Cablegate: Chad: Logistics Challenges As Rainy Season Looms, and Port

DE RUEHNJ #0166/01 1091834
R 181834Z APR 08




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1. Regional Food for Peace Officer (RFFPO) Dan Suther visited Chad
9-18 April to assess WFP's logistical operation for eastern Chad.
WFP/Chad has a difficult task ahead providing seven months of food
for over 400,000 refugees and IDPs before the end of June:
distributing May-June rations as well as pre-positioning sufficient
commodities for July-November before the late June rains cut off
access to the eastern camps. While WFP has or will have sufficient
quantities of food in stock, it will also be difficult to transport
these commodities expeditiously through the Cameroonian and Libyan
corridors due to a number of constraining factors.

2. We recommend that FFP/W continue to raise the issue of
prioritization of WFP humanitarian food assistance over
EUFOR/MINURCAT equipment during this critical period; that FFP/W
request WFP/Rome to continue providing strong temporary logistical
support to WFP/Chad; and that the USG support WFP's Faya logistics
hub Special Operation (SO). We also have several medium-term
recommendations to help support WFP operations after the rainy
season. End summary.

WFP/Chad Pre-Positioning Plan and Constraints

3. WFP/Chad has a huge job ahead of it getting seven months of food
into the camps for distributions May-June and pre-positioning for
July-November. The total needs for these seven months are around
50,000 MT. WFP recognizes however that it will not be able to meet
the full requirements for May-June, and is planning to distribute
80% cereal rations (100% of other commodities) for these two months
to both the refugees and IDPs. Based on currently good nutritional
data, WFP believes that this reduction will likely not have a
seriously detrimental effect on the food security situation in the

4. Based on this planned reduction then, WFP needs to deliver a
total of around 45,000 MT by the end of June, before the
July-October rains render many areas of the east inaccessible. WFP
has or will have in the next few weeks around 57,000 MT available on
the continent, more than enough to meet these needs. However, the
key will be to move these quantities in time from Cameroon and Libya
into Chad - at which point WFP believes that once it can finally
"touch" the commodities, it can control the transport to the
extended delivery points (EDPs) much more quickly and effectively.

-- Douala --

5. Our greatest concern is around 20,000 MT in the Douala corridor.
WFP has 15,080 MT of FFP commodities arriving 15 April. Under good
conditions with an open corridor, WFP believes it could move around
4,000-5,000 MT/month through this corridor - which would likely
already not be sufficient to move the entire amount in time,
possibly 15,000 MT over the next ten weeks.

6. Compounding this is the fact that EUFOR and MINURCAT have at
least five vessels due in Douala the same week as the FFP ship, and
will be competing with WFP at the port, in transport to N'Djamena,
and for onward transport to the east. The full impact of this
competition is as yet unknown, but we can roughly estimate that
WFP's planned transport capacity might be halved. Therefore, WFP
could only be able to move less than 10,000 MT of these commodities
to the EDPs in time.

7. WFP has had some coordination discussions with these
organizations at the technical and representational levels in
N'Djamena, but the groups are under orders from their headquarters
to move cargo east before the rains, as of course is WFP.

-- Khufra --

8. In addition, WFP has around 18,000 MT in Khufra, Libya and in
transit between there and eastern Chad. WFP plans for these
commodities to meet the requirements of all the camps for May and
June. The fuel issues with the Libyan authorities have now been
temporarily resolved until around October. WFP's current agreement
is that it pays approximately $1.00 per liter of diesel
(international market price), and is refunded 25% of this by the

NDJAMENA 00000166 002.2 OF 004

Libyan government (as a credited donor contribution to the EMOP).
However, WFP still then pays around $0.62/liter more than the
national (subsidized) price of $0.12/liter which everyone else pays
at the pump. WFP estimates that it is overpaying around $4.6
million/year - effectively as a "humanitarian tax" to the

9. The capacity of this corridor is currently around 5,000 MT/month,
which WFP expects to be augmented to 7,000 MT/month with the
initiation of the Faya logistical hub. There is some concern about
this corridor backing up when the Benghazi commodities (below)
arrive in Khufra; however, by that time, the Faya operation should
be well in place, and we do not see this as a critical limiting
factor in the pre-positioning operation.

-- Benghazi --

10. Finally, a vessel carrying 18,570 MT of FFP sorghum is due in
Benghazi o/a 7 May. By this time, the Faya hub should be up and
running. WFP plans to use these commodities to pre-position central
camps, then move northward, where some full access to camps will
remain throughout the rainy season. WFP expects that using Libyan
trucks up to Faya, with transshipment on Chadian desert trucks to
the EDPs, will reduce Khufra-EDP-Khufra turnaround time to just 32
days from around 60 days at present. The main delays in using the
Libyan transporters to the EDPs have been due to the drivers'
priorities in taking time to sell fuel and buy livestock, as well as
the inevitable formal and informal Chadian checkpoints and controls
that delay such large international convoys.

-- Faya --

11. RFFPO and DCHA Chad Field Officer visited Faya on 14 April,
together with ECHO Representative and WFP staff. WFP has identified
a suitable area for food warehousing and truck transfer, as well as
office/accommodation space, and the local Chadian authorities and
French military contingent are providing strong support for the
operation. WFP plans to fly in storage tents, office and
accommodation prefabs, ICT equipment and vehicles from Dubai and
Brindisi, and to have the hub operational by the first week of May
until sometime around July or August, when all the commodities from
Libya should have reached the EDPs.

