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Millions of the world’s poorest people are threatened by freak weather conditions. This year’s unprecedented climatic extremes brought drought to the rich world hitting agriculture in Australia and South Africa particularly hard and substantially reducing the 1983 grain harvest in the USA. England experienced its hottest July on record.  

In the poor world a chain of weather disasters has brought to crisis point many societies already struggling under serious economic and social problems and, in some cases, civil war. Oxfam, is confronted with more requests for emergency aid than at any time in its entire 40 year history. Other international agencies report a similar experience. Aid officials cannot recall a period when so many people were faced by disasters over such a large area of the globe.


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