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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes to continue through September in many areas

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • February - September 2016
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes to continue through September in many areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by Country
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • The impacts of the El Niño-driven drought in 2015 are expected to continue through much of 2016 in Ethiopia. More than 10 million people will require emergency assistance following substantial agricultural production, livestock and income losses.Poor pastoral households in Afar Region and Sitti Zone in the Somali Region, as well as many agricultural households in East and West Hararghe, Wag Himra, and North Wollo, will remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through at least September 2016.

    • It is expected there are populations in central Unity State in South Sudan currently facing an extreme lack of food and in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) acute food insecurity. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely through September in many parts of Greater Upper Nile as the ongoing conflict has contributed to severely limiting production, access to labor, and markets. In addition to conflict, South Sudan’s troubling economic situation is also contributing to restricted food access for many across the country.

    • Conflict in Yemen continues to severely restrict food access for many. Although still above 2014 levels, food prices on most markets had been down compared to several months ago. Access to markets remains severely constrained by low income earnings and as household savings have become eroded. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food security outcomes are expected to continue for many in western Yemen.

    • 2015 El Niño-related drought in Sudan has contributed to well below-average production and poor pastoral conditions in some northern areas. Western areas are expected to be most impacted by the drought, where many poor households are already in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) well before the normal onset of the lean season in the summer.Atypically high needs for resident households in 2016 come in addition to already high levels of need for conflict-affected and displaced households.

    • Improvements to household food security, following favorable October to December El Niño rains, are likely to continue through June in the eastern Horn of Africa in Kenya, central and southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia, in Rwanda, and most of Uganda. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely for most areas through September 2016.

    Outlook by Country
    • El Niño-related drought in 2015 significantly impacted Belg and Meher harvests across much of central and eastern Ethiopia, and contributed to very low levels of pasture regeneration in northern pastoral areas. More than 10 million people are in need of emergency food assistance in 2016 as a result of subsequent impacts to food availability and access.

    • In drought-affected Afar Region and Sitti Zone of northern Somali Region, many poor households continue to face larger gaps in their basic food needs. Herd sizes have been very significantly reduced either by livestock deaths or increased livestock sales. Much of northern pastoral Ethiopia will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food security outcomes through September.

    • Agricultural and agropastoral areas of East and West Hararghe, Wag Himra, and North Wollo also face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes as 2015 drought left them with little to no harvest stocks and reduced labor and livestock incomes. Broader areas of eastern Tigray and Amhara, central and eastern Oromia, and northern SNNPR will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September.

    • Current contributions to the humanitarian appeal for food assistance have only funded approximately 45 percent of identified needs. In the absence of additional funding, assistance will not be guaranteed past June, while peak needs are expected between June and September.

    To learn more, read the complete Ethiopia Food Security Outlook.

    • Food security has improved significantly following two consecutive above-average seasons. According to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group’s (KFSSG) February short rains assessment, the number of food insecure people requiring immediate humanitarian assistance declined to roughly 640,000 people, a 41 percent decrease in the past six months.

    • Household food security has improved across most pastoral areas after the above-average short rains, influenced by the ongoing El Niño, supported favorable rangeland conditions. Most livestock continue to graze near homesteads and, as a result, households have access to livestock products. Some pastoral households have improved to None (IPC Phase 1), but the majority remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). 

    • The short rains harvest is ongoing and expected to be above average in the Southeast. Most households in these areas are expected to remain in None (IPC Phase 1) through September. However, in the Coastal Marginal Agricultural Mixed Farming livelihood zone, poor temporal and spatial distribution of the short rains affected crop production, which is expected to be 60–80 percent of average. This will lead to below average household stocks and likely increase the number of people who are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the lean season.

    To learn more, read the complete Kenya Food Security Outlook.

    • Over one million people are currently in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4). The most food insecure people are in Guban Pastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, and Northwestern Agropastoral livelihood zones, as well as in camps for internally displaced persons. Food security in these areas is primarily the result of below-average rainfall which led to limited pasture and water availability and elevated livestock death rates. 

    • The October to December Deyr rainfall was average to above-average in southern and central regions, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño. These rains improved pasture, browse, and water availability and supported favorable crop production. With the exception of Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone, food security is expected to improve in most southern and central regions. 

    • The Deyr harvest of sorghum and maize is estimated at 130,100 metric tons, 18 percent above the five-year average. Production was significantly above average in Bay and Lower and Middle Shabelle Regions. However, the Southern Rainfed agropastoral areas of Lower and Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle Regions had significantly below average crop production. 

    To learn more, read the complete Somalia Food Security Outlook.

