UN World Food Programme

Hunger's global hotspots: 8 June 2007

WFP delivers food in the most challenging environments on earth. It is often in these situations, where conflict, disasters and poverty have ripped apart families and society that people need most help. The weekly Global Hotspots look at WFPs priority operations.

Introduction

WFP delivers food in the most challenging environments on earth. It is often in these situations, where conflict, disasters and poverty have ripped apart families and society that people need most help. The weekly Global Hotspots look at WFPs priority operations.

Afghanistan

Afghan deportees continue to flow into Afghanistan. Since 21 April nearly 100,000 deportees have entered the country. The United Nations has launched a joint CERF Appeal of US$5.9 million to cover the needs of deportee families for an initial period of three months (June to August 2007).

As a part of this appeal, WFP has requested US$1.5 million to cover food needs of about 20,000 people so far, with an average of 80 new families expected each day in the coming months.

Meanwhile, WFP continues to provide an emergency food relief to deportee families in Farah province and in the transit centre in Herat with its stocks available in the country.

WFP has also planned to provide cooked food for two days to an average of 50 deportees entering through Islam Qala.

Support during insecurity

WFP met with local authorities including the Governor and district members of parliament in Ghazni province to request their support for moving to targeted districts the 860mt of food held up for the last three weeks in Ghazni centre because of insecurity.

As a result of this meeting, 60 mt of biscuits will be moved from Ghazni centre to Zenakhan district for distribution to nearly 1,000 school children and 800 metric tonnes of wheat will be dispatched to Andar and Gairo districts for distribution to nearly 16,000 drought-affected.

Flash floods have reportedly hit Khurdish and Bargi Matal districts of the eastern province of Nuristan and Tegab Keshim district of the north-eastern province of Badakhshan, destroying infrastructures including houses, roads and agricultural land.

WFP has already provided food assistance to 56 flood-affected families in Shuhado district in Badakhshan and is supporting with food for work the rehabilitation of roads destroyed by floods in Wardooj district.

Chad

The security situation is unpredictable although relatively calm throughout the country. Over the past week, two humanitarian vehicles belonging to WFP partners International Medical Corps (IMC) and International Relief Development (IRD) were stolen in eastern Chad.

An influx of 300 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) entered southern Chad following attacks by CAR rebels on local populations in Boukaranga.

Some 6,000 mt of food is currently stocked in Abeche awaiting truck availability for dispatch to the refugee camps and IDP sites.

Ahead of rains

WFP is looking into accelerating the transportation of about 10,000 mt of food from Abeche to final distribution points before the onset of the rainy season.

One possibility is to negotiate with the Chadian Government and Libyan transporters to directly deliver food to the distribution points.

A budget revision for the emergency operation (EMOP) is being prepared to accommodate additional requirements for up to 150,000 IDPs and some 10,000 Sudanese refugees.

Food-for-work activities, which are designed to increase host communities’ ability to meet their food needs, remain temporarily suspended in eastern Chad due to insecurity.

Congo DR

A new Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) to assist a total of 3.3 million people by the end of 2009 was approved by the Executive Board on 6 June and will be implemented from 1 July.

Donors are urgently requested to contribute to it because WFP fears that as early as July there may be a pipeline break for some commodities.

For 2007, WFP estimates that 90,000 mt of food is required to feed more than 1.5 million people in DRC.

To-date, WFP urgently needs 41,600 metric tonnes (MT) of food equivalent to US$46 million to feed the targeted people until 31 December 2007.

Renewed fighting

Thousands of civilians have fled renewed fighting in the northeast since March because of clashes between militias and government troops.

DPRK

Critical pipeline situation for WFP beneficiaries in North Korea remains as per last weeks.

An in-kind donation of Dried Skim Milk was received on 30 May 2007 from Switzerland, value at $1,776,000 (or just over CHF 2,131,000) with expected arrival in September.

Pipeline breaks

In June, due to serious pipeline breaks, WFP is unable to provide full rations to 400,000 of its 700,000 beneficiaries.

This includes 125,000 school children who will go without biscuits. WFP’s food supplies are progressively being depleted over the coming months, this same time corresponding to the “lean season” that will be particularly harsh and difficult this year.

Since the beginning of the year, only 60,000 mt of food imports/food aid have entered the country, sufficient to cover 6 percent of the annual food deficit of 1 million tons.

This figure compares unfavourably to previous years when food imports/aid covered 100 percent and 35 percent respectively for 2005 and 2006.

Extent of operation

WFP is currently operating in just 30 counties and reaching just 3 percent of the total population (ie. 700,000 beneficiaries) due to limited funding.

WFP still believes that over 6 millions Koreans in DPRK are in need of external food assistance.

Ethiopia

The short rains (belg) in most of the country were deficient both in distribution and quantity.

Hence, the national production prospect from the current season is expected to be below average.

However, improvements in rainfall in many parts of the country since late May are likely to have a positive impact on water availability, regeneration of pasture and development of late planted crops.

Reduced food security

Deterioration in food security is reported from various districts of East Harerge and West Harerge, North Shewa zones of Oromiya region; drought affected districts of Afar region; some Eastern districts of Ahmhara Region; and the southern zones of the Somali region.

The return of IDPs in the west of Gambella region is creating humanitarian concerns as some people are stranded half-way due to poor accessibility.

The regional government is seeking food and non-food assistance, as well as support to continue the transportation of the returnees to their areas of origin.

Relief food

The Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) has allocated relief food commodities for about 753,400 beneficiaries in eight regions (528,500 in Somali, 32,230 in Afar, 267 in Amhara, 2,403 in Beneshangul, 30,780 in Gambella, 3,947 in Harari, 112,443 in Oromiya and 42,827 in the Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s Region (SNNPR).

