Food Security Outlook Update

Livestock deaths continue in Afar and Sitti Zone

August 2015
2015-Q3-1-1-ET-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.
Partners: 
WFP

Key Messages

  • With far below average rainfall both during the March to May Diraac/Sugum and during the July to July to September Karan/Karma rains thus far, incredibly dry conditions have led to poor livestock body conditions and very low livestock production in most of Afar and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in northern Somali Region. Unusual livestock deaths and unseasonal livestock migration continue. 

  • In southern Afar and Sitti Zone in Somali Region, households’ are getting almost no food or income from their livestock. Livestock prices and demand have fallen considerably. Already dry conditions will be exacerbated by the start of the dry season in September/October. With continued high cereal prices, low livestock prices, and no expected increase in other income sources, poor households will be unable to purchase sufficient quantities of food and have food consumption gaps. Acute malnutrition prevalence is likely to increase. These areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) but only with the continued presence of humanitarian assistance through December and into 2016. 

  • There was very little rain during the first three weeks of July, and despite some rain in late July, cumulative June to September Kiremt rainfall thus far has been well below average in most eastern, central, and southern crop-producing areas. As a result of low rainfall, below-average Meher production is anticipated in these areas.

Current Situation

  • In Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), after having low rainfall for most of July, there were more normal amounts of Kiremt rainfall in late July and early August. However, overall, June to September rainfall remains below average thus far. It continues to be especially dry in Mirab Abaya of Gamo Gofa Zone and Humbo Woreda of Wolayita Zones.
  • In SNNPR, only 63 percent of average planted area was under Meher crops as of mid-August. Additional short-cycle Meher crops were planted at the end of July through mid-August. Most of these crops have germinated and are at the seedling stage. Crops planted in June, particularly along the Rift Valley, started to dry out and wilt during the dry spell in July. Coffee is late in its flowering and seed setting.
  • In eastern Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia, the first three weeks of July were very dry. So despite the on-time start of the June to September Kiremt rains, the rains have been below average in amount. In late July and early August, there were more normal amounts of rains.
  • Dryness in July has stunted the growth of Meher crops in eastern Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia Regions. While long-cycle sorghum and maize are at the vegetative and early growth, many of these crops have wilted and others failed to germinate. Other Meher crops are at the vegetative or germination stages. In some of East and West Hararghe Zones in eastern Oromia, farmers are replanting. Governmental and humanitarian agencies are providing seeds. In Arsi Zone of Oromia, some areas have been left fallow. In Amhara, only 76 percent of average planted area had Meher crops on it as of mid-August.
  • In eastern Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia, pasture and water availability has declined, following the well below average March to May Belg rains and the dry spell in July. Households are purchasing fodder at high prices. In some places, the price of a sack of dry hay has doubled or more over the past two to three months. In eastern Oromia, livestock have been abnormally migrated during the rainy season to river valleys with year-round rivers and neighboring areas. Some of these areas are also hosting additional in-migrated livestock from Somali Region. Livestock body conditions are poor in eastern Tigray and Amhara Regions, and they are even poorer with many emaciated livestock in eastern Oromia. Unusual livestock deaths continued to be reported in Jarso, Kurfachele, and Meta Woredas in East Hararghe Zone, and in Anchar, Goba Koricha, Habro, Daro Lebu, and Hawi Gudina Woredas in West Hararghe Zone. Unusual livestock deaths have also been reported in other parts of Oromia and South Wollo and North Shewa Zones in Amhara.
