Food Security Outlook Update

Food security expected to improve starting in January

November 2014
2014-Q4-2-2-DJ-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The food security situation has stabilized in most rural parts of the country, primarily as a result of the Karan/Karma rains, which helped improve access to water and pasture resources. 

  • Pastoralists in rural areas of Obock who benefited from the Xays/Dadaa coastal rains will most likely experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity conditions from January through March 2015. 

Current Situation

Most areas reported near-average rainfall totals during the Karan/Karma season (July-September), with above-average rainfall reported in the Northwest Pastoral Zone, particularly in Tadjoura. Unfortunately, rainfall totals were well below average in rural Obock and the Southeast Pastoral Border Zone, where a succession of poor rainy seasons have caused the depletion of pasture and water resources, impacting livestock body conditions and households' physical and economic access to food.

Ongoing Xays/Dadaa (October to March) seasonal rains, which supply the most water to coastal areas, have started slowly in certain areas of Obock. However, the rains stopped in Ali Sabieh and in central and coastal areas of Tadjoura during the first week of October.

Temperatures have fallen in almost all rural areas with the start of the cold season. Animals that benefited from pasture and water resources from the Karan/Karma rains are now pregnant. Tick-borne and other diseases and the cold are weakening livestock and delaying their productivity somewhat, but not more than in a typical year.

Income sources rose with the availability of day labor opportunities, particularly in the regions of Ali Sabieh and Tadjoura, which are benefiting from major construction projects such as the Port of Tadjoura and the Ethio-Djibouti Railway.

With good Karan/Karma rainfall and the availability of food assistance, pastoral households in the Northwest are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity. In rural areas of Obock and the Southeast Pastoral Border Zone, which received limited rainfall last season, households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity conditions.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not changed most of the assumptions used by FEWS NET to establish the most-likely scenario for the October 2014 through March 2015 Food Security Outlook. However, recent climate forecasts have resulted in the following update:

  • Coastal Xays/Dadaa rains from October through February are expected to reach normal levels. These rains will provide relief to nomadic herders in coastal areas by improving water and pasture availability, but the effects on animal productivity (milk and livestock sales) will not be felt until January 2015. 

Projected Outlook through March 2015

Despite decreased food assistance, food security in most rural areas should improve in the coming months, as Xays/Dadaa rains in coastal areas from October through March are likely to be near average, according to regional forecasts.  These rains could help develop livelihoods and improve animal to non-animal product terms of trade in favor of pastoralists. Beginning in January 2015, pasture and water availability will rise and will improve livestock body conditions, particularly in coastal areas.  

Day labor wages in rural areas are approximately 30 percent higher than in a normal year with increased employment opportunities due to new construction projects in various regions. Increased income sources are improving households' access to food, positively impacting their food consumption. Ten percent fewer households than last year have "poor" food consumption.

In most rural areas, food security has improved since 2013, particularly thanks to good Karan/Karma rains and the diversification of household income sources. However, in Obock Region and primarily in the inaccessible area of Allaili Dadaa, food insecurity is likely to last until at least through the end of the year. Households in this area will likely experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity through December, but the situation will improve to one of Stress (IPC Phase 2!) beginning in January thanks to coastal rains and food assistance. Households in the Northwest, Southeast Pastoral Roadside Zone, and some parts of the Central Zone should experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity from November 2014 through March 2015 thanks to the availability of food assistance.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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