Bad weather and conflicts leave 34 countries starving – United Nations

The four regions most in need of humanitarian support are East Africa, Southern Africa, the Pacific Islands and Central America.

El Nino or La Nino whatever be the weather phenomena, there are thirty-four countries with 27 of them in Africa, are currently in need of food assistance due to drought, flooding and civil conflicts, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.

The details are given in the quarterly report on the Crop Prospects and Food Situation by the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO).

The four regions most in need of humanitarian support are East Africa, Southern Africa, the Pacific Islands and Central America, UN said.

"Drought associated with El Nino has sharply reduced 2016 crop production prospects in Southern Africa, while expectations for the harvest in Morocco and Algeria have been lowered due to dry conditions," said Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman.

Persistent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and the Central African Republic have taken a heavy toll on the agricultural sector, further worsening the humanitarian crisis in those countries, the report said.

"Also in areas of Central America and the Caribbean, ongoing dry conditions linked to El Nino may affect sowings of the main season crops for the third consecutive year," Haq said. "The report also warns that last year's reduced production would negatively impact the food security situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

Swaziland is the country newly added to the list which included 33 countries last December.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is expected to release a new global analysis of the humanitarian impacts of the El Nino phenomenon, he said.

El Nino -- which means the Little Boy in Spanish -- and its sister La Nina -- the Little Girl -- are weather events, which contribute to changes in climate and weather.

"While the 2015-2016 El Nino has now passed its peak, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it will continue to have very serious impacts on vulnerable people for months, including through droughts, flooding and an increased chance of tropical cyclones," Haq said.

In most cases, the impact of conflict extends into neighbouring countries such as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo that are hosting refugee populations, said the report.

In several countries already in need of external assistance for food, the report said that conditions generally worsened in the past three months, mainly in the Southern Africa sub-region, where food prices have reached record highs.