FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No. 3, June 1998 Page 4

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The number of countries facing food emergencies have risen to 38 compared to 31 towards the end of last year, mainly due to the effects attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon.

In Africa, food supply difficulties stem from recent droughts followed by floods in most of eastern Africa, coupled with civil strife in some countries. In Somalia, the food supply situation will remain extremely tight until the next harvest from August 1998 following the worst floods in decades that sharply reduced the 1997/98 secondary "Dyer" crops. The floods also resulted in the loss of livestock and an outbreak of animal diseases. In Kenya, food assistance continues to be distributed to the population affected by severe floods in the eastern parts. In Uganda, emergency food assistance is still required for some 400 000 displaced people in northern areas affected by continuing insurgency. In Tanzania, food difficulties are experienced in areas where the 1997/98 secondary "Vuli" crop was reduced by heavy rains and floods. In Ethiopia, food aid is needed by over 5 million vulnerable people, including those affected by a poor 1997 harvest. In Eritrea, following two successive reduced cereal harvests, the overall food supply in 1998 is tight; food prices have increased sharply in recent months. In the Sudan, despite an overall satisfactory harvest, the food situation is critical for some 2.4 million civil-strife and drought-affected people who require food assistance. However distributions are hampered by insecurity and poor road conditions. In Burundi, the food situation has deteriorated as a result of a decline in the 1998 first season foodcrop production and the continuing economic embargo by neighbouring countries. The food supply situation is also tight in Rwanda due to a reduced 1998 first season harvest and insecurity in western parts. In Liberia and Sierra Leone, the agriculture sector is improving with rehabilitation programmes underway, but both countries remain heavily dependant on international food assistance. In Sierra Leone, the tense security situation in the east and in the north is causing large population displacements and is disrupting all agricultural activities in these areas. In the Sahel, several areas are facing localised food supply difficulties following poor harvests in late 1997, notably in northern Senegal, Mauritania, the Gambia and parts of Burkina Faso and Niger. In central Africa, crop prospects are poor in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo due to flooding, shortages of inputs and civil unrest. In southern Africa, although the impact of El Niño on crop production has been relatively limited, the food supply situation in the sub-region is anticipated to be tighter during the 1998/99 marketing year than in the previous year. In Zambia, production of cereals is expected to be much below average as a result of incessant rainfall and extensive flooding in northern areas, while the southern part experienced near drought conditions. In Angola and Mozambique production of food crops is expected to improve this year, but relief assistance will be required for the internally displaced, vulnarable people and drought/flood affected population.

In Asia, grave food supply difficulties persist in Korea D.P.R. with continued need for food aid. Severe drought in Indonesia attributed to El Niño, combined with the financial crisis, has seriously undermined the food security situation of the population, resulting in the need for large international assistance. In Afghanistan, the overall food supply in 1998 is anticipated to be tight as a result of ongoing fighting and the recent earthquake damage to irrigation infrastructure in northern provinces. In Iraq, despite some improvement in the overall food supply situation following the implementation of the "oil for food" deal, malnutrition still remains a serious problem. In Laos, adverse weather conditions have caused crop damage in major rice producing areas, exacerbating food supply problems in the country. In Mongolia, declining agricultural production and problems of economic transition continue to adversely affect the food supply situation of vulnerable groups. Serious food supply difficulties persist in Papua New Guinea following reduced foodcrop production due to El Niño related drought.

In Latin America, abnormally dry weather associated with El Niño is delaying planting of the 1998/99 first season cereal crop in Central American countries. Food assistance is being provided in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama and will be needed until harvest of the 1998 first season crops. In the Caribbean, food assistance distributions continue in Haiti
In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), some 16 percent of the population of Tajikistan remains in need of targeted food aid; widespread damage has been caused recently by floods and landslides which have worsened the situation. Vulnerable people in Armenia, (some 13% of the resident population) Azerbaijan (11%) and Georgia (7%) continue to need relief food assistance. Elsewhere, in Europe, needy persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina are receiving food assistance.

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