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Cablegate: Public Distribution System Preparations In

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KUWAIT 002641

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: PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM PREPARATIONS IN
KARBALA, AL HILLAH, AND MOSUL

REF: KUWAIT 02416

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

1. Coalition forces vacated the silo in Karbala and the
warehouse in Al Hillah to make way for food arrivals, but
continue to provide security to both structures. UXO has
been discovered in the Karbala MOT warehouse. Large
quantities of food have begun to arrive in Al Hillah for the
Babil Governorate. Ninawa Governorate has been asked to
prepare for the arrival of 5,000 MT of wheat grain per day,
but the shortage of adequate silo space in Ninawa could be a
problem. The DART briefed Coalition forces in Kuwait on the
magnitude and needs of the PDS. End Summary.

-----------------------
FOOD STORAGE IN KARBALA
-----------------------

2. The DART met with staff of the U.N. World Food Program
(WFP), Ministry of Trade (MOT) silo manager, and Coalition
forces based in Karbala on 19 May. The DART discussed the
upcoming public distribution system (PDS) and explained
WFP's role, observed initial WFP rice deliveries, and
confirmed wheat grain stocks in the Karbala grain silo.

3. The DART also confirmed that Coalition forces have
vacated the grain silo in Karbala. The MOT silo manager
claims that Coalition forces removed property from the silo
grounds and has presented an inventory of missing items to
battalion headquarters. The DART discussed this issue with
a Coalition officer who stated that he would follow up to
determine a course of action. Amoung the items on the MOT
list are two tractor-trailer cabs, tools, several computers,
office furniture, and cash from the office safe. The DART
confirmed that all MOT staff in Karbala received USD 20
emergency payments and is in contact with MOT Baghdad.

4. The DART inquired about the possibility of security
assistance, and the Coalition officer agreed that frequent
patrols and visible presence by Coalition forces in the area
of the silo and warehouses could be established. At the
same time, the Karbala Protective Force has been deemed
antagonistic to rehabilitation efforts and will be disbanded
by Coalition forces.

5. WFP's ten-person national staff is established and
operational at the MOT warehouse. They relayed to the DART
that any public information messages should be focused on
instructions to food agents and should include precise dates
for ration distributions, actual quantities of each
commodity in the ration, as well as the ration basket
contents. This was the pre-war practice, and beneficiaries
will be expecting this information as a normal function of
PDS.
6. WFP and the DART discovered unexploded ordnance (UXO) in
one area of the MOT warehouse complex. The DART requested
and received an initial UXO assessment by Coalition forces
that confirmed UXO contamination. A request for UXO removal
and a general mine sweep of the warehouse area was submitted
to the Coalition and an operation was approved and set for
18 May.

--------------------------------------------- --------
MOVING COALITIION FORCES FROM THE AL HILLAH WAREHOUSE
--------------------------------------------- --------

7. After receiving reports from WFP staff that had recently
visited Al Hillah and found that Coalition forces were
occupying the MOT warehouse and tightly controlling WFP
truck access to the warehouse (allowing only two trucks to
unload at a time), the DART visited the warehouse on 17 May.

8. The DART met with representatives of the Civil Military
Operations Center (CMOC) in Al Hillah, as well as a
Coalition Commander at the MOT warehouse, to find a
resolution to the problems. After some discussion, the
Coalition forces agreed to vacate the warehouse the
following day (18 May). The Coalition forces expressed
concern about the safety of the command post located behind
the warehouse complex and adjacent to the perimeter wall.
The Coalition forces proposed to build a barrier wall on the
warehouse side that would protect the perimeter wall. The
fact that trucks would constantly need to enter and leave
the warehouse facility remained a concern, but the Coalition
forces agreed to work with WFP to arrive at a solution that
would increase the turn-around time of the trucks. In
addition to the WFP trucks that are delivering commodities
to the MOT warehouse, food agent trucks are collecting
rations for the September and October distribution as
directed by MOT.

9. On 19 May, the DART confirmed that the Coalition forces
had vacated the MOT warehouse. It remains, however, under
the security blanket of the Coalition command that provides
security at the front entrance to the warehouse compound
with a ground team and a two-man machine gun nest on the
roof of the MOT office building.

10. WFP stated that the MOT would eventually be responsible
for providing warehouse compound security. But until that
time, the Coalition forces would continue to secure the
front gate and inspect incoming vehicles. On May 20 in Al
Hillah, DART met with the Coalition Military Police who
agreed to include MOT security guards in the upcoming Civil
Military Operations Center (CMOC) police security training.
In addition to the warehouse, MOT security will also be
needed at the Al Hillah grain silo facilities.

---------------------------------
FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS IN AL HILLAH
---------------------------------

11. The MOT reports that September distributions began
prior to the war and are being completed this month.
According to WFP staff, current distributions include flour,
rice, sugar, vegetable oil, white beans, detergent, soap,
tea, salt, and infant formula. The ration is missing
powdered milk and weaning cereal and is low in vegetable oil
stocks. (Note: Much of the country is currently finishing
August distributions. End Note.) WFP stated that even
though Al Hillah has abundant amounts of flour in the
market, most Iraqis are unable to afford this commodity at
current prices.

12. The MOT's decision to proceed with the September
distribution and October distributions was taken prior to
WFP arrival in Al Hillah. WFP international staff first
visited Al Hillah on 13 May, as it was one of the last towns
to be approved by the U.N. Security Coordinator in the
south. WFP is now hoping to halt an October distribution
and focus on preparations for the first countrywide
distribution that it and the MOT wants to begin in June.

