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Humanitarian needs remain high amid Sudan crisis as the Gu rainy season concludes in the Horn

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • July 2023
Humanitarian needs remain high amid Sudan crisis as the Gu rainy season concludes in the Horn

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  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Outlook by Country
  • Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance
  • Key Messages
    • Humanitarian needs remain high across the East Africa region, driven by conflict, poor macroeconomic conditions, and the lasting impacts of weather shocks including flooding in South Sudan and drought in the Horn. Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persist, with a risk of more extreme outcomes in Ethiopia and South Sudan. Intense fighting in Sudan since mid-April has disrupted livelihoods and trade and displaced over 3 million people as of early July, driving increased assistance needs both domestically and regionally. Meanwhile, while improved rainfall during the March to May rainfall season is supporting slow recovery from the impacts of the 2020-2023 drought in the eastern Horn, humanitarian needs remain elevated among displaced populations and pastoral populations that became destitute during the drought. 
    • Very high concern exists for severe acute food security outcomes in the northern conflict-affected Tigray region and southern and southeastern drought-affected regions of Ethiopia amid the ongoing pause in humanitarian assistance. This comes even as record assistance needs are anticipated in the coming months. In the regions of concern, widespread Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes with households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) are anticipated, with only slight and temporary improvement to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) expected in Tigray alongside the meher harvest beginning in September. In both areas of concern, there is a credible risk of more extreme levels of acute food insecurity if anticipated seasonal improvements in food and income do not materialize as anticipated.
    • Other areas of very high concern in the region include conflict- and flood-affected areas of the Sudans. In South Sudan, where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are widespread, the arrival of thousands of returnees and refugees in the north is exacerbating already high humanitarian needs. A credible risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) exists in South Sudan should a large-scale increase in conflict and/or extensive flooding in the rest of the season cut households off from food for a prolonged period. Meanwhile, in Sudan, the impacts of the ongoing conflict are driving Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in affected urban areas of Khartoum, Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan. In parts of West Darfur, extreme violence and targeted ethnic killings are severely interfering with livelihood activities, with households likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). 
    • Across much of the eastern Horn and in bimodal Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda, seasonal rains between February and June are supporting seasonal improvements in food security from agricultural labor and crop production. However, millions of households in drought-affected areas of the eastern Horn remain acutely food insecurity due to the lasting impacts of the drought, such as asset depletion (including of livestock) and debt. While livestock production is recovering, household livestock holdings remain significantly below average, especially in central-north Somalia and southern/southeastern Ethiopia. Among the worst drought-affected populations, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes will likely persist through at least January, despite seasonal improvements during the upcoming October to December rainy season.
    • Humanitarian food assistance is mitigating more severe outcomes in many areas of East Africa and Yemen. However, serious concern remains for the inability of populations to meet their minimum food needs in areas where food assistance has been severely interrupted, such as in Sudan, or paused, such as in Ethiopia. In addition, in parts of Somalia, Yemen, and amongst refugee populations in Uganda, the steady decline in levels of humanitarian food assistance in recent months and years is exacerbating competition for limited available income-earning opportunities amid persistent above-average food prices.

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Seasonal calendar for a typical year in East Africa

