Influxes of returnees were noted in several locations in Gogrial, Twic and Yirol counties in Bahr el Ghazal. WFP is closely monitoring the food security situation in these locations.Insecurity linked to train movement northwards of Wau town led to the evacuation of a number of locations in Bahr el Ghazal. Similarly, Thiek Thou (Gogrial County) was evacuated following insecurity in the area. Ongoing assessments indicate in several locations in southern Sudan that current food deficits vary from 10% to over 30% depending on the availability food from other sources. Food deficits are expected to raise drastically during the "hunger gap" months of May-July.
2.1 Northern Sector
Wau (Bahr el Ghazal): In collaboration with NGOs, WFP plans to target its assistance by providing emergency food to school children in Wau town and surrounding villages. The food assistance is expected to increase girl-pupils' attendance and enrollment. WFP will provide one meal a day for children in the targeted schools. The WFP food aid will enable NGOs that hitherto provided food support to the schools to re-allocate their resources to rehabilitate school infrastructure that had been damaged during the 1998 conflict and to strengthen teacher training programmes.
Equatoria: Distribution of relief food to 1,324 vulnerable persons commenced during the week. The beneficiaries include Congolese and Ugandan refugees, who are receiving WFP food aid under an agreement with the UNHCR.
Transitional Zone: WFP distributed food to 622 under five children in the Joghana IDP camp in Ed Daein, South Darfur. The food security of IDPs in Joghana camp is deteriorating due to the low food stocks in the host community. The IDPs fled to Joghana from nearby camps in April 1998 following ethnic clashes. These IDPs consequently could not plant during the cultivation season because they arrived long after the seasonal rains. These IDPs have no food stocks to meet their consumption requirements.
Post-distribution monitoring among IDPs in Meiram, West Kordofan, indicates that all beneficiaries received their food directly from WFP distribution sites. The findings also indicated that the IDPs consume 75% of the rations at home, while 25% of it is shared with visiting relatives. Ninety percent of those who collect rations at distribution sites are women, indicating the important role of women in food management within the IDP community in Meiram.
2.2 Southern Sector
Bahr el Ghazal: In Gogrial County, distributions were completed in Akon where a total of 175 MT of mixed commodities was distributed to 14,004 beneficiaries, 106 MT was distributed in Lietnhom to 12,000 beneficiaries, 108 MT in Amou was distributed to 10,000 beneficiaries and in Ajiep where 562 MT was distributed to 34,200 beneficiaries. In Yirol (Yirol County), WFP distributed 382 MT of relief food to 33,000 beneficiaries. This is the last distribution in Yirol County, except for Aluakluak, where WFP will be involved for the following month.
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) will be taking over food distribution responsibilities in the county.
During a distribution in Majakliet (Gogrial County) in early February, a WFP team noted increasing numbers of returnees settling in Toch. Local counterparts reported a total of 6,677 returnees, though registration is on-going. This influx is placing strain on the food security situation in the area and WFP is monitoring the situation closely. A distribution report from Akon (Gogrial County) recorded the presence of 210 returnees from Wau and 622 returnees from Mariam (Aweil West) in Akon. More returnees from these two areas are expected to arrive. A distribution report from Amou (Gogrial County) reported a number of deaths, injuries, kidnappings and loss of cattle due to recent attacks from the North, affecting around 592 households. Those rendered food insecure as a result of the attacks were included in the WFP distribution in early February.
A recent influx of returnees from north of Twic County was noted by WFP staff during a distribution in late January in Akoc (Twic County). WFP is monitoring the food security situation in the area closely.
Unity/Upper Nile/Jonglei: In Padak (Jonglei), a total of 48 MT of food aid was distributed to 12,000 beneficiaries. A new dropzone was chosen for the air deliveries to Nimnim (Upper Nile), since the hard ground of the previous dropzone resulted in damaged bags and thus high losses.
