Thirty-four countries, including 27 in Africa, are currently in need of food assistance due to drought, flooding and civil conflicts, a UN spokesman said here Wednesday, citing a report released by the UN food agency.

food aid The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) released its the new edition of the quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report early in the day.

“Drought associated with El Nino has sharply reduced 2016 crop production prospects in Southern Africa, while expectations for the harvest in Morocco and Algeria have been lowered due to dry conditions,” Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing.

“Also in areas of Central America and the Caribbean, ongoing dry conditions linked to El Nino may affect sowings of the main season crops for the third consecutive year,” Haq said. “The report also warns that last year’s reduced production would negatively impact the food security situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

Swaziland is the country newly added to the list which included 33 countries last December.

“Elsewhere, the outlook for the 2016 crops already in the ground is generally favorable,” Haq said. “Early forecasts indicate large 2016 wheat crops in most countries of Asia.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is expected to release a new global analysis of the humanitarian impacts of the El Nino phenomenon, he said.

The number of major droughts recorded globally in 2015 was more than double the ten-year average, due to a severe El Nino weather event, Robert Glasser, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for disaster risk reduction, told reporters here in mid-February.

The effects of the droughts are still being felt with millions of people who are experiencing hunger from Ethiopia, in Eastern Africa, to Papua New Guinea, in Oceania, Glasser said,

El Nino — which means the Little Boy in Spanish — and its sister La Nina — the Little Girl — are weather events, which contribute to changes in climate and weather.

“While the 2015-2016 El Nino has now passed its peak, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it will continue to have very serious impacts on vulnerable people for months, including through droughts, flooding and an increased chance of tropical cyclones,” Haq said.

“The four regions most in need of humanitarian support are East Africa, Southern Africa, the Pacific Islands and Central America,” the spokesman said. “Countries across each of these regions have declared states of emergency.”

The FAO report said that drought associated with El Nino has “sharply reduced” 2016 crop production prospects in Southern Africa, while expectations for the harvest in Morocco and Algeria have been lowered due to dry conditions.

Also in areas of Central America and the Caribbean, ongoing dry conditions linked to El Nino may affect sowings of the main season crops for the third consecutive year.

Moreover, FAO stressed that persistent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and the Central African Republic have taken a heavy toll on the agricultural sector, further worsening the humanitarian crisis in those countries.

In most cases, the impact of conflict extends into neighbouring countries such as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo that are hosting refugee populations, said the report.

In several countries already in need of external assistance for food, the report said that conditions generally worsened in the past three months, mainly in the Southern Africa sub-region, where food prices have reached record highs. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.