The deteriorating security situation in Burundi following an escalation of violence in rural areas has resulted in large-scale population displacement and forced a suspension of virtually all humanitarian assistance. Intensified fighting between Government forces and rebels in several areas during the past two months, particularly in Bujumbura Rural province, has caused loss of civilian lives, including the death of two UN international humanitarian workers, and the displacement of an estimated 300 000 people who have been grouped into camps by the Government. The newly displaced add to an estimated 500 000 people who were already in 300 “regroupment” sites away from their homes. Living conditions in these sites are reported to be extremely poor, with no clean water, shelter and sanitary facilities. It is estimated that 821 000 people, or more than 13 percent of the total population, are at present in regroupment camps. The worst affected provinces are Bujumbura Rural with 73 percent of its population displaced, followed by Bubanza with 60 percent, Makamba with 24 percent and Bururi with 20 percent. Also, in the province of Rutana, which was relatively calm until recently, the number of displaced people has increased from around 2 000 to over 16 000 since September. The food and health situation of the regrouped populations gives cause for serious concern. Only a limited number of people have access to their fields, at a time when the first cropping season has already started. With most of them entirely dependent on emergency food aid for their survival, the suspension of international humanitarian assistance some three weeks ago following the killing of UN staff has aggravated an already dire food and health situation. If security is not restored quickly to allow a resumption of humanitarian assistance, there is a serious threat of starvation among the regrouped population. Notwithstanding the impact of population displacement on food production, crop prospects for the first season of 1999/2000 (September-January) are also affected by unfavourable weather. Planting, which normally starts from mid-September to mid-October, has been delayed by dry weather during October. In the most productive areas of Kirungo in the north, Mosso in the east and Imbo in the west, no significant planting has taken place because of insufficient precipitation. In areas where planting took place with the first rains in late September, such as in the highlands of the central plateau, crops are reported to be stressed by lack of soil moisture. Even if more rains are received in the coming weeks, serious reductions in plantings and yields can be expected, thus compounding the food supply difficulties further over the next year. A reduced harvest this season will follow a below-normal harvest of the last season, which ended last July. It is, therefore, expected that the already tight supply of cereals and pulses, which has resulted in high prices, is set to deteriorate in the coming months. The current dry weather could also negatively affect planting in the first season of 2000 starting next February as harvesting of the late-planted crops this season will overlap with planting next season, and a shortage of seeds could limit the planted area.
ERITREA* (3 November)
Normal to above-normal rains in September and October maintained favourable conditions for the 1999 main season cereal and pulse crops the harvest of which has already started. However, the erratic and inadequate spring rains (March to May) and the below average rains in June that delayed land preparation and sowing in some parts of the country may affect yields. In addition, in areas affected by the armed conflict with neighbouring Ethiopia, production is expected to be seriously affected due to population displacement. Most rangelands were reported to have good vegetative cover, which should cover livestock needs for at least 6 months. The Desert Locust situation remains calm but with winter rains along the coastal areas approaching, there is risk of increased locust numbers along the Red Sea coastal plains. The food situation is very tight for more than 550 000 people affected by the war with Ethiopia. Donor support is sought for an emergency operation approved by FAO and WFP in March this year to provide food assistance for 268 000 people most affected by the war. Total pledges by the end of October amounted to 20 000 tonnes, of which 5 000 have been delivered.
ETHIOPIA* (3 November)
Heavy Rains in September and October in several parts of the country have resulted in serious flooding causing several deaths, displacement of a large number of people and severe damage to crops and property. Food and non-food assistance is being distributed by the Government in the affected areas. Elsewhere in the country, earlier drought conditions and unusually heavy rains in October have affected yield potential of the 1999 main "Meher" season cereal and pulse crops now being harvested. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is planned to visit the country in mid-November to assess the "Meher" production and estimate food assistance requirements in 2000. The Government has recently revised the number of people in need of food assistance to 7 million from the previous estimate of 5.3 million, including those affected by the failure of the "Belg" season, as well as 385 000 internally displaced people due to the ongoing conflict with Eritrea. An Emergency Operation for food assistance to 1.2 million people, worth some US$40.5 million was jointly approved by FAO and WFP on 31 May 1999. Pledges as of 31 October amounted to 565 000 tonnes, of which 476 000 tonnes have been delivered.
