From Jean-Jacques Graisse, Assistant Executive Director. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at http://www.wfp.org/ or by electronic mail from Deborah.Hicks@wfp.org (fax 39 06 6513 2854). 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 6513 2250. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.
PART I - HIGHLIGHTS
(Details below in Part II)
1. Flood relief operations - most information as of 17 February a) Update 21 February: Tropical Storm Eline expected to bring further heavy rainfall to Inhambane, Gaza and Sofala provinces. WFP has stockpiled food, medicine and tents at Palmeira, 90 km north of Maputo, in anticipation of the impact of Eline.
b) Mozambique badly affected by flooding of past week; the Limpopo, Incomati and Umbeluzi rivers passing through the provinces of Gaza and Maputo rose twice above the highest level ever registered; another flood peak is expected to hit the region as the Limpopo River brings more flood water from South Africa.
c) Some 300,000 people displaced or isolated by the floods and/or lost food reserves, property and belongings. A further 2.4 million people in urban and rural areas, most of them below the poverty line, also affected.
d) Delivery of food and non-food items begun by WFP in cooperation with the National Institute for Disaster Management. Under a WFP Immediate Response Emergency operation, 40,000 food packages are being provided, sufficient to feed 8,000 families for two weeks, along with 55 tons of high energy biscuits.
e) Donor support sought for WFP airlift; operation estimated to cost USD 523,000.
f) Three-month WFP Emergency Operation is under preparation, at first to target the stranded and destitute, then under a recovery phase to assist people returning home via a food-for-work scheme. WFP EMOP requirements will be included in UN Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal now being finalized.
B. DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
1. Update - information as of 16 February
a) Additional donor pledges required to avoid breaks in food aid pipeline in coming months; current contributions of cereals will run out in April.
b) Mountainous north-east identified by WFP as being particularly vulnerable; with reduced economic activity and little available arable land, the population, which has traditionally relied on industrial activities, has few alternatives when the state Public Distribution System cuts back its rations, as is expected soon; inter-province transfers affected by fuel shortages and overall food supply problems.
c) Planned additional WFP distributions during the lean season, April to June, can only proceed fully if new donations are received.
1. Update - information as of 17 February
a) Price of wheat flour remains high in major urban areas.
b) Kandahar: emergency interventions proposed for 10 districts and Kandahar city in Kandahar province and one district in Zabul province based on emergency assessment by WFP VAM unit in October 1999; as at 17 February, some 4,800 families in Kandahar and 4,140 in Lashkar Gah had received first tranche of food aid; WFP will distribute a total of 7,164 tons to an estimated 200,000 people.
c) Ghor: WFP-supported food distributions target three districts (Chaghcharan, Tulak and Shahrak) in Ghor province, with total of 712 tons of wheat for distribution to 7,120 families.
d) Kabul Winter Relief Programme supported by WFP expected to begin operations at the end of February; project provides an income transfer for some of the poorest families in Kabul. On-going WFP-supported bakeries feed some 266,000 people.
e) WFP Jalalabad seasonal bakery to begin operating the last week of February, providing subsidized bread to some 100,000 people; house-to-house survey identified most vulnerable families in December/January and involved 300 women surveyors.
f) Donor support sought for WFP operations in Afghanistan.
1. Update - information from WFP news release of 16 February
a) WFP on 16 February confirmed that the agency's country director for Iraq, Jutta Burghardt, left her post to return to work for the German government. Ms. Burghardt's resignation, which she said was motivated by personal reasons, will not affect WFP operations in the country. A replacement will be named shortly.
