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The international humanitarian aid system is facing unprecedented stress. Poor weather and the legacy of conflict are threatening tens of millions of people, primarily in Africa and Central Asia. The situation is so grave that Andrew Natsios, Administrator of the U.S.
Thirteen million people in six countries -- Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe -- are facing the most severe crisis since drought-induced hunger struck the region in 1992. Food insecurity in southern Africa is a result of policy and governance failures, compounded by drought, flooding, livestock diseases, civil disorder, poor farming methods, and the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS. As a result of these and other factors, farmers have not been able to produce enough maize, their staple food.
While the world focuses on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, a number of other emergencies have been brewing around the globe. Perhaps the largest of these is the growing complex food emergency in southern Africa. Due to harsh climatic conditions and corrupt government policies, as many as 13 million people may face starvation within the six countries that compose the southern African region.