Central America is having one of its worst droughts in decades, and experts are warning that major farm losses and the deaths of hundreds of cattle in the region could leave hundreds of thousands of families without food.

United Nations food agencies said Thursday that the agricultural losses are largely in corn and beans, basic staples of the region's diet. They say the situation needs to be addressed immediately or what is already a food crisis could worsen in the coming months.

In Guatemala, about 170,000 families lost almost all of their crops, while Nicaragua's government is asking international food agencies to help it feed 100,000 families in parched areas. Agriculture authorities in El Salvador say crops have completely been lost in two-thirds of the country.