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WFP Emergency Report No. 28 of 2002

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Publication date

This report includes:
(A) WFP- UNHCR Cooperation

(B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview for Southern Africa, (2) Lesotho, (3) Swaziland, (4) Zambia, (5) Zimbabwe, (6) Ethiopia, (7) Kenya, (8) Eritrea

(C) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea, (2) Bangladesh

(D) West Africa Region: (1) Guinea (2) Liberia

(E) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Central African Republic

(F) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan

(G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Azerbaijan

(H) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) El Salvador

From Francesco Strippoli, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs; available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (, or by e-mail from

For information on resources, donors are requested to contact at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to, telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

A) WFP- UNHCR Cooperation

(a) On 9 July, the World Food Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the presence of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the launch of the African Union in Durban, South Africa. The MoU signed by the heads of the two agencies - respectively, James Morris and Ruud Lubbers strengthens their cooperation in providing food aid to refugees and returnees.

(b) WFP and UNHCR are two of the key UN front-line agencies operating in humanitarian crises. They have had regular and long-standing collaboration and complementarity in relief operations that require international involvement throughout the world. In 2001, the two agencies jointly assisted 7 million refugees, asylum seekers, returnees and IDPs in 32 countries, providing them with basic food and other humanitarian necessities.

(c) The first MoU between WFP and UNHCR was signed in 1985 and has been amended or updated several times since. The last update before the current one, of this year, was in March 1997. This new MoU represents a step towards further improvement in the already strong collaboration that WFP and UNHCR have had for years in addressing critical needs of refugees, asylum seekers, returnees and, in some circumstances, internally displaced persons.

(d) Protracted refugee programmes have led the two agencies to concentrate more on helping refugees to become self-sufficient, by way of income-generating projects. Host countries are also encouraged to incorporate the needs of refugees into national development plans in order to cater for their specific requirements.

(e) Furthermore, the agencies have agreed that WFP will now assume, on a pilot project basis, the responsibility for the distribution of food in few selected operations and that further discussions will be held subsequently about a possible take-over of this responsibility by WFP in general.

B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview for Southern Africa, (2) Lesotho, (3) Swaziland, (4) Zambia, (5) Zimbabwe, (6) Ethiopia, (7) Kenya, (8) Eritrea

1) Regional overview for Southern Africa

(a) WFP's Executive Director, James T. Morris, attended the African Union's inauguration in Durban, South Africa. Mr. Morris also met with a number of heads of state, including the Presidents of Zimbabwe and Malawi, with whom he focused on collaboration in addressing emergency food needs within their respective countries.

(b) As of 11 July, confirmed contributions toward WFP's Southern Africa Emergency Operation are USD 128.3 million. This represents 25 percent of the total requirement of USD 507,273,092. An additional donation of USD 1 million was confirmed for the Special Operation, which funds WFP's Johannesburg-based Regional Management Coordination Unit.

(c) WFP faces a shortfall of 39,000 tons for July and August. This is without taking into account the 320,000 tons of food needed to pre-position stocks ahead of the rainy season in October which renders part of the region inaccessible. The food shortage is expected to be the most acute in Zimbabwe. For the next two weeks, WFP will be identifying the next steps required in the region for updating its contingency plan.

2) Lesotho

(a) A Letter of Understanding (LoU) between WFP and the Government of Lesotho has been signed. The Government is providing accommodation for WFP sub-offices, as well as counterpart staff and storage facilities. WFP has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two NGOs for implementation of food distribution, initially for three months in three districts. Both the number of NGOs and districts will expand as resources become available.

3) Swaziland

(a) A LoU between the Government of Swaziland and WFP was signed which delineates obligations of the parties in regard to food distribution in the country. The Government has agreed to provide the central warehouse. WFP is finalizing LoU with eight NGO partners. WFP Maputo has provided monitoring and logistics training for WFP, NGO partners, and Government staff in Swaziland.

