Food Security Outlook Update

Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity continues in most rural areas

March 2015
2015-Q1-1-1-DJ-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
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
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
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Food security conditions in most rural areas remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in spite of the improvement in and diversification of sources of income.

Current Situation

Most areas of the country showed low rainfall totals for the Heys-Dadaa season (October-February). There were poor coastal Heys/Dadaa rains (October-February) in rural areas and vegetation is still typically dry in all parts of the country.

There has been no rain in Southeastern Pastoral areas since December 2014 and the dry conditions in these areas are beginning to affect rural populations. With very little available pasture and livestock in weakened condition, there is talk of a drought among pastoralists in Southeastern border areas. There are high rates of mortality among new-born animals and female goats giving birth are debilitated.

There have been reports of herd movements in Southeastern border areas such as Biidley and Kabah-Kabah in the direction of Somalia. Milk availability from livestock herds has been limited since the beginning of March. The Ali Addeh sector of Ali Sabieh Region, where the season got off to a good start, has also been affected by the premature end of the rains.

The Diraac/Soughoum rains (between March and June) have not yet begun and are being anxiously awaited. In fact, this season normally accounts for 25 to 50 percent of total annual rainfall and has significant effects on conditions in practically all pastoral areas.

Poor pastoralists in surrounding villages in construction areas have better than usual sources of income with the availability of daily labor opportunities, particularly in the Ali Sabieh and Tadjourah regions where there are major rural public works projects underway.

The half-rations furnished by ongoing food assistance programs are maintaining food insecurity at Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels for poor households in Southeastern border areas and the Northwest. Pastoral populations in high plateau areas in the central part of the country, Southeastern Roadside areas, and rural areas of Obock are also experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes. The Heys-Dadaa rains helped households in central areas of the country close to the coast, particularly in the vicinity of the Randa, Sagallou, and Kalaf where, though the supply of pasture is beginning to dwindle, livestock are still in decent physical condition. Thus, pastoralists in these areas are still experiencing only Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario presented in its Food Security Outlook for January through June 2015, apart from the following necessary updates:

  • The GHACOF is predicting below-average levels of rainfall for the Diraac/Soughum season between March and May, which will likely curtail access to pasture and water resources and affect household access to food and income.
  • There will most likely be an increase in food assistance as of May with the beginning of the lean season, in terms of the size of food rations and the size of corresponding target areas and populations.
  • Construction work on the railway line will provide continuing benefits through the end of April, particularly for pastoralists in the HollHoll and Daasbiyo areas.
  • Construction work on the road to Ethiopia is expected to provide major benefits for residents of Northwestern Pastoral areas as of April by expanding their sources of income.

Projected Outlook through June 2015

Based on the extremely low coastal rainfall totals and the forecast for below-normal levels of rainfall for the Diraac/Soughoum season, the expected improvement in food security conditions in most rural areas will more than likely not materialize.

Despite the expansion in sources of food and income for this year, there will still be very few sustainable options for accessing household food supplies. In fact, the reported improvements towards the end of last year were limited by the premature end of the Heys/Dadaa rains and there is increasingly less demand for labor at construction sites, particularly in the central part of the country.

The negative effects of the completion of construction projects, which had been helping to improve household income, and of the beginning of the lean season (in May) will be mitigated by the expansion in food assistance programs, which should maintain food insecurity at Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels for pastoralists in Southeastern border areas, at least through the month of June.

In spite of the limited rainfall activity, the expansion in local sources of income with the concentration of road construction work in Northwestern pastoral areas beginning as of April will keep food insecurity at Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels for households in these areas.

There will be a seasonal decline in these activities as of May with the beginning of the lean season and the accompanying hot weather, which will limit access to sources of food and income. Pastoralists in Southeastern Roadside areas, the Obock region, and central mountain areas will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

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