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Cablegate: Food and Nutrition Sector Meeting 13 May

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 002457

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
ANKARA FOR AMB WRPEARSON, ECON AJSIROTIC AND DART
AMMAN FOR USAID AND DART

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ WFP
SUBJECT: FOOD AND NUTRITION SECTOR MEETING 13 MAY

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

1. The DART attended the weekly food and nutrition sector
meeting at the WFP office in Basrah on 13 May. The Central
Ministry of Trade in Baghdad, in coordination with WFP, has
decided the first countrywide PDS distribution will begin in
June. The MOT is holding a meeting in Baghdad on 20 May
with all the governorate MOT directors in preparation. WFP
is visiting all governorates in preparation for a June
distribution.

2. Save the Children/U.S. is beginning vulnerable group
feeding in Basrah governorate and has visited all seven
Nutritional Rehabilitation Centers in Basrah city.
International Medical Corps recently visited Maysan
governorate and reported that about 200 families (1,000
people) have returned to Maysan from the Kirkuk area.
Iraqis migrating from the north and refugees returning to
Maysan, and other southern governorates, will need to
register at the local ration registration center to be added
to the PDS in the new location. End Summary.

-------------------------------------
FIRST NATIONWIDE DISTRIBUTION IN JUNE
-------------------------------------

3. The Central Ministry of Trade (MOT) and the U.N. World
Food Program (WFP) are targeting the first countrywide
public distribution to begin in June. The MOT wants to wait
until June to begin this distribution because of insecurity,
access, communications, and salary payment issues. Even
though the MOT had been distributing double rations for
several months prior to the war, leading to June rations
being provided in February, the slate will now be wiped
clean and distributions for the actual month will begin.
Restarting in June on a monthly cycle will ensure balance
and equity, rather than trying to reconcile the differences
between locations that have accumulated over the last couple
months.

4. WFP teams are visiting all governorates to prepare MOT
staff for the upcoming food distribution. WFP has been
using the month of May to provide commodities that were
missing in the food rations already distributed, but the
Central MOT has made a unilateral decision in Baghdad to
stop these "catch-up" distributions during last two weeks of
May. Even though the full distributions will begin on 1
June, they will take place on a staggered basis by
governorate throughout the month. The MOT is holding a
meeting in Baghdad on 20 May with all the governorate MOT
directors in preparation. In addition, a week ago, the
directors of mills and silos from various governorates were
called to Baghdad to discuss preparations for the June
distributions.

----------------------------
WFP ASSESSMENTS IN THE SOUTH
----------------------------
5. About ten days ago, WFP and GOAL did a joint assessment
of vulnerable groups and their food needs in Dhi Qar
governorate. Special attention was paid to targeting
hospitals, orphanages, elderly centers, and disabled
centers. The results of this assessment will be
forthcoming. WFP and the MOT in Maysan met to discuss MOT
office security and to create a list of office needs, such
as equipment and furniture. A WFP Mission took place in
Maysan on 9 May, and a request was brought to the military
to provide security to the MOT/WFP warehouses. A joint
International Organization for Migration (IOM)/WFP mission
is scheduled this week to Maysan to assess needs of the
internally displaced persons (IDPs) that were located. IDPs
from the north and returning refugees in Maysan, and other
governorates, will need to register to update their ration
cards.

6. In the south and elsewhere, transport costs for food
agents have risen substantially because of the shortage of
fuel. The agents have passed along this increased cost to
the beneficiaries, sometimes charging as much as 600 dinars
for the ration (rather than 250 dinars). Even though
beneficiaries understand this increase, it is an obvious
strain on households. WFP hopes to soon provide fuel to the
agents to counteract this problem.

7. Coalition forces made a request to the DART for rice and
powdered milk for Al Samawah in Al Muthanna governorate, as
it said that the local council needed these commodities to
complete a distribution. DART discussed it with WFP, who
traveled to Al Samawah on 12 May and discussed the request
with the MOT. The MOT stated that it did not want to make
up for the missed commodities, but focus on the June
distribution, and WFP concurred.

-----------
NGO REPORTS
-----------

8. Save the Children/U.S. (SCF/US) reported that the MOT
warehouse in Az Zubayr is being guarded in part by local
watchmen who are asking who will pay their salaries and
when. SCF/US, WFP's implementing partner for Basrah
governorate, has requested that WFP release a one month's
ration for distribution to 18 IDP families in Az Zubayr, two
IDP families in Safwan, and a pensioners home and orphanage
in Basrah.

9. SCF/US has begun working in all seven Nutritional
Rehabilitation Centers (NRC) located in hospitals in Basrah.
All have enough supplies to re-start operations. The number
of malnourished children has doubled in several
governorates, according to UNICEF. UNICEF is bringing in
seven metric tons (MT) of F-100 (therapeutic milk) for
Basrah, and 5 MT for An Najaf hospitals.

10. A team from the International Medical Corps (IMC) has
just returned from a week in Maysan governorate and reported
that there are 200 families (about 1,000 people) returning
to the Maysan area from Kirkuk who will have to be
registered in the PDS to receive rations. These families
were relocated to the north during Saddam Hussein's
"Arabization" initiative during the early 1990's.

JONES

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