4) Zambia

(a) On 9 July, the Government and private millers signed an MoU covering the importation of 350,000 tons of maize. Millers will use their own foreign currency resources and the Government agreed to waive import duty.

(b) At a World Bank Consultative Group meeting this week in Zambia, the food emergency featured prominently. On behalf of the donor community, the Canadian High Commissioner highlighted the food shortage as one of the most critical factors facing the county. International donors agreed to maintain support as long as the Government continues to put in place policies that lead to economic growth and alleviation of poverty.

5) Zimbabwe

(a) The Government, WFP, and NGOs met to discuss coordination mechanisms for relief programmes to avoid possible duplication. WFP has also been in discussions with its four implementing partners regarding expanding their activities, and with six potential new partners to discuss capacity and possible areas of operation in Zimbabwe.

(b) The Government, UN, and donors created a working group to map out a proposal for establishment of a donor-supported foreign exchange facility, which private firms could access to pay for non-controlled food imports. This could help ease the current food access problem, in which even those with money cannot buy food because of reduced availability in the markets.

6) Ethiopia

(a) A serious food shortage situation is developing in some of the parts of Ethiopia that depend on the Belg rains (March-May), which this year were poor in certain areas. Results of the mid-year multi-agency assessment mission led by the government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) show that the situation is especially grave in the pastoralist region of Afar, where the rains failed completely. Other areas of special concern due to poor rains are: eastern parts of Oromiya region lowlands, several areas in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region as well as Alaba Special Wereda; and the northern part of Somali Region (especially Fik zone and parts of Shinile zone). In Amhara region, a long dry spell in April has had an impact on late planted crops. The situation in the remaining areas of the country was generally favourable, including the southern pastoral areas of Borena in Oromiya region and most parts of Somali region.

(b) The requirements under the DPPC yearly appeal released in January are usually reviewed at this time of year, to accommodate findings of the Belg assessment teams. While the Belg rains began well in many areas, the early cessation and in some places erratic nature of the rains have resulted in significant new food aid needs. In addition to the 3.66 million people requiring on-going assistance until September or October, as they are dependent on Meher production, a further 2.26 million people will need assistance for three to six months between now and December. Some of these people were previously receiving help because of poor harvests in their areas in 2001, while others have not been registered for assistance before now in 2002, including many now requiring help in the hard-hit pastoral areas of Afar.

(c) Total cereal needs from now until December area around 350,000 tons. With a government pledge of 45,000 tons announced today in response to the seriousness of the situation, the food pipeline shortfall is now 187,500 tons. Existing emergency food aid stocks will be used to cover priority areas. Stocks of blended food have been borrowed from WFP development programmes to cover the urgent needs among children in Afar region. Donors are urged to pledge food to cover the shortfall for cereals, either towards WFP EMOP 10030.1 or bilaterally through the NGOs and the Ethiopian government.

7) Kenya

(a) Under its PRRO 6226.00, WFP distributed over 1,800 tons of food to 203,000 refugees at Kakuma and Dadaab camps in June. However, due to the critical pipeline position, ration scales have decreased from 2,166 to 1,800 kilo-calories per person per day. WFP faces a resourcing shortage of about 18,900 tons of food until June 2003 under this operation. Urgent pledges are needed to ensure that beneficiaries in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps receive an adequate diet.

(b) The Government of Kenya has given UNHCR permission to relocate to Dadaab refugee camp those Somalia refugees who recently fled to Mandera district in north-eastern Kenya. The refugees entered Kenya following deterioration in security and food security conditions in Somalia. As of 9 July, 2, 450 refugees have been relocated to Dadaab refugee camp from Mandera. WFP has pre-positioned 136 tons of food for the refugees' needs in Mandera.

(c) Meanwhile, the security situation in Mandera is reported to be calm. Occasional gun-fire in Bulla Hawa in Somalia, recently the scene of intense fighting, can be heard across the border. However, there has been no new significant influx of refugees in the past weeks.

