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Farmlands lie scorched and millions of people are in urgent need of donated food across southern Africa as a result of one of the region's worst droughts this century.

South Africa and Zimbabwe, the region's breadbaskets, now must import huge amounts of corn, the staple food, due to crop failures.Peasants in Mozambique and Angola, who have suffered chronic food shortages due to civil wars, face even greater hardship this year, government officials and aid organizations say. And Namibia, which reaped a bountiful harvest last year, now fears more than one-quarter of its people will need donated food.

There have been no reports of starvation or malnutrition deaths, nor predictions of widespread famine like those in Ethiopia and Sudan that claimed millions of lives in recent years.

But officials warn that food is running out in many areas and huge amounts of foreign aid will be required in the coming months.

The U.S. State Department said that food imports required for the region could top 7 million tons from this August to May 1993, compared to normal imports of 2 million tons over the same time period.