US embassy cable - 02ROME1982

UN INTER-AGENCY STANDING COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON GROWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE SOUTHERN AFRICA REGION

Identifier: 02ROME1982
Wikileaks: View 02ROME1982 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-04-23 06:41:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: EAID EAGR AORC PREF PHUM EAGR AORC PREF PHUM WFP UN UNSC EAID WFP UN UNSC
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 001982 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME 
 
STATE FOR A/S/PRM, PRM/P, AF/S AND IO/D 
USAID FOR A/AID, AA/DCHA, AA/AFR, DCHA/FFP, DCHA/OFDA 
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN AND MCHAMBLISS 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  01982  01 OF 02  230747Z 
NAIROBI FOR REDSO AND DCHA/OFDA 
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH/USAID 
BRUSSELS FOR KFULLER AND KDEBLAW 
PRETORIA FOR USDA/FAS HELM 
USUN FOR LSHESTACK 
NSC FOR JDWORKEN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAID, EAGR, AORC, PREF, PHUM, EAGR, AORC, PREF, PHUM, WFP, UN, UNSC    EAID, WFP, UN, UNSC 
SUBJECT: UN INTER-AGENCY STANDING COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON 
GROWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE SOUTHERN AFRICA REGION 
 
REF: (A) ROME 1895 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. THE UN'S INTER-AGENCY STANDING COMMITTEE (IASC), WHICH 
MET IN ROME APRIL 9-10, EXPRESSED ITS CONCERN THAT A NUMBER 
OF COUNTRIES WITHIN SOUTHERN AFRICA WILL REQUIRE A 
SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN 2002. THE 
PRESENT FOOD SECURITY SITUATION IN THE REGION IS ADJUDGED 
THE WORST SINCE 1992. THE IASC EXPRESSED ITS COMMITMENT TO 
WORK WITH AFFECTED GOVERNMENTS AND REGIONAL PARTNERS ON 
MULTI-SECTORAL ASSESSMENTS OF NEEDS, THE DESIGN OF 
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE STRATEGIES AND IN ENSURING EFFECTIVE 
COORDINATION OF ALL INTERVENTIONS INCLUDING LOGISTICS 
RELATED TO THE DELIVERY OF URGENTLY NEEDED RELIEF CARGO. THE 
COMMITTEE ALSO CALLED UPON THE INTERNATIONAL DONOR COMMUNITY 
TO HELP PREVENT THE CURRENT CRISIS FROM BECOMING A 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  01982  01 OF 02  230747Z 
HUMANITARIAN DISASTER AND EMPHASIZED THAT, WITH A PROMPT AND 
VIGOROUS RESPONSE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THIS 
CRISIS CAN BE AVERTED. END SUMMARY. 
 
---------- 
BACKGROUND 
---------- 
 
2. THE UN'S INTER-AGENCY STANDING COMMITTEE (IASC) IS 
COMPRISED OF UN MEMBER AGENCIES: FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL 
ORGANIZATION (FAO); UN OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF 
HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS (OCHA); UN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (UNDP); 
UN POPULATION FUND (UNFPA); UN CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF); UN 
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR); WORLD FOOD PROGRAM 
(WFP); AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO). STANDING 
INVITEES INCLUDE: INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS 
(ICRC); INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF VOLUNTARY AGENCIES 
(ICVA); INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS AND RED 
CRESCENT (IFRC); INTER-ACTION; INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION 
FOR MIGRATION (IOM); STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMANITARIAN 
RESPONSE (SCHR); UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
(UNHCHR); AND THE WORLD BANK). 
 
