Third World Food Shortage
Stymied Efforts to Aid Starvation Victims
Hundreds of thousands of people in Africa are dying from starvation or diseases related to malnutrition, victims of the worst drought in a decade. The toll could surpass the drought of the early 1970s when an estimated half million Africans died. In the intervening 10 years, the population in many African countries has increased more rapidly than food production, forcing them to rely on foreign sources for food.
Even when food is available in sufficient quantities, much of it never reaches the people in need. In Chad, where millions of people need immediate food relief, there is no rail or paved road system to transport food. There, as in Ethiopia, political unrest and civil war make distribution even more difficult.
The drought may also spell catastrophe for some of the few African nations that have viable economies. Kenya, one of the few drought-stricken nations to have accumulated sizable currency reserves from its exports to the developed world, is facing widespread hardship. The East African country's food needs far outstrip its production capacity, largely because of its 4 percent annual population increase.