Hunger's global hotspots: 11 March 2008

Afghanistan – In the past week WFP has started to dispatch food to 10,600 beneficiaries in eastern Afghanistan, in the coming weeks, plans are to begin similar distributions in
most parts of the country, including Kabul where 650,000 people are understood to be in need of such assistance.

? During the week, the Afghan Government, community elders, WFP and its implementing partners commenced a tree planting campaign by distributing 1.4 million tree saplings in Balkh province
northern region. These saplings were produced under the joint programme – the Green Afghanistan Initiative (GAIN), which is administered by WFP.

? Afghan refugees in Pakistan have been reported to have started returning voluntarily to Afghanistan in the past weeks. WFP is ready to assist vulnerable families with food assistance in
collaboration with UNHCR, as part of the reintegration plan.

? Some 10,000 new Sudanese refugees are still at the border waiting to be transferred to refugee camps in eastern Chad. Food distribution for the new arrivals is planned as soon the refugees
are transferred to the camps.

? The operation in southern Chad is also facing pipeline breaks. March shortfalls are being covered through loans from other WFP projects in Chad. Pipeline breaks are due to limited funding.
The country office is preparing an advance funding request to cover requirements for the second part of 2008.

? The distribution of a 30-day food ration for the 7,000 new refugees from CAR is planned towards the end of this week. The refugees are currently located in a transit site in Dembo, southern

? Installation of Wiick halls (moveable storage tents) in Somali region is ongoing. Out of 10 Wiik halls planned, four have been erected and two are being installed. This will facilitate the
timely delivery of food.

? A Government-UN Somali Region information sharing meeting was held on 4 March. Main issues/concerns were raised as well as the deteriorating food security and water situation: critical water
shortages have been reported, particularly in Afder and Liben. Food allocations to these regions have been made and it is expected that dispatches will commence this week.

? Preliminary findings of recent food security assessments show that improvements in the food security status of most livelihoods in the past three seasons have been interrupted in many areas
after a poor 2007 short rains season. Post-election violence has compounded the situation through increased disruption of markets leading to increased food prices, in addition to impairing
agricultural production through increased costs of inputs in the Rift Valley, Western and Central Provinces.

? Food distributions to people affected by the violence continues in various parts of the country including north Rift Valley, Kisumu and Nairobi slums. In the Nairobi slums, the distributions
target the most vulnerable groups (HIV/AIDS-affected, women-headed households, physically disabled, sick, elderly, orphans and other vulnerable children).

? WFP is projecting a total commodity shortfall of 11,000 mt, equivalent to US$8.5 million, from March to July. Due to unexpected and serious delays in shipping, a pipeline break for cereals,
pulses, and CSB is expected in May 2008.

? While the EMOP is 53 percent funded, additional resources are urgently required to meet food pre-positioning plans ahead of the rainy season, as well as to avert complete pipeline breaks in
some commodities. Unforeseen delays have resulted in critical commodity gaps and WFP has been forced to reduce rations of pulses and sugar. In addition to meeting ongoing distribution needs,
priority is to start pre-positioning food stocks in areas that become inaccessible during the rainy season to avoid costly airdrops.

? Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) distributions and verifications are still ongoing. Major challenges continue to be fuel accessibility, secondary transport availability and general problems
related to a highly inflationary environment (The parallel market rate for the US$ has now risen to over ZIM$35 million to US$1, while last week it was ZIM$20 million to US$1. The official rate
remains at ZIM$30,000 to US$1).

? A report by the Agricultural Working Group (which includes Government, FAO and WFP), has reported that only 14% of land targeted for maize had been planted by December 2007. Much of this crop
land was adversely affected by input shortages as only 7% of basal fertilizer and 10% of top dressing required was supplied. This preliminary report paints a dire picture of the harvest
prospects this farming season, recommending that the Government prepares for grain imports following a poor 2008 harvest.

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