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Press Release 99/70 C/5
Rome, November 15, 1999 -- While increasing numbers of people face food emergencies, the causes are changing, suggest two UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports released today. "For the first time, human induced disasters such as civil strife and economic crises have more effect on food shortages than nature-induced crises," said Dr. Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director General of FAO.
The outlook for 1999 cereal production has improved slightly since June, due mainly to better crop prospects in Asia and North America. World production, however, will not be sufficient to meet anticipated consumption requirements and global stocks will need to be drawn down.
Information available as of 15 August 1999 was used in preparing this report.
Natural disasters claimed more than 50,000 lives and resulted in economic losses exceeding $90 billion during 1998; while wars in Africa, Asia and Europe displaced millions more. This horrifying toll will set the scene for the Economic and Social Council's debate, when it begins its segment on humanitarian affairs on 13 July.