(d) Due to shortages of food under EMOP 10085.01, WFP has not undertaken any general food distributions for drought- affected populations since June. During the last general distribution in June, over 1,039,000 beneficiaries in ten districts received 12,250 tons of food. The next and probably final distribution will be in August.

(e) In line with the recommendations made by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group, there has been a gradual reduction of beneficiary and ration levels as some districts continue to recover from the effects of prolonged drought. It is anticipated that the preliminary results of the Long Rains Assessment, which will be presented to the Kenya Food Security Meeting on 25 July, will confirm the commodity requirements for the EMOP 10085.01 until the end of the programme in October and also endorse plans to allocate remaining EMOP stocks to specified districts only.

(f) Baringo, Makueni, Sambura, Kajaido and Narok districts will continue to receive food distributions under the Food for Work component of the Kenya EMOP until 15 August. Over 4,860 tons of food have been allocated to these districts. Distributions under the Expanded School Feeding Programme have been completed. 1,337,900 beneficiaries in 4,400 schools received over 9,400 tons of food.

(g) The 2002 long rains season are over in all but a few areas of the country. The long rains season was marked by a wide variability in its distribution and intensity and began later than normal. The long rains have improved food security in most pastoral areas. However, cereal production forecasts for 2002 have been revised downwards due to the relatively short duration of the rains.

8) Eritrea

(a) WFP, in collaboration with the Eritrean Relief and Refugees Commission (ERREC), assisted 210,200 vulnerable people in Debub, Gash Barka and Northern Red Sea regions, providing them with approximately 3,000 tons of food through general distributions during the month of June. The beneficiaries were mainly comprised of IDPs in the TSZ, returnees from Sudan and school children.

(b) WFP is finalising PRRO 10192.0 covering the period 2003/2004, which will be presented in October to the WFP Executive Board.

(c) WFP, in collaboration with the National Union of Eritrean Women and the Ministry of Education, conducted an assessment of the first phase of the adult literacy programme in Anseba region on 18 - 19 June. WFP supported approximately 5,500 trainees, mainly women, in April and May in Anseba and the Northern Red Sea regions. The provision of food aid encouraged enrolment and daily attendance.

(d) During the month of June, WFP monitors conducted post distribution monitoring and assessment visits in parts of Northern Red Sea and Gash Barka regions. They observed that most of the beneficiaries knew their entitlements and used food for their consumption.

(e) The Therapeutic/Supplementary Feeding programme is on going in the Keren Hospital and is due to start in Hagaz and Asmat health centres. WFP supplied CSB to the Epachy of Keren, which was distributed to over 500 under-weight children and pregnant and lactating women.

(f) In June, WFP signed an agreement with BIDHO (a local NGO assisting People Living with HIV/AIDS) and the Evangelical Church of Eritrea to provide food aid to 2,000 people whose families are directly affected by HIV/AIDS in Maekel region as a pilot phase.

(g) Principal cereal crops have not been planted due to the delay in the main rains. Unless the rains begin in the next 2 or 3 weeks and continue until early October, there may be a critical failure of the harvest this year. This will result in a close to zero food carry-over into 2003. The next harvest is expected in late 2003.

C) Asia Region: (1) DPR Korea, (2) Bangladesh

1) DPR Korea

(a) Heavy rain and strong winds on 5 and 6 July caused flooding in the coastal city of Chongjin, North Hamgyong province, while a tidal surge caused damage in coastal areas in Kangwon province. Reports are still awaited on the actual extent of the damage caused to the fields, houses and road network.

(b) There is a serious gap in the cereals pipeline that, if not soon filled, will eventually mean the suspension of distributions to selected beneficiary groups. With the overall resource gap still at 130,000 tons (including 120,000 tons of cereals), and no new further pledges confirmed, WFP will again have to prioritise core groups (young children and pregnant and nursing women) before the end of the third quarter.

(c) Preliminary observations made by the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission, undertaken in DPRK from 22 June to 2 July, indicate that the wheat and barley harvests this year are significantly better than last year. Harvest estimates compare favorably with the 3-4 year average yield figures. However, the early harvest accounts for less than 15 percent of the total cereal production in the country.

