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Supplement to the WFP Emergency Report No. 12 (of 2000): Update on Southern Africa flood relief operations - Mozambique and Madagascar

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A. MOZAMBIQUE FLOODS UPDATE - emergency situation report for 18 to 24 March
1. SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

1.1 On 23 March, the Government of Mozambique, in collaboration with the United Nations, launched a USD 100 million appeal for emergency relief and rehabilitation for the period March to August. This appeal is an update of the initial request for assistance issued by the Government on 24 February and aims at ensuring that emergency assistance continues to be provided to 650,000 flood victims accommodated in centres and flood affected persons in isolated villages. WFP requirements included in this latest appeal total USD 40 million, covering food, funding for the continuation of the air operations and essential road and bridge repairs.

1.2 River behaviour was erratic during the week and rains continued to fall in most of the country. Renewed but mostly localized flooding continued to be reported. By mid-week the authorities alerted for a new but smaller flood wave down the Limpopo and returning populations in the town of Chokwe were moved back into accommodation centres in Gaza province. The weather cleared by the end of the week and river water levels are in general decreasing. Most rivers remain however above critical and alert levels.

1.3 The Government estimates that 640 people were killed by the floods, which are considered the worst floods ever witnessed in Mozambique, while 14,342 persons were rescued from treetops and rooftops by the South African helicopters. Others were taken to safety by boats. In total, the Mozambican government considers that roughly two million people have been directly or indirectly affected by flooding.

2. TARGET POPULATIONS/BENEFICIARIES

2.1 There are now over 100 distribution points with close to 500,000 people being supplied with WFP food and non food commodities. Other organizations are also providing relief assistance to drought victims. The majority of the drought-affected persons are in centres and villages in the southern and central provinces of the country. During the week WFP started also a food distribution further north in Zumbo, in the province of Tete, where some localized flooding along the Zambezi banks affected several hundred families.

2.2 Several thousands of people returned to the Chiacalane and Macia camps in Gaza during the week, after the authorities alerted about a possible new flood wave in the Limpopo. In Save area in Sofala, 950 families are being ferried by boat to a new, higher location, due to flooding along the Save river. On the other hand, a number of displaced persons are starting to return home as water levels start reducing, although the Government has been urging people not to go home before the end of the rainy season. Plans are also under way for the resettlement of flood victims in new areas.

3. FOOD SUPPLY SITUATION AND ARRANGEMENTS

3.1 Monthly food needs for the flood emergency average 11,000 tons for the next three months, targeting 650,000 people. To cover initial food needs until mid March, WFP approved an emergency operation for approximately 9,000 tons of food, which has now been resourced. For the next phase up to mid September, WFP requires another 53,000 tons of food commodities and donor contributions are required to allow the continuation of the food distributions.

3.2 Pending the arrival of the pledged donor contributions, WFP borrowed food from in-country stocks belonging to the development programme. These borrowings, coupled with local and regional food purchases have allowed food distributions to be made in this initial phase. The immediate food pipeline looks fragile for cereals in the south, particularly for maize flour and an urgent local purchase was made to cover the gap. During the coming month, 10,300 metric tons of food will be purchased locally or regionally or will arrive in the country from overseas. With these arrivals, WFP expects to cover the needs of maize and pulses up to mid April, but additional quantities of oil, sugar and salt are required.

3.3 Deliveries of food and other basic items continue to be made by a combination of helicopter, aircraft, boat and trucks. Road access during the week remained restricted. Rains turned roads in the centre and south impassable and WFP had to revert to helicopter transportation from the hub in Palmeiras to the major camps in Gaza. Many other areas continued to have to be served by air. Current air capacity has reduced from 53 to 29 air assets as some of the military teams withdrew, and further reductions are expected in the coming week. WFP requires some USD 11 million to secure additional civilian air capacity and continue delivering relief assistance.

3.4 As the rainy season comes to an end, emergency repairs on roads and bridges must be done so that road traffic can resume. WFP has appealed for USD 3.27 million to fund some emergency road and bridge repairs which will permit the delivery of relief assistance to the flood affected people. Government road brigades continue repairing damaged roads, particularly along the main south/north road. It is expected that the road section from Beira down to Save may be opened next week which will greatly facilitate WFP deliveries to areas in the Save basin and areas north of the Limpopo river. Whenever possible, detours are being opened, pending major reconstruction of bridges and roads.

