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Africans in a Food Crisis, U.N. Warns

January 07, 2006|From Associated Press

ROME — An estimated 11 million people in the Horn of Africa "are on the brink of starvation" because of severe drought and war, with at least 30 deaths already reported in Kenya, the United Nations said Friday.

People in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia need food, water, livestock and seeds, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said in a statement.

"Millions of people are on the brink of starvation in the Horn of Africa due to recent severe droughts coupled with the effects of past and ongoing conflicts," the agency said.

FAO economist Shukri Ahmed said that the region's dry season had begun and that insignificant rain was forecast for March and April.

Normally, the herders in the area would move from place to place for water and food for their livestock, but the drought covers too large a territory for that, Ahmed said.

The World Food Program is feeding 1.2 million drought victims, but it fears "this figure could more than double to 2.5 million," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

A WFP team will travel to drought-stricken areas in eastern and northern Kenya to determine how many people there require food aid, Dujarric said.

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