October 16, 2001

Some 50,000 face hunger in El Salvador from drought

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador,(Reuters) --At least 50,000 people in El Salvador face the prospect of hunger in the next six months because their crops were
destroyed by drought, the World Food Program said on Monday.

WFP delegate Guy Gauvreau told a news conference that some 10,000 families in El Salvador were unable to harvest basic grains as a result of the drought that affected some
1.5 million people across Central America.

Rains finally arrived, but they were too late to save crucial corn, bean and other crops for many subsistence farmers in the impoverished region.

"There are many people who have no money to buy food," Gauvreau said. An upcoming interim harvest should help avoid rampant famine, "but many people are hungry," he

One of five children suffer chronic malnutrition, and in poorer areas the ratio is as high as three of five children, he said.

As in elsewhere in the region, the drought exacerbated poverty in El Salvador, where 50 percent of the population of 6.2 million people live in poverty.

Earlier this year, El Salvador suffered two violent earthquakes that killed some 1,150 people and caused $1.6 million in damage, further deepening poverty and hunger in some

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