3. WHILE MEETING IN ROME APRIL 9-10, THE IASC FOCUSED INTER 
ALIA ON THE EMERGING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. 
IT EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES IN THIS 
REGION WILL REQUIRE A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN HUMANITARIAN 
ASSISTANCE IN 2002. THE PRESENT FOOD SECURITY SITUATION IN 
THE REGION IS ADJUDGED THE WORST SINCE 1992. FACTORS 
CONTRIBUTING TO THE PRESENT CRISIS ARE NUMEROUS AND VARY 
FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY. THEY INCLUDE: DROUGHT, FLOODS, 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  01982  01 OF 02  230747Z 
DISRUPTIONS TO COMMERCIAL FARMING, DEPLETION OF STRATEGIC 
GRAIN RESERVES, POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE, FOREIGN EXCHANGE 
SHORTAGES AND DELAYS IN THE TIMELY IMPORTATION OF MAIZE. 
SIGNIFICANT INCREASES IN THE PRICE OF MAIZE HAVE UNDERMINED 
ACCESS TO FOOD FOR LARGE SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION WITHIN 
THE REGION. 
 
4. THE EMERGING CRISIS IS COMPOUNDED BY THE HIGH PREVALENCE 
OF HIV/AIDS. INADEQUATE FOOD AVAILABILITY AND CONSUMPTION 
PLACES AN EVEN GREATER STRAIN ON THOSE AFFECTED BY HIV/AIDS 
AND THE FAMILY MEMBERS STRUGGLING TO CARE FOR THEM. HIV/AIDS 
INCREASES HOUSEHOLD VULNERABILITY TO FOOD INSECURITY BY 
DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTING WORKING AGE PEOPLE. IT REDUCES 
THE AMOUNT AND QUALITY OF LAND CULTIVATED AS WELL AS INCOMES 
AND PURCHASING POWER FOR THOSE EMPLOYED IN OTHER SECTORS. IT 
ALSO ADDS TO THE DISEASE BURDEN (TUBERCULOSIS, MALARIA AND 
OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES) THAT THE POPULATION FACES ALONG 
WITH THE FOOD INSECURITY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
FAO/WFP JOINT CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSIONS 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ8410 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  01982  02 OF 02  230747Z 
ACTION PRM-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00 
      WHA-00   SRPP-00  EB-00    EUR-00   UTED-00  TEDE-00  INR-00 
      IO-00    NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OES-01   OIC-02   TEST-00  DRL-02 
      SAS-00     /005W 
                  ------------------8A2930  230749Z /38 
P 230641Z APR 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3379 
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 
AMEMBASSY BERN 
USDA FAS WASHDC 2103 
USEU BRUSSELS 2634 
USMISSION GENEVA 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 001982 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME 
 
STATE FOR A/S/PRM, PRM/P, AF/S AND IO/D 
USAID FOR A/AID, AA/DCHA, AA/AFR, DCHA/FFP, DCHA/OFDA 
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN AND MCHAMBLISS 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  01982  02 OF 02  230747Z 
NAIROBI FOR REDSO AND DCHA/OFDA 
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH/USAID 
BRUSSELS FOR KFULLER AND KDEBLAW 
PRETORIA FOR USDA/FAS HELM 
USUN FOR LSHESTACK 
NSC FOR JDWORKEN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS:     EAID, EAGR, AORC, WFP, UN, PREF, PHUM, UNSC 
SUBJECT: UN INTER-AGENCY STANDING COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON 
GROWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE SOUTHERN AFRICA REGION 
 
5. ALTHOUGH THE APPROACHING HARVEST SEASON (APRIL-JUNE) 
SHOULD PROVIDE SHORT-TERM RELIEF FOR SOME OF THE 2.7 MILLION 
PERSONS CURRENTLY AFFECTED, MANY VULNERABLE HOUSEHOLDS WILL 
CONTINUE TO REQUIRE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE. FOR MANY 
VULNERABLE POPULATIONS, ASSETS HAVE ALREADY BEEN DEPLETED 
AND COPING STRATEGIES EXHAUSTED. THE FOOD SECURITY SITUATION 
IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2002 AND INTO EARLY 2003 IS EXPECTED 
TO SIGNIFICANTLY WORSEN IN MALAWI, ZAMBIA AND ZIMBABWE. 
HOUSEHOLDS IN POCKETS OF LESOTHO, MOZAMBIQUE AND SWAZILAND 
ARE ALSO EXPERIENCING SERIOUS FOOD SHORTAGES. AMONG THOSE 
AFFECTED ARE 125,000 REFUGEES IN MALAWI AND ZAMBIA WHO 
DEPEND UPON FOOD AID FOR THEIR SURVIVAL. NOTE: AS PER THE 
IASC, THE 117,000 REFUGEES IN ZAMBIA HAVE ONLY RECEIVED HALF 
RATIONS DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF THIS YEAR DUE TO GAPS IN 
RESOURCING. END NOTE. 
 