  • In most areas of Afar and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in northern Somali, the March to May Diraac/Sugum rains were far below average. Since then, in most areas there have not been any July to September Karan/Karma rains. In the areas where it has rained, these rains started up to a month late and have been far below average. Pasture and water availability have declined at a time of year when normally they would be increasing. Livestock body conditions are poor, and production is low. Households are receiving almost no food or income from their livestock. Unusual livestock deaths continued to be reported in Mille, Dalul, Buremoditu, Gewane, Awash Fentale, Awra, Teru, and Yallo Woredas in Afar, and the lowest elevation areas in Aisha, Hadigala, Afedem, Shinile, and Meisso Woredas of Sitti Zone. Unusual livestock migration to find pasture and water continues from, from southern Afar towards Oromia Region, and from Sitti Zone towards Oromia Region, Dire Dawa, and Djibouti. Similar migration from northern Afar towards adjacent areas of Tigray and Amhara Regions was also reported. Households have food consumption gaps.
  • Humanitarian assistance by the government and partners continues in Afar and Sitti Zone of Somali Region. Food in-kind is being provided to the population, and fodder is being provided to help save the lives of breeding stock. 12 water trucks are operating in Elidar, Kori, Dubti, Gewane, Berhale, Amibara, Erebti, and Dalul Woredas of Afar Region. Similarly, Oxfam Great Britain and Save the Children International (SCI) also providing water trucking in Sitti Zone.
  • In southern Somali Region, the March to May Gu rains started late in southern Shebelle (formerly Gode) and Afder Zones. However, following the heavier rainfall in April and May, the cumulative March to May Gu rainfall was average to above average. Having more pasture and water available than many other areas, livestock have been in-migrated from northern Afder to Bare and Dollo Bay Woredas of Afder Zone and from southern Shebelle to agropastoral areas near the Shebelle River, including northern Gode and southeastern Danan Woreda. Concentration of livestock is causing competition for resources.
  • In southern Somali in southern Shebelle (formerly Gode) Zone in Mustahil, Ferfer, and Kelafo Woredas, Gu planted area along the Shebelle River in flood-recession agricultural areas was above average. However, over 80 percent of the crop was washed away or damaged by floods in late April and early May. As a result, the Gu harvest in June/July was far below average. In addition to low grain harvests, incomes have been lower than usual due to the floods damaging cash crops, such as onions, sesame, carrots, and tomatoes.
  • In most eastern areas of Ethiopia, cereal prices increased from June to July. This is due to the usual seasonal rise in prices as supplies from the October to January Meher harvest were drawn down and due to the delay in the Belg harvest from June/July to August/September, especially in SNNPR. For instance, in Sodo in Wolayita Zone in SNNPR, the price of white maize increased five percent from June to July. Compared to the post-harvest period in January, the maize prices were 24 percent higher. In Chiro in West Hararghe Zone in eastern Oromia, the maize price increased nine percent from June to July. In Gubalafto in North Wollo Zone in eastern Amhara, the sorghum prices increased 25 percent from June to July.
  • Due to deteriorating livestock body conditions, livestock prices for declined in eastern Oromia. For instance, in Chiro in West Hararghe Zone, the goat price has declined 12 percent from June to July. It was 29 percent less than last year.
  • In SNNPR, the number of cases of malnutrition was increasing in July and August. The number of admissions of children under the age of five to therapeutic feeding programs (TFPs) increased 39 percent from May to June. In June, there were 56 more admissions than in 2014 and 26 percent more than in 2013. TFP admissions in June 2015 were 66 higher than last year in Tigray and 36 percent higher than last year in Oromia. Outpatient therapeutic program (OTP) admissions in June 2015 were 12 percent higher than last year in East Hararghe Zone in eastern Oromia and 14 percent higher than last year in West Hararghe Zone.

