAs received 1.6 Mt of nutritional support in Bong County. In the central, northern and northwestern regions of Liberia, 784 persons undergoing treatment for TB at various health centers were assisted with 21.84 Mt of mixed food items, and 2.58 Mt were served to 312 therapeutic feeding beneficiaries in Montserrado County. In Bong and Lofa, 239 supplementary feeding beneficiaries received 3.75 Mt of food, while 1,217 institutional feeding beneficiaries all across the country received 35.7 Mt of food aid. Nutritional feeding programmes support the improved nutrition and health status of children, mothers and other vulnerable people in line with one of WFP's strategic corporate objectives

4. Pipeline

While shortfalls are not anticipated for the remainder of the current PRRO, early donor contributions are required for the new single-country project which starts in July 2007. Resource shortfalls at the beginning of this new PRRO would constrain WFP to suspend daily school meals which target up to 450,000 primary school children, most of whom rely on WFP food assistance as their main daily food in-take, resulting in decreased attendance rates. Take Home Rations for school girls would also be cut, eliminating a major incentive for families to send their daughters to school. Shortfalls would negatively impact Food for Work projects as well, including agriculture and infrastructure rehabilitation projects which benefit resettled persons and their host communities. Discontinuation of these projects would weaken the support structures required to firmly root returnees in their areas of resettlement, and would delay the recovery of the social and economic sectors in rural areas, giving rise to increased urban migration which could pose additional demographic and environmental pressures on already overpopulated urban centers. Donor contributions are solicited to avert these occurrences.

5. Logistics

Total of 1,643 Mt of assorted food commodities was dispatched from WFP warehouses in continuation of May 2007 distributions. The total commodities loaded included 1,265 Mt Bulgur, 190 Mt Pulses, 48 Mt CSB, 92 Mt Vegetable Oil, 8 Mt Sugar, and 40 Mt Salt.

WFP in-country stock position as at 13 May 2007

Stock Balance in
Monrovia Warehouse (MT)
Stock Balance in
Sub-office Warehouses (MT)

6. Assessment/Monitoring

WFP and a local NGO LOAF fielded a joint assessment mission to Rivercess County during the week. The team made home visits to 17 children identified as AIDS orphans or children of HIV victims, and made recommendations for the inclusion of these children in the LOAF HIV/AIDS programme which receives food support from WFP. Monitoring of the institutional feeding programmes at the St. Francis Hospital in Rivercess was also carried out during the mission. WFP monitors this week visited four fish ponds in Pleebo, Maryland County, where they observed that work is progressing on schedule at three of the sites with only the stock of fingerlings pending. An engineering problem with the fourth pond is being reviewed. Assessment visits were made to track progress on implementation of projects related to the UN Human Security Trust Fund.

7. Coordination

WFP this week participated in Area Security Management Team (ASMT) meetings at country level in Monrovia and at field level in Maryland, Bong and Lofa Counties. Discussants in Maryland requested the UNMIL peacekeeping contingent in the area to cordon off the grounds where an unexploded bomb was recently discovered, and called on UNDP Small Arms Unit and UNMIL Civil Affairs to increase sensitization of community people pending disposal of the bomb. In addition to the County Support Team (CST) meeting held in Grand Gedeh, a one-day roundtable meeting was held in the county among Government line ministries, UNDP, FAO, UNHCR and WFP to elaborate the aims, objectives and goals of the Human Security Trust Fund and the roles of stakeholder organizations. A similar meeting was held in Maryland County.

8. Other

WFP Liberia recently completed a self-evaluation of its nutrition intervention (NI) programmes as a lead up to the start of a new single country PRRO in July 2007. Some of the key findings of the exercise are the need to increase the involvement of the Ministry of Health in all aspects of the programme through joint planning, implementation and monitoring; to expand NI programmes to the food insecure counties of Grand Kru, Rivercess, River Gee and Sinoe in line with the recommendations of the Comprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Survey; and to implement a national Nutrition Surveillance System. From the findings of this self-evaluation and the rural and urban vulnerability studies, the Country Office will develop a Nutrition Intervention Strategy which will guide its nutrition intervention activities in Liberia.

Prepared by the office of the WFP Country Director in Liberia

Louis Imbleau - WFP Country Director
Cell: (00 or 011) 231 5 514367