Countries in need of food aid on rise, 27 in Africa

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In Gordil, Central African Republic, after three years of conflict, for children under-five, their bodies weakened from malnutrition, the biggest killers were not bullets but instead malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes

An estimated 34 countries are currently in urgent need of food aid, because of drought, flooding and conflict, a new UN report has found.

Twenty-seven of those countries are in Africa.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its annual Crop Prospects and Food Situation report on Wednesday.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

The El Nino weather phenomenon, linked to the warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, is causing droughts and floods in many parts of the world.

Crop production prospects for Southern Africa has "sharply reduced" this year, while expectations for the harvest in northern African countries like Morocco and Algeria have been lowered due to dry conditions.

Moreover, persistent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and the Central African Republic have also taken a heavy toll on the agricultural sector, 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.

In the past three months, conditions have generally worsened in these countries, according to FAO, mainly in the Southern Africa sub-region, where food prices have reached record highs.

The report also warned that last year's reduced production would negatively impact the food security situation in North Korea, where many households remain food insecure.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’08″

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