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Food insecurity likely to worsen in the southeast and Obock from June through September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Djibouti
  • May 2015
Food insecurity likely to worsen in the southeast and Obock from June through September

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Food insecurity is anticipated to worsen for poor households in the Southeastern Borderside and Obock, from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), from June through September 2015. The decline is attributed to constrained access to food and income, following a succession of two poor seasons, including the March to May Diraac/Soughoum in 2015 and the October to February Heys/Dadaa rainy seasons.

    • An estimated 82,000 people (including 1,145 refugees from Yemen) are receiving humanitarian assistance, constituting an about 60 percent of the rural population. However, re-distribution of food to non-targeted households, adverse impacts of two poor production seasons, declining labor opportunities, and eroding coping strategies, have combined to accentuate food insecurity for poor households, likely through most of 2015.

    ZONE

     CURRENT ANOMALIES

     PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Southeastern (Borderside) and Obock Pastoralists

    • A significantly poor start of the March to May 2015 Diraac/Soughoum rainy season, following below average October to February 2015 Heys/Dadaa rains.
    • Impacts of a succession of poor seasons likely to persist through most of 2015, translating into poor livestock productivity and limited crop output, constraining food access for poor households.

    Southeastern (Borderside) and Obock Pastoralists

    • Labor opportunities are beginning to shrink as temperature rise, compounding food insecurity for labor-dependent poor households.
    • Reduced labor incomes through September 2015, will accentuate the impacts of the seasonal rise in food prices, during the June to July Ramadhan period, reducing food access for poor households.

     


    Projected Outlook Through September 2015

    Food insecurity is projected to intensify significantly from June through September 2015, in Southeastern Borderside Pastoral Zone and among Obock Pastoralists situated in the northern parts of the Central Lowland Pastoral livelihood Zone. The March to May 2015 Diraac/Soughoum rains begun poorly and cumulative rainfall remains well below seasonal averages. While the Diraac/Soughoum rains account for 30-35 percent of total annual rainfall and are less significant than the more important Heys/Dadaa rains, the October to February rains were also below average. Figure 1 depicts the poor Diraac/Soughoum rains in the Southeast Borderside Livelihood Zone. 

    The cumulative impacts of two successive poor seasons are also manifested in poor rangeland conditions, as shown on Figure 2, likely to precipitate an early start to the lean season in May, rather than June. Deterioration in rangeland resources including water, pasture, and browse, is anticipated to accelerate substantially during the June to September lean season, because these seasonal deficits have characterized most of 2015. Subsequently, livestock body conditions, health, and productivities are likely to decline markedly in Obock and the Southeastern Borderside Zone. The poor body and health conditions are also likely to predispose livestock to the current upsurge in livestock diseases including the Contagious Caprine and Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia, compromising an important food and income source for poor pastoral households. Milk output from livestock is already lower than seasonal averages, estimated at less than one liter per day, insufficient to meet needs of children and the household as a whole, affecting adversely the nutrition status of poor households, who are unlikely to purchase milk.

    Although the price of key food staples, including sorghum flour, wheat flour, and rice have remained stable in May and through most of 2015, in most markets, food prices are expected to rise during June and July, due to heightened demand for food commodities during the Ramadan period. Ramadan also falls within the June to September lean period where labor opportunities are limited, following migration of employers to Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Gulf States, for the summer holidays, limiting income sources amidst rising food prices. Subsequently, purchasing capacities of poor households are likely to be impaired during this lean season, which will likely be more severe than usual, due to the succession of poor seasons in the Southeastern Roadside Zone and Obock pastoral areas.

    While humanitarian assistance is currently targeted to an estimated 60 percent of the population in the Southeastern Roadside Zone and Obock, rations are sized to meet half of household food needs; and are usually redistributed further, to non-targeted households, minimizing their effectiveness in mitigating household food deficits, for poor households. Coping capacities have also eroded substantially for poor pastoral households, who typically own only 1-2 Tropical Livestock Units (TLUs) and are unlikely to fetch favorable prices for their livestock during the lean season, as market values decline. Income from charcoal production, sand harvesting, and firewood production, will also be less viable coping strategies due to high June to September temperatures and government restrictions on these practices.

    Subsequently, food security prospects for poor pastoralists in the Southeast Borderside Livelihood Zone and Obock, point to a substantial deterioration in food security from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), from June through September, at least. The October to February rains are the next important season in these zones, suggesting that heightened levels of food insecurity during the lean season could persist for most of 2015. However, the influx of about 870 refugees from Yemen into Obock and about 280 Djibouti Ville has not had a significant impact on the food security of Obock pastoralists, so far.

    Food insecurity for poor households in the Central Pastoral, Northwest Pastoral, and Southeast Roadside Pastoral Zones is also anticipated to deepen from June through August, before the inland Karan/Karma rains establish. Although some measured recovery occurred following average seasons in 2014, the rural pastoral livelihoods are fragile due to low livestock holdings (2-3.5 TLUs), limited income opportunities during the lean season, and recurrent drought shocks. Therefore, household food access is likely to decline and poor households will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from June through September. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Comparative rainfall in the Southeastern Livelihood Zone, January to May 10, 2015 compared to average.

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Comparative rainfall in the Southeastern Livelihood Zone, January to May 10, 2015 compared to average.

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 2. Comparative vegetation conditions in Obock, eMODIS, January to May 10, 2015

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Comparative vegetation conditions in Obock, eMODIS, January to May 10, 2015

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 4

    Source:

    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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