6. JOINT FAO/WFP ASSESSMENT MISSIONS FOCUSING ON CROP 
PRODUCTION, ACCESS TO FOOD AND OTHER ESSENTIAL NEEDS, SUCH 
AS NUTRITION AND HEALTH, ARE PRESENTLY UNDERWAY (APRIL-MAY) 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  01982  02 OF 02  230747Z 
IN LESOTHO, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, SWAZILAND, ZAMBIA, 
MOZAMBIQUE, ANGOLA AND ZIMBABWE - TO QUANTIFY THE DIMENSIONS 
OF THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS BOTH WITHIN INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES 
AND REGIONALLY. IASC STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF MONITORING 
EARLY WARNING INFORMATION RELATED TO A POSSIBLE EL NINO 
"EVENT." IF ANOTHER MAJOR WEATHER PHENOMENON WERE TO OCCUR, 
ERRATIC RAINFALL AND OTHER CLIMATIC SHOCKS COULD FURTHER 
UNDERMINE CROP PRODUCTION AND FOOD SECURITY. 
 
7. WFP HAS BEEN GIVEN THE LEAD IN CONSULTING WITH AGENCIES 
IN THE REGION REGARDING THE CRISIS. FURTHER, IASC DECIDED 
THAT THERE WOULD BE A UNITED NATIONS-ORGANIZED MEETING IN 
THE REGION IN LATE MAY TO REVIEW THE FINDINGS OF THE FAO/WFP 
CROP ASSESSMENT MISSIONS AND TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE 
ISSUANCE OF A UN CONSOLIDATED APPEAL (CAP) FOR THE REGION IS 
WARRANTED. 
 
8. FINALLY, IASC REPEATED ITS COMMITMENT TO WORK WITH 
AFFECTED GOVERNMENTS AND REGIONAL PARTNERS ON MULTI-SECTORAL 
ASSESSMENTS OF NEEDS, THE DESIGN OF APPROPRIATE RESPONSE 
STRATEGIES AND IN ENSURING EFFECTIVE COORDINATION OF ALL 
INTERVENTIONS, INCLUDING LOGISTICS, RELATED TO THE DELIVERY 
OF URGENTLY NEEDED RELIEF CARGO. THE COMMITTEE ALSO CALLED 
UPON THE INTERNATIONAL DONOR COMMUNITY TO HELP PREVENT THE 
CURRENT CRISIS FROM BECOMING A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER. THE 
IASC EMPHASIZED THAT, WITH PROMPT RESPONSE FROM THE 
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THIS CRISIS CAN BE AVERTED. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  01982  02 OF 02  230747Z 
 
9. THERE WAS GENERAL IASC-CONSENSUS THAT SOUTHERN AFRICA WAS 
BEING IMPACTED BY A MULTI-SECTORAL HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND 
NOT JUST A PROBLEM OF FOOD SHORTAGES.  IN ADDITION TO TIMELY 
PROVISION OF FOOD, NON-FOOD REQUIREMENTS ALSO NEEDED TO BE 
FOCUSED ON. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE UN AGENCIES ARE NOW 
SERIOUSLY ENGAGED IN ASSESSING THE MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM, 
COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH ALL APPROPRIATE PARTNERS, AND 
IMBUED WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY.  HEILEMAN 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
> 
 2002ROME01982 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED 


Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04