World Can't Cope with Famine Says UN
New Zealand Herald, Oct 28, 2002
Global warming is helping to cause an unprecedented series of famines that is pushing the world beyond its ability to cope, says the United Nations. The warning - the starkest yet issued by the UN on how climate change is affecting world food supplies - comes as a second massive famine looms in Africa. The new head of the UN World Food Programme, James Morris, is to announce in London that drought in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa is precipitating a food shortage as great as the one now afflicting southern Africa. Meanwhile, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation is predicting that this year's total world harvest will fall for the fifth year in succession, while the global population continues to grow. Food stocks are falling well below critical levels and prices are soaring. The escalating crises will add urgency to a new round of international negotiations on combating global warming under way in New Delhi. ...
A spokesman said that "global warming is a major contributor" to the changing weather. He added: "There has been a sharp increase in weather-related natural disasters. This is a very, very serious situation." Scientists have long predicted that droughts and floods will increase as global warming takes hold. According to the World Disasters Report, published by the Red Cross, 2000 and 2001 were the two worst years on record for disasters. Since then, more than 360 natural disasters have occurred in the first nine months of this year. Drought has also struck from Australia to Mongolia, Vietnam to Sri Lanka, West Africa to Thailand. Floods affected more than 100 million people in China and more than 40 million in India, and brought the worst inundations yet to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. The WFP warns the crises are becoming so frequent that the world community is "running out of the ability to cope". Although emergency food aid almost tripled over the 1990s, it was not enough to meet growing needs. This year the WFP had to suspend help to three million women, children and elderly people in North Korea because it had run out of resources.