(d) Initial food security assessments conducted by the mission indicate that household food access is substantially higher among rural populations than in urban areas. Distributions of daily food rations by the government through the Public Distribution System (PDS) were increased from May by an additional 100 grams/person/day to 350 grams/ person/day in June. This was attributed to harvests of the early crop in some provinces, which led to an increase in PDS stock levels. Overall PDS stocks are expected to last through August.

2) Bangladesh

(a) The flood situation becoming threatening, the Government has alerted the relevant Government agencies and officials at local level to take all measures necessary. The Bangladesh Water Development Board is closing the threatened breaches of embankments and ensuring sand bags or brick blocks to protect the embankments at vulnerable points. Preliminary assessments are now being conducted by humanitarian agencies. WFP together with the field assessors of the Government and local partner NGOs are closely monitoring the situation.

(b) The northern, north-eastern and south-western districts are so far most affected. Rising water level of major rivers caused by excessive rainfall has worsened the situation of flooding in the border districts. South-western districts which experienced severe flooding in 2000 are once again hit by the flow of excess water from neighbouring India. Water logging due to drainage congestion is a typical problem of the area. The number of people fleeing to safer places is fluctuating and has not been confirmed so far. Sporadic reports of damage to crop seed-beds are being received. The Government and NGOs are providing food, limited medical care, and other essentials to the people in temporary shelters. Acute shortage of water and water-borne diseases, especially diarrhoea are being reported in south-western districts.

(c) The Inter-ministerial Disaster Management Coordination Committee allocated 20,000 tons of food to the Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief (MDMR) to meet the relief requirements during 2002-2003 fiscal year. MDMR has pre-positioned 50 tons of rice per district for emergency response. The District administration has distributed rice, cash and other relief items to the affected families from the resources pre-positioned.

(d) Humanitarian agencies are looking at measures to improve their rapid response capacity. IFRCS/BDRCS, World Vision and CARE have prepared family kits of essential items including plastic sheets. These NGOs are also involved in works on a regular basis with the communities aiming at reducing people's vulnerability to disasters and increasing their coping capacity. WFP is currently consolidating its Contingency Plan. Based on preliminary flood scenarios, WFP is tentatively considering a scenario resulting from an overflow of Jamuna and Padma rivers with internal rainfall.

D) West Africa Region: (1) Guinea (2) Liberia

1) Liberia

(a) Access to Sinje remains closed to UN and other humanitarian agencies. Out of the 10,330 refugees who were in Sinje camps before the 20 June rebel attack, UNHCR could only confirm that 1,160 refugees were registered so far in Monrovia. UNHCR also reported that 1,500 refugees crossed from Bo Waterside in Liberia into Sierra Leone since the attack, even though it acknowledged that several more could have used other unofficial crossing points along the border with Sierra Leone.

(b) UNHCR expects to resume the facilitated voluntary repatriation exercise of Sierra Leonean refugees from Liberia back to Sierra Leone next week. The agency said it would use the sea route this time round since the land route through Sinje is closed. A ship was expected to dock in Monrovia next week for this exercise to start. According to UNHCR, some 3,000 refugees had put down their names for repatriation.

(c) Preliminary results from the IDP verification exercise conducted by WFP and its implementing partners in the camps in Monrovia on 4-5 June has indicated a total caseload of 43,075 IDPs in the Monrovia camps. On 6-9 July WFP conducted a monthly food distribution for 3,850 IDPs in Ganta. July distribution for IDPs started in Kakata and in CARI camps in Phebe, Bong county.

(d) UN international staff in Liberia, over the week end completed their move from the Riverview compound in the Virginia suburb of Monrovia, to the centre of Monrovia, due to the worsening security situation in the city and its surroundings.