12. WFP has also identified an experienced logistician, who in fact
operationalized the original Libya-Chad convoys, to head the office
beginning in May. WFP has tendered for Chadian transport from Faya
to the EDPs, and expects to have 120-140 trucks available. In short,
WFP appeared to have the details in order, and satisfied our
technical concerns about the operation.

13. WFP plans to initially target all refugee and IDP camps for
May/June distributions with the commodities already on the move from
Khufra. Following this, the Khufra and Douala commodities will then
be used to pre-position the southern camps (Goz Beida area), moving
steadily north through the central camps (Farchana area). The
Benghazi commodities would then be used to serve the northern camps
from July-November, as a number of these northern areas can be
reached throughout the rainy season. WFP's plan will remain flexible
in order to maximize its transport capacity at every level.

Potential Helpful Measures

14. EUFOR/MINURCAT coordination and prioritization: There certainly
needs to be better technical and representational coordination at
the N'Djamena level between WFP and EUFOR/MINURCAT. That said, even
the best local-level coordination would only have alerted WFP
earlier to the current Douala problem that would still have
materialized. Ambassador Nigro has raised this matter with EUFOR
leadership. To be even more effective, there needs to be
complementary headquarters discussions on the actual prioritization
of humanitarian assistance over other cargo.

15. At this point, it is too late to stop the EUFOR/MINURCAT ships.
However, if some cargo could be held in Douala or airlifted out,
allowing WFP to more fully utilize the road/rail corridor to eastern
Chad for this period, this would be of enormous assistance.
Otherwise, the possibility exists that WFP may fail to get
sufficient commodities through this corridor in time, and that an
expensive food airlift capacity may be required down the line - and

NDJAMENA 00000166 003.2 OF 004

of course a number of the same donors would then be asked to foot
this bill.

16. USG Support for the Faya Special Operation: We believe that the
Faya logistical hub will likely allow WFP to move (mainly FFP)
commodities much more quickly and effectively through the Libya
corridor to eastern Chad. ECHO plans a likely EURO 1.5 million
contribution toward setting this up, which could also be used to
help cover the additional transport costs incurred by adding the
Chadian transporters. As the commodities in Libya have been provided
by FFP, it would also be helpful for the USG to contribute to WFP's

17. WFP Staffing: Despite the intense logistics of the Chad
operation, WFP currently has no deputy logistics officer position.
WFP/Rome has seconded a staff member for the past two months to
serve in this capacity, which has been extremely helpful. However,
she was asked to return to Rome despite WFP/Chad's pleas for her to
remain through May. While WFP has identified a strong international
staff member for Faya, it has no Abeche logistician (there is an
unfilled slot), nor effective overall leadership in the east. It
would be extremely helpful for WFP to maintain the strong logistical
TDY support from Rome at least through May, and to expeditiously
fill its logistics officer and emergency program officer positions
in Abeche with suitable professionals.

18. Libya fuel issue: We do not believe that there is any need right
now for the USG to engage the Libyan government on the WFP fuel
issue, as things have been resolved for the time being (if not in a
particularly advantageous manner), and we do not want to potentially
hold up the current 18,000 MT or the incoming 18,750 MT. However, we
believe that sometime around July/August, before the current
agreement expires, the USG should push this issue heavily on WFP's
behalf. WFP, especially as a humanitarian organization, should not
be the only agency in Libya paying millions of dollars of fuel tax
to the government (with FFP funds). This ends up making the Libya
corridor far less cost-effective (it used to be actually cheaper
than Douala, but no more), and WFP would need to re-evaluate the
whole Libya operation if these additional costs were to continue.

19. Plan for next year: As we do not expect humanitarian needs in
eastern Chad to reduce significantly by next year, FFP needs to
begin engaging jointly with WFP and other donors in order to plan
well-spaced contributions effectively, and to prepare well for next
year's rainy season.


20. WFP is currently dealing rather well with its ongoing logistical
issues. Delayed FFP commodities, the N'Djamena coup attempt, and the
current Douala-to-eastern Chad competition could not really have
been completely foreseen and taken into account. WFP has a good,
flexible logistics plan in place. However, there do remain
significant concerns, primarily about the Douala corridor.

21. Depending on the impact of the Douala transport competition with
EUFOR/MINURCAT, we believe that WFP may be forced to cut cereal
distributions during the rainy season by 20% or possibly more to
some of the southern camps. While it is rather too late now to do
much to remedy the immediate situation, we do recommend the
following immediate and medium-term interventions:

a. As we understand that some prioritization discussions have now
taken place in Washington, we recommend that FFP/W and others
continue these discussions at the headquarters levels on
prioritization of WFP humanitarian assistance over EUFOR/MINURCAT
cargo through the Douala corridor.

b. DCHA Field Officer and RFFPO recommend appropriate USG support
for WFP's Faya SO.

c. FFP/W should immediately request that Rome continue to support
the WFP/Chad logistics operation with strong TDY staff until at
least the end of May, and that WFP expeditiously fill the Logistics
Officer and Emergency Program Officer positions in Abeche.

d. We recommend that, around July, the USG begin to advocate for WFP
with the Libyan government in order o put a stop to the
"humanitarian tax" on fuel.

NDJAMENA 00000166 004.2 OF 004

e. Later in the year, FFP should begin engagement jointly with WFP
and other donors in order to plan well-spaced contributions
effectively and prepare well for next year's rainy season. NIGRO

© Scoop Media

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