Aid agencies warn of food shortages in flood-hit India

Friday, October 9, 2009

Aid agencies and Indian government officials have warned that there may be food shortages in the country, following severe floods that affected southern states.

They said that agricultural production is likely to drop dramatically due to flooding of farmland and crops. Officials have predicted that food production in Andra Pradesh, one of the southern states most affected by flooding, will go down by over 900,000 tonnes.

The waters are said to have ruined large quantities of grain stocks as well.

"Rice and other crops in an area of 260,000 hectares [642,000 acres] have been destroyed," said Andra Pradesh agricultural minister N. Raghuveera Rao.

Jayakumar Christiandirector of World Vision India, an aid agency working in the region, said that "floods and drought have set back India's fight against poverty by years."

Heavy flooding last week, mainly in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Karnataka, has killed about three hundred people and forced the evacuation of over a milion. The rains came after a prolonged period of drought.