2) Guinea

(a) From 17 to 30 June, WFP distributed 670 tons of food to 38,800 vulnerable people. 16 tons of high-energy biscuits arrived in Conakry from Brindisi on 20 June; 3-day rations of these biscuits are being distributed to the new arriving Liberian refugees in the N'Zérékoré and Macenta regions

(b) During the same period, 1,600 new Liberian refugees were transferred to the Kouankan camp from the Tekoulo transit centre and the Yézou and Koyoma sub-prefectures (Macenta prefecture). Since the beginning of the year, approximately 11,000 Liberian refugees have been transferred to the Kouankan refugee camp (total population at the camp is over 25,000 refugees). Close to 200 new Liberian refugees were transferred to the Nonah transit centre (N'Zérékoré prefecture) from neighbouring villages. Presently, there are approximately 5,000 refugees in the Nonah transit centre.

(c) The overall security situation is stable in Guinea, but remains volatile near the Liberian-Guinean border. From 17 to 30 June, about 400 Liberian refugees arrived in Guinea.

E) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola, (2) Central African Republic

1) Angola

(a) Despite the confirmation of a new donation of USD 497,000 under the PRRO 10054.1, critical pipeline breaks are still expected in December. WFP reached an additional 72,100 people with emergency food in Family Reception Areas (FRAs) from 2 to 9 July. This brings the total of family members of UNITA ex-soldiers now assisted by WFP to 156,000 persons in 11 provinces. Registrations are ongoing in an additional 10 FRAs and food distribution will start in coming days.

(b) Emergency food assistance has been provided in 19 out of 21 newly accessible areas identified as being in need of food aid following rapid assessments. WFP is working actively to overcome logistical difficulties to bring food into the remaining two areas. On 9 July, a commercial truck transporting WFP food to Ndele (Bié province) detonated a landmine on the road. One person was seriously injured in the blast. As a result, the road from Kuito to Ndele is temporarily closed for humanitarian assistance.

(c) In Huambo province, WFP began food distribution to around 20,000 beneficiaries in Chiteta FRAs. Food transport to Chiteta is being hampered by a broken bridge over the river Cuvo. Registration of around 10,000 people began this week in the Lunge FRA, following a multi-agency assessment last week.

(d) A joint mission in Galangue FRAs, Kuvango municipality (Huila and Cunene provinces), registered over 21,000 people and food distribution is beginning this week. Severely malnourished people continue to be evacuated to the MSF-S TFC in Chipindo, which is supported with WFP food. WFP and NRC began distribution to around 2,100 IDPs in the newly accessible area of Dongo (Jamba municipality).

(e) Food distribution is due to begin on 10 July to over 36,400 beneficiaries in the Capembe FRA (Kuando Kubango province), and is expected to begin shortly after to a further 23,000 people in the Chimongua-Matungo FRA, following registration by a team comprised of WFP, NRC and MINARS. Insufficient commercial transportation and fuel is hampering deployment of food. WFP chartered an aircraft full-time to airlift fuel and food into these two FRAs in Mavinga municipality. MSF-S is continuing blanket Supplementary Feeding Programmes (SFP) in both FRAs with WFP assistance.

(f) WFP distributed food to around 19,000 people in the Menga FRAs in Kuanza Sul province. Food transport has been constrained by rough terrain and a weak bridge. Food is still being deployed to Menga and distribution should be completed shortly. Food distribution continues to around 24,600 beneficiaries in the Catoffe and Amboiva FRAs.

(g) In Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces, a mission made a security and needs assessment of the Ngumbi FRA during the week. Access is extremely difficult due to a broken bridge over the River Lui and the road is in very poor condition. Around 3,740 civilians are gathered in Ngumbi FRA. Global malnutrition is estimated around 25 percent (5 percent acute) and MSF-H, with WFP food assistance, is conducting blanket supplementary feeding to children under-five years of age to prevent further deterioration of the situation. WFP is exploring immediate options for delivery of food by air, which can be effected once security clearance is given. WFP is also pressing for repair of the bridge.

