|March 25, 2002
Food security crisis worsens
Mozambique, struggling to cope with the devastating effects of flooding
during the 2000 and 2001 rainy seasons, now faces a worsening food security
crisis because of a dry spell.
The World Food Programme (WFP) and government's National Disaster
Management Institute (INGC) said that food security in the southern, central
and western provinces of Gaza, Inhambane and Tete had worsened. WFP Information
Officer Inyene Udoyen said: "We've been running an emergency operation since
last year, helping communities to recover from the floods. Due to this long dry
spell we have extended our emergency operation to end in early April. We've
also extended the number of people we assist from 100,000 in January to 190,000
WFP is assisting about 62,000 people in Tete alone. Crop assessment
missions that had been carried out in May and September 2001 in all provinces,
except Cabo Delgado, had concluded that more than one-third of the country's
total number of districts produced much less food last year than normal. Udoyen
said: "The main thing is to assess the situation to see what the response
should be, we cannot act until government acts and makes a request [which would
only happen once assessments have been completed]."
Yohannes Giorgis, a disaster management advisor at the INGC, said the
exact number of people in need at present was unknown. A team comprising
members of INGC, WFP and government ministries would complete an assessment of
the food security situation by the end of the week. Giorgis said: "Last year's
floods impacted on food production and this has been compounded by the shortage
of rain this year. The rainy season ends officially at the end of this month
and there has been no rain in the southern and central parts of the country.
There has been some rain in northern parts. "Even under normal circumstances
there are some areas that are chronically affected by food shortages.
[Following the dry spell] there's going to be some problems. It seems we have a
crisis," he said. A thorough crop assessment would be done soon, Giorgis said.
"It's going to give us a very clear picture of what the shortage will be in the
coming months." (IRIN)