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Cablegate: Dart Food Update

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 002137

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: DART FOOD UPDATE


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

1. Members of the DART Food Team attended the weekly food
and nutrition sectoral meeting on 5 May with members of WFP,
UNICEF, Save the Children, and IMC. Topics addressed during
the meeting included a briefing on the progress made by WFP
in re-starting the PDS, a briefing on vulnerable group
feeding by Save the Children and IMC, and an update from the
DART. End Summary.

---------------------------
BRIEFING ON PROGRESS BY WFP
---------------------------

2. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) is working closely
with its national staff and the Ministry of Trade (MOT) to
assemble what remains of public distribution system (PDS)
records and data. Although WFP has had success in this
endeavor throughout the country, Baghdad is proving to be
difficult due to the level of looting and damage to MOT
offices. In addition, WFP staff have been assessing the
capacity and condition of the mills, silos, and trucking
fleets throughout Iraq.

3. WFP is working closely with MOT and local
authorities to verify what food stocks remain in storage,
including commodities and tonnages. There is a countrywide
lack of pulses, rice, and milk in remaining stocks as
previous distributions were missing these commodities.
Rapid importation of these commodities will be crucial in
allowing WFP and MOT to round out the food basket until
regular distributions resume. WFP is planning to first
finish the August distribution, which was interrupted by the
war. (Note: The MOT had been providing double rations in
the months leading up to the war, which were intended to
sustain the population through July. The March distribution
was interrupted by the war, leaving each governorate in
various states of completion. End Note.)

4. WFP reports that local leaders in An Nasiriyah, who are
focusing on upcoming elections, pressured them to begin a
distribution, despite not having a complete food basket. WFP
advised these local leaders that the next distribution
should wait until they can provide the full food basket.
However, according to WFP, the local leaders went forward
with a distribution. WFP is increasingly concerned that
distributions may be taking place for political reasons,
rather than from need.

5. In addition to the Basrah MOT, WFP has had meetings with
Coalition forces in Basrah, who have a good knowledge of the
situation on the ground and emphasized that security remains
an issue to be addressed. Despite Coalition protection, WFP
is worried about bringing in new equipment to the site of
the MOT offices, which are still subject to looting. It has
been suggested that MOT assets be guarded by armed MOT
staff. But when questioned about this, a Basrah MOT
representative said he did not think it was a good idea to
give guns to guards at this particular time.

---------------------------
PUBLIC INFORMATION CAMPAIGN
---------------------------

6. WFP acknowledged that a public information campaign
regarding the PDS is an issue that needs to be initiated.
WFP/Jordan informed the WFP/Iraq Program Manager that fliers
were being made to explain that the PDS will continue to be
the mechanism for food distribution and that a distribution
will happen as soon as WFP and MOT can provide a complete
food basket. DART has been pressing WFP to undertake this.

7. In Basrah, the MOT representatives were less
enthusiastic about a public information campaign. Their
explanation to WFP was that many people visit the
registration office everyday and are informed of what the
process will be, thus there is no need for a public
information campaign. One MOT representative added that any
public information campaign would be considered odd by the
local population and would create suspicion among them.
WFP/Baghdad and Central MOT are discussing the best way to
proceed.

----------
NGO UPDATE
----------

8. Save the Children, working in Basrah governorate,
recently identified 19 internally displaced families (119
people) from Basrah living in a youth center near the
hospital in Az Zubayr. These people left Basrah because
they lived too close to a military area that was bombed
during the war. To get by, the children have been working
as laborers, and the families are in need of food. Save the
Children will monitor that population and look into shelter,
food, and medical interventions.

9. Before the war, WFP stockpiled 1,200 metric tons of food
for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to provide
institutional feeding. As a WFP implementing partner for
internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups in
the governorate, Save the Children consulted with the 14-
member Advisory Council of Az Zubayr, which reported that,
other than the hospital, there were no institutions in Az
Zubayr in need of food. WFP suggested that Save the
Children link with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs,
which has a list of orphanages in the Basrah governorate.

10. International Medical Corps (IMC) reported that the
Tuberculosis (TB) Program Director at a hospital in Al Kut
has enquired if WFP can provide food to the people from the
outlying areas who have to come into town to receive
treatment for TB. WFP encouraged the hospital to submit a
proposal to support feeding this vulnerable group.

JONES

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