UN World Food Programme

Hunger's global hotspots: 13th April 2007

Increased banditry in Sudan's Darfur region, risks to humanitarian workers in the occupied Palestinian territories and fighting in Somalia. These are just some of WFP's "Hunger's global hotspots".

Introduction

Increased banditry in Sudan's Darfur region, risks to humanitarian workers in the occupied Palestinian territories and fighting in Somalia. These are just some of WFP's "Hunger's global hotspots".

Afghanistan

Widespread insecurity remains the major constraint for the implementation and monitoring of projects in Afghanistan, particularly in the southern and eastern regions where WFP has planned various activities.

Insurgent attacks and military action from national and international forces in an attempt to counter insurgent activities continue mainly in these regions.

Risks

The recent abduction and assassination of an Afghan journalist and the abduction of two French aid workers together with their three local colleagues; attacks of a truck convoy carrying WFP food on 5 April in Nimroz province (Khashrod district) and another truck convoy on 7 April in Zabul province (Suree district), where a driver and escort were killed, are the most recent examples of the risks routinely encountered in delivering humanitarian programmes in Afghanistan.

The dispatch of 1,000 metric tonnes of salt to Afghanistan from Peshawar and Quetta (Pakistan) has been delayed due to the ban imposed on salt imports into Afghanistan by the Ministry of Mines and Industry. WFP has approached this ministry and requested an exemption.

Insecurity

Excluding Daykundi and Nouristan provinces where already poor roads, worsened by spring floods coupled with insecurity and in most cases requiring helicopter to deliver assistance to flood-affected people, WFP has provided food assistance to nearly 75,000 flood-affected in 77 districts of 13 flood-affected provinces.

On-site assessments continue in some parts of the country and the risk for further flooding remains.

Food assistance dispatched to benefit 50 families in Raghistan district of Badakhshan province could not be delivered due to road blockages.

Chad

The security situation continues to be tense in eastern Chad and relatively calm in the rest of the country. On 12 & 13 April, military activities intensified as the Chadian army clashed with rebels 30 kilometres north of Tissi in the Goz Beida area.

Emergency operation (EMOP) 10559.0 initially planned to feed 50,000 IDPs. New Janjaweed attacks and continued insecurity continue to increase the numbers of those who need assistance, now close to 140,000.

Budget revision

Eventually, the project will have to undergo a budget revision to accommodate food assistance to the additional IDPs. In April, WFP plans to provide some 226,000 Sudanese refugees and 85,000 IDPs with some 6,000 mt of food as well as 28,800 CAR refugees with some 277 mt.

The eastern operation expects arrivals of some 23,600 mt of commodities in the next 3 months. These will be crucial to the food pre-positioning before the rainy season. Included are the 14,000 mt of cereals that were blocked in Libya but now being dispatched to eastern camps.

Ethiopia

Flash floods occurred on 12 April in Dire Dawa town and more rains are expected.

There are no reports of casualties so far, although the flooding was quite intense.

According to the Ethiopian Meteorological Agency, widespread rainfall has covered much of the country, particularly the central Rift Valley and the eastern highlands, generating flash floods around Dire Dawa town and parts of East Harerge Zone.

Heavy rainfall

Heavy rainfall is expected to continue in the area over the next 10 days. This could lead to renewed flooding as in the second semester 2006, when over half millon people in the country were affected.

The Targeted Supplementary Feeding programme (TSF) will face serious resource shortfalls from May 2007 onwards for fortified blended food and vegetable oil. The value of this shortfall is US$14 million.

This can lead to significant numbers of identified moderately malnourished women and children becoming severely malnourished with increased risk of maternal and child mortality.

Shortfall

The Urban HIV/AIDS nutrition support component is facing a very serious shortfall as of March 2007 for wheat.

The value of this shortfall is US$7 million. Lack of food commodities will increase vulnerability, poor nutritional status and drop-out of treatment or school of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Kenya

Following the recommendations of the 2006/07 short rains assessment, WFP is preparing to scale down the emergency operation to reach 1.3 million beneficiaries in 14 districts as follows: general food distribution and/or food/cash-for-assets to 919,000 beneficiaries in 14 districts, expanded school feeding to 271,000 school children in nine districts, and supplementary feeding to 120,000 selective feeding programmes.

An official letter from the government to the districts with new beneficiary numbers is pending.

Gross food requirements for the EMOP over the next 6 months are 85,000 mt of food valued at US$48 million, of which 60,000 mt are already resourced. The net needs of 25,000 mt of food are valued at US$14 million.

