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Below-average Xays/Dadaa rains limit rangeland for pastoralists

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Djibouti
  • March 2014
Below-average Xays/Dadaa rains limit rangeland for pastoralists

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The early end to the October to February Xays/Dadaa coastal rainy season has limited water and rangeland resources in the southeast and in Obock Region.
    • Continued reductions in food aid have reduced food availability for households in Dikhil and Obock who increasingly rely on in-kind support from family members in Djibouti City.
    • Currently, most rural areas are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance. Northwest Pastoral and Southeast Pastoral-Border livelihood zones and Obock Region will likely enter Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in April/May.

    Current Situation
    • The Xays/Dadaa costal rainy season which usually occurs through the end of February ended earlier than normal in mid-January with overall below-average rainfall and poor distribution. Since the beginning of February, rainfall deficits have developed across the country. Water levels have started to decrease in Kabah-Kabah and Biidley localities in the southeast of the country, causing deficits in livestock grazing areas. Poor rainfall performance has caused rural households to exhaust their water reserves carried over from the favorable July to September Karan/Karma inland rainy season.
    • Prices for the main staple foods, flour, rice, and sorghum, remained stable from January to February in major markets across the country. With the exception of higher sorghum prices in Ali Sabieh and Tadjourah, February staple food prices were generally lower than last year. Sorghum flour prices in Ali Sabieh were 48 percent higher in January compared to last year and increased by 13 percent from January to February. The increase in sorghum flour prices is mainly due to an increase in cost of transportation since January on the newly refurbished railway between Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and Djibouti City. After paying low promotional prices from October to December 2013, traders are now paying market rates to transport commodities on the railway, making transport more expensive. Djibouti depends on Ethiopian imports as the main supplier of sorghum.
    • The early end of the October to February Xays/Dadaa rains has led to faster deterioration than normal of water at water points, pasture, and browse, particularly in the Southeastern Pastoral and Obock region. Limited natural resources have reduced the contribution of animal production to sources of income and food. Food aid also continues to decrease.
    • Households in Dikhil and Obock increasingly rely on in-kind support from family members in Djibouti City because of the continued reduction World Food Program (WFP) food assistance. WFP plans to decrease food aid through June 2014.
    • Currently the majority of rural populations in the Central Pastoral livelihood zone and Southeast Pastoral-Roadside livelihood zones are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The Southeast Pastoral-Border livelihood zone, Northwest Pastoral livelihood zone, and Obock Region are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to the continued presence of humanitarian assistance.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for January to June 2014

    Projected Outlook Through June 2014
    • The March to May Diraac/Sugum rainy season will seasonally replenish pasture, browse, and water availability. Rainfall during the Diraac/Sugum season is typically limited so replenishment o, water resources from conservation systems such as dams and reservoirs will be maintained only from April to May. At this period, populations in the Northwest, Southeast, and Central Pastoral livelihood zones will continue to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).
    • From May to June, with the start of lean season, livestock production and other income-earning activities will barely cover households’ food needs. The early end to Xays/Dadaa costal rainy season combined with the continued decrease in food aid—a main source of food for many households—will compromise food access in the Northwest Pastoralists in Southeast Pastoral-Border livelihood zone, Obock Region, and Northwest Pastoral livelihood zone will enter in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in April/May 2014.
    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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