UN World Food Programme

Hunger's global hotspots

From Afghanistan to Sudan, WFP is on the frontline of crises across the globe. Find out the latest from these hotspots with WFP's weekly operational priorities update.

Introduction

From Afghanistan to Sudan, WFP is on the frontline of crises across the globe. Find out the latest from these hotspots with WFP's weekly operational priorities update.

Afghanistan

Insecurity continues to affect the implementation of WFP activities in most parts of the country. Incidents including military operations against insurgents and insurgents’ attacks including suicide bombing continue mainly in the southern and eastern regions.

In the northern region, food dispatch from Termez to Mazar-e-Sharif has been suspended for 3 days due to insecurity, while a skirmish between narco-dealers and Tajikistan border police has prevented the trans-border dispatch of food from Termez (Uzbekistan) through Tajikistan to Maimai district of Darwarz region in the far northern part of Badakhshan province.

Improved collaboration

WFP is considering improving this year its collaboration with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in the implementation and monitoring of projects. PRTs are development units within NATO contingents in Afghanistan engaged in reconstruction projects.

This week, WFP conducted an inter-agency visit to the PRT based in Nuristan in order to exchange information on implementation plans and challenges.

WFP has planned to assist vulnerable populations in Nuristan where the access to projects sites is limited due to insecurity.

It seized the opportunity to discuss with the PRT the possibility of using their presence in the field to monitor WFP’s projects in ‘no go areas’ and also the possibility of implementing joint projects where PRT’s cash would be complementary to WFP’s food.

Chad

The security situation is relatively calm throughout Chad, despite a strong military presence in the east. Previous weeks have seen a number of traffic accidents in that part of the country.

The distribution of 90 day food rations for 110,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) is ongoing. Additional seed protection rations are planned during the lean season (July-September).

WFP’s cooperating partner for food distribution to IDPs in Ade, Kerfi, Marena and Tiero has finalised the distribution of 45 days rations to 25,000.

Delay concern

Distribution for the second 45 days has started for an additional 85,000 IDPs in the East.

March general food distributions for Sudanese and CAR refugees in Chad are completed. WFP provided some 223,000 Sudanese refugees with over 3,600 mt of food and 28,113 CAR refugees with some 267mt of food.

Of major concern are delays in arrivals through the Libyan corridor following an increase in fuel prices. Currently there are some 14,000 mt of food for the Emergency Operation blocked in Libya.

Several vessels have been diverted to Douala. If the issue is not resolved, and the commodities do not reach Chad by early June, WFP will not have food in place for beneficiaries during the rainy season.

Congo, DR

Violent confrontations between Jean-Pierre Bemba’ soldiers and regular governmental troops burst out on Thursday 22 March around noon in the centre of Kinshasa near the official residence of Bemba and several UN offices, including the main UN building where WFP is housed along with 7 other agencies.

It was later reported that Bemba took refuge within the South African Embassy or one of its official residences. However, shootings continued all night long.

By Friday evening, Bemba's forces were reported to have been retreating to the eastern part of the city and government troops were nearly in control of the situation.

Shooting

On Saturday and Sunday, some shooting occured, last poche of resistance and possibly some looting. There was sporadic looting in the center of town.

The key agency hit was Unicef. Unicef building took at least one direct artillery or mortar round. The facade of the building was blown open.

Approximately 280 UN Staff and family members, who were present in and around the UN building at the time hostilities occured, were confined to the building as a security precaution.

Pre-positioning

Water and food was pre-positioned and being used by staff, including WFP staff.

The UN building was reportedly hit by bullets, including 19 impacts in the WFP Country Director's office (who was on mission in eastern DRC at the time).

The blast proof film stopped all but 3 or 4 bullets from entering the office.

All WFP staff are reported as safe. UN Staff remained in the building until Saturday 24 March when they were authorized to return home.

Insecurity

Increasing insecurity in North Kivu province has been limiting WFP food operations in the area.

Administrative harassment continues as the majority of state officials and government soldiers are not properly paid. Infrastructure is extremely poor.

Support for essential infrastructure rebuilding is needed to make a substantial impact on cost reduction of food delivery. At present, logistic constraints result in very high transportation costs.

Airlifts

Airlift operations are still required in the eastern part of the country to ensure that minimum food stocks are available in isolated areas such as Maniema where global acute malnutrition rates remain high.

WFP is finalising an extensive market survey that will provide a better knowledge of local purchase opportunities. WFP is soon to begin an extensive vulnerability assessment study in 216 villages for a better understanding of vulnerabilities.

