Millions of Indonesia's poor are in danger of acute food shortages because of drought and a deepening economic crisis, the United Nations said Wednesday.

The finding, though not unexpected, adds to fears that financial turmoil in the world's fourth most-populous nation could bring widespread social unrest. Student protests have been gathering force and there has been scattered rioting over rising food prices.In a report released Wednesday, a U.N. team said that 1.5 million families, or 7.5 million people in 15 provinces, "risk experiencing food insecurity until early next year."

Those most at risk are in the bottom third of 8 million rural families, a group that government officials say normally live under "chronic marginal circumstances," including less than two meals a day.

Team leader Uwe Kracht said the situation could not be described as a "famine." Nevertheless, "many pockets of the population are facing acute food supply inadequacy," he said.