4. FOOD DISTRIBUTION AND USE

4.1 During the past week WFP delivered over 2,600 metric tons of food, for distribution in the five affected provinces in southern and central Mozambique. The provinces of Gaza and Sofala holding over 70 percent of the WFP beneficiaries, received the bulk of the food assistance. Since the beginning of the flood response on 11 February, WFP has delivered approximately 4,200 metric tons of food. Close to 1,800 metric tons, representing 43 percent of the total, has been delivered by helicopter and other aircraft.

4.2 Food delivery and food distribution systems are now being regularized. WFP is now striving to buffer stock food in some of the camps and locations so that weekly or bi-weekly food rations can be provided. Until now, deliveries to the larger camps could only be made for two or three days but with the expected increase in road transportation and an improved pipeline, the supply situation should improve. Difficulties persist in the provision of milled grain to all the distribution centres as demand surpasses availability and milling capacities. Milled maize distributions are being prioritized to camps without any milling facilities.

4.3 During the next six months, WFP plans to distribute 53,000 tons of various food commodities. As the flood affected persons return home and resettle, the general food distributions will be replaced by food-for-work activities, which will be implemented in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and local authorities. It is also planned that upon departure form the accommodation centres, these people be provided with a one-month return package, including food and seeds and tools.

4.5 WFP is now also distributing 100,000 kits of much needed cooking and eating utensils, targeting accommodation centres where these items are lacking. These kitchen kits include cooking pots of various sizes and have been packed in individual family parcels to facilitate the distribution.

5. COORDINATION ISSUES

5.1 The Government's National Institute for Disaster Management, INGC, remains the overall coordinating body for the flood response, with assistance from the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination unit, UNDAC. WFP takes the lead in food aid and logistics coordination. Regular and frequent sector meetings take place, both for current relief activities as well as for the coming resettlement and rehabilitation phase.

5.2 The coordination of such a complex operation, involving a multitude of partners, is challenging but vital. In one incident during the week, there was chaos during an uncoordinated and poorly planned relief distribution in the largest camp, Chiacalane, which resulted in the death of five people. WFP and the Government have appealed for close collaboration and information-sharing among all involved partners to ensure balanced and fair relief distributions.

5.3 WFP is currently preparing formal agreements with several organizations. These agreements will formalize food aid activities, allow for proper registration and counting exercises, preparation of beneficiary lists and ensure that women are targeted and involved in food management issues. This will also allow initial community-based discussions aiming towards the rehabilitation phase which WFP will support through food-for-work activities. Some of the organizations that will work with WFP include Concern, Action contre la Faim, Food for the Hungry International, World Vision, Action Aid, SCF/US, Caritas, the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique and several others.

6. INTERNAL WFP MANAGEMENT ASPECTS

6.1 In support of the relief response to the flood emergency, WFP has reinforced its human resources capacity in the country. Forty WFP staff and consultants from other Country Offices and Headquarters have been deployed to Mozambique. WFP staff previously involved in development programmes have also been assigned temporary duties in the emergency programme. Additionally, WFP has received tremendous support in personnel form the United Nations Volunteers, from donor countries and from private organizations.

6.2 WFP has opened new offices and logistics bases in the flood affected areas and is now coordinating activities from Maputo, Beira, Palmeiras, Macia, Xai-Xai, Save and Vilanculos. Food aid monitors are also based in some of the larger camps and areas of activities.

B. MADAGASCAR FLOODS

1. UPDATE - information as of 28 March

1.1 WFP is appealing for USD 5 million for an operation to provide emergency food rations to an estimated 129,000 people for the next four months (April-July) to help them rebuild their lives following the floods which devastated Madagascar between mid February and early March. Food requirements under the emergency operation approved on 27 March (EMOP 6239) are 3,863 metric tons of rice and 595 metric tons of beans. Total cost for the EMOP is USD 3 million.

1.2 The appeal includes USD 1.9 million for WFP Special Operations to support the continuation of helicopter and airlift operations which remain crucial to bringing food to many towns and rural communities which were isolated because of floodwaters. While main national roads have re-opened (for example to Mahanoro), and it is possible now to send food and medicine by roads to some areas, helicopters are still the only way to reach some areas. At this time, air operations are expected to be needed for two months.

