Thursday, November 12, 2009

20 million need food aid in East Africa

20 million people in East Africa are in desperate need of food aid according to the United Nations. Drought and war have been the biggest contributing factors to the hunger.

From Reuters, writer Silvia Aloisi gives us the details of the UN report.

"The situation is very worrying due to expected crop and pasture failures from poor rains in several areas, the increase in conflicts, trade disruptions and continuing high food prices," the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

In its latest report on food and crop prospects (, FAO said delayed rains and dry spells often followed by floods had hurt crops and pastures in Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda.

In Somalia and Sudan, poor weather has worsened a food emergency due to civil wars, with 3.6 million and 5.9 million people in need of food aid, respectively. In the case of Somalia, that is about 50 percent of the total population.

The U.N. agency is hosting a world food summit in Rome next week, hoping to win broad support for an increase in agricultural investments in poor countries to help them feed themselves.

Maize production in Kenya, east Africa's biggest economy, is expected to be 30 percent down on last year. About 3.8 million Kenyans, mainly living in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, are in need of emergency food assistance, FAO said.

That number rises to 6.2 million people in Ethiopia, where late and erratic rains have damaged maize and sorghum crops and reduced availability of pastures in many parts of the country.

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