Ethiopia

The government’s new relief response strategy continues to hinder relief distributions. WFP is leading the process of bringing partners together to implement assessments and to provide analyses to push the government to allocate relief resources to populations already experiencing stress.

WFP’s proposed assessment methodology has been approved with the first assessment to take place in Somali region from 31 March to 14 April 2007.

WFP has provided government with analysis recommending an immediate one month relief distribution for Somali region.

Donors

WFP and donors met with the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) to underline the need to ensure humanitarian risks are mitigated in the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). The DPM reiterated that partner support remains essential to implement the programme effectively.

WFP’s Country Director and the Director-General of the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Agency met transporters in Dire Dawa and the President of the Somali Region in Jijiga regarding food diversions, losses and misallocations.

The high-level mission was successful in sending a clear message of zero tolerance of misuse of WFP food.

Kenya

WFP organized a one-day knowledge sharing workshop on asset creation using food and cash, with the participation of UNDP, and some of the main NGO partners that have experience in implementing food-for-assets and/or cash-for-work projects in Kenya.

It is expected that future WFP activities in areas recently affected by drought will focus more on recovery of livelihoods.

The north east of the country experienced showers during the week, an indication of the start of the long rains season (March-June 2007).

Rains

The rains are expected to be generally normal in most parts of the country, with a slight tendency towards below normal rains in the northeast and above normal along the coastal strip.

Many households in the northeast and coastal areas are currently recovering from the effects of severe drought and massive flooding experienced in 2006.

As a result of the large influx of refugees and flooding in Dadaab refugee camps in late 2006, several new partners have come on board to respond to the unacceptably high malnutrition rates.

Therapeutic care

Action against Hunger, GTZ and UNICEF have introduced a community-based therapeutic care (CTC) programme in two of the three Dadaab camps with the hope of increasing coverage and reducing the high defaulter rates in therapeutic feeding programme for malnourished children under five years.

The progress of the children is being monitored on a weekly basis in each health post, and a weekly ration of plumpy-nut is given. The aim is to roll out the CTC programme in the last camp soon.

One concern raised by the partners is the sustainability of this costly programme, which at the moment is funded for only six months.

Madagascar

Cyclone Indlala hit the Northeastern coast of Madagascar on 15 March. It was considered a category 3 Cyclone with gusts measured up to 230km/hour.

Preliminary data provided by the National Office of Risks and Disasters Management (BNGRC) on 24 March indicates that some 80 people were deceased, more than 105,000 people displaced to temporary shelters and hundreds of thousands were also affected as a result of flooding and the passage of Indlala.

Important damages to the infrastructure have also been reported. A total of 35 bridges were destroyed, leaving dozens of villages in complete isolation.

Landslide

In addition, as a result of continued rains, on 22 March the valley of Sambirano, near the district of Ambanja (Northwest of Madagascar), was hit by a landslide.

It is estimated that a total of 4,245 people in the village of Marotolano are in urgent need of relief assistance (food, NFI, health, water and sanitation). Villages in the area have been severely damaged. A part of one village was entirely buried.

Many houses, schools and some administrative buildings also reported damages. The area remains inaccessible.

WFP is planning to airlift HEBs and other basic food commodities to isolated areas of the Northwest and Northeast of the country.

Rapid assessment

Emergency operations have commenced in areas where rapid assessments have been completed. However, additional beneficiaries are expected as a rapid assessment for the region of Sofia (Northwest) has not yet been conducted. Data will be available late Thursday 29 March. This may require additional humanitarian aid resources.

The scale of ongoing emergency operations is at a national level (winding down of emergency in the south, and start up of emergency operations in the southeast, northeast and northwest). It is expected that additional human resource support services will be required.

Mozambique

Government reports indicate that 163,000 have been displaced due to floods with an estimated 140,000 in accommodation centres.

An additional 55,000 people are moving to expanded resettlement sites previously established after the 2001 floods. Overall, the Government estimates that 285,000 people have lost their crops based on the number who were affected in similar floods in 2001.

As of 23 March, WFP, in cooperation with the INGC and cooperating partners, had distributed food assistance to 120,000 people in 60 accommodation centres in the flooded Zambezi River Valley and 36,000 people in the cyclone affected districts.

Needs

A Rapid Assessment of the medium-term needs by a SETSAN-led Government/UN team will be in the field from April 10-17.

The teams will assess the food security and related needs of people affected by floods in the Zambeze River Valley; the cyclone-affected districts of Inhambane Province; and drought-affected districts of southern Mozambique (some of which have received less than half of normal rainfall during the current growing season).