13. WFP reported on 20 May that it had received 994 metric
tons (MT) of rice and 97 MT of wheat flour at the Al Hillah
silos. Trucks from Jordan will now be arriving in Al Hillah
on a daily basis. In addition, the Taji silo in Baghdad
experienced mechanical failure on 21 May. As a result, the
trucks carrying wheat grain that were to discharge into the
Taji silo have been diverted to Al Hillah.

14. Although Coalition forces are now willing to allow more
than two trucks into the warehouse at one time, MOT
warehouse staff stated that they did not have the warehouse
personnel to process more than two trucks at a time.
Approximately 30 food agent trucks per day are receiving
commodities from the compound. Trucks normally arrive at
the compound throughout the morning and continue arriving
until about 1400 hours. WFP will address the MOT staffing
issue at the warehouse, as the Marines were also limiting
the number of total staff at the warehouse to 20. WFP is
cleaning and making minor repair to the warehouse structures
to accommodate the significant quantities of food that are
arriving for the June distribution.

15. DART met with WFP national staff in the designated WFP
office space at the MOT compound. Neither the WFP space nor
the MOT office space are in acceptable condition and both
offices are in need of clean up, refurbishment, office
furniture, computers and supplies. WFP is bringing in
containers to serve as offices.

----------------------
SILO CAPACITY IN MOSUL
----------------------
16. On 18 May, the DART traveled to Mosul with WFP to meet
with the Manager of the Ninawa MOT Grain Board. WFP
explained that it would soon be sending 136,000 MT of bulk
wheat to Mosul (from stocks currently in Syria), hoping to
move 5,000 MT per day. WFP requested MOT assistance in
locating storage for these commodities.

17. The MOT confirmed that the silos could accept large
quantities beginning in early June, while WFP expressed the
hope that it could begin delivering to Mosul within one
week. The MOT manager stated that he would meet the next
day with all the silo managers to ensure that any necessary
preparations could be achieved quickly.

18. Contrary to much more optimistic information WFP had
received earlier from the MOT, on 18 May the MOT noted that
a number of silos were not functional and others had been
damaged by looters after the war. Current daily offloading
capacity and silo capacity are as follows, according to the
updated information from the MOT:

Town Offloading Current storage capacity
Talafar: 1,000 MT/day 50,000 MT available
Ba'aj: 1,000 MT/day 50,000 MT available
Mosul: 500 MT/day 14,000 MT available
Shurkat: 1,500 MT/day 50,000 MT available

19. While the offloading totals only 4,000 MT per day
capacity, the Mosul silo could possibly accept up to 1,500
MT per day (instead of 500 MT per day) if milling were done
concurrently. All storage figures are for silo complexes;
MOT said that open bins were not available since these would
be used to store the upcoming harvest.

20. In addition to these four silos, there remain two other
possibilities:

A. Makhmour silo, as reported in ref tel, has a large
storage capacity but needs some minor repairs. The main
issue is that it lies in a contested area: technically part
of Arbil Governorate, but until a few weeks ago, under
Ninawa Governorate's control. As stated in ref tel from
DART's 15 May visit to Makhmour, WFP will not be utilizing
this silo until the political issues have been resolved.

B. Shekhan silo could accept 1,000 MT per day, with
approximately 30,000 to 40,000 MT capacity available, and is
located about 55 km north of Mosul towards Dahuk. The MOT
stated that the Shekhan silo is not in a contested
territory, as it is clearly in the Ninawa Governorate.
However, as Niawa is a Kurdish area, the Kurdish Democratic
Party has taken over the silo. DART and WFP staff contacted
Mosul Civil Affairs personnel, who promised to send a team
to Shekhan silo the next day and report back to WFP on 22
May.
21. Consequently, until the problems outlined above are
resolved, WFP is looking at a maximum capacity of 4,000 MT
per day, if the silos are operating as well as the MOT
estimates. The through-put could possibly rise for the
Mosul silo if milling were done at the same time that new
tonnage is arriving, and would certainly rise if the Shekhan
silo could be utilized. Due to security restrictions
outside Mosul, however, WFP international staff cannot
access the other silos to confirm total and daily offload
capacities. The DART will attempt to confirm some of the
data that was presented by the MOT.

------------------------------------------
BRIEFING THE COALITION ON PDS REQUIREMENTS
------------------------------------------

22. On 18 May, the DART briefed Coalition forces in Kuwait
on the history of the PDS, its importance, current plans,
and roles of the WFP and MOT.

23. The DART was surprised to discover that the commander
had the understanding that his troops were instructed not to
work with the U.N. agencies. The DART not only confirmed
that cooperating with the U.N. would be helpful, but
encouraged it.

24. To facilitate communication, the DART asked the
Coalition forces to appoint a point of contact (POC) in each
Governorate that would serve as the liaison to WFP national
and international staff, as well as the MOT. The CMOCs,
Civil Military Information Centers, and Humanitarian
Assistance Coordination Centers are helpful, but one point
of contact for PDS issues in each Governorate would be
extremely helpful to immediately address issues as they
arise.

25. Coalition forces also requested assistance in locating
and securing additional warehouses and silos. The DART
explained the magnitude of food tonnages that are entering
the country, and that storage is critical, so that trucks
can unload quickly to decrease the turn-around time.
(Comment: Coalition forces have already begun follow-up
actions and seem quite sincere in wanting to help. End
Comment.)

JONES

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