Despite a generally favourable global food outlook, some 34 countries around the world are experiencing severe food shortages.
In southern Africa, with anticipated reduced harvests this year following sharp falls last year, the food outlook for several countries in 2002/03 is very unfavourable. Severe food shortages are already affecting Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. Their Governments have appealed to the international community for food assistance. The food supply situation is also tight in southern provinces of Mozambique and in Swaziland. In Angola, over one million internally displaced people continue to receive emergency food aid. Presently there are six FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions to the various countries in the subregion, whose findings will be available in late May 2002. In eastern Africa, despite improved cereal harvests in 2001/2002 in most parts, the effects of earlier devastating droughts and past or ongoing conflicts continue to undermine the food security of an estimated 11 million people. In Eritrea, nearly 1.3 million people continue to depend on emergency food assistance due to past conflicts and drought. In Ethiopia, despite a bumper harvest in 2001, some 5.2 million people are estimated to be facing severe food shortages. In Kenya, overall food supply has improved following favourable rains except in the northern and eastern pastoral areas, where large numbers of people still depend on food assistance. In Somalia, despite a better second season cereal crop, up to 500 000 people are threatened by severe food shortages. In Sudan, food supply is generally adequate following the good main 2001 season cereal crop, but large numbers of people in southern and western regions depend on emergency food assistance due to crop failures and civil strife. In Tanzania and Uganda the food supply situation is generally stable, but there are localized food shortages. In western Africa, the food supply situation has improved in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger following significantly better harvests compared to the previous year. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea continue to require international food assistance due to past or ongoing civil strife. In Mauritania, the food supply situation is tight following a poor harvest. In central Africa, the food situation is satisfactory, except in the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC) where production is continually disrupted by the long-running civil war, and in the Republic of Congo where a resurgence of fighting has caused renewed population displacement. In Burundi, despite an improvement in the food supply situation, food assistance continues to be necessary for over 400 000 internally displaced people.
In Asia, emergency food assistance continues to be required in DPR Korea. Against a need of 610 000 tonnes of cereals and other food, only 275 000 tonnes are presently available and the WFP emergency food pipeline will dry up early in the third quarter of 2002, if donor support is not immediately forthcoming. Food assistance is also needed in Mongolia, where pastoralists remain highly food insecure after another harsh winter with additional losses of animals. In Pakistan, vulnerable people in the drought affected provinces of Balochistan and Sindh and refugees continue to require emergency food assistance, as do drought victims in southern parts of Sri Lanka. Inadequate precipitation and water availability in the CIS of the Central Asian region are likely to result in tight food supply in some countries. The worst affected countries where extra emergency food assistance may be required are Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Last year only Tajikistan and Uzbekistan required emergency food assistance for nearly 2 million people.
In the Near East, favourable weather conditions in most countries have improved prospects for winter grains, about to be harvested. However, the food situation in Afghanistan remains grave, notwithstanding the relative calm and improved delivery of food assistance. Years of civil strife and successive severe droughts have exposed millions of people to extreme hardship. In addition, a devastating earthquake in northern parts in late March resulted in hundreds of deaths and large numbers of people were left homeless. The current serious invasion of locusts, reckoned to be the worst in over 30 years, can only make the food situation even worse. In Iraq and Jordan, despite recent good rains, successive years of drought have left some sections of the population in need of assistance. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip also gives cause for serious concern following alarming deterioration due to escalation of violence. In Central America and the Caribbean, the food supply situation remains tight in several areas in El Salvador and Guatemala. The situation is aggravated by the crisis affecting the important coffee industry due to the dramatic fall in international prices. In South America, food assistance is being provided to the internally displaced people in Colombia, as a result of civil strife. In Europe, refugees, the vulnerable and internally displaced population in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in Chechnya in the Russian Federation continue to require emergency food assistance.
1/ This updates information published in the April 2002 issue of Foodcrops and Shortages. Countries facing exceptional food emergencies are underlined.