(h) In Uige and Zaire provinces, a rapid assessment of Uamba FRA found high levels of malnutrition (50 percent global and 24 percent severe). Food distribution is expected within days with Danish Refugee Council. Food is being released to MSF-E for a TFC two Supplementary Feeding Centres in Uamba and Sanza Pombo.

2) Central African Republic

(a) Insecurity in the northern region led to the preparation of the EMOP 10194.00 targeting IDPs located in the towns of Kabo and Batangafo during 3 months. As of early May, over 5,300 IDPs, mostly women and children had been identified as being in need of food aid. Approximately 1,500 are in Batangafo, and 3,800 in Kabo. In Kabo, agricultural plots have been made available to IDPs. A monthly ration is being distributed to women heads of families. As of 30 June, WFP had distributed over 90 tons of food.

(b) As only one private transporter agreed to go to the conflict-affected area, WFP has to repair and use the aging fleet of the Government counterpart. Due to the late arrival of the commodities for this project, distributions were done using stocks from two regional warehouses.

(c) The current situation in DR Congo does not allow for the repatriation of the Congolese refugees currently in CAR. Under EMOP 10038.00, WFP has been assisting approximately, 3,000 refugees in Molangue camp. Refugees not resident in the camp are not receiving food assistance. Rations have been reduced due to insufficient contributions made to the project. In June, WFP distributed 37 tons of food. Upon the request of UNHCR, WFP will extend until the end of the year the EMOP, which was scheduled to end on 15 July.

F) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan

1) Afghanistan

(a) Mr. Haji Qadir, former Governor of the Eastern Province of Jalalabad, and appointed in the recently-held Loya Jirga as the Vice President and the Minister of Public Works, was killed on 6 July in Kabul. Due to bombings, all UN missions in Uruzgan province, and Daychopan, Arghandab and Shayjoy districts of Zabul province were suspended at the beginning of this week. No missions will be conducted until the security situation returns to normalcy. With the security situation being relatively stable over the past week in the Northern region, road mission restrictions for UN staff were removed. WFP international staff has returned to Maimana, road missions are being scheduled throughout the Northern Region.

(b) Following bombings in Derawod District on 1 July, a joint UN/NGO/Government Authorities emergency mission, including WFP, assessed the needs of the victims in 6 affected villages (Kakrak, Sia Sang, Shartoghai, Mazar, Kawar and Chamarak). The mission reported that human losses were much higher than damages on properties and other assets in the community. The number of families who have lost their breadwinners could not be obtained but 170 families are estimated at this stage to be affected.

(c) Overall food shortage in the WFP pipeline continued to be a significant issue particularly in the northern region. It caused adjustments in planning and suspensions of newly approved projects in the northern and n northeastern areas. Over 2,420 tons of food were dispatched to WFP partners in the Central area under various activities. In the Northeastern area, the distribution of 312 tons of wheat for 5,800 families involved in FOODAC (Food for Asset Creation) projects is continuing in Badakhshan. Also 624 families identified as the most vulnerable households received free food.

(d) In the Western area, the relocation of IDPs to their places of origin is regularly carried out by IOM. Over 12,000 IDPs have been relocated from 17 June to 9 July from Herat. The distribution of bread is ongoing in Maslakh and Shaidahee IDP camps. From 3 to 9 July, approximately 12,800 families and 1,600 persons were assisted with 900 tons of WFP food under different activities in the Southern area.

(e) WFP released over 2,000 tons of food to its partners in the Northern area. Distribution of food to civil servants is ongoing in 7 provinces. This week, WFP supplied 6,535 tons of wheat to ACTED and SC/US to be distributed to 43,567 vulnerable households under FOODAC activities in Faryab Province.

