From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Advisor. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at http://www.wfp.org/ or by e-mail from Deborah.Hicks@wfp.org . For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Aleesa.Blum@wfp.org or Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 513 2250. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
PART I - HIGHLIGHTS
(Details below in Part II)
A. MOZAMBIQUE FLOODS
1. Update - situation report for 12 to 17 March
a) WFP food is reaching 400,000 flood affected persons in 100 accommodation centres and villages in southern provinces; some 3,080 tons of food delivered by since 11 February. Additional food provided through the Government's INGC, several non-governmental and religious organizations and from private donations.
b) Fifty percent of WFP food deliveries made by helicopter or aeroplane; truck deliveries now increasing but damaged road stretches and bridges still hamper road transport.
c) Revised and expanded WFP Special Operation for air support under preparation, to replace military assets gradually being withdrawn.
d) WFP emergency food distributions to continue until August, first to persons in camps and isolated villages, then through food-for-work schemes as people return home.
e) Water levels of rivers continue to be monitored by WFP; rains in neighbouring countries may affect rivers in Mozambique. Rains in the central region again make parts of main north-south highway impassable.
B. MADAGASCAR FLOODS
1. Update - information as of 20 March
a) WFP food deliveries currently concentrated in Vatomandry area on eastern coast, where cyclone damage is serious; concern for isolated pockets of people.
b) FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission to start the week of 20 March.
c) Total WFP food delivered as of 19 March was 187 tons, 152 tons of which moved by air; food is being delivered in the Vatomandry area by parachute drops, using the French Air Force's Transaal aircraft.
d) WFP is appealing to donors for funds to cover the operations of two helicopters and a small passenger aircraft. As road conditions allow, more food will be moved by road; 17 tons of food is being transporting by truck to the Vatomandry area as of 19 March.
e) Further information on Madagascar relief operations available via IRIN page on the Web, at <http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN>. See also USAID/OFDA Factsheets on the Southern Africa Floods at <http://www.info.usaid.gov/ofda/>.
1. Update - information as of 8 March
a) WFP food distributions to displaced persons resumes in Gulu and Kitgum; had been suspended since late December due to insecurity. Military escorts accompany food convoys; 1,169 tons of food distributed to some 175,900 IDPs over last two weeks.
b) Food delivered to Karamoja region to assist drought-affected population; a WFP EMOP is being drafted to provide food to 160,000 people for six months.
1. Update - information for period 24 February - 10 March
a) First cross border operation from Kenya since 1998 is moving 463 tons of WFP cereals, pulses and oil from El Wak, Mandera on the Kenyan border to the Gedo region.
b) February distributions include 700 tons to hard hit areas of Rabdure, Wajid and Elberde in Bakool region in the south, the first distribution in Bakool region in almost one year due to insecurity.
c) Food aid will be sent to people in the Houd areas of Toghdeer and Sool regions in the north-west; most households migrated to the northern regions during four years of poor rainfall, but the more destitute among the pastoral population remain.
1. Update - information as of 15 March
a) Increased concern over drought conditions in south-western provinces of Kandahar and Helmand; lack of rain this season follows on dry 1999 season. Irrigated crops may be affected due to decrease in snow melt in the Hazarajat. Livestock also affected.
b) First phase of emergency distribution in Kandahar and Zabul provinces being completed; will feed total of 200,553 people with 7,164 tons of food.
c) Returnees: WFP is working with UNHCR to repatriate 200,000 Afghans this year; 7,500 tons of wheat to be given to returnees. First arrivals expected from Iran early April.
1. Update - operation for war displaced
a) US donates USD 2.3 million for WFP operation for war displaced.
b) FARC and representatives of the Government and the private sector finished trip through Europe as part of peace negotiating process.
PART II - DETAILS
A. MOZAMBIQUE FLOODS
1. UPDATE - situation report for 12 to 17 March
1.1 WFP food distributions are now reaching some 400,000 flood affected persons in approximately 100 accommodation centres and villages in the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala and Manica. The number of affected persons is gradually increasing as more isolated and needy areas are identified. These are villages and sites that were not flooded but that are completely cut off from markets and other basic services.
