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Hunger's Global Hotspots: 29 June 2007

In regions wracked by violence or submerged by floods, the first emergency is how to deliver enough food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some of the crises counted among WFP's "global hotspots".

In regions wracked by violence or submerged by floods, the first emergency is how to deliver enough food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some of the crises counted among WFP's "global hotspots".

Introduction

In regions wracked by violence or submerged by floods, the first emergency is how to deliver enough food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some of the crises counted among WFP's "global hotspots".

Chad

The security situation has been relatively calm throughout most of the country but has significantly deteriorated in the east over the past weeks.

On 22 June, a UN security meeting was held in Abeche. It was decided that all vehicle movement from Farchana, Abeche, and Goz Beida to the refugee camps or internally displaced person (IDP) sites should be done in convoys of at least two vehicles under military escort.

As of 2 July, the total stocks in the camps and food in transit within Chad are sufficient to cover requirements for the rainy season (till end October 2007).

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Since 21 June, the threat level in Goma (capital city of North Kivu province) was officially raised from 3 to 4 as a result of an ongoing build up of armed forces in and around the city. Consequently, visits to Goma have been restricted to UN staff members having Goma as their duty station and essential operation missions.

This insecurity upsurge is more likely to disturb WFP food aid activities in the province as Goma hosts WFP central warehouses and most of the food aid targets beneficiaries located around Goma.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)

The Republic of Korea (ROK) will start sending 400,000 tons of bilateral rice aid to the DPRK at the beginning of next week, bringing an end to a one-year freeze.

WFP has started discussing scale up strategies to accommodate the ROK contribution with the Government of DPRK. PRRO food distributions should expand from 29 to 50 counties and from 700,000 beneficiaries to 1.9 million. WFP logistic and monitoring activities will need to be expanded accordingly.

At the same time, WFP warns that many millions of North Koreans still face severe food shortages. Even with WFP now being able to reach 1.9 million people, there are still millions of vulnerable North Koreans who are going without food assistance to cover their nutritional needs.

Ethiopia

With the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) undertaking counter-insurgency operations in Somali region, the situation remains tense with restricted UN movement in the zones of Fik, Deghabur, Warder, Gode and Korahe.

However, permission has been granted for the mid-year multi-agency food security assessment to carry out missions in all the zones of the region.

The assessment teams for the southern zones of Afder, Liben and parts of Gode have already been deployed to the field.

With regard to relief food dispatches, the regional Vice President is requesting the military to allow immediate relief food movement to Afder, Liben, Jijiga and Shinile, while negotiating access to areas under the military operation.

Close to 2,150 newly arrived Somali refugees will be relocated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Teferiber camp in the Somali region as soon as the setup of camp facilities is completed.

WFP will erect movable warehouses for the food to be distributed to refugees. Permission has been granted for the monthly food distribution as these are outside the areas of EDF operations.

WFP Ethiopia Urban HIV/AIDS project has imposed a temporary freeze on new beneficiaries entering the system until a large contribution to the project is confirmed. It is hoped that the freeze can be lifted in the final quarter of 2007

Kenya

Representatives of six governments in the Horn of Africa region (Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda), the African Union, regional bodies, UN agencies, donors, international financial institutions, NGOs and research institutions met in Nairobi on 25-26 June 2007, with a view to refocus the collective attention on food security in the region.

Over 70 million people in the Horn of Africa, around 45 percent of the total population, remain vulnerable to recurrent droughts and floods.

The main objectives of these consultations were to bring countries and partners together to learn from each other’s experiences and to identify concrete steps that need to be taken to address food insecurity in the region.

The Kenya-Somalia border remains closed; a total of 563 spontaneous arrivals were received in Dadaab in the last week, bringing the total number of new arrivals since the border closure in early January to 6,290 people.

WFP, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a joint donor appeal for Emergency Nutrition Assistance for Refugees in Kenya on 28 June in Nairobi in light of the high malnutrition rates in Dadaab and Kakuma camps.

The appeal takes into account the remaining gaps in relief assistance for the three agencies, including firewood, complementary foods and technical health/nutrition assistance, in an effort to provide the full package of assistance to the refugees to break the cycle of malnutrition and disease in the camps.

Between now and June 2008, WFP requires US$24.3 million to ensure timely and adequate general food rations and meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable.

Lesotho

Internal consultations are continuing in country to ensure a well coordinated response to the drought affected population in the coming months.

The Country Office (CO) is carrying out initial preparatory activities with regards to planned interventions in response to the drought. Operational resource requirements are being consolidated, using different scenarios, depending on level of resources.

On going food assistance to some 60,000 HIV, Tuberculosis (TB), Home-Based Care (HBC) and Orphans & Vulnerable Children (OVC) food insecure households were conducted.

Options for carrying out joint assessment with the Reports Scenario Verification Program (RSVP) and other interested stakeholders are being explored with the aim to teach a common understanding on the appropriateness of different response modalities for the current food crisis.

occupied Palestinian territories

Access for goods to Gaza remains limited by the capacity of existing crossings points and security concerns. Nevertheless, WFP managed to move 1,424 metric tons (mt) food into Gaza over six days from 19 June (when the humanitarian corridor was opened) to 1 July. WFP intends to send 10 trucks per day for the coming week.

The past week saw an expansion of the number of available crossings (Karem Shalom, Sufa and the partial working of Karni - conveyer belt for grain only) increasing the commercial flow of the most essential food, agricultural and medical supplies to Gaza.

