UN World Food Programme

Hunger's global hotspots: 15th June 2007

In regions wracked by violence or submerged by floods, the first emergency is how to deliver enough food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some of the crises counted among WFP's "global hotspots".

Introduction

In regions wracked by violence or submerged by floods, the first emergency is how to deliver enough food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some of the crises counted among WFP's "global hotspots".

Afghanistan

Food movement from Spinboldak to Hirat route (through Kandahar-Farah province) continues to be suspended due to the increasing security concerns over the last weeks.

WFP’s office in Hirat has not received any food since the beginning of June; stocks of wheat are critically low at 550 mt. Approximately 4,500 metric tonnes (mt) of wheat was planned for distribution from Herat for the month of June.

Some 770,000 beneficiaries under various activities, including those affected by floods and engaged in food for training, will be impacted if the situation continues.

Chad

The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable in eastern Chad. Robbery incidents also continue to be reported.

Over the past week, the ICRC premises in Ade were attacked and looted by a group of armed men. An ICRC vehicle, which was travelling from Goz Beida to Ade, also came under attack carried out by two armed men dressed in military uniforms. WFP Chad needs to pre-position over 35,000 mt of food in eastern Chad before the rainy season. So far, a total of 22,975 mt has been pre-positioned in the refugee camps.

The balance is being transported by WFP and must be completed before the end of June when most camps become inaccessible by road.

Food-for-work

WFP is considering resuming food-for-work (FFW) activities in support of refugee host populations in eastern Chad.

The reorientation will focus on quick impact projects. The FFW programme was suspended in early 2007 because of the deteriorating security situation

DPRK

WFP welcomed the announcement of a critically needed contribution worth in excess of US$20 million by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to WFP’s food assistance to the DPRK where a lack of funds has already forced the organisation to cut back feeding programmes for schools and for at-risk infants and small children.

The contribution, a mix of commodities, comes in the middle of the “lean season” when household food stocks traditionally run low and at a time when WFP has been forced to suspend school feeding for the month of June for 400,000 North Korean children in 29 underserved, food-insecure counties.

Resumption of food assistance

It will allow WFP to resume food assistance for children, pregnant women and families in food-insecure areas.

WFP also hopes it will help it to reach more than double the number of present beneficiaries, from 700,000 to 1.9 million, in all 50 counties where the DPRK authorities have agreed to WFP food distributions.

At the same time, WFP warns that many millions of North Koreans still face severe food shortages.

Even with WFP now being able to reach 1.9 million people, there are still millions of vulnerable North Koreans who are going without food assistance to cover their nutritional needs.

Ethiopia

WFP is making preparations for erecting movable warehouses for refugee sites following UNHCR's plan to reopen the Teferiber Refugee Camp in the Somali region.

The Food Security Coordination Bureau has requested 71,545 mt of commodities allocated for Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in Afar, Ahmara, Oromiya, SNNP and Tigray regions.

For Targeted Supplementary Feeding programmes (TSF), pipeline constraints and an earlier than planned new round of nutritional screening in most regions have created serious limitations to smooth programme implementation.

Food dispatches planned for May were postponed to June and solutions are being looked at on a case-by-case basis through regional coordination meetings with the Enhanced Outreach Strategy (EOS)/TSF par

Kenya

The Government of Kenya is assembling a temporary bridge at Kainuk along the Kapenguria–Lodwar road in Turkana South District. It is expected to be completed next week, following the collapse of part of the old bridge in early June.

Until the key route to northwest Kenya is restored, deliveries of food and non-food items to WFP’s operations (school feeding and the emergency operation) and to Sudan (via Lokichoggio) are on hold.

Kakuma refugee camp has a three-month food buffer stock.

Food-for-assets

Identification of food-for-asset projects by the communities in Kitui, Kinango, Mwingi, and Taita Taveta districts has been completed.

Some 100,000 people (20,000 households) are expected to benefit. The assets will mainly include water conservations and harvesting structures, and access roads.

Despite the continued reporting of new cholera cases, WFP’s school feeding programme in Dadaab camps was reinstated after schools were found to meet the required hygienic standard. High energy biscuits are being provided instead of porridge.

Asylum seekers

Over six hundred new arrivals were reported in Dadaab over the past two weeks, bringing the total of new asylum seekers to 5,145 since the border was officially closed in early January 2007.

A new two-year refugee Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) was approved by the Executive Board on 6 June 2007. It includes recommendations from recent nutrition assessments to address the high malnutrition levels.

Lesotho

Preparations of the successor PRRO and the extension of the development project are underway.

Both projects are being drafted to cover the period 2008 – 2010. Initial submission of first draft to the regional bureau for Southern Africa (ODJ) has been delayed towards late June 2007.