    Source: FEWS NET

    Outlook by Country


    • Near-average 2023 Season B crop production and access to typical income sources are supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in western parts of the country through January 2023. However, poor and very poor households in the Eastern and Northern Lowlands and Eastern Dry Plateaus livelihood zones are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September, driven by below-average bean production, high food prices, and below-average income as cross-border trade with Tanzania and Rwanda remains below normal.
    • During the lean period of October to December 2023, it is anticipated that there will be rapid depletion of the 2023 Season B food stocks in the Northern Lowlands livelihood zone. This, coupled with the expected increase in food prices, very low labor wages (which are 65 percent below the national average), and below-average income levels, will further restrict the purchasing power of households in the region. It is expected that the Northern Lowlands will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during this period. Limited food availability, high prices, and constrained household resources will persist during the lean season. 
    • Food prices were stable and slightly decreased in May and June 2023, driven by the near-average harvest of the 2023 Season B crops. However, prices for staple food items remain significantly higher than average. Compared to last year, prices for beans, maize, rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes have risen by 50 to 75 percent, and they are currently 30 to 80 percent above the five-year average. The rise in food prices is driven by a lower supply of food compared to previous years and depreciation of the Burundian Franc (BIF) by 35 percent compared to last year, making imported food more expensive. High production costs, including labor, fertilizers, and inputs, have further contributed to the overall increase in food prices. Weak currency reserves have worsened the situation, resulting in a parallel exchange rate that is significantly higher than the official exchange rate by 50 to 75 percent. Overall, the inflation rate remains high, surpassing 30 percent during the reporting period.
    • According to forecasts, the normal dry season is expected to take place from June to August in Burundi. The short rains season from September to December 2023 is anticipated to be above average, primarily due to the projected occurrence of El Niño during the second half of the year. Above-average rainfall is likely to result in localized flooding, landslides, and damage to infrastructure in the Imbo Plains livelihood zone and along major rivers.
    • According to WFP, a funding shortfall has resulted in approximately 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers receiving only half of their regular food ration. This shortage in food assistance is likely to contribute to Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes among these populations until September. Refugees and asylum seekers heavily rely on support from organizations like WFP and other partners, as they have limited opportunities for income generation or employment. The combination of reduced ration size and above-average food prices is expected to further worsen the food insecurity situation for these households and limit their ability to meet their daily food needs. To address this situation, the government has granted access to labor employment outside the refugee camps to provide refugees and asylum seekers with an opportunity to increase their income and improve their access to food. However, local employment prospects are limited due to low labor demand.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Burundi Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.


    • Humanitarian food assistance needs in Ethiopia are expected to peak in the June to September period at record levels for the second consecutive year. The level of need remains most severe in areas impacted by conflict in the north and drought in the pastoral south and southeast (S/SE). The end of the 2020-2022 conflict in the north and the end of the 2020-2023 drought in the S/SE have yet to materialize in a decline in levels of acute food insecurity due to both the severe erosion of productive assets during these protracted shocks and the seasonality of rural food and income sources within Ethiopia. Typical food and income from crop and livestock production remain very low in these areas, leaving very poor and displaced households to subsist on atypical coping mechanisms, including heavy reliance on community support. Amid the pause of US government (USG) assistance, households in these areas currently face large food consumption deficits and high levels of acute malnutrition indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. Government and humanitarian actors must take action to resume food aid and ensure limited humanitarian resources are prioritized for household use in order to save lives and protect against further deterioration in livelihoods.
    • In the pastoral south and southeast, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to be widespread, and it is likely that very poor and displaced households with few to no livestock will be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Households are expected to access some milk starting in September; however, low livestock herd sizes following large-scale drought-related losses means that the scale of seasonal improvements due to milk production and livestock sales will be relatively low. The areas of highest concern are the southern Somali Region and Borena Zone of Oromia, where destitute and displaced populations are not expected to benefit from seasonal improvements. Income from migratory labor and charcoal and firewood sales, along with community support, is expected to mitigate extreme consumption deficits in the absence of food assistance. Overall, there is a risk of more extreme outcomes amid the prolonged absence of food assistance, particularly if income and seasonal increases in livestock production do not materialize to the degree that is anticipated.
    • In Tigray, households are likely to face extreme difficulty trying to access food until the meher harvest begins in September. The populations of highest concern include those who remain displaced, those continuing to reside in areas along the Eritrean border, and very poor households with a limited asset base. These populations are likely to engage in begging and migrating to urban areas in Tigray in attempts to access food. Additionally, support from community members and the government are likely to provide some access to food. The high food consumption deficits are expected to continue to drive high levels of global acute malnutrition (GAM) and atypical hunger-related mortality. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely to be widespread across the region, with households expected to face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Once the meher harvest begins, food availability and access will most likely improve and reduce food consumption deficits among a large proportion of the population. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to emerge during this time; however, populations are expected to remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Food insecurity will most likely deteriorate again in early 2024, when household food stocks will become depleted and labor income is expected to remain low. 

