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Widespread Stressed and Crisis levels of food insecurity

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Djibouti
  • November 2012
Widespread Stressed and Crisis levels of food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • There are approximately 150,000 people affected by drought at present in Djibouti, including 70,000 food insecure people in rural areas.

    • The food security situation in most pastoral areas has not changed significantly since the previous month. However, the forecast for good Heys/Dadaa (October to March) rains has not materialized and rainfall levels to date are below normal.

    • In general, prices in October in all major areas of the country were comparable to last year’s prices, with prices for rice and sorghum slightly below last year’s figures.


    Current Situation
    • Progress of the rainy season: The performance of the Heys/Dadaa rains (October-March) thus far has been below average. In terms of vegetation conditions, most of the country is still typically dry, particularly areas in the eastern reaches of the Tadjourah region.
    • Prices: In general, prices in October in all major areas of the country were comparable to figures for last year, with rice and sorghum prices down slightly, by seven and four percent, respectively. The price of wheat flour on the Dikhil and Obock markets is just above the previous three-year average.
    • Food security outcomes: Food security conditions in central and northwestern pastoral areas are still Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in spite of the improvements in water availability and the condition of pasturelands. The country’s southeastern pastoral border areas face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity, due to fewer livestock resources and less improvements following the Karan/Karma rains than in the northwestern areas. The critical situation in urban areas of Djibouti City is chronic, marked by high rates of unemployment and poverty, aggravated by large seasonal income outlays between July and September that typically deplete household resources. Households in these urban areas face Crisis levels at present (Figure 1).

    Updated Assumptions

    The following adjustments have been made to the assumptions outlined in the Food Security Outlook for October 2012 through March 2013. Unless otherwise indicated, the assumptions presented in the October Outlook are still valid.

    The expected improvement in the income of pastoralist households in southeastern pastoral areas from the sale of livestock has not materialized. In fact, the Heys/Dadaa rains failed to begin on schedule and there is no significant improvement in the physical condition of livestock that would lead to improvements in prices (and therefore pastoralist incomes). The contribution of livestock-raising activities to overall food supplies will be more than 30 percent smaller than usual after several consecutive years of drought, forcing households to sell off their livestock capital at below-average prices.


    Projected Outlook through March 2013
    • While there should be better sources of food during the outlook period (November-March) than during the lean season (May-September), household food access will be poorer than in a typical year throughout this period. The good Karan/Karma rains and continuing food aid programs will strengthen pastoralist livelihoods during the first part of the outlook period, between November and December.
    • The improvement in household income between January and March compared to current income levels will help reduce dependence on food aid. However, output from local livelihoods in southeastern pastoral areas will not suffice to meet household food needs. Households in the country’s border area are expected to continue to face Crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) throughout the outlook period. The food needs of this household group will be met mainly by food aid and through the sale of charcoal.
    • The food security situation of households in northwestern pastoral areas will improve during the outlook period due to continuing food aid programs and better output from livestock-raising activities, though conditions will still be Stressed. Even with a good Karan/Karma rainy season, the previous string of poor seasons will prevent household food security conditions from recovering as quickly as usual.
    • Poor urban households in Djibouti City are still feeling the effects of the large seasonal outlays serving to deplete household resources and increase debt levels. Thus, these households will remain in Crisis through the end of December, moving back down into Stressed levels between January and March once they are able to rebuild their savings. 
    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    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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