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Poor rainy seasons for coastal populations

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Djibouti
  • February 2013
Poor rainy seasons for coastal populations

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • While the Karan/Karma season (July‐October) in inland areas ended well, pasture and water access in northwestern pastoral areas is declining earlier than usual due, in part, to the overuse of these resources. The food security situation, though deteriorating, is still classified as stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • With the extremely poor coastal rains, households in the Southeast are experiencing large livelihood deficits in terms of livestock productivity. There are severe water shortages and the forecast for the Diraac/Soughoum season, which was supposed to ease conditions for pastoralists, is for below-average rainfall.

    Current Situation
    • The performance of the current Heys-Dadaa season (OctoberMarch) is still below-average and vegetation in all parts of the country is characteristically dry.
    • In general, staple food prices are still at or below prices last year and the last three-year average.
    • Food security conditions for households in northwestern and central pastoral areas are still Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in spite of the improvements in pasture and water availability in these areas. With less output from livestock and virtually no Heys/Dadaa coastal rains, southeastern pastoral border areas and the Obock region are experiencing Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3). Food insecurity levels in urban areas, where poor seasonal conditions are reflected in the depletion of household resources, have also reached Crisis level (IPC Phase 3).

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not changed any of the assumptions used by FEWS NET as basis for the most likely food security scenario for the period from January through June 2013. An in-depth examination of this scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for January through June 2013.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013
    • The good Karan/Karma rains improved the availability of natural resources (pasture and water) for the benefit of households in the Northwest. However, expected below-average livestock productivity after the large losses of animals in past years and the weakened state of remaining herds will maintain acute food insecurity for these households at Stressed level (IPC Phase 2) between February and March. Conditions during the second half of the outlook period, which coincides with the long dry season, could get worse, with even lower levels of livestock productivity. Apart from food aid from the World Food Programme, households are still resorting to unsustainable and relatively ineffective strategies, such as sharing food assistance within the community, to help mitigate the effects of the lack of food access. There will be a slight deterioration in the food security situation of households in this area which, with continuing deliveries of food aid, should remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
    • With the poor outlook for the rest of the Heys/Dadaa season and the forecast for normal to below-normal levels of Diraac/Soughoum rains in southeastern pastoral border areas, the physical condition of livestock is expected to deteriorate, with a corresponding reduction in output. To improve livestock productivity, households will share their food with their animals at the expense of their own food intake. The poor rainfall outlook for the rest of the Heys/Dadaa season and for the Diraac/Soughoum season, the loss of their livelihoods, and the exhaustion of their coping strategies are liable to keep households in these areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 2) acute food security throughout the outlook period.
    • Rural populations in the Obock region have been coping with a rainfall deficit. The combined effects of the drought and seasonal diseases are keeping animal mortality rates high. According to the heads of health centers, over 80 percent of admissions of local residents to their facilities are for illnesses associated with malnutrition and anemia. These populations are currently experiencing Crisis food insecurity (IPC Phase 3). With the long dry season just beginning and the existing poverty in this area in terms of property ownership (livestock), rural households in Obock are especially vulnerable to food insecurity and could remain in Crisis throughout the outlook period.
    • Poor urban households in Djibouti City are still coping with the effects of the large seasonal outlays that depleted their resources and put them in debt. They will continue to face Crisis food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) through the end of March, which should return to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between April and June, once their savings are replenished.
    Figures Seasonal Calendar

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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