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Forty million Face Severe Food Shortages In Sub-Saharan Africa - 2002-12-17

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says 40 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are threatened by severe food shortages. The FAO says the ”situation is most serious in southern Africa, where more than sixteen-point-seven million people need emergency food assistance.”

The FAO has appealed for $12.7 million dollars to help farmers in Southern Africa, who lack seeds, fertilizer and hand tools.

The FAO also “warns that serious food shortages are looming in several countries in the Horn of Africa, where seventeen and a half million people are without sufficient food.” It says the situation is “most serious” in Eritrea and Ethiopia, where food aid is “urgently needed to prevent famine.”

Henri Josserand is chief of the FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System. From Rome, he spoke to English to Africa reporter about the food crisis on the continent. He says there are also concerns about food shortages in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, where poor rains or civil conflict have hurt production.

The Great Lakes region has a poor food outlook as a result of conflict. Western Africa, especially Mauritania, has food problems. And Mauritania has had three consecutive poor harvests.