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Cablegate: Food Security Worsens in Parts of Southern Sudan

VZCZCXRO2696
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1383/01 3441331
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101331Z DEC 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4862
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001383

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ORIGINAL GARBLED IN XMIT)

SIPDIS

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
UN ROME FOR HSPANOS
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SMIG UN SU
SUBJECT: FOOD SECURITY WORSENS IN PARTS OF SOUTHERN SUDAN

KHARTOUM 00001383 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: Southern Sudan continues to be plagued by a food
security crisis in several states due to a combination of poor
rainfall, heightened insecurity leading to population displacements,
and high cereal prices. Hope that the second cereal harvest in
November would bring some relief has not been realized, as rain-fed
crops in many areas fared poorly due to seasonal rains that tapered
off prematurely. According to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP),
the eastern part of Southern Sudan, namely Jonglei, Eastern
Equatoria, and the southern counties of Upper Nile, are of highest
concern, which corresponds with the situation that Ethiopia and the
region in general is experiencing. Reporting from USAID/Office of
Food for Peace's (FFP) three implementing partners in Southern Sudan
indicates that the food security situation is of serious concern,
but there are no indications of a famine in Southern Sudan at this
time. End Summary.

-----------------------------------------
UN WARNS AGAIN OF DETERIORATING SITUATION
-----------------------------------------

2. (U) Based on preliminary results from two key assessments
conducted in Southern Sudan during October-November 2009 - the Joint
FAO-WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment (CFSAM) and WFP's Annual
Needs and Livelihoods Assessment (ANLA) - the UN is beginning to
alert donors to a continuing deterioration in the food security
situation in several areas since it issued an emergency appeal in
August. As part of that appeal, WFP requested 22,000 metric tons
(MT) of additional food aid in order to respond to an increase of
300,000 people facing severe food insecurity in six states through
the end of the year. Several other UN agencies, including UNICEF and
FAO, also appealed for additional funding.

3. (U) In addition, according to USAID-funded Famine Early Warning
Systems Network (FEWSNET) reports, the expected improvement in food
security following the second harvest is likely to be shorter than
normal, and it is expected that food insecurity in Southern Sudan is
likely to worsen starting in January 2010. Some areas in eastern
Jonglei will have little or no harvest due to lack of rain. During
her visit to Southern Sudan, UNICEF's Deputy Executive Director
Hilde Johnson was quoted in several news reports as warning of the
possibility of famine conditions developing should the situation not
be managed well by the international community. Reporting from
FFP's three implementing partners in Southern Sudan indicates that
the food security situation is of serious concern, but there are no
indications of a famine in Southern Sudan at this time. It should
be noted, however, that malnutrition at emergency thresholds and
above for children under five is common in many areas of Southern
Sudan.

--------------------------------
WFP'S APPEAL AND DONOR RESPONSE
--------------------------------

4. (U) WFP's Emergency Appeal for 2010 was issued in October,
requesting USD 873.6 million in emergency food aid for all of Sudan.
However, the anticipated magnitude of additional food needs is
becoming clearer following completion of these two assessments.
WFP is therefore preparing to increase its appeal to be able to meet
additional needs in Southern Sudan, as well as in other areas of the
country. The bulk of the revised appeal will be for needs in
Southern Sudan, with USAID expecting more precise figures in the
coming days.

5. (U) As part of its emergency appeal in August, WFP requested
funding for a food air drop operation. Identifying 22 areas of
highest priority that could not be reached by land or river, WFP
requested $12 million in order to air drop 4,500 metric tons (MT) of
commodities. Prior to October 29, when the air drops of food to
remote locations commenced, WFP had not resorted to this expensive
and inefficient mode of food aid delivery since 2006, apart from
limited emergency flood response deliveries. Over the period of one
month, WFP air-dropped a total of 2,083 MT of food into nine
locations in Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Warrap states. Operations
were completed on November 28, one month early, due to the fact that
many areas are now reachable overland.

6. (U) In addition to the U.S., other major donors to WFP include
the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Canada, and
the Japanese Government. In 2009, these donors have contributed USD
60.5 million, USD 18 million, and USD 17 million to WFP's appeal
respectively. The UK's Department for International Development
(DFID) also supports WFP through its contribution to the UN's Common
Humanitarian Fund for Sudan. Recently, ECHO indicated they are
planning to provide additional emergency funding for Southern Sudan,

KHARTOUM 00001383 002.2 OF 002


in light of the present situation. Details are pending final
decisions by ECHO.

----------------------------------------
USG SUPPORT FOR FOOD SECURITY ACTIVITIES
----------------------------------------

7. (U) The U.S. is the largest donor to WFP, one of the lead UN
agencies for food security in Sudan. To date in FY10, USAID has
provided approximately USD 350 million to WFP. Much of this funding
was provided very early in order for the food to arrive in the
beginning of 2010. This will facilitate WFP's efforts to
preposition food before the next rainy season, and to prevent food
pipeline breaks. In addition to funding the food aid appeal, USAID
has also provided funding to support WFP's emergency airdrop
operation. Furthermore, USAID funds several NGO partners working on
emergency food security activities in the south.

-----------
CONCLUSION
-----------

8. (U) Post is closely tracking food security in Southern Sudan and
USAID is working diligently with its partners to ensure that the
most urgent needs of the food insecure populations are met. As
results from the various assessments are released and WFP confirms
its plans for 2010 including the appeal for increased resources,
post will provide additional reporting on the situation.

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