FOOD EMERGENCIES PERSIST IN MANY COUNTRIES 1/
As of early June 2003, some 37 countries face serious food shortages requiring international food assistance.
In eastern Africa, recent heavy rains and floods in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia killed a number of people, displaced thousands, destroyed or damaged crops and increased the risk of serious food shortages. In Eritrea, more food aid pledges and faster deliveries are needed to relieve the severe food shortages affecting nearly two-thirds of the country’s population due to drought last year. In Ethiopia, serious food shortages continue to be reported, particularly in southern parts also due to last year’s drought. Floods have also affected tens of thousands of people in the south and east. In Kenya, heavy rains and floods have caused serious damage in parts, while the effects of recent droughts are still being felt in many areas. In Somalia, flooding in the Juba and Shabelle river basins in the south is threatening the food security of the local populations. In the north-west (Somaliland) and north-east (Puntland), severe water and food shortages are being reported. In Sudan, serious food shortages are reported in several parts and cereal prices, particularly for sorghum, are higher than normal at this time of the year. In Tanzania, despite a stable overall food supply situation, the outlook is unfavourable for the central, southern and coastal areas. In Uganda, the overall food supply situation is stable, but it is precarious in the north and north-east due to persisting insurgency and poor harvests in recent seasons. In Burundi, displacement of rural populations continues despite promising political developments. In southern Africa, the food crisis has eased with the new harvest, which is better than last year but still below average. A large number of people in Zimbabwe will still need emergency food assistance. Food aid will also be needed for victims of HIV/AIDS and localized drought in Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. Elsewhere in the subregion, emergency food assistance is still needed in Angola, despite the end of the civil war that spanned almost three decades. In Madagascar, emergency food aid is needed in the southern provinces which have been affected by drought. Reports of joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions to southern Africa detailing the food security situation and food assistance needs in 2003/04 are to be published in early June. In western Africa, the food situation remains critical in Mauritania where an estimated 420 000 people need emergency food assistance following three consecutive poor harvests. Liberia, Guinea, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone also face serious food shortages, mainly due to civil strife. In central Africa, civil wars in the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo have displaced large and growing numbers of people who need emergency food assistance.
In Asia, Korea, DPR is still unable to meet its food needs, notwithstanding an improved harvest in 2002/03. The country is facing a shortage of over 2 million tonnes of grain this year. In southern Sri Lanka, floods have affected over 100 000 families and caused loss of life and considerable damage to property and agriculture. This is the worst flooding in these provinces since 1947. Mongolia continues to need international food assistance for nearly 665 000 people who were seriously affected by drought and extreme winter weather last year. In Asian CIS, food assistance continues to be needed for vulnerable populations in Georgia and Tajikistan due to poor harvests in recent years. In the Near East, despite favourable harvest prospects in Afghanistan this year, access to food for a large part of the population is very difficult and food assistance is therefore necessary. In Iraq, despite favourable weather conditions this year, harvest prospects are generally uncertain due to insecurity following the recent war. A serious shortage of inputs and spare parts for agricultural machinery continues to constrain food production. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip continues to be grim due to disruptions caused by military operations.
In Central America and the Caribbean, food assistance is being provided to many rural families, particularly to women and malnourished children, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua affected by drastic falls in incomes due to the current crisis in the coffee sector. In Europe, emergency food assistance continues to be necessary for refugees, the internally displaced and vulnerable populations in the Serbia and Montenegro and in Chechnya in the Russian Federation.
1. This updates information published in the March 2003 issue of Foodcrops and Shortages. Countries facing serious food emergencies are underlined.