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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in significant parts of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • East Africa
  • July 2013
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in significant parts of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Food insecurity has declined in many parts of East Africa as household food supplies increased, following the end of the March to June season. Nevertheless, over 12 million people are likely to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through September.

    • Food insecurity in Sudan and South Sudan is expected to deteriorate through September in some areas. Ongoing conflict between the two countries, conflict in Abyei Area, and conflict in Pibor County in Jonglei State in South Sudan have resulted in displacements, loss of livelihoods, and loss of access to humanitarian assistance, labor opportunities, and markets.

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity are likely to persist among poor households in eastern Amhara, southern, southeastern, and eastern Tigray, and the highland areas of East and West Hararghe in Ethiopia through September, following successive, poor seasons of agricultural production.

    Current Situation

    Significant improvements in household food security have occurred after the conclusion of the February to June rainfall season in many parts of East Africa. The most notable improvements have occurred in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, western and central Kenya, central and southern Somalia, and southern and southeastern Ethiopia. Both household food supply and milk availability have increased, resulting from harvests and enhanced livestock productivity in these areas. While over 12 million people remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda, the number signifies a marked reduction from about 15 million at the end of 2012.

    The June to September rainfall season has begun in the western sector of the region. Above normal rains occurred in many parts of southern and eastern South Sudan and southern Sudan in June. However, below normal cumulative rainfall fell in northern South Sudan and southwestern Sudan. The just-concluded March to June rainfall season was normal to above normal in most parts of the region. However, a three-week to one month early cessation of rains from the end of April to mid-May has resulted in significant yield reductions and crop losses, especially in the southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya, parts of Hiran Region in Somalia, eastern Amhara, southern Tigray, and cropping areas in the greater Equatoria states in South Sudan. Overall, favorable rains resulted in fairly good national harvests in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. Also, the harvests are or are expected to improve food security in parts of southern and central Somalia and central and southwestern Kenya. Livestock body conditions and productivity have improved substantially in the agropastoral and pastoral areas of northern and northeastern Kenya, southern and central Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern and northwestern Tanzania. 

    However, food insecurity remains precarious and likely to worsen through September in Sudan and South Sudan, precipitated by ongoing conflict between and within the two countries, which has resulted in displacement, inability to trade effectively across borders, constrained migration options for Sudan’s Messeriya pastoralists, and reduced revenue from oil production. The conflict within Pibor County in Jonglei State in South Sudan has intensified, with a high number people still displaced and displacements continuing. Few of the displaced within Jonglei have access to food, income, or humanitarian assistance. However, a significant proportion of the displaced moved to Kapoeta and Ethiopia. Consecutive poor rainy seasons and production in eastern Amhara, parts of eastern Oromia, and northeastern Tigray in Ethiopia have resulted in constrained access to food for poor households. Subsequently, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in areas in Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

    Starting in May, staple food prices began to fall, especially in areas where harvesting of green or dry crops is ongoing. In southern Somalia, June sorghum prices were unseasonably low due to continued supplies from two overall, fair harvests last year while staple food prices are also declining in Kenya, Rwanda, southern Tanzania, and Uganda. While staple food prices in the Belg-producing areas of Ethiopia have declined somewhat, food prices remain well above average levels for the Belg harvesting period in southern and eastern Ethiopia. Staple food prices are also unseasonably low in Sudan, attributed to above normal production from 2012/2013 and recently strengthened and already existing restrictions on exports to South Sudan. 

    Updated Assumptions

    Most of the assumptions made in the East Africa Food Security Outlook for April to September 2013 and revised in the East Africa June Food Security Update, remain in place. However, the following assumptions have been updated:

    • In June, the assumption was updated that the Implementation Matrix between Sudan and South Sudan would likely not be implemented, resulting in an expansion in balance of payment deficits, heightened inflation, and depreciation of both currencies relative to major trading partners’ currencies. This continues, to some extent, the situation of reduced trade and high tensions between the countries that has existed since the referendum for South Sudan’s independence in January 2011.
    • In May, there was an assumption that there would be an influx of people from South Sudan into the Abyei Area in preparation for the October referendum. The updated assumption for South Sudan is that the anticipated referendum that was intended to determine the status of Abyei may not take place in October as scheduled. Subsequently, tensions are expected to progressively rise, especially in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)-controlled areas in South Kordofan. Of current returnees to Abyei, an estimated 57,000 are likely to be displaced once again to South Sudan’s Unity, Warrap, and Northern Bar El Ghazal States.
    • In June, the assumption was that cumulative June to September rains will be near normal in the northern sector, including western and central Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, northern Somalia, and Djibouti. It was expected to be average to below average in terms of volume over northeastern Amhara, South Tigray, northern Afar, and northern Somali Region in Ethiopia. The assumption has been updated, with total June to September rainfall likely normal to below normal in Sudan and South Sudan, except for in Upper Nile State in South Sudan and the Darfur States in Sudan, where it is forecast to be normal to above normal. 