Violence

Over the last few months, violence in Somalia, particularly in the capital Mogadishu, has led to increased displacement, with more than 50,000 fleeing their homes in March alone.

In Kenya, limited spontaneous arrivals continue in Dadaab; some 2,200 Somalis have sought asylum since the border was closed in early January 2007.

Precarious

Despite an increase in both donor attention and number of agencies working to address the emergency situation in Dadaab, the situation remains precarious, with outbreaks of both cholera and adult measles.

No complementary foods have been distributed by UNHCR this year and firewood rations remain inadequate, with less than 25 percent of the refugees’ cooking needs being met.

Madagascar

An MI-8 helicopter is expected to arrive in Madagascar on the 20th April. Food aid distribution by airlift will probably start on the 21st April.

WFP and UNICEF are strengthening their coordination for the distribution of the food aid and non-food items through this air operation.

In addition, some field staff members and staff members from the Antananarivo office will be moved to the affected zones in Northern Madagascar to strengthen the operations.

occupied Palestinian territories

Security in the Gaza Strip remains grave. A Palestinian group has issued a press release claiming to have killed British Journalist Alan Johnson – however this is not confirmed by either the Palestine National Authority or the BBC.

There remains a VERY HIGH kidnapping threat to all International staff operating in the Gaza Strip.

Strike

Some 4000 Palestinian Authority Municipal staff in Gaza are on strike protesting non-payment of salaries since late 2006. They are not included in the temporary international mechanism which is assisting 160,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with cash payments, and wish to be included.

West Bank municipal staff are continuing to work for the time being. WFP has extended its assistance to the Municipality of Gaza for a period of 5 months starting in April 2007, to conduct essential cleaning work.

The food deliveries are currently suspended until the strike is over. In the meantime, Gaza City is suffering from widespread uncollected garbage. Furthermore, PNA teachers started a new strike and students at government schools have not attended classes for the past day (since 14 April).

Somalia

Fresh clashes between warring sides erupted in Mogadishu on 11 April 2007 while sporadic fighting continues. According to UNCHR, some 208,000 people are displaced from Mogadishu since 1 February 2007. Reportedly, people are still fleeing from Mogadishu.

Access to reach and assist displaced people remains very difficult and instructions coming from Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials are complicating matters.

Distribution halted

Recently, a planned WFP relief food distribution in Afgoi district was stopped by the TFG claiming that food was to be inspected before distribution.

Furthermore, the TFG turned down a request submitted by the UN to get access into an airstrip called K50, in Lower Shabelle region.

Over the years, this airstrip has been instrumental in humanitarian access in southern Somalia but TFG banned humanitarian flights and it has remained inaccessible since early January 2007.

Criticism

On Thursday, 12 April, the Minister of Interior of the TFG held a media conference in Mogadishu where he strongly criticised aid agencies and accused the international relief agencies particularly WFP of delivering expired food into the country.

This was followed by a repeated request by WFP to get access to deliver relief food to the displaced people.

Hostage ship released

MV. Rozen safely arrived in Mombasa on 12 April 2007. The vessel was released on 5 April 2007 after it had remained hostage for 41 days in Somalia waters.

WFP representatives attended in the welcoming event of the ship and crew in Mombasa.

The vessel had just delivered 1,800 mt of WFP food aid to Berbera and Bossaso and was sailing back to Mombasa when it was hijacked by pirates off the coast of northeast Somalia.

Sudan

There has been a steep increase in banditry in Darfur, the level of insecurity now reaching unprecedented levels.

WFP remains on high alert following a hijacking incident of two WFP light vehicles outside Fasher town in North Darfur on 16 April 2007. All five staff members were released unharmed.

WFP welcomes the joint communiqué between the Government of Sudan and the UN signed in March, which aims to cut bureaucratic “impediments” restricting the aid community’s freedom of movement and access to areas of operations, implementation of it is not yet visible on the ground.

Timely

It is hoped that full and timely implementation of actions stipulated in the communiqué take place.

In March, WFP assisted more than 2 million beneficiaries in Darfur while insecurity barred access to almost 56,000 people in South Darfur.

Although the number of people not reached continues to drop from 158,000 in January and 80,000 in February, this is not indicative of improving operating conditions but rather a result of WFP and Cooperating Partners’ strategy to use windows of opportunity for hit-and-run type operations when necessary, and conducting double-distributions where security is unstable.

From emergency to recovery

WFP has begun implementing its shift from emergency relief to recovery in southern Sudan with emphasis on activities that aim to enhance community assets and self-reliance.

Additionally, WFP continues to provide food assistance to returnees to facilitate their return and reintegration to places of origin.