Updated Assumptions

Most of the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario in the July to December 2015 Outlook remain unchanged.

Projected Outlook Through December 2015

  • Afar and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone of northern Somali Region: With only light rain forecast over the next two weeks, the July to September Karan/Karma rains will likely remain below average. There is unlikely to be a significant increase in pasture, browse, or water availability. Therefore, livestock body conditions are not expected to improve, and livestock production and productivity are not expected to increase. Households will have neither food from milk nor additional livestock to sell between now and December. With the long dry season starting in October, livestock migration is expected to further intensify, as livestock are led even farther away in search of pasture and water. Poor households in Sitti Zone and southern Afar will continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) only with the continued presence of humanitarian assistance. Households in central and northern Afar will be Stressed (IPC phase 2!) but only with the continued presence of humanitarian assistance from July to December.
  • Lowlands of Gamo Gofa, Wolayita, Hadiya, Kambata Tambaro, Gurage, Halaba, and Sidama in SNNPR: In some areas, households have started eating haricot beans and Irish potatoes from the Belg harvest, but most of the crops are still immature or will not be able to be harvested. The expected below-average cumulative June to September Kiremt rainfall will likely mean that the well below average and late Belg harvest through September will be followed by below-average Meher production in November/December. Agricultural labor opportunities, mainly working on coffee, from October to December are likely to be less available than usual due to likely below-average coffee production. While milk yields have increased during the Kiremt rains, total milk production will remain below average due to the low number of lactating animals and low small ruminant conception rates during the February to May Belg rains. Most households will have some of both harvests to consume through December, so food consumption will increase slightly starting in September when the bulk of the Belg crops are harvested. Poor households in these areas are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in August and September, and then they will move into Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with continuation of humanitarian assistance from October to December.
  • Segen Zone, and the highlands of Gamo Gofa, Wolayita, Hadiya, Kambata Tambaro, Gedio, and Sidama in SNNPR: With more rainfall, Meher production is expected to be near average, particularly in the western areas. Even though there may be some areas with a below-average harvest in the highlands of the central and eastern parts of these areas, food availability will still increase from October to December during the Meher harvest. High staple food prices and the delayed Belg harvest mean that households are currently unable to pay for all their essential non-food livelihoods protection expenses and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September. As the bulk of the Belg harvest becomes available, then income from labor related to the Meher crops, then the Meher crops, most areas will improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However, in the highlands of Gedio and Sidama and the westernmost areas will remain in Minimal (IPC phase 1) from now through December 2015.
  • Lowlands in the Tekeze River catchment in Wag Himra and North Gondar Zones in Amhara Region: Households exhausted their food stocks earlier than normal this year. With continued average to below-average June to September Kiremt rainfall expected, below-average planted area is likely. This will lead to less income from agricultural labor than usual, a key source of income to buy food in August and September. As staple food prices seasonally rise through September, food access will decline. Poor and very poor households will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in August and September. With the meager harvest in October/November, poor households will likely move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to December.
  • Lowlands of East Shewa, West Arsi, and eastern Oromia, and some midlands in West Arsi Zone: As households have exhausted their own food stocks, they will need to pay seasonally rising food price in markets. With less income from livestock due to poor livestock body conditions and less access to labor opportunities due to the below-average June to September Kiremt rains, households will be unable to buy adequate quantities of food and be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in August and September. While the Meher harvest in October/December is expected to be below average, even poor households will likely have enough harvest and enough income from harvest labor to move into Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance from October to December.
  • Belg-producing areas of northeastern Amhara: The Belg harvest was below average. Continued dry conditions into June and July led to deteriorating livestock body conditions and declining availability of agricultural labor opportunities. As staple food prices are expected to continue rising, households will be unable to purchase adequate quantities of food and remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in August and September. As the Meher harvest enters markets from October to December, staple food prices are expected to decline. As households are able to purchase more food, they will move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance from October to December.
  • Kelafo, Mustahil, and Ferfer Woredas in southern Shebelle Zone, Bare and Dolo Bay Woredas in southern Afder Zone, Liben Zone in southern Somali Region, and the lowlands in Borena Zone in southern Oromia Region: Earlier than usual livestock in-migration occurred during the March to May Genna rains. Livestock were in-migrated both from neighboring areas and from Somalia and Kenya. As livestock have been concentrated in areas with pasture and water, competition for these resources is intensifying. It is likely that during the remainder of the dry season in August and September that pasture and water will be exhausted in many areas by the large number of livestock present and by the heat. As few camels or cattle have calved in recent months, likely due to the low conception rate during the March to May Gu rains in 2014, milk availability is expected to decline. With less milk, seasonally increasing cereal prices, and fewer labor opportunities in nearby agricultural areas during the rest of the dry season through September, these areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the continued presence of humanitarian assistance. After the Deyr/Hageya rains start in October, competition for rangeland resources will decrease, prices are likely to fall due to the harvest in other parts of the country, and these areas will improve to Stressed (IPC phase 2) from October to December.
  • Other areas of southern Somali Region: Seasonally rising cereal prices are reducing purchasing power, despite the seasonal increase in income and thus food access as livestock production and productivity increased following the average to above-average March to May Gu rains.  During the remainder of the dry season through September, livestock prices are expected to decline along with milk yields. However, the forecast average to above average October to December Deyr rains are expected to allow for the renewal of rangeland resources, facilitating a more than season increase in livestock production and productivity. As many cattle and camel conceived during the October to December 2014 Deyr rains and many small ruminants conceived during the more recent March to May Gu rains, there will be a high rate of calving, kidding, and lambing during the coming rainy season. This will help consolidate increasing herd sizes. The increased number of lactating females will increase milk production. Poor households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September in the remainder of the dry season, but these areas will improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) but only with continued humanitarian assistance from October to December as households become able both to feed themselves and to protect their livelihoods by gradually increasing their herd sizes. 

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.
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