1.2 Since 11 February, WFP has delivered 3,079 metric tons of food to the flood-affected population (information as of 17 March). Additional food is being provided through the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC), several non-governmental and religious organizations and from private donations. WFP food distributions are being carried out by local authorities in some camps and by non-governmental organizations, both national and international. WFP implementing partners include the Christian Council of Mozambique, Caritas, the Mozambican Red Cross, Action Aid, Kulima, the Save the Children Federation/US, World Vision, Concern and GOAL.
1.3 WFP is distributing high-energy biscuits to children under five years of age and to pregnant and nursing women as a starting food package. Some 220 metric tons of biscuits have been received in Mozambique. An additional 80 metric tons of high-energy biscuits are expected to arrive shortly.
1.4 Approximately 50 percent of the WFP food delivered to date was transported by helicopter or aeroplane. Truck deliveries are now being made along passable roads in southern parts of the country but efforts to increase road transportation are still hampered by damaged road stretches and bridges.
1.5 During the week, WFP shipped food by boat from Beira to Buzi and Save. A British naval aircraft carrier was loaded with 120 metric tons of WFP food and then positioned at the mouth of the Save river. From there, four helicopters shuttled the food to populations in Machanga, Sofala province. A coastal vessel with a capacity of 42 tons is now also being used by WFP for transportation of relief assistance from Beira to Buzi.
1.6 The joint logistics operations centre continues to coordinate all air operations. Current air assets include 37 helicopters and 16 fixed-wing aircraft, excluding commercial operators. Since February, WFP has been funding the operations of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) helicopters which now deliver urgently needed food and other items to locations otherwise inaccessible; in addition WFP funds operations of SANDF fixed-wing aircraft and its own WFP Buffalo aircraft. A revised and much expanded WFP Special Operation for air support is under preparation, to replace military assets which are gradually being withdrawn.
1.7 WFP emergency food distributions are expected to continue for a period of six months, until August. During the first three months food will be provided to persons in camps and isolated villages. As water levels subside and people start to return home or to new resettlement locations, WFP will contribute to the recovery and rehabilitation efforts through food-for-work schemes. Contacts have already been initiated with partners for identification of essential community works. WFP is liaising with FAO and the seeds and tools sectoral group to coordinate joint seed and food distributions to people when they return home. An FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission is planned for mid-April.
2. CURRENT CONDITIONS
2.1 During the week, heavy rainfall was recorded in the provinces of Inhambane and Sofala, north of flood-stricken Gaza. Water levels in the Save, Buzi and Pungue rivers rose and localized flooding was reported. In southern parts of Mozambique, river water levels decreased during the week but the Limpopo and Incomati remained above critical levels in some areas. The opening of the floodgates of the Kariba dam has so far not seriously affected the Cahora Bassa dam, which reportedly has sufficient retaining capacity; only one floodgate of the Cahora Bassa dam is currently open.
2.2 WFP continues to monitor the situation closely, as rains have also been registered in neighbouring countries which could affect the rivers in Mozambique, and is also monitoring the situation in the lower Zambezi valley. The rainy season in Mozambique usually lasts until the end of March in southern parts of the country, and up to mid April in northern areas.
2.3 The rains in the central region have resulted in sections of the main north-south highway becoming impassable once again. These interruptions came at a time when WFP was attempting to increase road deliveries from the main depot of Beira to southern areas of Sofala province and to Inhambane and Gaza, freeing helicopter and aircraft capacity for other priority areas. The north-south highway remains cut off also in Gaza province and repairs are currently under way.
B. MADAGASCAR FLOODS
1. UPDATE - information as of 20 March
1.1 WFP is presently concentrating food deliveries in a zone along the eastern coast, south of Vatomandry, where the eye of the cyclone entered the island. Cyclone damage in the area is serious and there is concern for isolated pockets of people. Access to the area is difficult.
1.2 UN assessment teams travelling in the north-east have found damage to the island's subsistence and cash crops; an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission is scheduled to start the week of 20 March. There is continued concern for the health situation of the affected population. The cyclone has brought to international attention the magnitude of the pre-existing poverty and the severe needs of the population of the island.