KENYA (3 November)
Harvesting of the 1999 main "long rains" cereal crops is nearing completion in the main growing areas of the Rift Valley. Significant output reductions are reported for the Eastern, Central, Western and Nyanza Provinces due to drought, inadequate agricultural input supply and armyworm infestation in some parts. Prospects for the 1999/2000 "short rains" cereal crops in the bi-modal areas of the Western, Central and Eastern provinces, for harvest in February/March, are also unfavourable due to drought conditions. Preliminary official estimates indicate a maize output of about 2.1 million tonnes compared to 2.44 million tonnes last year and 2.5 million tonnes average over the previous five years. Cereal stocks at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) were under 34 000 tonnes as of end September, against a target reserve requirement of 270 000 tonnes. The Government plans procurement of about 90 000 tonnes at the peak of the harvest period in November and December, leaving a significant deficit to be made up by imports. The food supply situation is critical in the northern and north-eastern pastoral districts, particularly in Turkana District, where rainfall from the long rains season has been too erratic and insufficient for adequate pasture and water supplies. Severe food shortages are also reported in parts of Central and Eastern provinces. The Government has recently set up emergency co-ordinating committees and provided more than 4 000 tonnes of relief food to vulnerable households in Eastern Province and the pastoral districts. More food assistance is needed for the affected population.
RWANDA* (5 November)
Planting of the 2000 A season crops, which normally takes place from mid-September to mid-October, has been delayed by a prolonged dry spell during October, particularly in eastern and southern parts. The dry weather also adversely affected crops planted in September with early rains. Abundant precipitation in the first week of November may have arrived too late to avoid reductions in the area planted and yields. A Ministry of Agriculture/International Agencies Mission is currently in the field assessing the crop prospects. Despite a relatively stable overall food supply situation, severe food shortages are reported in the north-east prefecture of Umutara, particularly in the Kahi commune, as well as in parts of Gikongoro, Kigali-rural, Byumba and Butare. the Government has asked for international assistance for the affected population.
SOMALIA* (3 November)
The food supply situation in southern Somalia gives serious cause for concern following an upsurge in inter-clan fighting which has disrupted food production activities and assistance to war and drought victims. Mounting civilian casualties, destruction of property and large-scale population displacements are reported. A number of starvation-related deaths have also been reported. The food crisis has been exacerbated by the extension of roadblocks and obstruction of runways that are hindering the movement of goods and food commodities, including food aid. Latest reports indicate that nearly 1.6 million people in Mogadishu, Lower and Middle Juba, parts of Gedo and Lower Shabelle are not accessible to humanitarian agencies. The escalation of violence against humanitarian workers has further reduced the flow and distribution of humanitarian assistance. An FAO/WFP Mission which visited the country last August found that the 1999 Gu cereal production, estimated at about 135 683 tonnes, is about 32 percent below the post-war (1993-1998) average due to low and poorly distributed rains, uncontrolled crop pests and farmers' displacement. Prospects for the "Deyr" secondary season, which runs from October to January, in the agriculturally important regions of southern Somalia, are not promising, with below-normal rains received so far. Even assuming a post-war average Deyr harvest of 70 000 tonnes, the Mission estimated the deficit in 1999/2000 marketing year (August/July) at 310 000 tonnes. Elsewhere in Somalia, despite recent beneficial rains, which improved pasture conditions, the food situation remains precarious for a large segment of the population due to the cumulative effects of droughts. In north-eastern Somalia (Puntland), an estimated 50 000 displaced and vulnerable people are in need of urgent food assistance, while in north-western Somalia (Somaliland), acute food insecurity is concentrated among the poor pastoralists of Sool and Toghdeer, estimated at 40 000 to 60 000 people. For the 1999/2000 marketing year (August/July) total food aid requirements were estimated by the Mission at about 70 000 tonnes. However, with the recent escalation of the civil conflict and uncertain "Deyr" season, the amount of food assistance required can only increase. Where conditions allow, aid agencies are providing emergency assistance, but more funds are needed to cover the food needs until, hopefully, the next main harvest in August 2000. WFP distributed close to 2 200 tonnes of food during the month of September, mostly in southern Somalia bringing the total distributed from January to September 1999 to 16 870 tonnes. At the beginning of this year, the UN launched a Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia, for a total is US$64 million; as of mid-October, donor contributions amounted to around US$35 million, or 55 percent. The CAP for the year 2000 has just been launched, totalling US$ 50.6 million. The international donor community is urged to be more generous in their contributions; otherwise the increasingly desperate population will face starvation.
