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Cablegate: Tfiz01: Food Supplies in Basrah Governorate

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 001932

SIPDIS

STATE ALSO PASS USAID/W
STATE PLEASE REPEAT TO IO COLLECTIVE
STATE FOR PRM/ANE, EUR/SE, NEA/NGA, IO AND SA/PAB
NSC FOR EABRAMS, SMCCORMICK, STAHIR-KHELI, JDWORKEN
USAID FOR USAID/A, DCHA/AA, DCHA/RMT, DCHA/FFP
USAID FOR DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, ANE/AA
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA:WGARVELINK, BMCCONNELL, KFARNSWORTH
USAID FOR ANE/AA:WCHAMBERLIN
ROME FOR FODAG
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
DOHA FOR MSHIRLEY
ANKARA FOR AMB WRPEARSON, ECON AJSIROTIC AND DART
AMMAN FOR USAID AND DART

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ WFP
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: FOOD SUPPLIES IN BASRAH GOVERNORATE

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Representatives of the Iraqi Ministry of Trade (MOT),
DART, WFP, and Coalition forces met on 4 May at the CMOC in
Basrah to review the status of Basrah's Public Distribution
System (PDS) for food rations, and to determine what
immediate steps need to be taken to enable officials in
Basrah Governorate to carry out a major food distribution by
late May. End Summary.

-------------------------------
LOCAL CAPACITY AND REQUIREMENTS
-------------------------------

2. Ministry of Trade (MOT) staff reported that the nine
mills in Basrah are operating at full capacity, with a
combined flour production of 1,080 metric tons (MTs) per
day. To date, only 3,332 MTs of the 6,000 MT required for
one month's distribution have been milled. Coalition forces
confirmed that wheat is moving from Basrah's main silo
complex to the mills on a regular basis.

3. The silo complex currently holds an estimated 15,000 MTs
of wheat. The MOT reports the silo's granary equipment is
functioning, and that operations at the complex are in full-
swing, despite earlier reports that a three to four week
clean-up would be necessary.

4. The MOT listed the amount of supplies held in the Basrah
and Az Zubayr warehouses (current balance), followed by the
amounts needed for monthly distributions in Basrah
Governorate (monthly requirement), as follows: tea : current
balance : 1,886 MT / monthly requirement : 392 MT; vegetable
oil : current balance : 4,430 MT / monthly requirement :
2,459 MT; weaning cereals : current balance : 3 MT / monthly
requirement : 100 MT; salt : current balance : 318 MT /
monthly requirement : 300 MT; milk powder : current balance
: 21 MT / monthly requirement : 1,000 MT; lentils : current
balance : 110 MT / monthly requirements : 975 MT; beans :
current balance : 275 MT / monthly requirements : 975 MT;
chick peas : current balance : 46 MT; monthly requirements :
975 MT; rice : current balance 0 MT / monthly requirements :
7,000 MT; wheat : current balance : 15,000 MT(silo/mills)
and 3,300 MT (warehouses) / monthly requirement : 21,250 MT;
infant formula : current balance : 667 MT / monthly
requirement : 200 MT; detergent : current balance : 1,619 MT
/ monthly requirement : 964 MT; soap : current balance :
1,075 MT / monthly requirement : 600 MT.

5. The MOT reported that the significant shortfalls in
weaning cereals and pulses are long-standing problems.
(Note: These traditional shortfalls in protein-rich foods
have been noted in other areas of southern Iraq, such as Umm
Qasr. End Note.)

6. The MOT reported that there are 437 shipping containers
at Port Umm Qasr, containing vegetable oil (5,750 MT); tea
(450 MT); powdered milk (1,315 MT); soap (695 MTs); and
detergent (503 MT). MOT staff believes the containers form
part of two large shipments being shipped in tranches from
Dubai, which were disrupted by the war. Coalition forces
reported that there are currently 1,800 containers in Dubai,
believed to be consigned to the Oil-For-Food Program.

7. The MOT, U.N. World Food Program (WFP), Coalition forces
and the Maritime Department in Umm Qasr will review waybills
and other records associated with the containers at the port
to determine if they are part of a Dubai cargo and to
identify the shipping company responsible for completing the
transshipment.

-------------------
LOGISTICAL PROBLEMS
-------------------

8. According to the MOT, there are several problems in
getting the public distribution system (PDS) operational,
and the MOT has asked for immediate assistance from the
international community to restore the system.

9. With the Basrah Governorate's trucking fleet reduced
from 21 trucks to 3 (most were stolen by looters), the MOT
has asked Coalition forces and WFP for help in transporting
the 437 containers from Port Umm Qasr to Basrah. The MOT
estimates that 10 trucks could move the containers to Basrah
in 40 days. (Note: Normally, the containers would be
trucked directly from Umm Qasr to the designated
Governorate. WFP is working to determine the pipeline needs
in all southern Governorates. End Note.)

10. The lack of security continues to be a problem.
MOT/Basrah computers at the central administrative offices
and at the registration center complex were stolen or
damaged during the fighting. Just last week, looters stole
the air conditioners and desks in MOT's administrative
offices, which are occupied by Coalition forces. WFP and
the DART are working to address the problem of looted or
damaged computers, which has occurred in several southern
governorates and makes it all the more difficult for the MOT
to begin its critical PDS function.

11. WFP has agreed to repair the damaged doors and locks in
Basrah's central (Hartha) warehouse. The MOT is less sure
about how to proceed on repairing or replacing the computer
system in its central complex. In Basrah, MOT employees
salvaged some PDS information by copying the information
onto diskettes and hiding them during the fighting. But the
MOT fears that if the computers are replaced, they might be
looted again. MOT has so far resisted the idea of posting
armed guards at its facilities.

12. Another problem is that Basrah lacks the administrative
and registration forms used by the PDS program, which were
previously supplied by Baghdad. The DART believes that
WFP's EMOP could be used to recreate the forms during this
phase of the operation and is working with WFP on this
issue.

---------
FOLLOW-ON
---------

13. The participants agreed to meet again 7 May, and to
include representatives of the Office of Reconstruction and
Humanitarian Assistance and the U.K.'s Department for
International Development. By the next meeting, the MOT is
to provide a firmer estimate of the loose wheat grain stored
in the central Basrah warehouse, WFP is to draft a
governorate distribution plan and develop a chart of
commodities arriving in the southern corridor. Coalition
forces are to propose how to clear containers from Umm Qasr,
suggest ways to increase security at the central Basrah
warehouse complex, and set a date for the return of the
administrative offices to MOT. The DART and WFP are
expected to outline funding possibilities to cover the MOT's
material needs, such as computers, office supplies, desks,
chairs, etc.

URBANCIC

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