The combined capacity of all three available crossings at their current functioning provides the potential for the basic food and agricultural needs requirements of 120 trucks per day; however, up to now this capacity has not met its full potential due to security problems which affect all crossings.

The UN country team is working to increase the flow of goods to Gaza as soon as possible and it is hoped that the 120 truck objective will be met this week.

A key concern for WFP for the coming weeks is the economic situation in Gaza. While commercial flow remains minimal and exports are nonexistent, the economy of Gaza will stagnate.

Pakistan

Flooding in the past weeks has affected 1.5 million people in Pakistan.

It is believed that as many as 300,000 are displaced and in need of immediate assistance. A Flash Appeal is under preparation and expected to be launched on Friday.

Numbers may increase following access to affected areas and a more comprehensive assessment.

The Government of Pakistan (GoP) has not issued a formal request for assistance but will welcome support from the international community. In this regard, GoP has indicated it will endorse the Flash Appeal and assist in coordination and review of the document.

WFP’s planned response anticipates a 3 month emergency operation (EMOP) to provide between 7-8,000 mt of food to 132,000 people. This would be supported by a Special Operation for helicopter support and logistics bases. WFP will also serve as the lead agency for 3 clusters: Food, Logistics and ICT.

Somalia

Mogadishu and most parts of south and central Somalia remain insecure due to increasing incidences of suicide bombings and tension among clans. On 27 June, unidentified gunmen killed a doctor working with the International Medical Corp and his driver in El-Berde, about 400 kilometres northwest of Mogadishu.

Third round food distributions to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu, which began on 21 June, have been put on hold by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) authority following a shooting incident at Abdulaziz food distribution point (FDP).

Of the 100,000 IDPs planned to receive assistance in Mogadishu, only 58,000 have been assisted, negotiations with the authorities are on-going to resume food distributions. Also distributions to some 45,000 IDPs in Lower Shabelle region are delayed because WFP could not move food stocks from its warehouse in Mogadishu to various FDPs in the region as planned due to the closure of roads in Mogadishu for most of the week.

WFP continues to await El-Wak border to reopen to be able to undertake relief food distributions in Gedo region to 108,000 flood-affected beneficiaries.

The latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) information on displacements in Somalia indicates that an estimated 3,500 people have fled Mogadishu this month amid an escalation of violence. Reports also indicate that some 10,000 people have fled violence between rival clans in the coastal city of Kismayo.

Huge swarms of locusts appeared in the north-eastern province of Puntland this week devouring vegetation and stripping bare hundreds of acres of orchards; livelihoods are being ruined as a result.

Market prices of fruits and vegetables have soared. If the problem is not contained now, it may provoke serious food security issues in the region.

Sri Lanka

The situation remains tense in North West parts of Ampara bordering Batticaloa and in Batticaloa. Shelling continues in the north-western parts of Batticaloa and the Southern areas of the Vanni.

Sudan

In May, WFP assisted 3.2 million people in Sudan with food. The number of people not reached rose from a monthly average of 50,000 to 110,000 due to insecurity. It is anticipated that the number of people not reached in June will be even higher - this is because some locations had received double rations in April (covering May) but will not be accessible in June.

The security situation remained violent during the week, with increased armed violence targeting the humanitarian community. In North Darfur, two WFP fleet trucks were shot at by armed bandits, with one driver slightly wounded. In a separate incident, two commercial trucks carrying WFP food were hijacked by armed men. The trucks and drivers remain missing.

In South Darfur, an international non-governmental organisation's (INGO) residences in Shaeria and Nertiti were attacked, resulting in the relocation of staff to Nyala.

During the week, TearFund reported the death of 7 children at their Stabilization Center in Ed Daein Hospital. The results of the preliminary investigation revealed the cause to be a lack of following proper health protocols by newly appointed health staff. WFP, UNICEF and other stakeholders are looking into these cases.

Meanwhile, the second round of the blanket feeding programme covering 2,912 children under-5 continued in Elneem camp 2.

As the 9th July deadline for redeployment of Sudan Alliance Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) troops approaches, the United Nations Department of Safety & Security (UNDSS) has advised agencies to reduce staff presence in contentious areas where the potential for conflict outbreak exists. WFP continues to monitor the situation, with contingency plans in place.

Zimbabwe

WFP is still awaiting an official position from the Government of Zimbabwe on the Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) findings to formalise an appeal. Recent meetings report that government is still reviewing the report.

WFP in coordination with cooperating partners and donors is preparing to upscale its activities based on the findings of the CFSAM. Bi-lateral planning meetings are underway with cooperating partners for their respective areas of operation. Areas hardest hit by the drought will be priority areas to start in August/September, resources permitting.

Fieldwork for the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee - Food Security and Nutrition Assessment has been concluded. Preliminary results are expected by mid-July and will further define district level food insecurity and respective beneficiary numbers.

WFP and its cooperating partners are working together to refine the beneficiary targeting and selection criteria for the upcoming Vulnerable Group Feeding expected to run from August, 2007 to March, 2008.

Significant price increases have been observed nationally in recent weeks, further deteriorating the purchasing power of the most vulnerable. As of 26 June, the Government instated price controls of basic commodities. Following this measure, long queues and scarcity of commodities has been observed in the shops.

In June, WFP continued its small-scale food distribution programme – reaching an estimated 300,000 people, including HIV/AIDS affected households and school children in high-density urban areas

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