Extreme Drought Causes Food Crisis for Nearly 1 Million in Guatemala

Drought Emergency Alert

Nearly 1 million people in Guatemala are struggling to feed themselves as poor rainfall has led to drought and shrunken harvests, worsening hunger among the poor, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.
Linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon, this year’s drought has been very hard on subsistence farmers living in Central America’s dry corridor that runs through parts of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
“In Guatemala, 170,000 families, approximately 900,000 people, have no food reserves left. This is the third consecutive year they have been hit by drought,” Diego Recalde, head of the FAO in Guatemala, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“This is a slow emergency that’s not visible, but we can already notice chronic child malnutrition is increasing,” he said in a telephone interview from Guatemala City.
Families in mostly poor, indigenous communities in rural areas are now eating only one or two meals a day, Recalde said.
The U.N. World Food Program warned that the extended dry spell, which is expected to last until March 2016, would lead to a drastically reduced harvest as drought destroys bean and maize crops, the country’s staple foods.
“Some families could lose between 50 to 100 percent of their next maize harvest due later this month,” Mario Touchette, WFP’s Guatemala country director, said by phone.
Courtesy of voanews.com

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