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Crisis levels of food insecurity will persist following below-average March to May rains

  • Alert
  • East Africa
  • June 30, 2012
Crisis levels of food insecurity will persist following below-average March to May rains

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  • Summary
  • Situation

  • Summary

    Crisis and Emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 and 4) are expected to persist through at least September in parts of the Greater Horn, following mixed and generally below-average March to May rains. Very heavy rains and flooding occurred in the western sector of the region, while other parts of the region experienced significant rainfall deficits despite heavy rains in April and May (Figure 1). In Belg- and root crop-dependent areas of Ethiopia’s SNNP Region and the northeastern highlands and agropastoral areas of southern Somalia, emergency food assistance needs will peak between now and July/August. In pastoral parts of the greater Mandera Triangle and in the agropastoral areas of the southeastern and coastal lowlands of Kenya, humanitarian assistance needs will be most acute during the July and September dry period.


    Following the very late onset of this year’s Belg rains in Ethiopia, a very poor cereal harvest is expected in Belg-producing areas, including the northeastern highlands and SNNPR, where root crop production has also been extremely poor this year. With the Belg harvest expected two months later than normal in late July/August, the lean season will extend until July/August 2012. Given high population density, above-average food prices, and widespread chronic food insecurity, significant livelihood protection and food consumption deficits (Crisis levels of food insecurity) are expected through July/August.

    In the southeastern and coastal lowlands of Kenya, a very poor long rains harvest (with complete crop failure in some areas) is expected, marking the third consecutive poor harvest in these areas. Poor and very poor households are reportedly turning to distress coping strategies such as distant labor migration and withdrawal of children from school to engage in labor. Crisis levels of food insecurity are expected to persist until short-cycle crop harvests in December. 

    In Somalia, poor harvests are expected in agropastoral areas of Middle and Lower Juba, Gedo, Bakool, Bay and Hiran due to poor rainfall and pest infestations. Food prices will continue to rise until the next harvest, which is expected one month late, in August. These areas are slowly recovering from Famine (IPC Phase 5) last year, and levels of acute malnutrition remain very critical. Although modest seasonal improvements in food security are expected with August harvests, Crisis and Emergency level food insecurity are expected to persist.

    In most pastoral areas of the greater Mandera triangle, near-normal rains (and some localized heavy rains and flooding) replenished water points and regenerated pasture and browse. However, rains were substantially below average in central parts of Garissa and Tana River districts, western Mandera, and southern Ijara and Wajir in Kenya; parts of Gode, Korahe, Warder, Afder, Degehabur, and Fik zones of Ethiopia, and parts of Gedo and Middle and Lower Juba Regions of Somalia. Earlier than usual livestock migrations are intensifying in some areas. Crisis levels of food insecurity are expected to persist in some areas through at least September on the Ethiopia and Kenya sides of the Mandera Triangle. In Somalia, moderate improvements in pasture and water availability are expected to improve livestock body conditions, thereby increasing livestock prices and purchasing power among pastoralists. In southeast pastoral areas, food security will improve from Emergency to Crisis levels between July and September.

    FEWS NET will continue to monitor seasonal progess in areas of concern in the eastern Horn. In Crisis and Emergency areas, current and projected levels of food assistance are not expected to fully mitigate food and livelihoods protection deficits. Additional humanitarian assistance is needed to prevent deterioration in nutritional status and food access for these households. 


    Figures Figure 1. Mar 1- May 31 rainfall (% of normal)

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS

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