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Desert locust, high food prices, and conflict threatens household food security across the country

  • Key Message Update
  • Ethiopia
  • January 2020
Desert locust, high food prices, and conflict threatens household food security across the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Despite average 2019/20 national Meher production, continued recovery from previous poor seasons, above-average food prices, and sporadic conflict events have resulted in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across most eastern parts of the country. Areas worst affected by poor 2019 Kiremt rainfall and desert locusts in Amhara and Tigray Regions are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least May. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are also most likely in areas impacted by the below-average Belg harvest as households are reliant on markets and their purchasing power is below normal. In pastoral areas of Afar, Somali and southeast Oromia are likely to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as households continue to recover from recurrent drought and ethnic conflict.   

    • Mature desert locust swarms crossed into eastern and northeastern regions of Ethiopia from Yemen and Somalia in July 2019 and since have affected several agricultural, pastoral and agropastoral areas.  The recent above-average October to December Deyr/Hagaya season has led to favorable ecological conditions for desert locust breeding. In January 2020, the locust swarms and bands spread to southeastern pastoral areas and is likely negatively impacting vegetation. Reports also indicate that locusts are moving towards the Rift Valley. Although, current local and national control operations have been inadequate to decrease the spread of the desert locusts, according to FAO nearly 11,000 hectares of land have been controlled.

    • Households continue to be displaced by conflict events in areas of the country. According to the 2020 HRP, in January roughly 1.78 million people were displaced across the country, of which 70 percent are displaced due to conflict. According to an assessment in late December 2019, nearly 68,000 new internally displaced people (IDPs) were identified in 28 Kebeles of Liben, Gorodola, Sebaboru Sebaboru, and Agawayu Agawayu woredas in Guji Zone of Oromia Region as the result of conflict. In these areas, IDPs left most if not all their livelihood assets and property behind, as houses were burned, and people quickly fled. These households are residing either in camps, the majority, or within a host community seeking food, shelter, health, and nutritional assistance.

    • According to the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), a cholera outbreak is ongoing in Oromia, Somalia, and SNNPR regions as of the last week of December 2019. EPHI Reports, a total of 350 cholera cases with 15 deaths occurred from late December through mid-January. Most of the cholera cases and deaths were in SNNPR, followed by Oromia and Somali Regions. Health and nutrition agencies are working to control the outbreak. There will also likely be some impacts on food security as households will likely spend more money on healthcare and some households will forgo daily labor to care for the sick.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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