1.3 The new appeal follows an initial operation to support 20,000 persons for 30 days, and to procure 270 tons of rice, 60 tons of beans, 30 tons of sugar and other operational costs to cover these needs. Food commodities were borrowed from on-going development projects to start distributions. Using mainly cargo planes and helicopters, by 27 March WFP had delivered 300 tons of food aid, enough to feed 30,000 for two weeks, to the most affected areas in the North-East and West of Madagascar. Local authorities are in charge of the distributions in cooperation with WFP, UNICEF and NGOs involved in emergency operations in the concerned regions.

1.4 For WFP Special Operations (SOs) for logistics support, the following contributions have been recorded: Canada for about USD 200,000, Denmark USD 130,000, UK USD 500,000 (for either SO or EMOP) and USAID (to be confirmed) USD 400,000 (to cover two helicopters for 25 days).

1.5 The implementation coordination of the emergency assistance relating to the two cyclones is the responsibility of the Conseil National de Secours (CNS), with technical assistance/advice from key humanitarian partners. WFP is coordinating logistics. A daily meeting takes place at the WFP Country Office premises. In addition, all the UN and bilateral organizations are represented in CRIC (the French acronym for the Restricted Cell of Intervention in Disaster).

1.6 The Government has been contributing to the relief operation one Antonov 26 airplane at disposal on a permanent basis (fuel to be paid by donors), Malagasy Francs 1 billion (USD 150,000) for covering the Conseil National de Secours local operational costs and National Army Staff to help in the parachute drops, air lifting and distribution.

1.7 In North-Eastern Madagascar, in one of the largest rice producing districts, farmers lost almost 80 per cent of their production. In many regions, the next rice harvest is only due in six months, making tens of thousands of people largely dependent on food aid until they can feed themselves. An FAO mission has been fielded to evaluate the damage of the two cyclones on agriculture infrastructure and to estimate resource needs to restart normal production in terms of rehabilitation, seeds and small tools. FAO is sharing its findings and recommendations with WFP. At a later stage (end of April) a joint FAO/WFP complementary mission is scheduled to assess the crop losses, food supply shortage and the implications for food security. Several of the flood-affected districts have been experiencing shortage of and irregular rainfall since the onset of the main rains season. Significant crop loss is anticipated due to below normal rainfall in the north, centre and the southern districts of the country, which is made worse by floods.

1.8 The floods have contributed to the deaths of an estimated 200 people, as well as severely damaging tens of thousands of homes. Many people in isolated rural areas are still living with neither adequate food nor shelter. Flood inundation damaged field crops due to standing water, silt and landslides. Primary and secondary roads including railway lines were damaged at several locations. A consolidated overall damage assessment of the impact of the floods is being planned jointly with participation of relevant government departments, UN agencies and NGOs.

1.9 Cyclone Eline which hit Madagascar on 17 February resulted in excessive rainfall in 10 districts. Cyclone Gloria hit the country's north-eastern districts on 2 March and followed by heavy rains in coastal areas and the mainland that resulted in heavy inundation in river valleys. The cyclone-induced flood affected a further nine coastal districts.

The affected areas are:

  • The North East: Antalaha, Sambava, Andapa and Maroantsetra
  • The Eastern zone in the province of Tamatave: Marolambo, Mahanoro, Vatomandry, Anosibe An'Ala, Andilamena, Antanambao Manampotsy
  • The South East: Nosy Varika, Vohipeno
  • The South West: Morombe, Morondava, Belo Tsiribihina
1.10 The WFP country office staff (including international staff) is to be deployed in new temporary duty stations in the most affected areas, in addition to local temporary staff and those of the implementing partners, mainly international NGOs (CARE, CRS, ADRA, AAA) and the national counterpart technical services.

Note: all tonnage figures above refer to metric tons

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Supplement to WFP Emergency Report No. 12 of 2000 - March 24, 2000

From Francesco Strippoli, Senior Humanitarian Advisor. Available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page at http://www.wfp.org/ or by e-mail from Deborah.Hicks@wfp.org .

For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Aleesa.Blum@wfp.org or Marius.deGaayFortman@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2004 or 06 6513 2250. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org telephone 39 06 6513 2602.