ROME -- An unusual shortage of rain threatens widespread food shortages in the Horn of Africa, a U.N. food agency said. The Rome-based World Food Program also appealed to donors for $40 million to avert starvation among 800,000 people forced to flee their homes in Angola's civil war.
The light and scattered rains in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya during May and June are likely to slash the crop and livestock production, the agency said. Rainfall was so poor throughout the region that eyewitnesses reported seeing Ethiopian children play soccer in the river beds.
In Somalia, where 80 percent of the country's harvest is dependent on rains falling between April and June, the rains fell for only half of the normal period.
Crop losses have been significant in Ethiopia, in areas already suffering from food shortages. The main rainy period there is from late June to mid September, which accounts for 90 percent of the crop production.
``There is a very real sense of an impending crisis,'' said WFP Representative for Ethiopia Judith Lewis.
The WFP has already approved a $40.5 million emergency operation to feed 1.2 million people in Ethiopia. In Kenya, the biggest concern is for grain-producing areas in the Rift Valley.
Return to the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water News Homepage