This Operation has been modified and extended in time until 28 February 2011 as per Budget revision 03 (see below).
Over the past months, disputes between Enyele and Munzaya ethnic groups in the Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have fast degenerated into armed clashes. As of the end of October 2009, displaced people started crossing the border into the neighbouring Republic of Congo. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and local authorities, over 84,000 civilians had crossed the Ubangui River into Likouala Province of the Republic of Congo by the end of December 2009.
A joint government/donor/United Nations rapid assessment mission was conducted on 10-13 November 2009 to Betou district, where the majority of the displaced population settled. The food security situation of the displaced population was found to be extremely precarious given the limited availability of livelihood opportunities. The Government of the Republic of Congo appealed for humanitarian assistance and chartered a cargo flight to deliver relief items. Responding to the appeal, WFP launched an immediate responseemergency operation (IR-EMOP) to provide food assistance to 52,200 displaced Congolese. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization provided non-food items.
On 25-30 November 2009, WFP and partners conducted a more in-depth emergency foodsecurity assessment in 12 settlements in Likouala Province and concluded that the food security situation was deteriorating. Displaced persons fled their villages with limited or no food stocks. The presence of displaced Congolese is also putting pressure on local communities, some of whom are hosting people in their homes and sharing their limited resources. A nutrition screening carried out by UNICEF established that 8 percent of children under 5 appeared to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition and 13 percent from moderate acute malnutrition. The incidence of diarrhoea, respiratory infections and malaria was also rapidly increasing. A continuation of urgent food assistance to the displaced, as well as to the vulnerable among the host population, was therefore recommended.
As part of the integrated United Nations humanitarian response and in support of the Government’s efforts, WFP plans to provide additional emergency relief assistance under this emergency operation to 84,000 displaced persons, 10,000 vulnerable people among the host population and 3,500 moderately malnourished children under 5. In view of the volatility of the situation in DRC and the remoteness of operational areas, a contingency stock of 20 percent of food tonnage is included in the emergency operation to respond to any additional influxes of displaced people. The emergency operation is in line with WFP’s Strategic Objective 1 (to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies) andMillennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 (to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty).
This emergency operation has been planned for a 6-month period to the end of June 2010.The phase-out of WFP assistance will depend on the outcome of ongoing discussions between the Republic of Congo and DRC governments and the security situation in the Equateur province which remains volatile.