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Syrian drought 'really bad'

Sept. 10, 2010 at 11:09 AM   |   Comments

DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Lingering drought in parts of Syria is having an impact on food security and leaving millions of people in a state of extreme poverty, the United Nations said.

Syria has suffered from drought for four consecutive years. Selly Muzammil, a representative from the World Food Program, told the U.N. humanitarian news agency IRIN that the "situation is really bad."

The Food and Agriculture Organization in June said the drought in Syria had ended but blamed sporadic rainfall on crop failures. Other U.N. agencies were divided over the status of the drought.

The Syrian government said recently that its food crops were secure, boasting that it was self-sufficient in wheat. U.N. officials said Damascus had enough wheat in stock, though current yields were not enough to meet domestic demands.

Olivier de Schutter, the U.N. special envoy on the right to food, said the repeated droughts "have been significant."

The United Nations estimates 1.3 million people have been affected by the drought and herders have lost at least 80 percent of their livestock.

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