PART II - DETAILS
A. MOZAMBIQUE - FLOOD OPERATIONS
1. UPDATE - most information as of 17 February
1.1 General Situation
a) Update 21 February: There is growing concern for the people caught in the path of Tropical Storm Eline, which is moving towards the Mozambique coast from Madagascar. Considerable damage was caused to Madagascar in the path of Eline, which was classified as a cyclone at that time, on 17/18 February, and thousands left homeless. In Mozambique, the tropical storm is expected to hit the southern coastal province of Inhambane, and Gaza and Sofala provinces, including areas already affected by the massive flooding of the past two weeks. WFP has stockpiled food, medicine and tents at Palmeira, a town 90 km north of Maputo, in anticipation of the impact of Eline.
b) Background: Following above normal rainfall in January, flooding had already occurred in Maputo and Gaza provinces. In the Central Region the water levels of the rivers rose significantly. Then Cyclone Connie developed and struck southern Mozambique. The provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane received torrential rains. Within just three days (4, 5 and 6 February) more rain had fallen over Maputo than during a normal total rainy season (October - March): 453 mm were registered against an average seasonal cumulative rainfall of 264 mm. Consecutive rains turned residential areas into huge swamps, destroying or flooding houses in the poorer areas. Moreover, water levels of the main rivers were rising alarmingly high above the critical levels as the dams in South Africa, also receiving disastrous rains, released more water. The Limpopo, Incomati and Umbeluzi rivers passing through the provinces of Gaza and Maputo rose twice above the highest level ever registered. Update 21 February: the southern water authority has warned that another flood peak would hit the region as the already flooded Limpopo River brings more flood water from South Africa.
c) Until mid-February the floods have caused displacement and isolation and/or loss of food reserves, property and belongings of about 300,000 people (a portion of whom will be assisted under a WFP emergency operation now under preparation), in addition to affecting a population of about 2.4 million people in urban and rural areas most of which live below the poverty line.
1.2 Maputo Province (information as of 17 February)
a) As of 17 February, roads from Maputo city northwards were open to traffic, although some were still under water. The Government has decided to evacuate three high flood risk areas of the city permanently, and those affected are to be resettled in higher ground. At present there are 10,500 people accommodated in 12 reception centres. Some 33,000 beneficiaries in Maputo province have received a total of 255 tons of food aid (maize, pulses and oil).
1.3 Gaza Province
a) As the level of the Limpopo River rises, the areas around Xai Xai, Chibuto and Macia will be further affected. The town of Chokwe is flooded and the situation is reportedly dramatic with many evacuated and some 600 people stranded across the river by the rising waters. The Xinavane is still flooding badly. An important bridge between Xai Xai and Chibuto has been destroyed along with 4 km of road.
b) It is estimated that 27,000 people need assistance along the Limpopo river, though figures are likely to be adjusted. The helicopters airlifting food in Sofala Province have been recalled to Gaza to take those stranded by the floods to safety, which along with bad weather has affected food distribution to centres cut off by water.
c) An estimated 11,000 hectares of arable land mainly dedicated to subsistence agriculture have been wiped out.
1.4 Other areas: In Inhambane Province, the road north from Inhambane was cut off for several days. In Sofala Province, food distribution by road to Buzi continues. Machanga is still cut off by road. Update 21 February: as per above, more rain resulting from tropical depression Eline is forecast to affect the southern coastal province of Inhambane, Gaza province, and the central province of Sofala.
2. WFP RESPONSE
2.1 WFP in cooperation with the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) has initiated a programme of urgent delivery of food and non-food items to people who have lost homes and crops.
a) A WFP airlift will deliver kitchen kits, recovery items and food. The operation is estimated to cost USD 523,000. Donor support for this airlift is being sought. Warehousing is being procured in the village of Palmeiras for further distribution in Gaza flood zones.
b) Under a WFP Immediate Response Emergency operation, 40,000 food packages are being provided, sufficient to feed 8,000 families for two weeks along with 55 tons of BP5 high energy biscuits, 4 tons of which have arrived in Maputo from emergency UN stocks held in Pisa in Italy.