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Ethiopia Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.


    • In the pastoral areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist through January as households recover from the historic drought. Humanitarian food assistance is expected to prevent more severe outcomes in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera during the June to September dry season. While the above-average March to May long rains replenished forage, pasture, and water resources and improved livestock body conditions and sale values, access to milk remains largely below normal due to below-average livestock births given the prior impacts of drought. Furthermore, low herd sizes, high maize prices, and below-normal sources of income continue to limit household purchasing power. More substantial improvement is expected during the forecast above-average 2023 October to December short rains, which coincides with the livestock birthing season following conceptions during the preceding long rains and will provide milk for consumption. However, income from livestock sales will remain limited given the need to restock herds after the drought, and food prices are expected to remain elevated. Additionally, there is a risk that above-average rainfall will lead to incidences of Rift Valley Fever and livestock losses from flash floods.
    • In the marginal agricultural areas, the area planted for food crops has been limited by below-average access to inputs during planting in March due to low saved seed stocks, high prices, and limited access to income. Key informants expect a moderately to significantly below-average harvest due to a lack of seeds at planting despite cumulatively average to above-average rainfall. Below-average household income has increased households' reliance on off-own farm income activities such as selling charcoal and firewood and petty trade. Households remain reliant on market purchases for food, but low household income and high food prices are driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, with the worst affected areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The forecast above average October to December short rains are expected to improve household access to agricultural labor and support crop production, with the harvest of short-cycle crops in December and January likely to improve household food access, but the need to repay past debts and the high cost of living will keep households Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
    • FEWS NET price projections indicate that maize and bean prices in monitored markets are expected to follow seasonal trends but remain well above the five-year averages. Prices are expected to remain high due to below-average production over the past two years, high local and regional demand that will raise prices in the source markets of Tanzania and Uganda, high transportation and marketing costs, the depreciation of the KES, and high inflation rates. The high food prices are expected to keep household purchasing power low, particularly for market-dependent households across the country.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Kenya Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.


    • Humanitarian assistance needs remain significantly elevated in Somalia, as many households continue to suffer from the impacts of high levels of debt and asset depletion (including livestock) that occurred due to the historic five-season 2020-2023 drought. The internally displaced population, which has risen to an estimated 3.7 million people since the start of the drought, is of particularly high concern. As of June, Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes remain widespread in advance of the gu harvest in July/August, with humanitarian food assistance preventing more severe outcomes in many areas. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are assessed among displaced populations in Baidoa, Mogadishu, Laascanood, Beletweyn, and Xudur; agropastoral areas in Togdheer and Hiiraan; and central coastal areas.
    • Food assistance reached 30-40 percent of the total population of Somalia in late 2022, but then declined to reach 20-25 percent of the total population from April to June 2023. Available information on food assistance plans is limited but indicates food assistance levels will further scale down in the remainder of 2023. The rapid, sharp decline in aid is occurring prematurely, as millions of people experienced significant livelihood losses and are still unable to access sufficient food despite the end of the drought.
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist in settlements of internally displaced people (IDP), northern and central Somalia, and several riverine and agropastoral areas between June and September. The April to June 2023 gu rains were generally beneficial for cropping activities and supported improved livestock health, reproduction, and sales, especially in the south. However, the early cessation of rainfall in some areas affected crops in critical growth stages, leading to localized poor gu crop production. Additionally, heavy rainfall led to riverine flooding in April and May, with significant population displacement and disruption to livelihoods. Furthermore, many livestock with longer gestation periods (camel and cattle) will not give birth until at least late 2023 because they did not conceive during the drought.
    • More substantial improvement in food security is anticipated across much of rural Somalia from October to January, when the 2023 October to December deyr season is forecast to be above average based on El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in an increasing number of IDP settlements as well as in Addun Pastoral of central Somalia; Coastal Deeh Pastoral of central and northeastern Somalia; agropastoral areas in Togdheer and Hiiraan, and some riverine areas. While the rains will generally benefit crop and livestock production, the likelihood of flooding in riverine and lowland areas will cause damage to food and income sources and increased human and livestock disease incidence in the short term. Meanwhile, the scale of drought-related livestock losses and resultant high debt levels in central and coastal pastoral areas are expected to drive a slower pace of livestock herd recovery, constraining access to food and income. Among IDP populations, evidence following prior droughts suggests many will be unable to rebuild their typical livelihoods, and income-earning opportunities are expected to remain very limited and insufficient to cover the cost of food.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Somalia Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.


