Food Emergencies Update
In Western Africa, in spite of a satisfactory food supply situation, serious localized food insecurity is reported in several countries including Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, due mostly to lack of access problems. Emergency food assistance continues to be needed in Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone due to large numbers of IDPs and refugees. In Central Africa, in the Central African Republic, the majority of the population is facing food insecurity following disruption in production and marketing activities as a result of civil strife.
In Eastern Africa, despite improved prospects for the 2006/07 crops in parts, floods, erratic rains and conflict related displacement have negatively impacted on the food situation of large number of people. Most of the pastoral areas of the region have yet to recover from the successive poor rains that have severely affected livestock and resulted in acute food shortages and migration of thousands of people in search of water and food.
In Eritrea, despite improved main season rains from August, the food outlook remains difficult for large numbers of displaced people and pastoralists affected by earlier 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 addition, urgent food and non-food assistance is needed for more than 200 000 people who have lost property, crops and livestock. 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 Somalia, the recent gu Assessment confirmed that a severe food crisis will persist throughout the country for the rest of 2006, affecting at least 1.8 million people. The situation is further aggravated by the intermittent hostilities and recent upsurge in insecurity. Recent heavy rains and overflowing rivers have caused localized flooding that affected tens of thousands of people and farmland.
In Sudan, the continued crisis in Darfur, remains the most pressing humanitarian problem. Hundreds of thousands of people could be displaced again should Darfur face an upsurge in conflict. A realistic scenario could see as many as 350 000 people displaced, loss of basic services such as clean water and healthcare, and an increased dependence on helicopters and planes to deliver aid as road travel becomes too dangerous. Food security prospects in Darfur are doubly worrying as the deteriorating security situation may disrupt the main harvest, about to start in the coming few weeks. In southern Sudan, conflict arising from this year’s disarmament process and the ongoing cattle raiding in Jonglei continues to exacerbate food insecurity. Extensive floods in parts have also displaced tens of thousands of people, destroyed crops and aggravated the already precarious food supply situation in the affected 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 Southern Africa, despite a significant improvement in the 2006 main crops compared to
last year, emergency food aid of about 542 000 tonnes of cereals in aggregate is required due to different factors. In Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, generally inadequate production, high unemployment, low purchasing power and the cumulative impact of HIV/AIDS are the main contributing factors to food insecurity. In Zimbabwe, the sky-rocketing prices, with inflation officially estimated at an unprecedented level estimated of 1 205 percent in July 2006, are expected to reach over 4000 percent next year (IMF). According to the findings of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee 1.4 million rural people (about 17 percent of the total rural population) will not be able to meet their minimum cereal needs during the 2006/07 season. In addition, unemployment, lack of incomes and continually eroding purchasing power is increasing the number of food insecure in the urban areas. In Angola, despite economic growth and increased oil revenues, some 800 000 vulnerable people are estimated to require about 58 000 tonnes of cereal assistance in localized areas. Drought in southern parts of Madagascar has reduced food availability, and international food assistance is needed.
In the Great Lakes region the continuing civil strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has affected large numbers of people who need food assistance. Food aid is also needed in Burundi following the reduced 2006 total harvest, combined with resettlement of returnees and IDPs.
In Asia, food insecurity has become more severe in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a result of reduced food aid and crop damage due to July floods. The food security situation remains precarious in Mongolia despite improved weather condition this year. Hundred of thousands of people affected by civil unrest in Timor-Leste still need food assistance.
In Sri Lanka, despite a good crop forecast, the deterioration of the political and security situation has significantly affected food security in the country, particularly in the northeast. An earthquake and tsunami on the island of Java in Indonesia in July 2006 caused widespread damage to houses and displaced a large number of people. Over 45 000 people in Nepal, affected by drought and floods have received relief assistance. Unprecedented floods caused by several weeks of torrential rain have made millions of people in India and Pakistan homeless and in need of food assistance. The worst drought in last fifty years has affected more than 3 million hectares of crops in Sichuan and Chongqing in China.
In Iraq, conflict and insecurity continues to affect the lives of large number of people triggering the displacement of hundreds of thousands people. Drought and unusually high temperatures have compromised food production in Afghanistan and Armenia. In addition, increased military operations and conflict over the past year in Afghanistan have further deteriorated food insecurity in the country.
In Central America, food aid is still being provided to some vulnerable rural families affected by hurricanes during the second half of 2005 in El Salvador and Guatemala. Food aid is also being distributed to population with lack of access to food in Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras.
In South America, abundant ash fall following the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador in mid-August has severely affected the provinces of Los Ríos and Bolívar, damaging local food production and seriously affecting soil fertility for the next years. Situations of localized food insecurity are also reported in some areas of Bolivia, in the department of Santa Cruz, where intense precipitations in March caused losses of cash and food crops.
In Europe, military operations and civil conflict continue to affect social and economic activities in Chechnya. Many internally displaced people require food assistance.