c) A three month Emergency Operation is under preparation with a total value of about USD 3 million, to deliver food aid to a variable number of people as needs change. This aid will target the stranded and destitute at first and then, as people begin to return home, it will become a food for work scheme during recovery work. The WFP EMOP requirements will be included in a UN Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal which is being finalized. Once released, the UN appeal will be available on ReliefWeb at <http://www.reliefweb.int>
3. COORDINATED RESPONSE - information from the UNDAC report of 17 February
3.1 WFP is actively participating in the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) established by the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) with support from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team which has been in Mozambique since 12 February. The OSOCC is manned jointly by UNDAC members, technical experts from the national authorities and agencies in the following sectors: food; health; water, sanitation and infrastructure; transportation, customs and communications; shelter, camp accommodation and non-food items; and information. The OSOCC, which was launched on 15 February, is headed by the INGC Deputy Director. Daily international coordination meetings take place, with participation from UN agencies, the Red Cross, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international cooperation representatives. The OSOCC serves as a central point for processing and sharing of information related to the flooding and ensuing emergency needs, as well as facilitating coordination among humanitarian partners and with the national authorities.
3.2 In addition, the OSOCC is mounting a cell for logistics coordination and information sharing, including an air operations coordination cell. The air operation in Mozambique is in urgent need of reinforcement.
4. FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE WEB
4.1 For updated news and situation reports on the Mozambique floods, see the following Web sites:
a) ReliefWeb at http://www.reliefweb.int (includes OCHA Situation Reports)
b) Yahoo World News full coverage section on Mozambique floods, with links to various news sources, at http://fullcoverage.yahoo.com/fc/World/Mozambique/
c) Maps of Mozambique at UN Cartographic Section (click on General Maps) at http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/english/htmain.htm and via Univ. of Texas at Austin PCL Map Collection at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/Libs/PCL/Map_collection/africa/Mozambique_rel95.jpg
B. DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
1. UPDATE - information as of 16 February
1.1 Food pipeline break: If additional donor pledges are not received this month for the current emergency operation, WFP's cereal contributions will run out in April. The break in food supply will have serious consequences for the people of the DPR Korea during the lean season between April and June. Supplies of edible oil will run out at the end of July, and pulses will last until mid-September.
1.2 WFP has identified the mainly mountainous north-east as being particularly vulnerable with a relatively dense population that has traditionally relied on industrial activities. This area includes DPR Korea's second and third largest cities. With reduced economic activity and little available arable land, people have few alternatives when the state Public Distribution System (PDS) cuts back its rations. Rations will reportedly be reduced to as low as 150 grammes per person per day between February and June 2000. Furthermore, inter-province transfers face problems due to fuel shortages and overall food supply problems.
1.3 WFP is currently providing food for 5.6 million beneficiaries in DPR Korea. WFP intends to programme additional distributions during the lean season, April to June. However, the intended distributions can only proceed fully if new donations are received.
1.4 Reports from WFP staff travelling throughout the country is that the level of deforestation taking place in the DPR Korea is increasing. More and more trees are being cut down for cooking and heating. This is a mountainous country and there is concern that this environmental degradation will lead to landslides and increased vulnerability to flooding. WFP supports reforestation through food-for-work projects. The WFP Protracted Relief and Rehabilitation Operation (PRRO) which was approved by the WFP Executive Board in October 1999 includes reforestation projects. A Memorandum of Understanding with the Government to implement the PRRO has not yet been signed.
1.5 After long negotiation, the Government has advised that a nutrition survey will be carried out in April 2000. There will be no international participation as there was with the 1998 WFP/UNICEF/EU nutritional survey which at that time indicated an acute malnutrition rate of 16 percent, amongst children six months to 7 years, representing one of the highest rates of wasting in the world.
1. UPDATE - information as of 17 February
1.1 General: The price of wheat flour in major urban areas in Afghanistan during the week of 7 - 14 February, showed little movement over the previous week's prices. Wheat flour prices remain high, however, when compared to the first week in October, when the prices began increasing. Prices have increased by 63 percent in Jalalabad, 55 percent in Kandahar, 48 percent in Mazar, 40 percent in both Kabul and Herat, while prices in Faizabad has decreased by 2 percent. WFP Afghanistan implements activities in each one of these cities. The high prices are a result of the poor 1999 harvest and an alarming drop in imports of wheat flour after neighbouring countries closed their borders with Afghanistan late last year to stop smuggling of the commodity.
