Droughts and floods ravage Asia

Throughout Asia, recent weather emergencies have killed hundreds of people, forced thousands of families from their homes and severely damaged food production capacity, raising the possibility of food shortages. The countries facing the most serious crises are highlighted in a recently released FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) special alert.

Afghanistan: The country is facing an acute food crisis in 2000/2001. Two consecutive years of severe drought and continuing economic difficulties caused by protracted civil conflicts have left millions of people with little access to food. The current drought, considered to be the worst in three decades, has caused a sharp decline in crop production. The total cereal harvest for 2000, estimated at 1.82 million tonnes, is about 44 percent below the drought-reduced harvest of 1999. The drought has also led to high rates of livestock mortality, estimated to be as high as 80 percent in some areas.
Special Alert on Afghanistan (8 June 2000) | GeoWeb Country Report | UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Afghanistan | FAO appeal for Afghanistan | Global Watch: Afghanistan faces serious food crisis

Bangladesh: Monsoon floods have caused extensive damage in many parts of the country. Although flood waters have receded in the north, central and southern districts remain badly affected. The situation in low-lying areas around the capital is expected to grow worse, as most rivers are flowing above danger levels.
GeoWeb Country Report

Bhutan: Floods have brought large-scale destruction in some areas, and landslides have killed approximately 200 people in the country's central highland region.

Cambodia: The country has received more than twice the normal rainfall this year. The Mekong river broke its banks, causing extensive localized flooding in the fertile delta. The flooding has claimed 13 lives and affected 106 000 hectares of crops. Rivers remain high, and there are concerns that as the monsoon season progresses, additional rainfall will lead to even more flooding.
GeoWeb Country Report

China: A severe drought has destroyed crops and led to large-scale water shortages in northern China. This year's summer cereal harvest is estimated to be around 107.5 million tonnes - about 11 million tonnes, or 9 percent, less than 1999. The yield of early rice, grown from March to July, is also expected to decline due to reductions in the area planted. The early rice harvest is forecast to be approximately 37.5 million tonnes - down around 8 percent from last year.
GeoWeb County Report

Commonwealth of Independent States: The countries facing food shortages include Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan, where agricultural production has been seriously affected by unusually hot and dry conditions this spring and summer. In addition, chronic economic problems have led to shortages of improved seed, a lack of working capital and the deterioration of irrigation systems. As a result, the 2000 cereal harvest in these countries is projected to fall sharply. In Tajikistan, this year's cereal harvest, expected to be 236 000 tonnes, is down nearly 50 percent from 1999.
Special Report on Armenia (8 August 2000) | GeoWeb Country Report
GeoWeb Country Report for Georgia
Special Alert on Tajikistan (27 July 2000) | GeoWeb Country Report | UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Tajikistan | Global Watch: Tajikistan faces serious food crisis

DPR Korea: Early prospects for food grain production are unpromising following erratic and below-average rainfall prior to the 2000 cropping season. DPR Korea depends almost entirely on its main growing season (May to October) for domestic food supplies. This production is extremely important, as the country's capacity to import food and essential agricultural inputs remains severely limited by lack of foreign exchange. Despite large international food assistance in recent years, the food outlook for 2000/2001 remains precarious.
Special Report on DPR Korea (24 July 2000) | GeoWeb Country Report | UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for DPR Korea

India: Heavy rains and flooding have devastated the country's northeastern states. The state of Assam has been the hardest hit, with around 3 000 villages submerged and an estimated 2.5 million people made homeless. In Bihar, 1,000 villages have been flooded, affecting around 1.6 million people. In West Bengal, the floods have forced 200 000 people from their homes. The situation has raised fears of food shortages and outbreaks of disease, such as malaria and diarrhoea. The Indian Government is distributing food and clean water, but many areas remain difficult to reach.

Floods have also brought misery to India's northern state of Himachal Pradesh, killing at least 150 people and leaving many homeless. Crop damage was extensive and a number of irrigation facilities have been destroyed.
GeoWeb Country Report

The Islamic Republic of Iran: Two consecutive years of drought have hit the country hard. Water shortages threaten to displace up to 60 percent of the rural population. As the drought continues, increasing numbers of people will become almost entirely dependent on water tankers.

The situation for livestock producers is particularly precarious. Livestock losses from malnutrition and disease are estimated at 800 000 animals, and more losses are expected due to shortages of water and feed. It is estimated that around 200 000 nomadic herders have either already lost or are at risk of losing their only source of income.

The situation is likely to deteriorate in the coming months, as summer heat continues. No rain is expected until November.
GeoWeb Country Report | FAO appeal for the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mongolia: The worst winter weather in 30 years killed over 1.5 million head of livestock and destroyed the livelihood of a large segment of the population. As a result, the food supply situation remains extremely tight for thousands of nomadic families.
Special Alert on Mongolia (10 March 2000) | GeoWeb Country Report | FAO appeal for Mongolia | Global Watch: Food shortages threaten 25 percent of people in Mongolia

Nepal: Floods and landslides have killed 105 people and displaced several hundred families.
GeoWeb Country Report

Pakistan: Despite some much-needed rainfall, Baluchistan province has not yet recovered from a severe drought and the food supply situation remains unfavourable.
Special Report on Pakistan (19 June 2000) | GeoWeb Country Report

28 August 2000

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