G) Eastern Europe Region: (1) Azerbaijan

1) Azerbaijan

(a) During the months of May and June, WFP provided over 2,200 tons of food to 135,000 IDPs and other vulnerable groups. This population, living in extremely difficult conditions, has been displaced since 1994, when Azerbaijan lost 20 percent of its territory following the signing of a cease-fire with Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

(b) A new PRRO 10168, to start in January 2003, targeting IDPs and vulnerable groups was approved by WFP Executive Board in May. Under this new PRRO, WFP proposes to provide 43,087 tons of food to an average of 143,500 beneficiaries over a three-year period, at a total cost of USD 20.2 million. It will incorporate food-for-asset and food-for-training programmes as well as a pilot school feeding programme. A budget revision for PRRO 6121 was approved for an extension in time until December to bridge the gap with the new PRRO 10168, which will start in January 2003.

(c) As of 30 June, a total of 43,659 tons have been pledged against the three-year requirements of 48,161 tons of food aid. This figure indicates that some 91 percent of the total PRRO 6121 requirements have been met, leaving a shortfall of 4,620 tons. A gap in sugar pipeline could be anticipated in August if a confirmed contribution of 350 tons does not arrive in time.

H) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Bolivia, (2) Colombia, (3) El Salvador

1) Bolivia

(a) A snowstorm has caused a state of emergency in the province of Potosi (South-western Bolivia). At least five deaths have been reported and an estimated 2,500 families in 53 communities have been affected. More than 100 persons are missing. Some children are reportedly in serious danger of freezing and starving, trapped alone in their houses without their parents. Most of the victims present symptoms of acute respiratory diseases. At least 40 percent of the livestock, the region's main economic activity, are estimated to have been lost and their pastureland has been extremely degraded.

(b) On 6-7 July a WFP mission arrived in the affected communities of Cerrillos, Polulos, Rio San Pablo and San Pablo de Lipez. As of 8 July, food deliveries by road were impossible due to snow/ice-covered highways. WFP has authorized the use of its food stored for the School Feeding Programme to feed the affected population, especially children and women. Stocks are estimated to last for about 10 days. WFP is the first international agency that has provided assistance in the affected area.

(c) WFP estimates that about 25,000 FFW rations will need to be provided to over 1,100 families, using resources from the Country Programme. WFP is coordinating actions with the Potosi authorities and the National Civil Defense Service. NGOs such as MSC have been contacted to provide emergency non-food items. WFP has coordinated the food aid intervention with CARE/USAID. CARE/USAID will provide 25 Kg/month/family during 3 months to the affected families. WFP will support CARE with information required for food distribution in that area.

2) Colombia

(a) 2,500 families from five municipalities in the province of Arauca (eastern Colombia) were affected by the over-flooding of the Arauca River due to intensive rains. Weather experts have warned of possible landslides as well as more floods.

(b) According to the Ombudsman's office (Defensoria del Pueblo) the number of IDPs in Colombia has increased during the last six years. The Office quotes recent data from the National Information System indicating that 720,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes between 1996 and 2001. In 2001, 190,454 persons were displaced. This means that in a one-year period, displacement has increased by 50 percent.

(c) Nearby the city of Medellin, an armed group caused the displacement of 427 persons. The displaced have been temporarily sheltered in Medellin schools. In the municipality of Carmen de Atrato - where WFP participates in a supplementary feeding project - local authorities issued an alert due to the arrival of a large armed group in the area.

(d) Under PRRO 6139.0, WFP will supply 54 tons of food to 18 FFW projects in 9 municipalities. A total of 21,782 food rations will be distributed.

3) El Salvador

(a) Heavy rainstorms have caused floods in several areas of the country including the capital. People living in temporary shelters since the 2001 earthquakes have been the worst affected. The National Weather Service has forecasted a dry period during the end of July. However it is not expected to affect the maize and bean crops.

(b) WFP has received requests for food assistance from communities in the Morazán province near the Honduran border. Disputes over land rights and access to basic services, education, and healthcare have caused tensions between Salvadoran and Honduran authorities. As a result, the population's food security has come into question. Over the coming weeks, WFP and NGOs will visit these areas to consider possible assistance.

Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons.

(End WFP Emergency Report No 28).