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Drought and Locusts Worsen Food Shortages

Drought and Locusts Worsen Food Shortages in Six African Countries, UN Says

New York, May 10 2005 11:00AM

Appealing for $11.4 million, the United Nations agricultural agency said today that last year’s drought and locust infestations have intensified food shortages in six Sahelian countries, pushing up prices and forcing herders to move into new locations where they cause conflicts.

In Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and northern Senegal, the price of millet has been climbing, while the price of livestock has been falling, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

“Access to main food staples is increasingly difficult for vulnerable households and pastoralists. Severe child malnutrition is increasing rapidly. Reports from Mali’s Kidal region show that one-third of children under the age of 3 are suffering from severe malnutrition,” FAO said in its appeal.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has asked for money to feed about 750,000 children in Niger, of whom 150,000 are suffering from severe malnutrition, it added.

In Niger and Mali, subsidized food is on sale, while in Burkina Faso, the Government has distributed cereals in the affected communities, FAO said.

“Italy, Norway and the United States have provided $2.1 million for the delivery of seeds, animal feed and veterinary services. More funds are urgently needed to respond to the worsening situation,” FAO said.

ENDS

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