Cablegate: Sri Lanka - Dcha/Ffp Monitoring Report On World Food
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #1196/01 2430649
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 310649Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6710
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 3264
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 5484
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RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7363
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3992
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1311
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 4061
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1197
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RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7956
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 5600
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0383
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2292
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001196
STATE ALSO PASS TO USAID
AID/W FOR ANE/SAA
AID/W FOR DCHA/FFP; DCHA/OFDA
BANGKOK FOR OFDA TDOLAN
KATHMANDU FOR OFDA WBERGER
USMISSION GENEVA FOR KYLOH
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV PHUM PREF PINSCE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA - DCHA/FFP MONITORING REPORT ON WORLD FOOD
PROGRAM (WFP) PROTRACTED RELIEF OPERATION
1. (U) Summary: From July 7 - 13, 2007, USAID/DCHA Food for Peace
Asia Team Leader (FFP/TL) Matthew Nims and USAID/DCHA Food for Peace
Officer Katey Schein (FFP/O) visited Sri Lanka to monitor the WFP
Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) which receives U.S.
Title II Emergency Assistance. During the visit, FFP/TL and FFP/O
visited multiple sites and discussed future funding contribution
possibilities with the mission and WFP.
2. (U) FFP/TL and FFP/O traveled with WFP and USAID Sri Lanka staff
to Trincomalee and Batticaloa to: monitor internally displaced
persons (IDP) and recent returnee general food distributions; meet
with local government officials; visit WFP warehouse and
distribution centers; observe returnee arrival process; speak with
maternal child health beneficiaries; observe school feeding
activities; and discuss the current humanitarian situation with UN
and INGOs. In Colombo, the team met with representatives from the
Ministry of Nation Building, Estate Infrastructure and Development
(NBEID) in Colombo to discuss food security and the WFP operation.
3. (U) Background: WFP implements a PRRO in Sri Lanka that has
provided assistance to over 1 million persons since 2005. The PRRO
includes the following components: vulnerable group feeding, food
for work, mother child nutrition and food for education.
USAID/DCHA/FFP contributed 5 million USD to the WFP PRRO in May
2007. The in-kind donation of lentils, vegetables oil and wheat
flour will arrive in country in August. FFP is in the process of
making a second contribution to the WFP operation.
4. (U) The team traveled with WFP to an IDP center to observe food
distributions to populations affected by the ongoing civil conflict.
The camp manager is doing an impressive job coordinating the
assistance from various NGOs and government offices. Reports were
very well maintained. The camp was well organized into volunteer
groups where the members of the camp would organize various
activities, i.e., sports for children.
5. (U) The team visited the Trincomalee WFP regional distribution
center. As the major wheat processing plant for Sri Lanka is
located in the port of Trincomalee, WFP uses Trinco as a base from
which to distribute the wheat flour to the operations throughout Sri
Lanka. Most of the time, the processes and procedures WFP has
developed with the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) enable smooth
transportation of commodities throughout the country, despite the
numerous military checkpoints. However, WFP and the GSL are working
to further improve the systems in place.
6. (U) The team observed a returnee arrival process in
Eachchilampattai Division as IDPs who had left Vaharai in Batticaloa
were returning via ferry and going through the identification
process. Part of this process included a distribution of a two week
ration of food aid from the GSL per person in the household. After
the two weeks, WFP will provide further rations for the returned
families for a time period still to be determined.
7. (SBU) The team met with local Muslim fishermen whose livelihoods
have been severely affected by the conflict. The men described the
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negative impact of the restrictions on the times and locations they
are permitted to fish. Further, members of the Karuna paramilitary
group have been engaging in extortion of businesses and control of
the fish markets.
8. (U) The team spoke with IDPs who were receiving WFP food aid and
staying in local churches. The majority of the IDPs were women and
elders as most of the young men and children had left the area
temporarily to live with families in other districts. Some
expressed concerns that the fighting would resume and force them to
leave again; others were looking forward to returning home. All had
received sufficient commodities from the recent WFP distribution.
9. (U) The team visited a World Vision (WV) general distribution
facility. WV was coordinating well with WFP and the GSL in filling
gaps in food aid distributions and ensuring the needs of the
beneficiaries were being met.
10. (U) The team visited two large IDP camps that have been in
operation for months and witnessed the distribution of flour,
vegetable oil, sugar and lentils. The operation was running very
11. (U) The team visited and spoke to representatives from a
community that had recently returned. They were satisfied with the
food commodities, but expressed significant concerns regarding
safety and the lack of livelihood opportunities given the numerous
land mines that prevented planting of crops.
12. (U) The team co-hosted a dinner with INGOs and UN agencies that
are operating in Batticoloa. FFP found it very informative to hear
what other activities were ongoing and to understand how the
international community works together and assists each other.
13. (U) The team visited a principal WFP warehouse and watched
commodities being loaded into trucks for delivery. The warehouse was
well maintained and sanitary. WFP had taken sufficient precautions
to ensure the drivers were protected while in the district.
14. (U) The team visited a maternal child nutrition center and the
end use distribution of commodities for pregnant and lactating
mothers and young children in a local co-op. The co-op also stocked
additional, basic household commodities.
15. (U) The team witnessed a school feeding distribution of rice and
dahl for both the local children attending the traditional school
and to IDP children who were attending a temporary school.
16. (U) On July 12, 2007, FFP, USAID mission and WFP attended a
meeting in Colombo with representatives from the MNBEID. The main
issues raised were as follows:
(a) (U) Food aid should never be used as a political tool;
transparency and accountability must be maintained through proper
monitoring and reporting; and WFP must have continuous access to
beneficiaries. The donors hold WFP accountable, but as the
implementing agent, MNBEID must help WFP meet these standards.
(b) (U) Collaboration between WFP and the government at a local
level is good but there is room for improvement. In Trincomalee, it
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was reported that food had been delayed, distributed in insufficient
rations and sometimes used in incorrect ways. Dispatch levels here
could be much higher if collaboration is strengthened, including
through enhanced logistics and transport. GSL representatives
explained the government is taking several measures to improve
program implementation, including the adoption of new guidelines on
good governance, transparency and accountability.
(c) (U) WFP operations must increasingly focus on emergencies.
Resources from USAID/FFP will be earmarked for the emergency
component of the PRRO and not development activities in areas not
affected by the conflict.
(d) (U) Logistics collaboration needs to be strengthened - WFP is
the lead United Nations agency for logistics and the government
should draw on its expertise and experience. This can include joint
approval of dispatch plans, guidelines on running of warehouses,
etc. This is a priority for USAID; forthcoming large contributions
of wheat, oil and lentils from USAID/FFP will put strain on an
already stretched system, furthering the need to increase the
logistical capacity of WFP.
7. (U) Conclusion: FFP is supportive of the WFP operation in Sri
Lanka and recommends a future FFP contribution to the PRRO in FY07
to address the acute needs of the conflict affected persons in Sri