Hunger's global hotspots: 20 April 2007

Clashes in Chad, cyclones in Mozambique and shelling in Sri Lanka. Find out what's happening in WFP's high profile operations with WFP's "Hunger's global hotspots".

Introduction

Clashes in Chad, cyclones in Mozambique and shelling in Sri Lanka. Find out what's happening in WFP's high profile operations with WFP's "Hunger's global hotspots".

Afghanistan

Insecurity remains the major challenge for delivering food to populations who need it in most parts of the country.

Various security incidents such as the recent attack on the UNOPS vehicle that claimed the lives of four Nepalese security staff and their Afghan driver in Kandahar city and the rocket attack targeting the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the northern province of Faizabad, continue to be reported throughout the country, thus impacting WFP staff and food movements.

Food deliveries suspended

In the southern region, WFP has suspended food deliveries to all districts of Zabul province and to Chora district of Uruzgan province owing to increasing insecurity and recent attacks of trucks carrying WFP food in this area.

Two weeks ago, truck convoys carrying WFP food were attacked in Zabul and Nimroz provinces resulting in the killing of a driver and an escort.

In addition, for more than two weeks, food delivery to Wardak, Ghazni and Paktika provinces has not been possible to carry out due to insecurity and the winter conditions of roads.

Floods

Heavy rains and floods have worsened the road conditions and have prevented food deliveries to some 200 flood-affected families in Laghman province (eastern region) and populations in need of food assistance in Kuramwa Munjan (northern region).

WFP continues to provide food assistance to populations affected by recent widespread, destructive floods. Despite insecurity and poor road conditions, WFP has thus far delivered food assistance to nearly 85,000 flood-affected in 77 districts of 13 provinces since early April 2007.

Chad

The security situation is tense in eastern Chad and relatively calm in the rest of the country.

Military activities resumed over the past week with violent clashes between Chadian army and rebels coming from Sudan on 9 April.

WFP 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.

Refugees

Food distributions for 25,000 IDPs have been completed in the Goz Amir area (Ade, Kerfi, Marena and Tiero).

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.

Transportation of about 14,000 mt of food for the Emergency Operation, which were blocked in Libya because of an increase in the fuel rate, is about to start. The Libyan government decided to allow WFP to dispatch the remaining tonnage at a subsidized rate.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Following the outbreak of violence in Kinshasa from 22-24 March, the situation in the capital continues to remain calm.

There are still grave humanitarian concerns in various parts of the country, mainly due to insecurity as well as natural disasters, floods in Katanga, Kinshasa, Bas-Congo and Province Orientale.

The various localised conflicts, particularly in the northern part of eastern DRC, fuel massive displacement of rural populations.

Cycle of violence

Accused of cohabiting or collaborating with militias or governmental troops, peasant farmers continue to be targeted by various opposing armed groups.

The cycle of violence significantly restrains WFP food aid operation in the area.

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 finalised 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.

DPRK

Currently, WFP is reaching just 3 percent of the population (ie. 700,000 beneficiaries) due to limited funding.

The Government has indicated new openness regarding the possibility of having WFP expand the size of its operation currently programmed and budgeted to provide 75,000 tons/year to 1.9 million beneficiaries.

Without new donations, WFP’s food supplies will progressively start being depleted over the coming months, which corresponds to the “lean season” that will be particularly harsh and difficult this year.

Ethiopia

According to the Ethiopian Meteorological Agency, widespread rainfall has covered much of the country, particularly the central Rift Valley and the eastern highlands.

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

Shortfall

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.

WFP is exploring the possibility of taking an IRA loan and borrowing from internal stocks to prevent the pipeline break.

HIV/AIDS

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 dropout of treatment or school of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Kenya

An official communication from the Office of the President has been sent to the district authorities including the short rains assessment results; preparations are underway to start re-targeting beneficiaries.

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 children under five and pregnant/lactating women.

Emergency operation

Distributions for the new phase of the emergency operation (EMOP) are planned to start in the last week of April or immediately after the re-targeting is completed.

Gross food requirements for the EMOP over the next six 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.

Asylum

Limited spontaneous arrivals from Somalia continue in Dadaab; some 2,200 Somalis have sought asylum since the border was closed in early January 2007.

There is a confirmed cholera outbreak in Dadaab. As of 14 April, there were six cases isolated in camp hospitals.

Madagascar

The country office (CO) has launched a Special Operation in the north.

The helicopter started serving the beneficiaries on 20 April. The operation has so far provided 25 mt of food aid and other essential relief items to the isolated villages and 8,5 mt will be distributed on 24 April.

The operation has so far distributed 16 mt. out of 25 mt to 1,740 beneficiaries WFP and UNICEF are strengthening their coordination for the distribution of the food aid and non-food items through this air operation.

Mozambique

A GoM-led Rapid Assessment is being conducted from 16 April – 10 May to assess food security and related needs of people affected by floods (Zambezi River Valley), cyclone (Inhambane Province) and drought (southern Mozambique).

WFP assistance in coming months will be based on the results of the assessment.

The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) reports that resettlement has started in some flood-affected districts and that community mobilisation, sensitisation and training are on-going in many locations.

Cyclone

To date, WFP, in cooperation with INGC and cooperating partners, has distributed food assistance to 155,000 people in 60 accommodation centres in the flooded Zambezi River Valley and 36,000 people in the cyclone-affected Inhambane province.

The second agricultural season (April–July) forms the timeframe of the possible phase-out of relief support for the flood-affected.

WFP food requirements for this period amount to 13,500 mt for flood and cyclone affected people, and 8,900 mt for HIV/AIDS affected families and other vulnerable groups assisted through WFP’s ongoing assistance programmes.

Temporary homes

In 2007 so far, WFP has purchased 5,600 mt of food in Mozambique at a value of US$1.6 million.

An additional 5,600 mt are under tender, while 4,500 mt more will be tendered as soon as funding pledges are confirmed.

INGC reports that since early 2007, 144,000 people have been displaced by the Zambezi River floods and have been living in temporary accommodation centres. 55,000 more moved to resettlement sites established after the 2001 floods.

INGC estimates that 285,000 people lost their crops in this year’s floods.

Somalia

Mogadishu and parts of South Somalia remain insecure. Renewed fighting between the Ethiopian/TFG forces and insurgents has been reported in Mogadishu with casualties.

Residents continue to flee the capital. Lower and Middle Shabelle have the largest concentration of IDPs with significant numbers in Galgadud and South Mudug.

The latest figure of conflict-related displacement between 1 February and 13 April is estimated at 218,000 people.

Fighting

Insecurity in and around Mogadishu and government interference have continued to obstruct humanitarian agencies from responding to the vast needs of the displaced population.

Despite several appeals by humanitarian agencies for the TFG to allow the use of key airstrips in K50 (south of Mogadishu) and Merka (100 km south of Mogadishu) for humanitarian activities in the region, particularly to access the newly displaced in dire need of relief supplies, the airstrips remain closed.

Forecast

With the onset of the Gu rains and heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands over the past few days, some roads in South/Central are reportedly flooded; air access may once again become the only means of bringing humanitarian supplies to some areas of South and Central.

With a forecast of moderate to heavy rains for Somalia and Ethiopian highlands in the coming days, Heavy Gu rains will exacerbate the already critical conditions for many IDPs who are in desperate need for humanitarian supplies and shelter.

Sri Lanka

Continued intensive military operations with daily shelling and on-the-ground fighting in the area west Batticaloa has meant that, as of 12 April, there are some 143,127 IDPs (38,654 families) in 88 sites and with host families who require assistance, including food.

The actual number has been adjusted downwards following an analysis of the registration which removed some cases of duplication.

WFP and other humanitarian partners remain concerned about the capacity of the Government and aid agencies to meet the shelter, water/sanitation and basic and complementary food needs of these new IDPs.

Insecurity in Batticaloa

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

Some 8,700 IDPs from Batticaloa are now registered in Ampara district. Most are lodging with host families.

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.

Obstacles

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

With the emergency situation likely to continue past mid-2007, WFP is considering the extension of the special operations. This may include additional cargo freight capacity for Jaffna under the WFP-led UNHAS air service operation.

Sudan

The persisting insecurity in Darfur remains a major concern to the humanitarian community.

WFP partners, SC-US and INTERSOS, have relocated some staff in Foro Baranga to Geneina, West Darfur, as a precautionary measure due to escalating tension between the Chadian opposition and the Chadian government forces.

Several aid agencies have also suspended essential work in Um Dhukun (West Darfur) due to continuing violence. Armed banditry and carjacking were the main threat in North Darfur, with a total of five carjacking incidents, one of which resulted in the death of an AMIS officer, reported during the week.

Hijacking

Last week, two WFP vehicles were hijacked, one of which has since been recovered.

In March, WFP assisted 2.5 million beneficiaries, of which 83 percent were in Darfur.

During the first quarter of the year, WFP assisted approximately 35,000 returnees to the South and 22,000 returnees to the Three Areas.

The number of returnees was lower than expected, with the lack of basic services being a major discouraging factor. The pace of return is expected to remain low with the onset of the rainy season.

Humanitarian air service

Funding for the humanitarian air service is now critical with US$25 million required for the rest of the year, of which US$5 million is needed immediately to secure operational costs until July.

The continuation of the air service is vital to humanitarian operations in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, where road access is limited due to insecurity.

From relief to recovery

After 20 years of emergency free food distributions, WFP last week announced a major shift from emergency relief to recovery in its operations in southern Sudan.

This shift is due to a reduced demand for food aid, following a good harvest and the end of the north-south civil war.

WFP plans to reduce the number of people receiving free food from 1.6 million in 2006 to 1.3 million in 2007, while increasing the number of people participating in food-for-work projects to 160,000 in 2007 from 121,000 in 2006. A public information campaign has been launched to inform beneficiaries of the shift.