3.1 Northern Sector:
Equatoria: A joint WFP/GoS/NGO needs assessment mission in Jebel Lado has recommended food relief for 3,750 war, drought and flood affected persons in the location. The assessment team found that the farming community was suffering over 30% food deficit due to the effects of flooding of the Bahr el Jebel river last year and an ensuing dry spell which withered most of the crop that had been planted.
Unity/Upper Nile/Jonglei: A joint WFP southern and northern sector assessment of food needs along the Sobat river corridor has been postponed due to navigational setbacks. The level of the Sobat river has fallen drastically, limiting the movement of the pusher and barges which are transporting the assessment teams. As an alternative, the assessment team will instead conduct a food needs assessment along the Zeraf river corridor starting on 16 February.
3.2 Southern Sector
Bahr el Ghazal: MERLIN closed down its therapeutic feeding programme in Adet (Gogrial County) in January due to low numbers and will also close down its supplementary feeding programme, after one last distribution, due to lack of funding. In the short-term, UNICEF is to take over supervision of the MERLIN supplementary feeding programme and emergency clinic in Adet.
The WFP Annual Needs Assessment exercise for Aweil East County projected food deficits for the local population to be 10-20% for the very poor, 10-20% for the poor and 0-10% for the middle socio-economic groups in the area, if wild foods are consumed. Should wild foods not be consumed, these deficits would increase to 20-30% for the very poor, 10-30% for the poor and 0-10% for the middle socio-economic groups. Most of the food deficit would be experienced during the "hunger gap" months from May to July. However, the very poor are expected to experience deficits throughout 1999. These estimates must be understood in the context of famine, insecurity, flooding and huge influxes of displaced persons in 1998, which have placed great strain on the host community?s food security situation and led to overexploitation of wild foods. At present, Manga Gier and Baac have the highest concentration of displaced persons and numbers continued to increase in December 1998 due to floods and insecurity.
Unity/Upper Nile/Jonglei: A food economy assessment carried out in early January 1999 in Nhialdiu (Upper Nile), revealed an acute need for relief food until the currently high water levels start to drop, which will enable the population to fish and collect wild foods. Floods and factional fighting in the area in both 1997 and 1998 resulted in destroyed crops and cattle lost to raiders, placing great stress on the local community's food security situation. Factional fighting in the Nhialdiu area between June 1997 and November 1998 resulted in the displacement of around 70% of the community to Bentiu and Mankien. At present, a number of these displaced have returned, to which can be added additional displaced persons from Jikanyl, Jagai, Bul and Dok. WFP staff estimate that the very poor in Nhialdiu face a 20-30% food deficit, which will increase to 30-40% up until the next harvest, whereas the displaced face a 50-60% deficit.
Initial reports of a worsening food security situation in Mading (Upper Nile) have come in from local counterparts on the ground. This is allegedly due to crop failure caused by drought in 1998. In Koch (Upper Nile), a WFP team noted that insecurity in the area has hampered cultivation and resulted in loss of cattle. WFP is monitoring the food security situation closely.
Discussions are on-going between the SRRA and OLS over the resettlement of displaced persons in Bor County to higher grounds on the East of the Jonglei canal. OLS is currently examining counterpart proposals for evaluating needs and providing assistance to the displaced. Local counterparts reported population movements from the Mogok and Ayod areas in Phou State (Jonglei) towards Jiech following tribal conflict in those areas. There are unconfirmed reports of about 80,000 people on the move.
Equatoria: WFP is monitoring the food security situation in the village of Namorupus (Kapoeta County), between Narus and Boma, following reports of the village being destroyed by fire and appeals for assistance for over 80 households.
4. SECURITY ISSUES
4.1. Northern Sector
Kassala: The security situation along the Ethiopia/Eritrea borders with Sudan remains fragile. The refugees stated they had been displaced by the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. WFP will provide food aid to the refugees under the regular agreement with UNHCR and the GoS's Commission for Refugees (COR).
