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AFRICA: In eastern Africa, the food situation remains precarious due to the impact of drought and armed conflicts. Currently more than 17 million people need emergency food assistance. In southern Africa, the 2004 cereal production in Zimbabwe was well below average levels, with anticipated serious food shortages in rural and urban areas. In drought-hit Lesotho, the 2004 cereal harvest was sharply down, necessitating emergency food assistance to large numbers of people. In western Africa, Desert Locusts continue to pose a serious threat to agricultural production across the Sahel, notably in Mauritania, Mali, Senegal and Niger. Joint FAO/CILSS/WFP missions are currently in the sub-region assessing the impact of the locusts on food production.