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 partners.

Kenya

The long rains season has ceased over most parts of the country. Rainfall was poorly distributed (in time and area) in the northeastern and southeastern districts which received only 30 to 75 percent of the long term average.

The coastal region received heavy rainfall that caused flooding, while the central and western highlands including Nairobi recorded significant rainfall but the amounts were slightly below normal.

Reduced road access

During the week beginning 4 June heavy downpours caused the collapse of a bridge near Kainuk trading centre along the Kapenguria – Lodwar road in Turkana South District.

Access to Lodwar by road is now either through Uganda or Ethiopia, although pedestrians can still cross.

Deliveries of food and non-food items to WFP’s operations in Kenya (school feeding and the emergency operation) and to Sudan (via Lokichoggio) are greatly affected.

Refugee camps

Kakuma refugee camp has a three-month food buffer stock. The Government is sending a temporary bridge to the site to provide interim crossing while arrangements are being made for a permanent repair. No vehicle is expected to cross over in the next ten days.

WFP’s school feeding programme in Dadaab camps remained temporarily suspended due to the continued outbreak of cholera in the camps.

To date, more than 245 cholera cases have been confirmed in the three camps. There were no new arrivals reported in Dadaab over the last week; thus far 4,510 Somalis, have sought asylum since the border was officially closed in early January 2007.

Lesotho

The Country Office (CO) 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.

In addition to the 67,000 ongoing beneficiaries from the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 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

The security situation is extremely tense and there is no UN staff movement throughout the Gaza Strip.

As a result, WFP staff have been forced to work from home for the past two days. WFP Staff are well prepared for this emergency due to contingency steps implemented in the past weeks, enabling urgent work to continue.

WFP food stocks are pre-positioned throughout the Strip and partners are briefed to continue distributions whenever possible. However it is increasingly challenging to operate in the environment of growing insecurity.

WFP is liaising with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide bread to Shiffa hospital whose supplies have been cut off.

Possible security deterioration

All WFP staff are safe and warehouses are secure. However the internal situation threatens to deteriorate further before it improves.

WFP distributed some 1,000 mt of food in the past week and is up to date with distributions.

There are fears that the situation may escalate to the West Bank.

Somalia

All WFP entry points into Somalia are closed at the moment. The Kismayo port is closed due to insecurity reasons and Merka port is affected by seasonal weather conditions (monsoons).

WFP Ethiopia has managed to obtain overflight clearance until 20 June from Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for UNCAS flights from Nairobi to Puntland and Somaliland.

Volatile capital

Mogadishu remains volatile. The Mayor of Mogadishu announced on 5 June that about 1,000 boys, most of them under the age of 16 who were being trained to be suicide bombers, were seized after Somali police forces and Ethiopian troops raided several houses in north Mogadishu.

During a house-to-house search for weapons and militants performed by Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu this week, several people, allegedly linked to suicide bombs and other attacks, were arrested.

The insurgents have vowed to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war unless Somalia becomes an Islamic state.

Under-secretary general for Political Affairs Mr. B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the UNCT on 7 June.

Peacekeepers

Five of the major humanitarian actors stressed the critical need of maintaining a maximum distance between a potential UN peacekeeping operation/integrated mission and the humanitarian actors. This is especially important in Somalia, given the history of UN’s involvement in similar operations in the early 1990s.

The cost of air tickets for humanitarian personnel on UNCAS flights is reduced to US$250 following a newly approved CERF grant of US$2.9 million.

Before this reduction, a one way ticket from Nairobi to Bossaso was US$895. Managed by WFP, UNCAS has regular flights between Somalia and Kenya, as well as internal flights in Somalia, carrying humanitarian workers and cargo.

Pirates

Somali pirates holding a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel “MV Ching Fong Hwa 168” captured in mid-May killed one of its 16 crew members on 2 June because the ship's owners allegedly refused to pay ransom.

The USS Carter Hall on 6 June fired warning shots across the bow of a Danish ship “Danica White” that was boarded by armed pirates off the coast of Somalia.

In Galkayo the local police looted about 32 mt of WFP food during distributions. Reports indicate that IDPs and other locals participated in the looting.

Guards hired by the NGO undertaking the distributions attempted to disperse the crowds by shooting in the air, but did not succeed. Further food distributions are on hold until agreement with responsible person(s) can be reached.

Sri Lanka

Two bomb blasts attributed to the LTTE in Colombo have injured 48 and killed 8 people over the last week.

The Forward Defence Line (FDL) separating the Government-controlled area from the LTTE-controlled Vanni was closed for about 10 days due to heavy firing from both sides near to it.

The ICRC halted its monitoring of this border crossing area at Omanthai due to this heavy firing and to the fact that an ICRC vehicle was shot at by the LTTE.

Strain

The Omanthai crossing has been reopened on 30 May. However the crossing will now only be open three days a week. Along with the lack of fuel, this puts a strain on staff living and working in the Vanni.

The reduction in days of operation is a further erosion of the security environment for Vanni based staff.

All programmes in Jaffna district remain disrupted as no food is reaching this isolated area.

The Government has still not managed to arrange a vessel to transport WFP food and the Essential Services Commission and Security Forces are not willing to facilitate food to Jaffna and fuel to the Vanni.

Displaced

The number of IDPs in Batticaloa will be further reduced this week as the second batch of IDPs returns to West Batticaloa.

While WFP was not requested by the Government to provide food to the returnees initially, WFP is now trying to mobilise the resources to respond to the food needs of returnees to West Batticaloa in the near future.

ICRC has started distributing 750 mt rice for IDPs and returnees this week. WFP is experiencing pipeline breaks for sugar, dhal and oil.