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U.N.: Indonesians Face Food Problem

July 8, 1998

ROME (AP) _ Nearly half of Indonesia’s population faces acute food shortages following a prolonged drought and a worsening economic crisis, a U.N. agency said Wednesday.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said fewer people were able to buy food because of high unemployment and rising prices, following the depreciation of the local currency.

The agency estimated that by the end of 1998, nearly half of Indonesia’s approximately 200 million citizens will fall below the poverty line. In 1996, there were 22.5 million poor, according to FAO.

Insufficient rainfall, as well as locust infestations in some areas, mean this season’s harvests of rice and other crops will be less than expected, said the agency, which appealed to international donors to provide additional assistance.

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