The executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme has briefed the UN Security Council that his agency needs to secure US$1.8bn this year to meet emergency food needs in Africa.

This, said James T. Morris, was more than the biennial budget of the UN secretariat in New York. The causes were “a lethal combination” of recurring droughts, failed economic policies, conflict and the widening impact of HIV/AIDS, which had damaged the food sector and the capacity of governments to respond to need.

Morris added that erstwhile diplomatic enemies the French and US governments were working together to develop a solution to this demand for food at June’s G8 meeting, in France.