SUDAN* (3 November)
A recent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to southern Sudan indicated an overall increase in cereal production in the traditional sector compared to last year, due to improved security conditions, well-distributed rains and a relatively pest-free season. However, a sharp decline in sorghum production and a major shift to cash crops, mainly sesame, is observed in the mechanised sector, following last year’s record sorghum harvest and the attendant low prices. Localised crop failures were also observed in some areas, particularly northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states. In central and northern Sudan, harvesting of the 1999 main season cereal crops is underway. Despite severe floods that caused heavy crop and property damages, overall harvest prospects are favourable. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is planned to visit the northern parts of the country from end-November to appraise the 1999 main season cereal production and estimate overall commercial imports/exports and food aid requirements in 2000. In anticipation of the good harvest and reflecting high levels of carryover stocks, prices of sorghum remain at very low levels. WFP delivered about 8 200 tonnes of food aid to southern areas in July, against a target of 9 500 tonnes, a 38 percent increase on June deliveries.
TANZANIA (5 November)
Planting of the 2000 main season cereal crops in the unimodal central and southern areas, as well as that of 1999/2000 short ("Vuli" ) crops in bi-modal northern areas, are underway. Generally below-normal rains in October have caused moisture stress, particularly for earlier planted crops. The 1999 cereal crop, mainly maize, is estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, about 11 percent below last year's output due to erratic rains, reduced use of inputs and an outbreak of armyworms. By contrast, production of other food crops, including beans, potatoes, cassava and plantains have increased by nearly 13 percent to 3.3 million tonnes. As a result of the reduced production, the domestic cereal supply gap in 1999/2000 is currently forecast at nearly 190 000 tonnes. In addition to substitution with non-cereal foodcrops, much of the deficit is expected to be covered by commercial imports. However, food assistance is required for nearly 1.2 million people, mainly in the regions of Dodoma, Mara, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga and southern Mwanza, all of which have now suffered their third consecutive poor harvest. WFP has extended its current Emergency Operation in selected central, lake and coast regions until the end of 1999. Food prices in most markets, particularly for beans and potatoes, have declined with the increased availability.
UGANDA (3 November)
A prolonged drought experienced in various parts of the country has affected the 1999 main season crops and brought a near total failure of crops in some areas. About 700 000 people in at least 28 districts are reported to be facing severe food shortages. The western and south-western counties of Nyabushozi, Kashari and Ibanda in Mbarara, and Ruhinda and Ruhaama in Bushenyi and Ntungamo respectively, are among the hardest hit areas, but the agro-pastoral north-eastern Districts of Moroto and Kotido are particularly vulnerable as the flow of foodstuffs, including food aid, is restricted due to insecurity. International food aid is being provided for more than 400 000 displaced people by persistent insurgency in northern parts of the country. Prospects for the 1999 second season food crops, to be harvested from next January, have improved with abundant rains in October, except in some areas of Mbarara, Rakai and Apac districts.