CAMEROON (27 March)
Rains started in the south in March. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Cereal imports for domestic use and re-export during the 2001 marketing year are estimated at 300 000 tonnes (excluding wheat reexports), mostly wheat and rice.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (27 March)
Precipitation was below average in January and early February. Above-average rains were received in the south and the centre in early and mid-March. Following successive good harvests, the food supply situation remains satisfactory. The cereal import requirement for the 2001 marketing year is estimated at 33 000 tonnes, mainly wheat.
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF* (27 March)
The food supply situation continues to deteriorate due to persistent insecurity. Intensified fighting, particularly in eastern parts, has further disrupted all economic and agricultural activities and resulted in fresh waves of population displacements. The number of IDPs is currently estimated at 2 million, whose food and nutritional situation is critical. Recent surveys conducted by non-governmental organisations indicated that up to 21 percent of the population is suffering from severe malnutrition in the eastern province of North- Kivu. The situation could deteriorate with an expected cassava crop failure in eastern parts due to pests and diseases. The food situation is also difficult in the main cities of the country, mainly Kinshasa with a population of 6-7 million. An FAO Mission last October estimated Kinshasa's food deficit in 2 000 at 1 million tonnes. In general, factors constraining food supply to Kinshasa and other cities include the extreme state of disrepair of the road infrastructure; police/military harassment of shippers, traders and farmers; the cut-off of food supply from Equateur and Eastern Provinces; and the scarcity of fuel due to a shortage of foreign exchange.
Distribution of humanitarian assistance remains constrained by persistent insecurity and very poor road conditions. WFP plans to increase its distributions of food aid to cover 1.2 million people, including some 70 000 Angolan refugees, and has recently appealed for US$112 million for the relief operation.
CONGO, REP OF (27 March)
After below-average rains in January and February, precipitation increased in early March and became particularly abundant in the south in midMarch. The security and the overall food supply situation improved in 2000 following the December 1999 ceasefire agreement between the government and opposition parties. All areas are now accessible to humanitarian agencies. The bulk of the estima ted 810 000 people disp lace d by the civi l war have ret urn ed to the ir hom es.
There are about 100 000 refugees from the Equateur province of DRC in northern areas, notably in Betou, near the border with the Central African Republic. There are also 5 000 Rwandan refugees and 8 000 Angolan refugees. WFP recently launched a new Emergency Operation to assist 50 000 refugees from the DRC over a period of 6 months. It is also providing food to some 120 000 persons in Brazzaville, Pointe Noire and other main towns.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA (27 March)
Abundant rains were registered countrywide in March. The staple crops are sweet potatoes, cassava and plantains. The cereal import requirement for the 2001 marketing year is estimated at 10 000 tonnes of rice and wheat.
GABON (27 March)
After below-average rains in January and early February, rains increased in late February and became very abundant in midMarch. The main foodcrops are cassava and plantains but some maize is also produced (around 25 000 tonnes). The country imports commercially the bulk of its cereal requirement, estimated at around 87 000 tonnes in 2001.