    • Humanitarian needs have escalated dramatically following the outbreak of conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15, with widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected through the projection period and some areas in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), particularly localities in Greater Kordofan, Greater Darfur, and Blue Nile with large urban centers that have borne the brunt of the fighting to date. Approximately one in four people are expected to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance at the peak of the lean season (August to September), 50 percent higher than previously projected for the lean season period. Of highest concern are urban populations in Khartoum and parts of Greater Darfur, especially El Geneina, where targeted ethnic killings and atrocities are reportedly being committed, and there are likely households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in the peak of the lean season, given the continued lack of humanitarian assistance since mid-April.
    • The current conflict continues to center on control of cities, with the heaviest sustained fighting occurring in Khartoum. The clashes have caused considerable collateral damage and destruction to critical infrastructure, including health care, power, water supply, banking, and telecommunications, and displaced an estimated nearly 2.5 million, of which at least 1.7 million have fled Khartoum alone (although likely an underestimation). In addition, almost 740,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. These levels of displacement eclipse any seen in the last four years. Violence has also escalated in cities across Greater Darfur and in parts of Greater Kordofan as the RSF and affiliated militias consolidate control of the region. Amid the high levels of insecurity and destruction in urban areas, combined with the disruption of trade flows, household access to income and food continues to be severely constrained.
    • While rural areas have broadly been less affected by direct fighting so far, the disruption of markets and financing caused by the conflict has reduced household access to inputs and is expected to result in significantly below-average cultivation this year, despite relatively positive rainfall forecasts. In semi-mechanized and irrigated areas, farmers are expected to shift to sorghum and millet production under traditional rainfed systems with resulting lower yields. In parts of rural Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur in closer proximity to fighting in urban areas and to contested trade routes, household mobility and engagement in typical livelihood activities, including crop cultivation and seasonal migration, is expected to be limited.
    • For several years leading up to this crisis, Sudan has suffered exceeding high inflation, with prices for staple foods significantly above average. The current crisis has extensively disrupted market flow and functionality, causing volatility in movement and redistribution of goods around the country, and driven prices up even higher, particularly in central and western parts of the country. With household stocks at their lowest and market dependence peaking during the lean season, combined with reduced ability for households to access income, household purchasing power is deteriorating.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Sudan Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.

    South Sudan

    • South Sudan remains one of the most food insecure countries globally and in the East Africa region, with over 60 percent of the population expected to be acutely food insecure between June and September. With insufficient means of producing or purchasing food, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes will be widespread at the peak of the lean season. Household stocks depleted earlier than usual in many areas, income-generating opportunities remain limited, and staple food prices are atypically high, exacerbated by disrupted trade flows and increased demand related to the conflict in Sudan and influx of refugees and returnees. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes – associated with large food consumption gaps and elevated levels of acute malnutrition and mortality – are assessed in 40 counties, mainly in Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes, Warrap, Unity, and Jonglei. Amid this high level of need, WFP plans to provide food aid to 2.9 million people (23 percent of the population) per month through August.
    • Levels of acute food insecurity will remain elevated, with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in many areas through the harvest period, given anticipated conflict and the forecasts of below-average rainfall in the east where crop production is already typically limited and households may only harvest a few months of stocks. Given the long-term erosion of production and coping capacity due to conflict and floods, seasonal improvements in food availability and access will be limited as many households face physical and financial barriers to land and inputs. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to be widespread from October to January with only marginal improvement after the first season harvest in Greater Equatoria in June and the main harvest beginning in October.
    • Fangak and Canal/Pigi of northern Jonglei and Panyikang and Fashoda of Upper Nile remain among the areas of highest concern during both the lean and harvest seasons after multiple flood years and the escalation of conflict in 2022 that eroded assets and led to the near-collapse of local livelihoods. While the relative lull in conflict since early January has facilitated some improved access to food and income sources as well as delivery of assistance in northern Jonglei, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes with households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) are expected to persist, particularly in parts of Fashoda and Panyikang where access to food and income is severely limited and the provision of food aid has been low.
    • Other northern border regions are also of high concern, as the ongoing conflict in Sudan has led to the influx of over 130,000 people in urgent need of assistance and reduced market functionality. Rising needs and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected during the harvest in counties such as Renk in Upper Nile, Aweil North and East in Northern Bahr el Ghazel, amid increased competition over scarce resources and insecurity that limits access to food and income.
    • While not the most likely outcome, FEWS NET assesses there remains a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in South Sudan, particularly in the Upper Nile-Jonglei border region. While recent trends and forecasts suggest the likelihood of escalating conflict or catastrophic flooding is declining, these areas have very high levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition, and a resurgence of conflict and/or flooding still poses a risk of isolating households from already-scarce sources of food.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the South Sudan Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.


