Drought now effecting Middle East

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Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK Drought raises food fears

Drought is now affecting many parts of the Middle East

Severe drought is beginning to affect many parts of the Middle East including Iran, Iraq and Jordan. Rainfall in parts of Iran is down by 25% on last year with 18 of the country's 28 provinces suffering.

In Iraq, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers have fallen to around 20% of their average flow, with serious consequences for irrigated farming.

Jordan's agricultural production has been severely damaged by two years of drought.

All three countries were already suffering the consequences of prolonged water shortages dating from last year.

Devastating drought Iran: Wheat production declining Iraq: Cereal output down Jordan: Wheat prospects poor

The figures came in a special report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.

It says the scarcity of food and water, already affecting many countries in South Asia, is causing mounting concern as it claims a growing number of lives.

The government in Iran has recently approved an emergency aid package for farmers while several international organisations are visiting Iraq to assess the food supply situation there.

Jordan is currently benefiting from international food aid which began in July


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-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), May 11, 2000

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