1.3 Total food delivered as of 19 March was 187 tons (120 tons of rice, 40 tons of pulses and 28 tons of sugar). Of this total, 152 tons was moved by air (140 tons for the north-east, 6 tons in the south-east and 6 tons in the east), and 35 tons by road (for the east). WFP is also transporting urgently required medicines for people in the flood zones.
2.1 WFP is currently delivering food aid in the Vatomandry area by parachute drops, each drop delivering a total of seven tons, using the French Air Force's Transaal aircraft. A French Air Force helicopter is used to find the pockets where populations are in need and is also used to move staff and small quantities of food. The WFP Buffalo aircraft was deployed for a week in Madagascar before returning to Mozambique on 19 March.
2.2 Under a recently approved Special Operation, WFP is appealing to donors for funds to cover the operations of two helicopters and a small passenger aircraft.
2.3 A logistics consultant is in Vatomandry to supervise the parachute drops and the delivery of food by the French Transaal aircraft. As conditions gradually improve, WFP will need to put less reliance on air transport. Another WFP logistics officer is now in the sub-region of Vatomandry, Mahanoro, to assess other logistics means, transport by road and by river, and to identify warehousing. Seventeen tons of food is being transporting by truck to the Vatomandry area as of 19 March.
3. WEB SOURCES OF OPERATIONAL INFORMATION ON MADAGASCAR AND REGION
3.1 Updates on the Southern Africa flood operations appear on the IRIN page on the Web, at <http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN>. For other reports and appeals for Madagascar, Mozambique and Southern Africa in general, see ReliefWeb Mozambique floods page at <http://www.reliefweb.int>. See also the valuable overview given in USAID/OFDA Factsheets on the Southern Africa Floods at <http://www.info.usaid.gov/ofda/>; update no. 18 of 20 March gives details of damage to infrastructure in Madagascar.
1. UPDATE - information as of 8 March
1.1 WFP food distributions to displaced persons in the districts of Gulu and Kitgum, northern Uganda have resumed after having been suspended since late December due to insecurity in the area. Military escorts are used for the food convoys. In the last two weeks, some 1,169 tons of WFP food have been distributed to some 175,900 internally displaced persons. However, the security situation is still unpredictable with more reports of impending entry of rebels from Sudan. Staff and food movements outside of Gulu and Kitgum are currently restricted while WFP waits for clearance from Government authorities.
1.2 Some 670 tons of WFP food commodities were delivered to Karamoja region, north-eastern Uganda to assist the population affected by the prolonged drought. An emergency operation is being drafted to provide food for an estimated 160,000 people in need for the next six months.
1.3 Since the beginning of March over 300 new arrivals from Sudan have been received in Moyo and Arua. The new arrivals claim harassment from the rebels and forced conscription into the army. People also report inter-tribal fighting as one of the reasons for their leaving Sudan.
1. UPDATE - information for period 24 February - 10 March
1.1 In the first cross border operation since 1998, a total of 463 tons of WFP cereals, pulses and oil from El Wak, Mandera on the Kenyan border to the Gedo region in Somalia is currently under way. Early in 1999, the Government of Kenya announced a comprehensive trade ban with Somalia, closing the border and customs posts, and thereby causing difficulties for all road cross border operations. The current movement is a trial; subject to a successful delivery/conclusion the Kenyan authorities will consider future requests. The food will go towards relief operation in Bardera district and towards supplementary feeding in TB hospitals in Luuq.
1.2 February distributions: WFP distributed some 905 tons of food aid during the month of February compared to 1,650 tons distributed in January. Of this, 700 tons were distributed to the south, mostly to the hardest hit areas of Rabdure, Wajid and Elberde in Bakool region. This was the first distribution in Bakool region in almost one year due to the insecurity of the region. Whilst the distribution encountered some problems in Rabdure, it was successfully completed in both Elberde and Wajid. Some 100 tons were distributed to the north-west and 105 tons to the north-east during the month.
1.3 North-west relief operations: As a result of four years of poor rainfall in the Houd areas of Toghdeer and Sool regions in the north-west, most households migrated to the northern regions where water and pasture was available. However, the more destitute of the pastoral population, approximately 20-25 percent, were unable to migrate due to lack of transport facilities or weak animals. Close to 17,400 people in the worst affected areas of Duruqsi and Odweyne districts are in much need of assistance and will be provided with 300 tons of food aid in upcoming weeks.
1.4 Deyr harvest production
a) The Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) estimates the total cereal production for southern Somalia for the Deyr 1999/2000 season at 108,180 tons (46,590 tons of sorghum and 61,590 tons of maize). This is 15 percent higher than the pre-war Deyr average of 1982/88. Close to 50 percent of the total production is expected from the Lower Shabelle region where food production has been enhanced by the rehabilitation of irrigation canals. The involvement of the former banana-industry farmers in the production of food grain also enhanced the production of irrigated maize. High yields were also recorded in some rain-fed areas of Bay and significant sesame harvest was recorded in Middle and Lower Juba.
b) Conversely, crop failure occurred in Bakool, northern Gedo and other localized rain-fed areas which had already been hit by dry conditions over the past few seasons, with heavy consequences on crop and livestock production and water availability.
c) The Deyr season contributes 25 percent of the total cereal production in Somalia.
1. DROUGHT IN THE SOUTH-WEST - information as of 15 March
1.1 Drought conditions in the south-western provinces of Kandahar and Helmand are being reported by UN staff and farmers in the area. Only four days of rain have fallen during what is generally the annual rainy season, November through February. Shallow wells in Kandahar city are reportedly dry and the Helmand river, the largest in the area, is low enough to be waded across during a season usually prone to floods.
1.2 The lack of rain this season follows on the dry 1999 season. The production of rain-fed wheat from the south-west in 1999 was reported at 33,000 metric tons by the FAO/WFP crop assessment report, as compared to 81,000 metric tons in 1998. The irrigated wheat crops yielded 494,000 metric tons in 1999 and 459,000 metric in 1998, an increase of seven percent. In light of current weather conditions, it is possible that the yield for rain-fed wheat crops could be as low or lower than that of 1999. Irrigated crops might possibly be affected should the level of the Helmand river not rise over the coming months from snow melting in the Hazarajat. Further rains are not expected until the end of 2000.
1.3 The lack of rain is also having a reported impact on livestock. Large numbers of animals are said to have died in the rural areas of Kandahar and Zabul provinces from lack of water and feeding ground, according to reports made by WFP and other UN staff visiting these areas. The loss of assets for vulnerable families is particularly serious given the drought conditions.
1.4 WFP Afghanistan is in the midst of completing the first phase of its emergency distribution in Kandahar and Zabul provinces. This operation is expected to feed 200,553 people with 7,164 tons of food (200 kg of wheat and 50 kg of CSB per family split over two distribution periods) and will assist the most vulnerable families over the coming months. WFP intends to implement a series of food-for-work projects in these areas in order to circumvent potential difficulties linked to the drought.
2.1 WFP Afghanistan has committed 7,500 tons of wheat to work with UNHCR to repatriate 200,000 Afghans in the year 2000. It is expected that 100,000 people will return from Pakistan and 100,000 from Iran. WFP and UNHCR are beginning preparations for the imminent return of 3,000 Afghans per week from Iran in early April. These people will be returning through south-western Afghanistan, thus the lack of water in the area is a source of concern.
F. COLOMBIA - WFP OPERATION FOR WAR DISPLACED
1.1 The United States has donated USD 2.3 million for the WFP protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO 6139) for war displaced populations in Colombia. This amount is sufficient to purchase 10,000 tons of wheat. So far it is the only confirmed donor, leaving a shortfall for the operation equivalent to 74 percent of the total WFP costs.
1.2 Members of the guerrilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) finished their trip through Europe accompanied by representatives of the Government and the private sector as part of the peace negotiating process. The purpose of this trip was for the representatives to study different economic models, and for FARC to make known their willingness to start negotiations with the Government towards a peace treaty. It was also meant to highlight the importance of the need for help from the international community in this process. At the same time, attacks by the different armed groups continue to increase in roads and villages throughout Colombia. At present an estimated total of 1.7 million people have left their places of origin.
Note: all tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons
(End WFP Emergency Report No. 11 of 2000 - March 17, 2000)