    South Sudan
    • More than 2.3 million people have been displaced by the ongoing insecurity in South Sudan. Protracted conflict continues to severely limit food access and availability for many as livelihoods remain inaccessible, market functioning is severely disrupted, and the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance is restricted. According to the December 2015 IPC update, approximately 40,000 worst-affected households in central Unity State are expected to be facing an extreme lack of food and are in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

    • Broader areas of Unity State are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and face an elevated risk for high levels of acute malnutrition and potentially elevated mortality. Following poor 2015/16 harvests and as food access becomes further restricted by high purchase prices and low incomes, northern Jonglei and parts of Upper Nile will also move to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the absence of continued and further humanitarian access as more households begin to experience larger gaps in their basic food needs.

    • Staple food prices remain very high across the country while available income for purchase remains well below average for many. The limited availability of foreign currency and continuing depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound are contributing to making importing food commodities difficult and keeping prices high. These economic conditions, which constrain household market access, are contributing to high levels of acute food insecurity for many outside of Greater Upper Nile, including among urban populations.

    To learn more, read the complete South Sudan Food Security Outlook.

    • Below-average agricultural production in 2015, expected high staple food prices, very poor pasture conditions, and continued conflict in the Darfurs, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile States are leading to much higher assistance needs in 2016. Between March and September 2016, more than 4 million people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse. The number of rural, resident households expected to be in Crisis is about twice as high as in a typical year.

    • National 2015/16 cereal production is about 25 percent below the recent five-year average, in part due to El Niño-related dryness in eastern surplus-producing areas. Imports and above-average carryover stocks from 2014/15 are substantially reinforcing cereal availability at the national level. However, in western Sudan, below-average production and poor market integration with eastern and central Sudan are likely to lead to significant staple food price increases.

    • Below-average production is of particular concern in parts of North Kordofan, West Kordofan, Kassala, Red Sea, White Nile, and the Darfur States. Moreover, pasture availability is estimated to be 40 to 60 percent below-average nationally, leading to large sales of livestock at below-average prices, which is expected to continue through June. Very poor households in these areas are likely to exhaust their food stocks by the end of February, and by March will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • Armed conflict since mid-January between SAF and SLA-AW forces in the Jebel Marra area has displaced nearly 90,000 people to North Darfur and thousands more to West Darfur State and within the Jebel Marra area. IDPs not receiving food assistance and/or host community support are most likely in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Conflict-related disruptions to agricultural production, livelihood activities, and markets will also drive IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan State into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) with the early start of the lean season in March 2015.

    To learn more, read the complete Sudan Food Security Outlook.

    • In bimodal areas, above-average October to December rainfall, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, supported average to above-average crop production. Household food stocks will last through the next harvest in June and households are expected to maintain None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least September.

    • In both bimodal areas and unimodal Karamoja, the upcoming rainy season is forecast to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall with a near normal start in March/April. This is expected to provide agricultural labor opportunities, lead to average harvests, and improve pasture and water resources. 

    • In Moroto and Kaabong Districts, after depleting food stocks four months early in December, very poor households are not able to meet their minimum food needs through typical coping strategies. Very poor households are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the end of the lean season and improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in July when green harvests increase food availability. 

    To learn more, read the complete Uganda Food Security Outlook.

    • Market disruptions and limited household purchasing power due to below-average incomes are severely limiting food access for many poor households in conflict-affected areas of Yemen. In the absence of improved access, food consumption gaps and the severe depletion of livelihood assets are expected to continue, in line with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between February and September 2016, depending on the area. Displaced populations are likely facing the worst food security outcomes.

    • Yemen imports approximately 90 percent of the wheat required to meet its local consumption needs. Although improved import levels have caused wheat flour prices to decline compared to several months ago, the average price of wheat flour increased slightly in February 2016 compared to the previous month (5 percent) and was 7 percent above pre-conflict February 2015 levels. Given the expected effects of the ongoing depreciation of the USD/YER exchange rate, food prices will likely rise in the coming months.

    • Conflict in Ta’izz is continuing to hamper the delivery of adequate humanitarian and commercial supplies to populations in need. As a result, February food and fuel prices in Al Ma’afer market in Ta’izz were the highest observed across all monitored markets. Although food security outcome data for Ta’izz remains limited, livelihood disruptions and poor household purchasing power are expected to maintain many poor households in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity through at least September 2016.

    To learn more, read the complete Yemen Food Security Outlook.

