UN World Food Programme

Hungers global hotspots: 4 December 2007

Countries where violence persists and populations live in fear. People in Hunger's Global Hotspots don't know what tomorrow will bring and they often have to rely on WFP for their next meal.

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

Food dispatches to the western province of Hirat resumed on 25 November. The first convoy of six commercial trucks carrying 254 metric tons of WFP food arrived with the help of escorts provided by the Governors of Kandahar, Helmand and Farah provinces.

Similarly, the transportation of high energy biscuits has resumed along the ring road. WFP food movements to the province were put on hold from June 2007 due to insecurity on the main ring road from Kandahar to Hirat.

A joint Government of Afghanistan/UN assessment, completed in September, indicates 14,000 mt urgently needed in Ghor provinces before Apr 2008. Thus far, 9,300 mt has been dispatched to the province since September 2007.

Out of a planned 22,900 mt of food pre-positioning into high elevation areas where roads are cut during the winter, 19,000 mt (84%) has now been dispatched. WFP offices in Mazar, Jalalabad and Faizabad have already completed their planned dispatches, with Kabul, Kandahar and Hirat yet to finalise.

WFP Herat has started emergency food distributions to 150 battle-displaced families from Badghis province now located in Hirat province.

The emergency food distribution is based on a joint Govt/UN assessment that indicates that out of 800 families recently displaced from Badghis province into Hirat, 150 are in need of food assistance.

Bangladesh

CAT-4 tropical cyclone SIDR’s death toll stands at 3,275, with another 871 persons missing. The numbers are expected to rise further.

Enormous efforts are underway by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) response agencies, Armed Forces, UN, aid agencies and NGOs to face the substantial damage to houses, infrastructure, communications and agriculture.

Cash (equivalent to US$7.4 million), food (16,890 mt of rice) and other relief materials (tents, sheets, blankets, utensils, and food bags) have been allocated by GoB.

The third round of distribution has been completed. Air delivery of high energy biscuits in remote and inaccessible areas is ongoing. Currently, cumulative distribution stands at 1,088 mt covering 1,229,490 beneficiaries. Two sub-offices are set up in Bagerhat and Barisal districts for EMOP operations.

Vulnerable Group Development activities has been operational since May 2007 and beyond August will be limited to some targeted areas due to a resource shortfall.

Chad

Eastern Chad is remains under the State of Emergency declared on 16 October. Four major battles took place between Government forces and rebel opposition groups during the past six days. Significant losses are reported on both sides.

Circulation of humanitarian workers in the region has been limited and access to several refugee camps has been blocked for almost a week. As of 3 December, aid workers have resumed basic activities in the camps. Travel to the camps is made in convoy and under CNAR (Comité National d’Assistance aux Réfugiés) escort.

General food distributions for the refugees, which have been disrupted over the past days, are expected to resume on 3 December.

DPRK

While food distributions under the EMOP have now been completed, WFP PRRO operations are stepping up following new food arrivals.

A vessel carrying 2,403 tons of wheat flour is due to arrive in Hungnam port this week and several consignments of vegetable oil, sugar and dried skimmed milk will be arriving by rail from China.

The plans to expand PRRO operations to all 50 target counties (1.9 million beneficiaries) are currently being discussed with WFP government counterpart the National Coordinating Committee (NCC), and will hopefully take place by early 2008.

Delays in arrivals have forced WFP to suspend most food distributions under the PRRO since September. Virtually all food had to be diverted to meet the immediate needs of the EMOP, and only 450,000 beneficiaries under the PRRO will receive rations in November. The planned expansion of operations to reach all 1.9 million beneficiaries will be postponed until early 2008.

Somalia

Since June 2007, WFP has not been able to carry out general food distributions due to ongoing security concerns. However, a wet feeding programme, implemented in cooperation with nongovernmental organization SAACID, commenced on 25 November, targeting 50,000 of the most vulnerable persons still residing in Mogadishu.

Seven of the planned 10 WFP-supported wet feeding centers are now operational; the rest are expected to start operating within the next week. WFP plans to reach up to 5,000 people at each of the sites, which currently average 3,000 beneficiaries per day, mainly women and children.

WFP relief food to Mogadishu IDPs who fled to Afgoye, begun 24 November, has been completed. A total of 3,041 mt of food was distributed to all 160,000 planned beneficiaries.

Sudan

A number of security incidents including car-jackings and armed banditry affected humanitarian operations in Darfur last week. WFP was directly affected in two of these in South Darfur when three commercial trucks delivering WFP food were shot at, leaving three drivers injured.

No food was looted. To avoid further incidents, Government of Sudan military escorts have been imposed enroute to South Darfur. 79 trucks carrying WFP supplies and destined for Nyala, currently are held up in Ed Daein pending safe passage.

WFP has had to suspend food airdrops to flooded areas in South Sudan due to technical problems with the aircraft. A balance of 755 mt is yet to be delivered to approximately 4,000 families who will remain inaccessible until flood waters recede by late January 2008.

Nutrition intervention programmes in these areas are being prioritized with urgent air deliveries using fixed wing aircrafts. The fixed wing aircraft can carry a maximum of 7mt of cargo.

The joint GoNU/UN/IOM organized repatriation programme resumed on 1-Dec, as planned following the end of the rainy season.

WFP is assisting with food distributions. An estimated 3,500 people are expected to return to the Southern States and the Three Areas by year-end. In parallel, spontaneous returnees, accounting for about 80% total returns so far this year, continue to make the journey home. Their tracking is more difficult, with WFP providing assistance where possible.

Zimbabwe

Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) beneficiary registrations/ verifications are now complete in the majority of the targeted districts. Distributions are proceeding as planned.

The main challenges to the implementation of the programme continue to be fuel availability, frequent power cuts, mobile network problems and secondary transport difficulties.

Problems with secondary transport are due to lack of fuel and spare parts; trucks often break down, which affects planned distributions in some areas.

Some shops, especially in the rural areas, remain closed due to unavailability of commodities. The price of maize in the region continues to rise.

The impact of the lean season is becoming more visible in some districts (e.g. children seen to pick fallen grain at the food distribution points).

Reports from some areas are of farmers unable to till land due to shortage of inputs and/or tools. • Cash shortages at banks are now commonplace reportedly because businesses and individuals are hoarding cash instead of depositing it at the bank