WFP held discussions with C-SAFE and government counterparts regarding possible response options to the drought affected population and regions in the country, and to ensure a well coordinate response.

Operational plan

An operational plan has been prepared and forwarded to ODJ for review and consideration. Based on in country discussions and preliminary findings of the assessments, the parties agreed to use the 400,000 people as initial planning figure for the response while awaiting the LVAC findings by the 2nd week of June 2007.

In addition to the 67,000 ongoing beneficiaries from the PRRO recovery activities, the CO also plans to assist 200,000 people affected by the drought from August 2007 to April 2008.

The drought response interventions will be phased in stages, commencing with 60,000 people in August 07, 133,000 in October 07 and 200,000 in January 2008.

Occupied Palestinian territory

West Bank: Clashes erupted in the West Bank this week following Hamas's rise to power in Gaza. During the violence, WFP/MSA warehouse in Nablus (Northern West Bank) was looted by armed militants and food were stolen amounting to an estimated overall value of US$16,000.

The President's office has committed to protect WFP/MSA warehouses and help WFP to return to stolen food.

Gaza Strip: The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is of serious concern to WFP. Internal fighting within the Gaza Strip has now ended however sporadic violence and looting remains a serious problem.

The Palestinian population in Gaza face economic isolation and a serious humanitarian crisis is on the brink.

The destruction caused in last week's fighting, the casualties sustained and the disruption of government services pose widespread humanitarian needs for medical aid, food and non food assistance.

Since 11 June, Karni crossing, Gaza's economic lifeline, has been closed. Discussions are underway at the central UN level with all parties concerned to find a solution before the situation escalates further

Somalia

Mogadishu remains volatile as coordinated attacks against TFG/Ethiopian military targets continue.

On 13 and 14 June successive explosions rocked Ethiopian military bases in Yaqshid and Heliwa districts, and in at least three neighbourhoods of Mogadishu.

Targeted killing of Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials have also been reported, a district commissioner was killed by gunmen, making him the sixth government administrator killed in Mogadishu in the past six months.

Crop failure

The Food Security and Analysis Unit of FAO (FSAU) has indicated that an almost complete crop failure is to be expected in the Juba Valley area with corresponding implications on food security. Full confirmation is expected by early August.

Ninety-two trucks carrying WFP food arrived at the Kenya side of the El-Wak border crossing with Somalia.

It is unclear when the trucks will be cleared to move. Continued closure of the border crossing remains a major problem for deliveries to Gedo region.

The third round of food distributions to IDPs has been rescheduled to start mid-week.

Sri Lanka

WFP offices at Vanni only have current food stocks of 150 mt (compared with a monthly requirement of 2,762 mt). Local rice procurement has stopped as the sacks can not cross the lines since Ministry of Defence approval has not been granted.

Maintaining minimum fuel stock for UN agencies in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu has been extremely difficult since the Ministry of Defence has yet to endorse the move of fuel into the Vanni.

UN RC/HC and WFP are proactively following up with Government as this causes serious concerns about the ability of the UN to continue operations in the area.

Five hundred mt of WFP flour has arrived by sea. Other commodities are held in Colombo port awaiting shipping. The Government has instituted price control in Jaffna to curb the spiraling cost of consumer items in Sri Lanka.

Sudan

The number of people not reached in May rose from a monthly average of 50,000 to 110,000 following a temporary suspension of food distributions by WFP's Cooperating Partner GAA (German Agro Action) in North Darfur.

This follows months of escalating insecurity in the region during which time GAA suffered several carjacking incidents. It is anticipated that the number of people not reached in June will be even higher - this is because some locations had received double rations in April (covering May) but will not be accessible in June.

In May, WFP provided food assistance to 3.2 million people in Sudan, of which 2.2 million benefited from general food distributions in Darfur.

WFP has dispatched 6,300 MT of food into Chad, completing the first tranche of an 8,950 MT loan request. The 2,650 MT balance will be dispatched from El Geneina into eastern Chad in the coming days.

Zimbabwe

The joint FAO and WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM), was released 5 June, 2007.

The CFSAM findings estimate that at peak 4.1 million people in rural and urban areas will need food assistance with approximately 442,000 MT of food of which 352,000 MT would comprise of cereals.

The 2007 cereal harvest estimates amount to 799,000 MT of maize and 126,000 MT of small grains.

Just over one million MT of cereals will need to be imported. Despite a foreign exchange shortage, the report anticipates 639,000 MT can be met through government imports and 61,000 via informal trade, leaving a cereal gap of 352,000 MT.

The report is being reviewed by Government. WFP is urgently requesting a meeting with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to assess findings and the Government position.

A Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee -Nutrition and Food Security Assessment is planned between 17-27 June, which will help to further pinpoint district level food insecurity.