    Countries monitored remotely[1]

    • Despite above-average rainfall, driven primarily by El Nino, Season A production was 10 percent below average nationally as a result of conflict-related disruptions to agricultural activities. Throughout the country, the availability of Season A harvests and income from Season B agricultural labor are slightly improving household food security. However, movement and market access remain constrained in many areas. Many poor and conflict-affected households remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • Below-average production and conflict are of particular concern in Bururi, Citiboke, Kirundo, Muyinga, Makamba, Mwaro, and Rumonge. Many households in these areas have below-average stocks from poor Season A production and conflict continues to disrupt Season B agricultural activities, limiting income-earning opportunities. Furthermore, staple prices remain above both last year and five-year averages. Some poor households are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least the end of the lean season in May.

    • As of March 21, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that civil insecurity had displaced 252,530 Burundians to neighbouring countries. The estimated 25,000 people who are displaced internally in Kirundo, Muyinga, and Rutana Districts have limited access to humanitarian assistance and are likely in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The IOM notes that there are likely additional displaced populations in less accessible conflict-affected areas.

    To learn more, read the complete Burundi Remote Monitoring Update.

    • The ongoing Heys/Dadaa rains have been well below-average, associated with the ongoing El Niño. Large parts of Southeastern Pastoral, Northwest Pastoral of Dikhil Region, and Obock Pastoral were affected by consecutive below-average seasons in 2015. These shocks have led to constrained production and purchasing power among many pastoralist households. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is likely to continue among poor households in these regions, at least through September 2016. 

    • As of February 15th, 2016, an estimated 32,199 refugees fleeing the conflict in Yemen have arrived in Djibouti. The influx of refugees is putting additional pressure on limited sources of food and income among poor households in host communities. Many refugee households are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    To learn more, read the complete Djibouti Remote Monitoring Update.  

    • Poor households are currently engaging in Season B agricultural labor, including land preparation and planting. It is anticipated that the April to May lean season will be mild for most households given average to above-average Season A harvests that followed favorable rainfall, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño. With adequate household stocks and typical income-earning opportunities, most poor households are expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through May.

    • Despite favorable national production, Season A harvests were below average for the third consecutive season in Kayonza, Kirehe, and Nyagatare Districts of Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone. Although income from labor supported food access in February and March, income-earning opportunities are expected to seasonally decline in April.An increasing number of poor households are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity during the April to May lean season.

    • As of March 18, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that Rwanda is hosting 75,052 refugees from Burundi, with nearly 98 percent in Mahama and Kigali camps. Some refugees continue to seek labor opportunities in areas surrounding the camps, resulting in a reduction in labor wages and inflationary trends in some areas. Refugee populations remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), but only with continued humanitarian assistance.

    To learn more, read the complete Rwanda Remote Monitoring Update.

    • The ongoing Vuli harvest in northern Tanzania is expected to be below average following an erratic rainy season and early-season flooding due to heavy El Niño rains. A below-average Vuli season will extend the lean season to June/July, when the Masika green harvest starts. 

    • Following a delayed start of season in central and southern areas, above-average rainfall has provided adequate rains for cropping activities and the main Msimu harvest is likely to be near normal. Areas that are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) are likely to move into Minimal (IPC Phase 1) with the start of the harvest in April/May.

    • Emergency food distributions for refugees and asylum-seekers from Burundi and DRC are currently planned through June 2016. Minor harvests will begin in April/May for refugees who were able to plant prior to the start of the season. With refugees continuing to arrive, this population is expected to reach Stressed (IPC Phase 2) after June, with certain households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the absence of humanitarian assistance. 

    To learn more, read the complete Tanzania Remote Monitoring Update.


    [1] With remote monitoring, an analyst typically works from a nearby regional office, relying on a network of partners for data. Compared to countries above, where FEWS NET has a local office, reporting on remote monitoring countries may offer less detail.


    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Table 1: Possible events over the next six months that could change the most-likely scenario.



    Impact on food security outcomes

    Eastern and northeastern Ethiopia, northern Somalia, eastern and central Sudan and western Djibouti

    Below average July to September 2016 rains

    Poor households would face consecutive poor seasons, constraining labor opportunities and food access, amidst higher than average prices. Projected food security outcomes likely to worsen or remain elevated in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    South Sudan, Yemen  

    Reduction in protracted conflict in South Sudan

    Easing of conflict would open up key trading routes and increase access to typical livelihoods activities. An improvement in humanitarian access would also be expected.

    Eastern Horn of Africa in Kenya, central and southern Somalia, and southern Ethiopia.

    Below-average March to June 2016 rains

    Poor harvests and pastoral conditions would contribute to restricting food availability and access.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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