Alert

Increased likelihood of a dry June to September season in parts of East Africa

June 4, 2014

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.

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
National Parks/Reserves
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
Concentration of displaced people – hover over maps to view food security phase classifications for camps in Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda.
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.

Key Messages

  • Current forecasts suggest an increased likelihood of below-average June to September rainfall in many areas of East Africa and an increased likelihood of flooding along the Nile and its tributaries in South Sudan and Sudan.

  • If these forecasts are realized, main season harvests in Sudan and South Sudan, and to a lesser extent, in Ethiopia and Kenya could be negatively affected.

  • Given poor rainfall in recent months and high levels of existing food insecurity, particularly in South Sudan and Sudan, contingency planning should begin immediately.

The May 26 forecast released by the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) provides a probabilistic rainfall forecast for the June to August 2014 period. This forecast divides the region into three areas: Area I is expected to be seasonably dry, Area II is expected to receive average to below-average rainfall, and Area III is forecast to receive average to above-average rainfall (Figure 1). National forecasts from Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia reach similar conclusions (Figures 3 to 5). The GHACOF also identified 2006 and 2009 as analogue years when atmospheric conditions were similar to this year. The coming El Niño is cited as a major driver of the GHACOF forecast and poor rainfall in the region’s northern sector during past El Niño events is highlighted. Finally, the forecast notes that many areas of the region have already received poor rains during the past three months (Figure 2).

In South Sudan, a major food security emergency is ongoing in Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei States.  While the GHACOF forecast is positive for the Southwest, an important surplus-producing zone, it suggests an increased likelihood of below-average rainfall in the conflict-affected areas, where displacement and seed shortages have already compromised land preparation and planting. The identified analogue years, especially 2009, were poor production years in South Sudan. In addition, though conditions in the Northeast are expected to be relatively dry, flood risk in this area remains higher than usual given the forecast for average to above average rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands.

In Sudan, the regional and national forecasts both suggest average to below average rainfall across the country. Given the country’s very poor cereal harvest last year and prevailing high cereal prices, a below-average rainy season could have significant food security impacts. Darfur, North Kordofan, and areas hosting IDPs are of most concern. As with South Sudan, heavy rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands could result in significant flooding along the Nile.

Other areas of concern include: 1) the northeastern highlands and Afar in Ethiopia, 2) western Djibouti, 3) the “Greater Illemi Triangle” including Turkana, Karamoja, southwestern Ethiopia, and southeastern South Sudan, 4) surplus-producing areas of western Kenya, and 5) Rwanda and Burundi. Many of these areas have already experienced drier than usual conditions over recent months. In Kenya, the Ministry of Agriculture is predicting a significant decline in maize production this year, below-average rainfall persists through July.

Given current forecasts, rainfall to date, and existing levels of acute food insecurity, contingency planning should begin immediately, particularly in areas at risk of flooding and in South Sudan, where the food security impacts of the current forecast could manifest themselves most quickly. FEWS NET will continue to monitor available forecasts and seasonal progress and will provide an updated forecast analysis in late July.

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.
Learn more About Us.

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