1.2 Kandahar: An emergency assessment of Kandahar and Helmand provinces was conducted in October 1999 by the WFP Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping [VAM] unit for Afghanistan. The data collected indicated the necessity of an emergency intervention due to wheat production decreases of up to 60 percent and the distress sale of livestock, particularly in the Kandahar region. The situation has been exacerbated by increases in the cost of wheat flour and a lack of rainfall from mid-November to January, at the beginning of the four-month rainy season. Emergency interventions were proposed by VAM for 10 districts and Kandahar city in Kandahar province and one district in Zabul province. As at 17 February, 4,808 families in Kandahar and 4,136 in Lashkar Gah had received the first tranche of their family ration, 100 kg of wheat and 25 kg of corn soya blend, for a total distribution of 894 tons of wheat and 234 tons of CSB. It is expected that WFP will distribute 250 kg of wheat per household, a total of 7,164 tons, to an estimated 200,000 people.
1.3 Ghor: WFP Afghanistan is currently supporting an emergency food distribution targeting three districts (Chaghcharan, Tulak and Shahrak) in Ghor province. A total of 712 tons of wheat was approved for distribution to 7,120 families. These three districts have recently experienced increased cereal prices and a decrease in the price of small stock (sheep and goats). VAM Afghanistan estimates that up to 50 percent of the population are vulnerable to food insecurity. To date, about 90 percent of the food has been distributed.
1.4 Kabul Winter Relief Programme: A WFP-supported Winter Relief Programme in Kabul city is expected to begin operations at the end of February. A total of 1,918 tons of wheat was approved by WFP for distribution to 8,000 workers who will be employed for rehabilitation activities (water drainage, canal cleaning, and city storm drain cleaning) in the city. The project provides an income transfer for some of the poorest families in Kabul. They have been affected most recently by the rising cost of wheat flour, an influx of internally displaced persons from the Shomali Plains in the summer of 1999 and the 16 percent decrease in overall wheat production in 1999. On-going WFP-supported bakeries feed some 266,000 people.
1.5 Jalalabad bakery: The WFP Jalalabad seasonal bakery is expected to begin operating the last week of February, providing subsidized bread to approximately 100,000 vulnerable individuals. A house-to-house survey of the city to identify the most vulnerable families was carried out in December/January and involved 300 women surveyors.
1.6 Resourcing situation: Donor support is urgently sought for WFP operations in Afghanistan. On 1 January, WFP launched a USD 88 million operation to feed nearly 2.6 million of the most vulnerable people over a two-year period. The appeal for funds is currently running a shortfall of some 82 percent, and currently there is enough to feed the targeted groups only until April. Last year, WFP provided more than 90,000 tons of food assistance through bakeries, emergency distribution and food-for-work schemes to help more than 1.2 million people.
1. Update - information from WFP news release of 16 February
1.1 WFP on 16 February confirmed that the agency's country director for Iraq, Jutta Burghardt, left her post to return to work for the German government. Ms. Burghardt's resignation, which she said was motivated by personal reasons, will not affect WFP operations in the country. A replacement will be named shortly.
1.2 WFP is currently engaged in a USD 21 million relief operation in Iraq targetting just over a million of the country's poorest and most vulnerable people including 200,000 acutely malnourished children. The WFP operation also provides food for hospital patients and vulnerable groups in social institutions. Before the current relief operation, WFP was engaged in 10 consecutive emergency operations in the country, beginning in 1991 after the end of the Gulf War.
1.3 WFP is also mandated to observe the equitable distribution of the food purchased under the United Nations oil-for-food deal (Security Council Resolution 986), to assess the effectiveness of the operation and to determine the adequacy of available resources. The food is purchased and distributed in the centre/south under the Iraqi Government rationing system. Food needs for the northern governorates (Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah) are dispatched by the Government to WFP-managed transit warehouses at Mosul and Kirkuk. In these governorates, WFP is responsible for the management of the food distributions to 3.1 million people.
1.4 WFP currently has a total of 53 international and 631 national staff in Iraq - 34 international and 208 national staff in central and southern Iraq and 19 international and 423 national staff in the northern governorates.
Note: all tonnage figures in report above refer to metric tons