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Crisis food insecurity in pastoral areas to persist through 2016 despite good rains

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Djibouti
  • April 2016
Crisis food insecurity in pastoral areas to persist through 2016 despite good rains

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  • Key Messages
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2016
  • Key Messages
    • The March to May Diraac/Sugum rains started late, which initially impacted the prolonged dry conditions associated with El Niño. However, since the end of March, there has been some restoration of rangeland conditions with above average rainfall over most of Djibouti for the past month, which is forecast to continue through May, despite earlier predictions of below-average rainfall. 

    • Despite the ongoing Diraac/Sugum rains, large parts of Southeast Pastoral-Border, Northwest Pastoral in Dikhil and Ali Sabieh Regions, and Obock Pastoral still face limited livestock production and reduced purchasing power for households due to several consecutive seasons of below-average rains. Households will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September. 

    • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), from March 1-April 25, 770 refugees fleeing the conflict in Yemen arrived, putting the total number of Yemeni nationals at 19,636. In addition, 1,900 drought-affected households from Somalia and Ethiopia have resettled in Djibouti. The influx of refugees is putting additional pressure on limited food sources and income among poor households in host communities. Many refugee households are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    ZONE

     CURRENT ANOMALIES

     PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Southeast Pastoral-Border Zone, Northwest Pastoral Zone, and pastoralists in Obock

    • The March to May Diraac/Sugum rains, which started late, are now improving vegetative conditions, pasture and water availability.

     

    • The March to May Diraac/Sugum rains are expected to be average to above average, rejuvenating the poor pasture and livestock conditions and availability of water for humans and livestock.

     

    Obock and Arta pastoral areas, Ali Sabieh and Dikhil border areas

    • The continued influx of refugees and migrants from Yemen, Ethiopia and Somalia is increasing competition for limited employment opportunities among poor households in host communities.

     

    • The arrival of more refugees is likely to continue due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and drought experienced in the neighboring countries, limiting the availability of income-earning opportunities.

    PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2016

    The March to May Diraac/Sugum rains started; however, the overall rainfall performance by the end of the season is expected to be average to above average (Figure 1). The ongoing rain has helped to rejuvenate the poor vegetative conditions and water availability caused by the prolonged El Niño-related dryness. This is expected to lessen livestock losses and improve livestock body conditions and milk output. The rain will help to mitigate the early start of the lean season in May, which is characterized by decreased food availability and limited income opportunities. The forecasted July to September Karan/Karma rains are expected to be average to slightly above average in terms of cumulative rainfall, which will further help improve food security outcomes.

    Despite, the onset of the rains, the worst affected populations remain in Southeast Pastoral-Border, Northwest Pastoral in the Dikhil and Ali Sabieh Regions, and Obock Pastoral, which have previously experienced consecutive below-average seasonal rains since October 2014. The vegetation levels in these drought-

    affected areas are far below long-term averages. As a result, poor households have limited access to milk and livestock products, as well as income from the sale of livestock and related products. In addition, coping capacities for the poor households have been eroded substantially, leaving them with food and income deficits. In a normal year, poor households would cope through the sale of bush products, firewood, charcoal and migration to border countries, but these options have been exhausted. Overall, the total population experiencing food insecurity is seasonally expanding and greater food insecurity is expected through the end of the lean season in September. Humanitarian assistance is mitigating the food security situation for a portion of the affected population, with approximately 40,000 people receiving some food assistance from WFP, of which 21,500 are receiving general food distributions and 18,500 are benefiting from food-for-work programs. In the absence of this assistance, the food security outcomes would be even worse and the needs likely higher.

    Though the prices for most staple foods, including wheat flour, rice and sorghum, have remained stable, the purchasing power capacities of poor households have declined significantly as livestock terms of trade have deteriorated with weakening body conditions. Purchasing power is likely to fall further during the lean season and Ramadan period in June due to seasonal cereal price increases arising from high festive demand; however, this is partially offset by increased livestock sale prices, particularly for goats, due to higher demand during Ramadan.

    As of April 25, UNHCR estimates that there are 35,562 refugees, migrants and returnees in Djibouti from the conflict in Yemen, of which 19,636 are Yemeni nationals. The majority of the refugees are residing in Markazi Refugee Camp in Obock Region, while others are integrated with host households in Obock Region and Djibouti City. Djibouti also hosts more than 20,000 long-term refugees, primarily from Somalia, who reside in Holl and Ali Addeh camps in Ali Sabieh Region. Moreover, the drought, which is affecting neighboring countries, is also increasing the refugee burden in Djibouti. Since January 2016, approximately 1,900 pastoral households from Somalia and Ethiopia, who lost their livestock, reportedly settled in the regions of Ali Sabieh (1,000), Dikhil (700) and Arta (200). The influx of displaced persons has increased the number of people seeking casual labor, thereby increasing competition for limited income-earning opportunities among poor households in host communities. The majority of the refugees are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September until the end of the lean season.

    Figures Arc2 30-Day Percent-of-Normal Rainfall (%), March 30 – April 28, 2016

    Figure 1

    Arc2 30-Day Percent-of-Normal Rainfall (%), March 30 – April 28, 2016

    Source: CPC/NOAA

    SEASONAL CALENDAR FOR A TYPICAL YEAR

    Figure 2

    SEASONAL CALENDAR FOR A TYPICAL YEAR

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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