Food Security Outlook Update

Food insecurity remains a concern in conflict-affected areas of the DRC

December 2018

December 2018 - January 2019

Carte des résultats estimés plus probables de la sécurité alimentaire, octobre 2018 à janvier 2019: Crise (Phase 3 de l'IPC)  en l'Est et la region des Kasai, Stress (Phase 2 de l'IPC) dans le sud est. Minimale (Phase 1 de l'IPC) dans le nord

February - May 2019

Carte des résultats estimés plus probables de la sécurité alimentaire, février à mai 2019: Crise (Phase 3 de l'IPC)  en l'Est et la region des Kasai, Stress (Phase 2 de l'IPC) dans le sud est. Minimale (Phase 1 de l'IPC) dans le nord

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
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 only maps the Eastern half of DRC.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
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 only maps the Eastern half of DRC.

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
Not mapped
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The 2018–2019 growing season A, which began with delayed rains in the northeastern and central eastern parts of the country, is continuing as normal. As the season progresses, green food crop harvests are expected to take place from mid-December, depending on the season’s actual start dates. The effects of these rainfall anomalies on production will remain negligible and will favor average harvests.

  • Since October 2018, the resurgence of conflict over traditional leadership succession backed by armed groups in the Nindja chiefdom in Kabare territory, South Kivu, has caused widespread population displacement, with nearly 11,000 households already displaced to the localities of Luntukulu and Kalonge, in the midst of the growing season. Having abandoned their land, these households do not anticipate any harvest, which could result in declining agricultural production in this area beset by near perpetual violence of armed groups.

  • The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), first reported in early August 2018 in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, is spreading in this part of the country and has become the largest national EVD epidemic yet. The epidemiological situation as of 9 December 2018 indicates 494 cases, with 283 deaths to date. The persistence of this epidemic in these areas affected by armed conflict could, in the medium term, have an adverse effect on household livelihoods and could limit trade with other entities during the coming harvests.

  • The DRC continues to receive deportees from Angola, who are generally residing in the Kamonia and Luiza territories in the Kasai region and in Kwilu province. Since October 2018, an estimated 370,000 people have been living in a precarious humanitarian situation. In the absence of any humanitarian assistance, food insecurity in these areas that have already been destabilized by ethnic conflict could be unprecedented in the short term.

CURRENT SITUATION

 

Evolution of growing season: The season A green harvest of the 2018–2019 growing season may take place during the latter half of December in the northeastern and central eastern parts of the country. This could extend to January and February 2019 with large seasonal harvests. Household stocks will be sufficient during this period. However, these stocks may not last as long as usual since the seasonal output is expected to be below average.

Markets: Owing to below-average production, there is limited food availability in local markets. Moreover, import restrictions from neighboring countries, including Zambia and Tanzania, have also impacted availability and the prices of the main staple foods in many local markets in the southeastern part of the country. Prices have increased in several parts of the country and these increases are more pronounced in the southeast. In Kamina, for example, the price of maize in July increased by almost 20 percent over the previous month.

Security situation in the run-up to the next elections: The security situation in the DRC continues to be marked by multiple, acute crises affecting a large part of the country, which are manifesting in different ways in various areas. During this period, some areas have seen an improvement in the security situation, prompting populations to return, particularly in the Kasai region and Tanganyika province. (It should be noted that the presence of deportees from Angola is having an impact on household livelihoods in receiving areas, especially during this lean season.) However, there has been a resurgence of violence in other parts of the country. In Ituri, attacks against the national army and the general population have become increasingly intense and regular in recent days, particularly in the Djugu and Irumu territories.

In North Kivu, various local and foreign armed groups are fighting against the national army, which has support from elements of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in the area known as the ‘triangle of death’, linking Erengeti, Oicha and Beni. In South Kivu, various Mai-Mai groups have made incursions into the territories of Fizi and Kalehe. Together, these outbreaks of violence have caused the already precarious humanitarian situation in these localities to further deteriorate and have resulted in an increase in the number of displaced persons fleeing the fighting, and consequently abandoning their fields during the growing season.

The DRC is also preparing for its next elections at the end of December and is thus in the midst of campaign propaganda. How these elections unfold will influence the remainder of the period and consequently, will determine the food security situation throughout the country.

Ebola: The Ebola epidemic was declared in August 2018 in the Beni-Butembo area, an area that has also seen recurrent attacks by armed groups, limiting people’s access to cropland. Over the coming months, this situation will have a negative impact on the food security situation in this area that previously registered a surplus. According to a World Food Programme survey undertaken in this area destabilized by armed conflict, and well before the Ebola crisis, about 70 percent of households were experiencing severe or moderate hunger.

Nutrition: Protracted food insecurity in parts of the DRC continues to adversely affect the population’s nutrition. Nutrition surveys carried out in more than 47 administrative entities from June to December 2018 show that the prevalence of malnutrition exceeds the alert threshold (10 percent) in 28 of these entities (60 percent). In the Kasai region, the prevalence of malnutrition in some health areas (Dibaya, Katende Lubunga, Mwethsi and Tshitenge) is above the emergency threshold (15 percent, World Health Organization (WHO) classification).

Humanitarian assistance: Humanitarian actors are gradually beginning to provide support for populations in the affected areas. However, the level of assistance relative to need remains low. In Djugu, Ituri province, it is estimated that less than 17 percent of households in need will be able to receive assistance for agricultural recovery.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

The current situation has not affected the development of the FEWS NET most likely scenario for October 2018 to May 2019. A full review of the scenario is available in the October 2018 to May 2019 outlook report posted on the FEWS NET site.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2019

The lean season, which started early in August 2018, will continue until the second half of December 2018. During this period, the green harvests of the main food crops may improve household food consumption in the northeastern and central eastern parts of the country. Large harvests are expected to take place in January and February 2019. During this period from December 2018 to March 2019, production is estimated to be below average, since the consequences of the crises and conflicts are preventing people from developing their livelihoods, which will influence household food availability. Household stocks will not cover more than two months of consumption in most agricultural households. As a result, most areas will not change phase.

In the Kasai region, the massive influx of people expelled from Angola, who are sharing resources with the indigenous peoples, could exacerbate the level of food insecurity in this region in the absence of humanitarian assistance. During the two harvest months (January and February 2019), agricultural households will consume their own output; from March onward, once stocks from the growing season have been depleted, these households and new arrivals will have to resort to increasingly dangerous survival strategies. From then on, food prices will rise and households will have little access to food, forcing them to increasingly adopt survival strategies. In this region, some areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) while others will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), especially those having experienced massive population displacement and receiving areas for displaced persons.

During the reporting period, the other provinces, including Tanganyika, Ituri (Djugu), South Kivu, Maniema and part of the Kasai region, will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with a few entities in the southeastern and central eastern parts of the country (North Kivu and South Kivu) experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity.

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.

USAID logoUSGS logoUSDA logo
NASA logoNOAA logoKimetrica logoChemonics logo