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Drought in Africa threatens to spread food insecurity

United Nations, May 23 (Prensa Latina) The impact of the drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon today threatens millions of people with food insecurity after heavy crop losses in Africa, the World Food Program (WFP) said.

Countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi declared states of disaster after predicting the loss of between 40 and 80 percent of their maize crops, the agency said.

WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe after describing the impact of the phenomenon during a recent visit to Zambia.

Droughts in Zambia have destroyed crops in areas where 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for survival, she said.

“I met farmers who normally grow enough to feed their families and communities. This year they harvested nothing. Now imagine a similar scenario for millions of people across southern Africa and you have a humanitarian catastrophe,” she added.

Although the end of the last El Niño weather pattern is approaching, droughts will have repercussions in the coming months, compounded by rising temperatures and a 20 percent reduction in the rainfall needed for crop growth.