    Projected Outlook through September 2013
    • Food insecurity is likely to deepen from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) from August through September in the SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan in Sudan. Continued lack of access to humanitarian assistance, near-absence of income sources from agricultural production and labor, and progressive stripping of assets over an extended period since June 2011 are pushing poor households towards Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Conflict has worsened since March. The lean season is expected to continue through September. However, poor households in conflicted-affected areas that are controlled by the Government of Sudan (GoS) in Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and South Darfur are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September, depending on their access to land, labor opportunities, and levels of displacement. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to prevail in the SPLM-N-controlled areas in Blue Nile and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in SPLM-N-controlled areas in South Kordofan. Poor, overall local production during the 2012/2013 season combined with the impacts of the conflict has caused deterioration in household food access over the past two to three months. Heightened tensions regarding the scheduled Abyei referendum in October, coupled with the stalemate over the status of the Implementation Matrix could precipitate additional conflict in border areas of Sudan, while leading to higher inflation, which could ultimately constrain the purchasing power of poor households.
    • Food insecurity is anticipated to worsen through September for poor households in the border areas of Warrap, Unity, and Northern Bahr El Ghazal States in South Sudan, due to a combination of heightened conflict, anticipated below average June to September rains, constrained household food supplies, and increasing staple food prices. Food prices are expected to rise steadily in South Sudan from July through the beginning of the harvest in October, because household food stocks are exhausted and imports from Sudan declined from April to May. Imports are similar to the already reduced levels of 2012. Poor and displaced households in Pibor County in Jonglei State face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as their access to income, food, and humanitarian assistance is limited. Nearly 23,000 people were displaced to Kapoeta and Ethiopia at the end of May. Those left in Pibor County have very limited access to humanitarian assistance.
    • Ongoing heavy rains, coupled with a 50 percent decline in the volume of informal cereal imports from Sudan to South Sudan from April to May, are also limiting and the movement of goods and people, placing upward pressure on food prices due to the increase in transaction costs across many border and conflict-affected areas.
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to persist through September among poor and very poor households in eastern Amhara, southern, southeastern, and eastern Tigray, and the highland areas of East and West Hararghe in Ethiopia, after below normal Belg harvests, resulting from a late onset of the February to May Belg rains and their early cessation in late April or early May. Sorghum prices have been rising substantially since April, relative to the increase in income from agricultural labor during the June to September Kiremt rains. Income from labor is therefore not sufficient to for household food purchases amidst rising staple food prices. However, food insecurity is expected to ease from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the Belg-dominant and sweet potato-growing southern woredas of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), following the Belg harvest.
    • Poor households in the agropastoral and pastoral areas of Afar and parts of northern Somali Region in Ethiopia where the March to May Gu/Sugum rains were below average, after poor rains in the previous season, are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September. Pastoral purchasing capacities have been eroded by falling livestock productivity. However, better March to May Gu/Genna rains in most parts of southern Somali Region and the lowlands in Borena, Guji, and Bale Zones have improved livestock productivity. Improvements are not sufficient to remove households from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) because of low, total livestock holdings, coupled with constrained purchasing capacities resulting from expected higher than average staple food prices through the end of the Meher lean season in September.
    • Food access has improved among poor households in many parts of Somalia, following the conclusion of the April to June Gu rains. Most poor households are anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September, despite further improvements in food security. Malnutrition has likely declined in the South and Northwest as compared to rates in December 2012. Improvements in pasture, browse, and water in pastoral areas have resulted in improved livestock productivity and terms of trade, increasing access to food coupled continued or increased humanitarian assistance in some areas. Pastoral conditions remain poor in the central and northeastern coastal areas in the Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone. Despite remaining in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security has improved in the western parts of the Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, following rains in March. However, poor distribution of the Gu rains and in some spots below average total rainfall led to poor pasture or crop development in Hiran Agropastoral livelihood zone and in pastoral livelihood zones in Mudug and Bari Regions including Coastal Deeh, Sool Plateau, and Dharor Valley. Crop performance is likely to be below average in the riverine areas of Jowhar in Middle Shabelle due to flooding and in agropastoral areas of southern Somalia due to the early cessation of Gu rains. Anticipated good July to August Hagaa rains in coastal areas of the Jubas and Shabelles will likely lead to a larger than average off-season harvest in August/September, compensate for below average Gu production in July/August in Hiran and Middle Shabelle Regions. Most of the poor and very poor households in rural areas of Somalia are anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to continue among poor households in Southeastern Borderside Pastoral livelihood zone and the pastoral areas around Obock in Djibouti through at least September. A succession of well below average March to June Diraac/Sugum rains, following below average October to December Hays/Dadaa rains eroded livestock productivity and also lengthened the lean season, which started in May instead of July and lasts through September. Labor opportunities are constrained as many businesses close in July for the “summer exodus” when many better off households travel to Somalia, Ethiopia, and further abroad to avoid the heat. While close to 70 percent of households depend on humanitarian assistance during a typical July to September lean season, this year, a 40 to 50 percent World Food Program (WFP) pipeline shortfall has reduced the ration sizes by a similar amount as the same number of households are being targeted.
    • Poor households in the northern, northwestern, northeastern, and southern agropastoral and pastoral areas, and marginal agricultural households in the southeastern and coastal lowlands in Kenya are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September. While the March to May long rains were generally near average in terms of total rainfall, an early cessation of the rains at the beginning of May to mid-May, depending on the area, adversely affected crops, possibly precipitating an early start to the November to December lean season. However, the availability of long-cycle cowpeas and the increased flow of maize from Tanzania is likely to mitigate any deterioration in food security. Although poor and very poor pastoral households hold few livestock, substantial improvements in pasture, browse, and water availability improved livestock productivity and value, sustaining Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through at least September.
    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is expected to prevail in most parts of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania from July through September for poor households. Generally, near normal to above normal rainfall from March to May resulted in favorable crop and livestock production. However, poor April to May rains retarded crop development in Karamoja region in Uganda, after two poor previous seasons, lowering the purchasing capacities of poor households. Although milk output has increased and humanitarian assistance is ongoing in Karamoja, low livestock holdings are likely to sustain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for very poor households in Karamoja, even after the end of the lean season in August. Preliminary results of a nutrition assessment carried out by Makerere University and the World Food Program (WFP), suggest high levels of malnutrition in most districts of Karamoja.
    • Substantial improvements in household food security in Rwanda follow the above average harvest that has increased household food supply, improved labor opportunities during harvesting, and enhanced livestock productivity. Due to a one month early cessation of season ‘B’ rains in April, crop production and thus household food stocks are currently lower than usual for poor households in both the Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral and the northern part of the Eastern Agropastoral livelihood zones. Food availability and labor opportunities are likely to be constrained by an expected increase of close to 70,000 returnees during July 2013. This is the result of the June 30 cessation of refugee status for those who fled Rwanda prior to December 31, 1998. WFP is providing returnees with three-month food rations.
    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most areas of Burundi resulted from increased household food supply following the onset of season ‘B’ harvest in June. However, crop losses due to banana and cassava fungal and viral diseases and poor May rains reduced output in affected areas in the Northwest. Poor May rains are likely to also cause an earlier than usual depletion in pasture, browse, and water and reduce livestock productivity in agropastoral areas. Food security for about 166,200 refugees is anticipated to deteriorate significantly after an expected reduction in WFP-provided assistance from May to October.
    • Poor households across Tanzania are expected to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least September. Household food supplies have increased in the southern, unimodal areas during the ongoing Msimu harvests. National supply is expected to increase further when the Masika harvest begins in July in the northern, bimodal areas. However, improved household food access is compromised by fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases affecting bananas and cassava, which have reduced yields. In addition, food prices, though declining, remain above their respective five-year averages due to continued high domestic and export demand. 

    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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