FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.3 - June 2001 p. 4

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Continued food assistance needed by over 60 million people affected by natural and/or man-made disasters1/

At mid-2001, the impact of widespread disasters in 2000 is still being felt in many parts of the world.

In eastern Africa, despite favourable rains over most of the region and good secondary season harvests in parts, the effects of recent devastating droughts and past or ongoing civil strife and conflicts continue to undermine the food security of some 18 million people. In Sudan, the food supply outlook is highly precarious in several parts and is anticipated to tighten further in the coming months with the start of the lean season. In Eritrea, the outlook for the 2001 agricultural season, which has just started, remains bleak with the bulk of the farmers so far unable to return to their farms and large tracts of land still inaccessible due to landmines. The slow response to the humanitarian appeal is also a major concern. In Kenya, the food supply prospects have improved in several pastoral districts following abundant rains. However, eastern pastoral districts have yet to recuperate with only scanty rainfall received so far. In Ethiopia, the favourable current "belg" crop preceded by a good "meher", harvest late last year, have significantly improved the food supply situation in the country. However, some 6.5 million people affected by successive droughts and the war with neighbouring Eritrea depend on food assistance. In Somalia, despite an overall improvement in food availability, the effects of the livestock import ban by countries in the Arabian Peninsula and high inflation have eroded the purchasing power of large sections of the population. In Uganda and Tanzania, the overall food supply situation is adequate following favourable rainfall. In western Africa, the food supply situation in parts of the Sahel has tightened, following reduced harvests in late 2000, notably in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger, and food distributions to the affected populations have been undertaken. Sierra Leone and Liberia remain heavily dependent on international food assistance, while Guinea faced rebel attacks in border areas, which affected agricultural activities and have caused substantial population displacements. In central Africa, the food and nutrition situation of an estimated 2 million internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely serious but distribution of humanitarian assistance is hampered by insecurity. In Burundi, the food situation is difficult for 324 000 internally displaced people and for drought affected persons in several provinces. In southern Africa, floods in February and March affected close to 1 million people in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Governments of these countries have appealed for food assistance. In Angola, the persistent civil war has resulted in 2.5 million internally displaced people and the number is on the increase. Emergency food assistance is required for 1.5 million of this population.

In Asia, several countries face food shortages resulting mainly from adverse weather conditions. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues to face serious food supply difficulties due to severe drought conditions and decline in the economy. In Mongolia, where livestock losses to successive severe winter conditions have had a serious impact on household food supplies and income, the food situation of vulnerable groups remains precarious. Persistent drought conditions in Pakistan and India are expected to reduce wheat output in 2001. In Laos and Cambodia, the overall food supply situation remains generally satisfactory although targeted food assistance is still required for households affected by past floods. In the low-income food deficit countries of the CIS affected by drought in 2000, notably Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan, some 4 million people continue to require international assistance to survive. In northern Uzbekistan, vulnerable populations in Karakalpakstan have suffered heavy food losses and need relief.

In the Near East, three consecutive years of drought have severely reduced food output in several countries with particularly sharp falls in Afghanistan, Jordan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Syria. In Afghanistan, the third consecutive year of poor cereal harvest has exacerbated the already severe food crisis. More than 3 million people depend on international food assistance. Overall, the outlook is bleak for livestock producers in the region, as livestock mortality rates have increased due to a shortage of fodder and water. In Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 800 000 people continue to receive food assistance from the international community. In Central America, 200 000 people are being assisted in El Salvador, 240 000 in Honduras, 86 000 in Nicaragua and 66 000 in Guatemala mainly due to weather induced crop losses, earthquakes and the lingering effects of Hurricane "Mitch" (1998). In Haiti, food aid continues to be provided to the poorest families during the critical months between harvests. Some 41 000 people displaced by violence in Colombia, 20 000 people affected by floods in Peru and 100 000 people affected by drought and floods in Bolivia are also being assisted. In Europe, food assistance continues to be necessary for vulnerable populations in the Balkans, especially in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Chechnya in the Russian Federation and surrounding areas.

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