|Emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes - Good Practice Review 2 (ODI, 1995, 122 p.)|
|6. Typical Scenarios|
In some circumstances rural populations may be displaced to other villages rather than to large urban centres. A fairly common situation is when a refugee populations assimilates with the local rural population rather than moving into a refugee camp. In parts of Malawi it was estimated that during the civil war in Mozambique up to 40% of the Mozambican refugee population came to reside in local villages in Malawi rather than in nearby camps. Civil war and drought can also lead to situations where there is large-scale rural displacement to other less affected rural villages.
Where this type of displacement occurs it is likely that those displaced have some familial or ethnic linkage with the resident population, which allows them to seek some support from the latter. If this were not the case and resources were in short supply, resentment amongst the local community would build up very rapidly. This support can be vital in the early stages of a refugee crisis before the international community have time to mobilise their response.
The economic impact of large displacements into rural communities can be substantial. Where the displaced are refugees, it is likely that the international aid community will eventually provide some assistance. Where the population is internally displaced, local NGOs may provide support. Paradoxically, a situation can arise whereby the displaced (who may or may not be in camps) begin to fare better than the local community whose resources are depleted as a result of their generosity in supporting the displaced. It is not uncommon to find higher levels of food insecurity and malnutrition amongst host populations than amongst the displaced. It is therefore very important, where emergency SFP facilities are established for displaced rural populations, that the local population are also targeted where appropriate.
Conflict and its effects on non-camp SFPs
In rural conflicts, e.g. Southern Sudan, Liberia, where large numbers of people are still resident in villages, establishing emergency SFPs can be highly problematic. Much of the population may be unable to farm, trade may have been severely disrupted and relief efforts may be hampered/restricted and dependent on 'hit-and-run' relief convoys and air drops dispatching food when and where possible. It may thus be very difficult to target general rations and even harder to assess their adequacy, as insecurity would preclude village-level surveys of food security or nutritional status.
A decision to operate an emergency SFP would therefore need to be based upon 'impressions' of the levels of malnutrition and food insecurity. The ability to supervise and monitor a village- or health centre-based emergency SFP would be very limited in areas of insecurity. Also, large quantities of supplementary food may be easily lootable and may place at risk those responsible for storing and allocating food. Furthermore, populations may be in a state of flux or may need to move at any time so that centres effectively close down, rendering much of the data collection redundant. Clearly, the ability to operate an effective emergency SFP for a resident population will depend upon the level of insecurity. Where this is high the best that an implementing agency may be able to do is to provide a large general ration that covers any supplementary food needs. Where agencies can operate in relatively secure areas, e.g. some way from the fighting, SFPs may be able to provide useful data on the nutritional and food security situation in the catchment area, based upon rates of recovery, levels of admissions and re-admissions, and case histories of attending families.