FOOD EMERGENCIES UPDATE 1/
The number of countries experiencing food emergencies currently (November 2003) stands at 38, with 23 in Africa, 8 in Asia , 5 in Latin America and 2 in Europe.
In eastern Africa, despite favourable crop prospects in parts, several countries still face serious food difficulties. In Eritrea, about 2.3 million people face severe food shortages as a result of last year’s drought, poverty and the lingering effects of the war with Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, a recent multi-agency assessment indicated that the number of people in need of food assistance now stands at about 13.2 million, compared to the earlier figure of 12.5 million. In Kenya, reports indicate that torrential rains, coupled with drought in south-eastern parts, have left nearly 400 000 people in need of emergency assistance. In Sudan, food assistance appeals have been made for nearly 3.25 million vulnerable people for a period of 12 months (April 2003–March 2004). In Somalia, the food supply situation in northern parts, particularly in the Sool Plateau and most of Dharoor, is a cause for serious concern due mainly to severe drought. In addition, civil conflict continues to affect livelihoods in several parts of the country. In Tanzania, prolonged drought conditions in several areas have affected a large number of households, with an estimated 1.9 million people in need of food assistance. The humanitarian situation in northern and eastern Uganda has deteriorated with the escalation of armed conflict. More than 1.6 million displaced people need emergency assistance. In Burundi, a volatile security situation continues to displace populations in several areas. In southern Africa, emergency food aid is required for up to 5.5 million people in Zimbabwe following three consecutive poor harvests coupled with the country’s economic crisis. In Angola, food assistance is needed for 1.4 million returnees, resettled and vulnerable populations after 30 years of civil war. In Mozambique, despite a 2003 good cereal harvest, 940 000 people need emergency food aid due to crop failure in southern provinces. In Madagascar, the food security situation is critical for 600 000 drought-affected people in southern parts. In Lesotho and Swaziland, where cereal harvests remained at low levels in 2003, large sections of the population need food assistance. In Malawi and Zambia, although the overall food supply situation is satisfactory, food aid is still being distributed in pockets affected by a poor harvest. In western Africa, the food situation in Côte d’Ivoire remains critical, particularly in the west and rebel-controlled north. In Liberia, following the signing of the peace agreement, the humanitarian situation has improved in Monrovia but the overall food supply position remains precarious. In Mauritania, the food situation is still unsatisfactory despite food distributions and subsidized sales of wheat. Food shortages also affect Cape Verde, caused by last year’s poor harvest, and Guinea and Sierra Leone as a result of civil conflicts. In Central Africa, the security situation remains precarious in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The food situation of some 2.5 million internally displaced people is serious but insecurity continues to hamper provision of humanitarian assistance. In the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic conflict displaced populations need food assistance.
In Asia, an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to DPR Korea has reported continued recovery in agricultural production that started in 2001, as a result of favourable weather conditions, increased application of fertilizer, improved availability of electricity for irrigation pumping stations, and greater availability of fuel and spare parts for tractors. However, domestic production still falls well below the minimum food requirement and food aid will be needed for 2003/04. In Mongolia, despite the worst flooding since 1982 this summer, cereal output was up from last year. However, the country still faces severe food shortages. In Asian CIS, food assistance continues to be needed for vulnerable populations in Georgia, Armenia and Tajikistan, following recent drought and civil strife. In the Near East, a recent FAO/WFP Crop, Food Supply and Nutrition Assessment Mission to Iraq found that this year’s relatively good agricultural production contrasts sharply with the enormous economic difficulties faced by the majority of the population. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is also serious due to market disruption by the persistent conflict. In Afghanistan, despite a record harvest this year, access to food for a large proportion of the population is difficult and food aid will still be necessary in 2003/04.
In Central America and the Caribbean, food aid is being provided to households affected by a series of natural disasters and economic shocks in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In Haiti, emergency food aid is required for the drought-affected population in the North-West region. In Europe, food assistance is necessary for refugees, the internally displaced and vulnerable people in Serbia and Montenegro and in Chechnya in the Russian Federation.
1/ This updates information published in the October 2003 issue of Foodcrops and Shortages.