Transitional Zone: WFP made a rapid assessment of the security situation in Kadugli, South Kordofan, during the reporting period. At a meeting with local authorities, WFP indicated that operations would resume after a full assessment by the UN Security Officer. WFP's implementing partner, SCF-USA, expressed concern regarding the deteriorating food security of the IDPs in South Kordofan. SCF-USA indicated that insecurity in 1998 limited the cultivable land available to the IDPs. In addition, pest infestation is affecting crops. WFP has not been operational in South Kordofan since June 1998 when two WFP and one SRC staff members were killed in a road ambush. WFP plans to provide food assistance to 72,500 IDPs in 11 Peace Villages in South Kordofan during 1999.
4.2 Southern Sector
During the reporting period, the train left Wau town and arrived in Aweil town. The train is said to be leaving imminently for the North. Insecurity linked to train movements resulted in the evacuation of three locations in Aweil East, namely, Panthou, Ajak and Tiaraliet near the rail corridor. Furthermore, Malualkon, Madhol, Marial Bai and Nyamlell have been placed on security level 3 until further notice. Ajiep (Gogrial County) on the other hand, was given a green light for resumption of WFP operations towards the end of the reporting period.
Insecurity in the Thiek Thou (Gogrial County) and Mayen Jur areas led to the evacuation of Thiek Thou where three WFP staff were present at the time.. By the end of the reporting period, the following locations were declared "no-go areas" by OLS Security, namely, Thiek Thou, Mayen Jur, Majakliet and Lietnhom.
5.1 Food Commodities: Due to a temporary shortage of pulses for emergency operations in the northern sector, the EMOP 5826.02 has borrowed 520 MT of pulses from PRO 4168.05 to meet the requirements for prepositioning and distribution in February and March. However, distribution of the loaned pulses has been hampered by delays in customs clearance of the PRO food consignment.
The pulses arrived in Port Sudan in December 1998; clearance was granted only on14 February.
5.2 Air Operations: Following consultations, GoS has permitted WFP to make use of El Obeid airport for four full days each week for food delivery operations. It is expected that GoS will grant WFP full use of the airport starting on 18 February. The reopening of the airport to WFP operations will enable the northern sector to deliver greater quantities of food aid to locations in Bahr el Ghazal.
5.3 Road Operations: WFP is increasing the amount of food aid being transported by road to Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile since roads are becoming increasingly passable as the dry season continues. A WFP team is in Lual (Jonglei) to oversee the rehabilitation of food stores and roads ahead of scheduled road convoys to Boma.
Visit of the Special Raporteur of Human Rights: The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Mr Leonardo Franco, began a 12-day visit to Sudan during the week. WFP and other UN Agencies held discussions with the Special Rapporteur while he was in Khartoum.
Support to seed projects: In Bahr el Ghazal, WFP recently swapped 5 MT of relief food for 1.7 MT of sorghum seed in Bararud (Wau County). In addition, WFP has put aside 8 MT of food in Malual Bai (Aweil East County) and 10 MT in Panliet (Gogrial County). Small quantities of food were also reserved in Gogrial County in Akon, Amou and Ayuang for food-for-seed programmes.
Meetings/Workshops: Meetings are being held between WFP Regional Liaison Officers and local counterparts to identify possible sites in the field and activities to celebrate the International Women?s Day on 8 March 1999.
A meeting was held between the WFP Regional Liaison Officer and counterparts for Gogrial County to examine ways of improving WFP operations in the county and particularly in Alek where there are high levels of malnourished people..
Sudan Bulletins are available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at: http://www.wfp.org - or by electronic mail from Leslie.Elliott@wfp.org, WFP Rome (telephone 39 06 6513 2871, fax 39 06 6513 2839). For further information on WFP operations in Sudan, please contact Ismat.Fahmi@wfp.org, WFP Rome (telephone 39 06 6513 2338, fax 39 06 6513 2839). The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, Rome 00148
Revised: February 15, 1999
=A9: 1998, World Food Programme. All rights reserved.