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Press Release 99/44

SOMALIA COULD FACE LARGE SCALE STARVATION, FAO WARNS - SOME 400,000 PEOPLE AT RISK


Rome, 12. July - More than one million people are facing serious food shortages in Somalia, with more than 400,000 Somalis at risk of starvation, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a Special Report released today.

Insufficient rains, unusually hot weather, the long-lasting civil war and uncontrolled crop pests and diseases have led to famine conditions in the country, particularly in the southern parts. The main season starting last April has largely failed. Intensified fighting between different factions has aggravated the situation.

The food outlook for 1999 is extremely grim, according to FAO. Commercial and economic activities have been severeley curtailed by factional fighting and insecurity, forcing large numbers of people to move in search of food and safety. Malnutrition is reported to be high and increasing. The already precarious food supply situation is expected to worsen in the coming months with renewed fighting in some areas and more population displacement. It is estimated that some 70,000 people have been displaced by food shortages and insecurity.

Of the total emergency food aid requirements, estimated by FAO at 52,000 tonnes for 1998/99 (August/July), about one quarter has been delivered. Food assistance, seeds and other inputs for planting will be required well into the year 2000, the UN agency said.

The report can be found on the Internet at: http://www.fao.org/giews/

http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/faoinfo/economic/giews/english/alertes/sptoc.htm


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