FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.1 - February 2000 p. 4

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Food Supply Difficulties Persist in Many Developing Countries

Food security in many developing countries continues to be disrupted by frequent natural disasters and, increasingly, by man-made disasters.

In eastern Africa, substantial crop and livestock losses in parts, mainly due to drought, have caused serious food supply difficulties. In Eritrea, nearly 590 000 people affected by the war with Ethiopia and drought, need urgent food assistance. In Ethiopia, the food supply situation is very tight for about 8 million people, including some 400 000 displaced by the border war with Eritrea. In Kenya, food assistance is sought for about 1.7 million people in the drought affected northern and eastern districts. In Somalia, poor "Deyr" season rains have exacerbated the food supply difficulties in some southern regions, already suffering from seven consecutive poor harvests. In Sudan, despite an overall stable food supply situation, some 2.4 million people affected by drought and the long-running civil conflict need an estimated 103 000 tonnes of food aid in 2000. In Tanzania, localized crop failures have affected thousands of people in several regions. In Uganda, despite an improved food supply situation in most parts, food assistance continues to be required for people in the north and west affected by civil strife. In Burundi food supply is tight following the reduced harvest of the 2000A season, caused by dry weather and the persistent civil strife. In particular, the food and health situation is critical for some 800 000 displaced people in camps. In Rwanda, despite an improvement in the 2000A season food production, food shortages persist in localized areas. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), severe food shortages and malnutrition are reported among the large numbers of displaced people, mainly in northeastern Katanga and southern South Kivu provinces, which remain partially inaccessible due to insecurity. In western Africa, floods during the last rainy season destroyed crops and infrastructure in localized areas of some Sahelian countries. In Liberia, while the overall food situation has improved since the end of the civil conflict, food shortages are reported among the displaced people in the northern region. In Sierra Leone, the food supply situation remains tight due to persistent insecurity in the rural areas. In southern Africa, emergency food assistance continues to be provided to 1.1 million internally displaced people in Angola, as a result of the protracted civil conflict.

In Asia, the food supply situation and prospects for food production have improved significantly in East Timor, following the deployment of international peace keeping forces, the establishment of a UN civil authority to oversee transition and the provision of food assistance. The majority of displaced people have now returned. In the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, despite some improvement in domestic food production last year, the country still continues to be affected by chronic food supply difficulties, caused largely by past natural disasters and economic stagnation. In Mongolia, falling cereal production due to problems of economic transition and the decline of the state farm sector have left many population groups vulnerable to food insecurity, requiring assistance. In Sri Lanka food assistance continues to be needed for vulnerable groups displaced by years of civil war. In the Near East, despite recent beneficial rains in parts, continued drought conditions have affected crop and livestock production. In Afghanistan, the tight food supply situation due to last year's drought and an outbreak of pests is being aggravated by the unseasonably dry weather conditions this winter, particularly in the south, and the continued displacement of thousands of people by the long running civil conflict. In Iraq, persistent drought conditions have disrupted agricultural activities in some major crop producing areas. In Jordan, despite recent rains, continued drought conditions have affected agricultural production in several parts. In Syria, thousands of herders are still in need of assistance due to the severe drought last year. In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Asia, the vulnerable populations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan continue to need humanitarian assistance.

In Latin America, food assistance is still being provided, as a consequence of natural hazards, to Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua, and to Venezuela since December 1999. Food assistance is also being provided to Haiti due to structural economic problems.

In Europe, substantial food aid programmes continue to be necessary for the economically vulnerable and displaced people in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo Province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The economy of Bosnia Herzegovina was also adversely affected and the country is hosting a substantial number of refugees. In the Russian Federation, the plight of the people displaced in and around Chechnya has been aggravated by bitterly cold winter weather. The 350 000 refugees and IDPs are surviving with inadequate shelter, food, clothing and medical care and are increasingly prone to disease, particularly flu and tuberculosis. The precarious security situation in the area as well as the dispersion of 160 000-185 000 refugees in Ingushetia is hindering distribution of aid. Populations remaining in Chechnya cannot be reached.

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