FEWS NET is monitoring the multiple impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on acute food insecurity in the countries where we operate and will incorporate this analysis into our ongoing reporting.


Areas of Highest Concern

Reason for Concern

Conflict events have declined, but periodically affect trade, humanitarian access, and livelihoods. The loss of livelihood assets during the conflict has reduced household food and income sources and eroded coping capacity. Very poor macroeconomic conditions constrain household market access.

Current Observations

Some COVID-19 movement restrictions were lifted on May 7th. While this may permit a relative rebound in household income from casual labor, the president has indicated a reversal is possible if cases continue to rise.

Reason for Concern

Protracted conflict has severely disrupted livelihoods and reduced income-earning. Food prices remain elevated and food access is inadequate for many households. Currently, over 17 million people are in need of humanitarian food assistance.

Current Observations

There is increasing evidence suggesting the rapid and undetected spread of COVID-19 in Yemen, is likely to reduce income-earning and increase health costs for directly impacted households.

Reason for Concern

Boko Haram attacks continue in the northeast, and insecurity in the northwest and central states are causing displacement of households and limiting access to livelihoods. Over 2.5 million people are currently internally displaced in these regions.

Current Observations

Despite COVID-19 related restrictions having fewer impacts in rural areas, planting activities for the ongoing agriculture season are occurring at below-average levels due to conflict, insecurity, and movement restrictions.

Other Areas of Concern

Reason for Concern

Ongoing conflicts in the Kasai region, North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Maniema, and Tanganyika Provinces have caused continuing displacement and affected households’ abilities to access typical livelihood activities. 

Current Observations

More than 1000 families have fled their homes in Djugu Territory, Ituri Province in the past week due to ongoing attacks by the CODECO armed group.

Reason for Concern

Due to very poor macroeconomic conditions and the expected two consecutive poor seasons, atypically high humanitarian assistance needs are expected to continue throughout 2020.

Current Observations

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing malaria outbreak with over 262,000 cases between January and early May is adding to the burden on an already fragile healthcare system.    

Reason for Concern

The deteriorating security situation is disrupting household access to livelihoods and markets. At least 1,200,000 people are displaced throughout the region.

Current Observations

The United Nations has warned that jihadist groups are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to increase attacks in the Sahel, including the Liptako-Gourma region.

Reason for Concern

The 2019 Deyr/short rains season was exceptionally above average, resulting in widespread river and flash floods. In some areas, this has slowed recovery from the previous 2018/19 and 2016/17 droughts. 

Current Observations

Recent heavy rain and floods will likely increase the risk of waterborne disease among flood-affected households and may contribute to higher levels of COVID-19 community transmission in crowded settlements of displaced people.

Areas of Highest Concern

Country or Region Reason for Concern Observations
South Sudan

Conflict events have declined, but periodically affect trade, humanitarian access, and livelihoods. The loss of livelihood assets during the conflict has reduced household food and income sources and eroded coping capacity. Very poor macroeconomic conditions constrain household market access.

Some COVID-19 movement restrictions were lifted on May 7th. While this may permit a relative rebound in household income from casual labor, the president has indicated a reversal is possible if cases continue to rise.

Yemen

Protracted conflict has severely disrupted livelihoods and reduced income-earning. Food prices remain elevated and food access is inadequate for many households. Currently, over 17 million people are in need of humanitarian food assistance.

There is increasing evidence suggesting the rapid and undetected spread of COVID-19 in Yemen, is likely to reduce income-earning and increase health costs for directly impacted households.

Nigeria

Boko Haram attacks continue in the northeast, and insecurity in the northwest and central states are causing displacement of households and limiting access to livelihoods. Over 2.5 million people are currently internally displaced in these regions.

Despite COVID-19 related restrictions having fewer impacts in rural areas, planting activities for the ongoing agriculture season are occurring at below-average levels due to conflict, insecurity, and movement restrictions.

Other Areas of Concern

Country or Region Reason for Concern Observations
DRC

Ongoing conflicts in the Kasai region, North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Maniema, and Tanganyika Provinces have caused continuing displacement and affected households’ abilities to access typical livelihood activities. 

More than 1000 families have fled their homes in Djugu Territory, Ituri Province in the past week due to ongoing attacks by the CODECO armed group.

Zimbabwe

Due to very poor macroeconomic conditions and the expected two consecutive poor seasons, atypically high humanitarian assistance needs are expected to continue throughout 2020.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing malaria outbreak with over 262,000 cases between January and early May is adding to the burden on an already fragile healthcare system.    

Bordering areas of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali

The deteriorating security situation is disrupting household access to livelihoods and markets. At least 1,200,000 people are displaced throughout the region.

The United Nations has warned that jihadist groups are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to increase attacks in the Sahel, including the Liptako-Gourma region.

Horn of Africa

The 2019 Deyr/short rains season was exceptionally above average, resulting in widespread river and flash floods. In some areas, this has slowed recovery from the previous 2018/19 and 2016/17 droughts. 

Recent heavy rain and floods will likely increase the risk of waterborne disease among flood-affected households and may contribute to higher levels of COVID-19 community transmission in crowded settlements of displaced people.

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Peak needs 2018

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Scenario development video

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 approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics