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Millions in Eastern Africa face starvation
Africa Review
Monday, March 25, 2013

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An estimated 12.9 million people in Eastern Africa face stressed to crisis levels of food insecurity through to June, a new report says.

Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS Net), who conducted the study say countries affected are Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda.

“Most pastoral and marginal agricultural areas are expected to remain at stressed levels but this could worsen if the April to June long rains are below average,” the report noted.

The figure is, however, a drop from an estimated 14.9 million people about three months ago.

“This is indicative of substantial improvements in food security at the end of 2012,” notes the report. “It follows a succession of average to above average crop harvests, a reduction in food prices, marked improvements in livestock productivity and prices mainly in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya.”

The analysis came as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said it will soon test a new, faster and more precise way of measuring hunger and food insecurity in four pilot countries in Africa — Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

Known as the 'Voices of the Hungry' project, the new approach relies on gathering information on the extent and severity of hunger from food-insecure people, through a carefully-designed annual survey to be conducted in collaboration with polling specialists Gallup.

The survey will then be extended up to 150 countries covered by the Gallup World Poll and updated results on each country will be published every year.

The project will run for five years and will lead to the establishment of a new FAO-certified standard for food security monitoring.

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