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Natural hazards such as earthquakes, droughts, floods, wildfires, and extreme winter weather affect a range of countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia (EMCA). In addition, rapid urban growth and environmental degradation in some countries have led to overcrowding and settlement in hazard-prone areas. Protracted conflict and limited governmental disaster management capacity in many EMCA countries compound the risks associated with natural disasters.
- World cereal production in 2008 is forecast to increase 2.8 percent to a record 2 180 million tonnes. Most of the increase is in wheat following significant expansion in plantings in all regions. Coarse grains output is expected around the bumper level of last year but lower than earlier anticipated due to severe floods in the United States, the world's largest producer and exporter. Rice is tentatively forecast to increase slightly from last year's good level.
- Despite the anticipated increase in world output, cereal markets will remain tight in 2008/09.