WFP assistance in coming months will be based upon the findings of the assessment.

The April Assessment follows the November/December National Baseline Survey of the National Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) and will take place during the April harvest season.

Vulnerable groups

According to current projections, WFP commodity requirements for the March – July period amount to 27,000 mt for the flood and cyclone affected, and 9,000 mt for HIV/AIDS affected families and other vulnerable groups assisted through WFP’s cooperating partners in ongoing assistance programmes.

The second agricultural season 2006/07 (April – July) forms the timeframe of the likely phase-out of relief support for the flood-affected. Thus protracted relief, largely through food-for-work projects, is anticipated until July. A phase-out will largely depend on the success of the second agricultural season.

Occupied Palestinian territories

Violence escalated in the capital Mogadishu. On 20 March, unidentified insurgents clashed with the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops in the northern and southern parts of the capital.

At least 34 people were reportedly killed and 92 wounded in the clash. Many villagers are now fleeing Mogadishu due to increased insecurity. In a separate incident, unknown gunmen fired several mortars at Mogadishu seaport and other government installations on 18 March 2007.

Hijacked ship

The TFG has requested assistance from the United States to secure the release of MV Rozen and its 12-crew members hijacked since February 25, and to rid Somali waters of pirates.

An outbreak of Cholera has been reported in and around the town of Bardhere, southwestern Somalia, at least 80 people have reportedly died in the past three weeks from the disease.

Cholera

The Government of Somaliland has lifted its ban on all flights into Somaliland from south/central Somalia and Puntland, a step taken to avoid the spread of Cholera reported in these regions.

The ban, which was effective from 17 March, was lifted on 22 March with the launch of a campaign to vaccinate all passengers arriving at Hargesia Airport.

The Food Security and Analysis Unit (FSAU) has reported a forecast of above-normal precipitation for the April rainy season which could lead to another flood crisis in the riverine areas of southern Somalia particularly the upper catchments of the Juba and Shabelle rivers in the Ethiopia highlands.

Flooding

Another season of flooding would aggravate the current humanitarian emergency in Juba and Hiran riverine areas.

Serious flooding in October-November 2006 in Juba and Shabelle river valleys destroyed an estimated 53,000ha of maize, 70,000ha of sesame, and 9,500ha of cowpeas. Flood contingency planning and humanitarian preparedness are required now.

Sri Lanka

As military operations have intensified in the last few days with daily shelling into LTTE-controlled areas in west Batticaloa, large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to arrive in the Government-controlled areas.

As of 20 March 155,465 IDPs in 91 sites and with host families require assistance, including food.

WFP and other humanitarian partners are deeply concerned by this trend and the capacity of the Government and aid agencies to meet needs of these new IDPs.

Pipeline constraints

Due to pipeline constraints, WFP has had to reprioritise resources from other geographical areas and partially suspend some recovery programmes such as FFE/MCN to help meet the needs of IDPs.

Security concerns and restricted humanitarian access, particularly in LTTE-controlled areas, continue to hamper WFP emergency operations.

Meanwhile, IDPs in many of these Batticaloa camps report insecurity and lack of law and order, further exacerbating their plight.

The Government is trying to facilitate the return of IDPs to Trincomalee and Vaharai from the Batticaloa IDP camps. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UNHCR are questioning whether this return is voluntary.

With the emergency situation likely to continue past mid-2007, WFP is considering the extension of its Special Operations.

Sudan

Fighting and inter-tribal clashes are causing re-displacements of thousands, and there are daily reports of new IDP influxes to camps that are rapidly reaching maximum thresholds.

Verification of IDPs and assistance to new arrivals are activities that WFP and cooperating partners have been engaged in almost every day in recent weeks.

With incidents of targeted violence against relief agencies persisting, cooperating partners are being forced to withdraw or suspend operations in volatile locations.

Attacks against the humanitarian community are effectively undermining the continued delivery of life-saving humanitarian interventions to millions.

Carjacking

A recent carjacking incident in Muhajeriya, South Darfur, resulted in WFP’s cooperating partner suspending activities including food distributions in the area for more than 14,000 beneficiaries.

With conditions on the ground unpredictable and dangerous, humanitarian agencies remain almost exclusively reliant on WFP-HAS helicopter transport to carry out food distributions and monitoring activities. The operation needs to sustain its current expanded fleet for which WFP-HAS urgently requires US$27 million for 2007.

Compounding the difficulty to access places and people is the Government’s increasing non-adherence of the SOFA and Moratorium, that is cutting further access to areas of operation, reducing assessment capabilities and implementation strength.