As of mid-September 2001, the number of people affected by food emergencies is estimated at 62 million, compared to an average of 57 million over the past three years.
In eastern Africa, despite improved prospects for the 2001 cereal crops, floods, erratic rains and escalation of conflict in parts have dimmed optimism of an overall strong recovery from the impact of the recent severe drought in the subregion. Successive poor rains in most pastoral areas have severely affected livestock and resulted in acute food shortages and migration of thousands of people in search of water and food. In Sudan, extensive floods in parts have displaced tens of thousands of people, destroyed crops and aggravated the already precarious food supply situation in the affected areas. The number of people in need of urgent food assistance, estimated at some 3 million earlier in the year due to drought and/or civil war, is set to increase. In Somalia, an estimated 500 000 people face severe food difficulties due to poor 2001 main season crops. Despite satisfactory harvests in the previous two cropping seasons, slow recovery from a succession of droughts in recent years and long-term effects of years of insecurity have undermined households' ability to withstand shocks. In Eritrea, despite good main season rains from June, the food outlook in 2001 remains bleak with large numbers of displaced farmers unable to return to their farms and large tracts of land still inaccessible due to landmines. In Kenya, despite an overall improvement in food supply, inadequate rains in May and June, particularly in pastoral districts, have slowed recovery from the effects of the recent devastating drought. In Ethiopia, abundant rains in major agricultural areas have significantly improved the food supply situation. However, food shortages persist in the pastoral areas. In Tanzania and Uganda, the overall food supply situation is adequate but food difficulties remain in parts due to localized drought and/or insecurity. In western Africa, the tight food supply situation in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger should improve with expected favourable harvests shortly. However, Sierra Leone and Liberia remain heavily dependent on international food assistance. In Guinea, refugees continue to arrive from Liberia into the eastern part of the country. In central Africa, despite an improved overall food supply situation in Burundi, large numbers of IDPs continue to be seriously food insecure. It is estimated that some 600 000 IDPs and other vulnerable people will continue to need emergency food assistance for the remainder of the year. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the number of IDPs due to civil conflict is estimated at 2 million and increasing. Less than half have access to relief assistance due to insecurity. In southern Africa, excessive rains, floods and dry spells resulted in a substantially reduced cereal harvest in Zambia. The Government has appealed for international food assistance for an estimated 1.3 million people. In Angola, despite an improved harvest, emergency food assistance continues to be needed for about 1.34 million of IDPs. Shortages in the food aid pipeline are anticipated towards the end of the year and more pledges are urgently needed.
In Asia, several countries face food shortages mainly due to adverse weather. Korea, DPR continues to have serious food supply difficulties due to a combination of natural disasters and severe economic problems. Last spring the country was hit by a severe drought that sharply reduced the maize harvest. In Mongolia, the food supply situation of vulnerable groups such as nomadic herders continues to be precarious following two consecutive severe winters which particularly affected livestock. In Cambodia, international food assistance continues to be provided as a result of severe floods this year and last year. In the low income food deficit CIS countries in Asia, drought and water shortages two years in succession have caused severe losses of summer and rainfed crops. Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia and to a lesser extent Azerbaijan have been particularly hard hit and a large number of people need emergency food assistance.
In the Near East, three consecutive years of drought have severely reduced food production in several countries. In Afghanistan, the drought and persistent civil strife have resulted in a very serious food crisis. Over 7 million people depend on international food assistance. The already grave food supply situation is set to deteriorate as fresh waves of population displacements are currently underway, exposing the increasing number of IDPs and refugees to extreme hardship. The evacuation of staff of international aid agencies from the country will have very serious implications for the food security of large numbers of vulnerable people. In Iraq, Jordan and Syria the three-year drought has seriously reduced crop and livestock production, leaving thousands of herders in need of assistance. The food supply situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip also gives cause for serious concern. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the already precarious food situation of nearly one and a half million people has deteriorated due to adverse weather conditions and low international commodity prices. In Central America a recent drought affected mainly El Salvador and Honduras, although the effects were also felt in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama. In Europe, food assistance continues to be needed for refugees, IDPs and vulnerable populations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and in Chechnya in the Russian Federation.