At least 20-million people in Africa, according to United Nations estimates, are threatened by famine.
Uganda: SV Starving boy helped along.
GV, CU Relief workers handing out food. (2 SHOTS)
SV Milk poured into cups.
SV Children drinking milk and eating biscuits, CU biscuits broken into mugs. (3 SHOTS)
Somalia: GV Refugees leaving truck. (2 SHOTS)
GV PAN Refugee children in open air class, REAR V & CU children. (3 SHOTS)
GV Huts and crowds of refugees. (3 SHOTS)
GV & CU Refugees ladling water from hole in ground. (4 SHOTS)
Senegal: GV Nomads walking across drought-stricken country. (4 SHOTS)
KwaZulu, South Africa: GV Cattle in dried up river bed.
GV ZOOM IN TO Bridge across river, water pumped out.
GV Dried up land.
SV Cow grazing near village, GV PAN dry countryside. (3 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: At least 20-million people in Africa, according to United Nations estimates, are threatened by famine. More than half of them are likely to suffer acute malnutrition; a million may die by the end of this year. Southern African countries are officially classified as facing "abnormal food shortages". They stretch from Mauritania and Senegal in the west across the Sahel belt to Sudan; down the eastern side of the continent from Ethiopia to Tanzania; and as far south as Zambia and Botswana.
SYNOPSIS: Children in Karamoja, in norther Uganda, are already dying. The international relief agencies have moved in to this, the worst-hit of the famine areas. Drought is the basic cause. The Karamojang people depend for food on their cattle, and the drought has ruined the grazing and killed off the cattle in thousands. So the only milk is dried milk, from relief supplies and never enough to go round.
But it is not nature alone that has brought these children to the brink of starvation. Disorder makes the situation worse. The country is full of weapons, since the overthrow of Idi Amin. They have fallen into the hands of marauders. food convoys have been fired on. For a time, the United Nations suspended its relief operations because of the attacks.
War is causing Somalia's problems. Refugees are still arriving at the rate of one thousand a day -- driven from their homes in the Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia. Most are women and children; the men have stayed behind to continue fighting the Ethiopians. In this one camp there are 28,000 children.
Population growth combined with falling food production is the deadly formula that leads to famine in much of Africa. In Somalia, the Sudan, the huge numbers of refugees, torn by the roots from their normal means of subsistence, are making the problem even more intractable. In the refugee camps, there is little food, poor sanitation, polluted water. III-nourished people fall easy prey to disease.
Drought alone is a continuing threat to the nomadic peoples of the southern Sahara. The desert is moving south at the rate of six kilometres (4 miles) a year. This is Senegal: less badly affected than Mali, Niger, Chad and Upper Volta, but bad enough.
KwaZulu, one of the black "homelands" in South Africa, is suffering its worst drought for many years. This is not a problem on the Sahel scale. The South African government has the resources to relieve acute distress. But it represents another factor in the equation: many countries that once had a surplus for export -- Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe for example -- have become importers. That could mean still less available for the more impoverished and disordered, the real disaster areas on the nutrition map of Africa.