Over the past four months, weather patterns and conflict have played a key role in the food security situation in several regions, according to the latest issue of the WFP's Global Food Security Update. While good rains in the Sahel have led to a predicted short-term improvement in the region's food security, drought and flooding in several other areas of the world have produced shocks that are likely to drive more people into hunger.

Continued fighting in Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali have produced widespread displacement and increased the need for food assistance. The report estimates that some 5.4 million people in DRC are now in need of humanitarian aid, while a staggering 46 percent of the Yemeni population has reached food insecure levels.

Flooding in West Africa, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Haiti has negatively impacted food security in those countries. In Pakistan, seven flood-affected districts have reached either crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. On the other extreme, droughts have impacted Central America, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. The dry weather has increased maize prices in Central America. In the African countries, humanitarian needs are expected to peak with the lean season approaching, and forecasts for the next season are no better - several sources are predicting below average rainfall through the next growing season. The developing El Nino may further compound weather-driven food insecurity.

The report also points out that international price increases caused by the US drought have yet to pass to retail markets in much of the world. Price transmission to domestic markets should be closely watched in the coming months, particularly in food-importing countries.

The Global Food Security Update tracks food security trends in 57 countries throughout six regions of the world.

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