As of end May 2000, 36 developing countries face serious food shortages, primarily due to drought, but also due to civil strife and floods particularly in Africa.
In eastern Africa nearly 16 million people are facing critical food shortages, mainly due to drought-induced crop and livestock losses. Pastoralists in the subregion are the worst affected after a succession of poor rains. In Ethiopia, more than 8 million people are at risk, particularly in the Somali Region, which has had three consecutive years of little or no rainfall. In Eritrea, the food situation is critical for over 600 000 people affected by the war with Ethiopia and the drought along the coastal areas. In Kenya, nearly 2.7 million people, mainly in the pastoral north and north-east, are facing severe food shortages, while in Somalia, nearly 526 000 people are similarly affected. In Tanzania, about 800 000 people in several regions face serious food supply difficulties due to poor "vuli" harvest for the third year in succession. In Sudan, emergency food aid is needed for some 2.4 million people affected by drought and the long-running civil conflict. In Uganda, the food supply situation in the north-east is difficult for some 215 000 people affected by drought, while nearly 112 000 people in Bundibugyo District have been displaced by civil strife. Food shortages also persist in Burundi, and parts of Rwanda. Rainfall in the Horn in recent weeks has brought welcome relief to the drought-striken subregion, particularly for pastoralists hardest hit by drought. In western Africa, food shortages persist in Sierra Leone, where resurgence of civil disturbances disrupts agricultural production at the critical planting period, while in Liberia, production remains constrained by the impact of past civil war. In central Africa, the food supply situation has improved in the Republic of Congo following the recent peace agreement but it remains fragile. Civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to hamper agricultural activities particularly in the north-east where intensified fighting and population displacement are reported. In southern Africa, massive relief and rehabilitation assistance continues to be needed in Mozambique and Madagascar, following the devastation caused by severe floods and cyclones. The food supply situation remains very serious in the civil-war ravaged Angola, where the number of displaced people in need of emergency food aid has risen to 1.9 million.
In Asia, a serious drought has devastated crops and livestock in several countries. In Pakistan, the drought has seriously affected Baluchistan Province in the west and parts of the Sindh Province in the south. Reports indicate that several hundred people have died as result of food and water shortages, whilst several million livestock are in precarious condition. Similarly in India, a shortage of water and animal feed have led to the loss of several thousand livestock in a number of states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Elsewhere, the food situation for nomadic herders in Mongolia remains precarious following the worst winter in 30 years which killed large numbers of livestock. The food supply situation in East Timor continues to ease due to international food aid and this year's maize and rice harvest. Chronic food supply difficulties continue in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, suggesting continued dependence on food assistance. In the Near East, the precarious food supply situation in Afghanistan has been aggravated by drought in southern and central parts. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a recurrence of drought this year affected 18 of the country's 28 provinces, mostly in southern, eastern and central parts. Already many villagers have resorted to panic selling of livestock. In Iraq and Jordan, drought has seriously reduced crop production, while in Syria, thousands of drought-affected herders are still in need of assistance. Amongst the CIS countries in Asia, the vulnerable populations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan continue to need humanitarian relief.
In Latin America, following earlier natural disasters, food assistance is still being provided to Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Food assistance also continues in El Salvador and Guatemala following hurricane "Mitch". In Haiti, food aid is needed due to structural economic problems.
In Europe, food assistance continues to be provided to vulnerable groups in the Balkans, especially in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the Russian Federation, displaced populations and host families in Ingushetia, as well as returnees to Chechnya continue to need considerable humanitarian assistance, including food aid, shelter, water and sanitation.
1/ This page updates information presented on page 2 of the FAO/GIEWS Foodcrops and Shortages report, April 2000. Countries facing exceptional food emergencies are underlined.