    • In western, southern, and parts of central bimodal Uganda, most rural households are experiencing seasonal increases in access to food and income alongside first-season harvesting in June, supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. However, in eastern and northern bimodal areas, where the March to May first season rainfall performance was below average and erratic, most rural households are experiencing a delayed start to harvesting and, consequently, atypically low food availability for June. Given below-average income from crop sales and higher-than-normal food prices, food access through market purchases also remains constrained. Many of these areas have experienced several consecutive seasons of below-average crop production, and face decreased coping capacity. As such, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to prevail through around November.
    • In Karamoja, households are in the midst of an atypically long and harsh lean season after a delayed and significantly below-average harvest in late 2022, with access to food currently limited by above-average staple food prices and highly eroded coping capacity, including atypically low livestock holdings. As such, most areas are expected to continue facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes throughout the projection period, with some of the poorest households likely in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). From September to November, seasonal improvements in the availability of food and income sources alongside the main harvest are expected to reduce the population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, but only temporarily.
    • Beginning in July, most refugees living in settlements are expected to experience further humanitarian assistance ration reductions under WFP’s resource re-prioritization plan. After full implementation, 82 percent of the refugee population will receive monthly rations that only meet 30 percent of their minimum daily kilocalorie need, and 4 percent of refugees will no longer receive assistance. The 14 percent of households considered “highly vulnerable” will receive rations that cover 60 percent of their minimum daily kilocalorie need. Despite temporary seasonal decline in food prices in July/August during the harvest, poor refugees are expected to largely be unable to compensate for the ration reductions given their limited livelihood options and the above-average staple prices, despite seasonal price dips. Many will likely face moderate food consumption gaps or engage in damaging livelihood coping strategies to fill those gaps, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected. As more refugees deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), the area-level classification of food security outcomes is projected to deteriorate from Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the coming months.
    • Prices of key staple foods – including maize flour, cassava flour, matoke, and sweet potatoes – generally declined from April to May. However, prices remain above levels recorded last year and the five-year average. This decline is likely attributable to the approach of the first season harvest and a decrease in the cost of fuel and, consequently, transportation. Nationally, the annual headline inflation rate has been declining since January as the gap between current prices and last year’s prices narrows, and in May reached 6.2 percent, down from 8 percent in April. The annual food crop inflation rate also eased to 15.7 percent in May, down from 25.3 percent in April. Further seasonal food price declines are expected in July/August alongside harvesting, improving the purchasing power of the urban poor who rely heavily on market purchases for food. However, the first season harvest is expected to be below average overall, and prices are expected to remain above last year and five-year average levels.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Uganda Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.


    • In October, the start of the main cereal harvest season will provide some increased access to food and income for rural households. However, millions of households nationwide will remain unable to meet their minimum food needs due to highly limited livelihood and income-earning opportunities, and, in areas controlled by the internationally-recognized government (IRG), rising food prices. Amid assistance cuts, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to remain widespread through January 2024, with an estimated 50-55 percent of the population in need of food assistance. Over the course of the projection period, needs are expected to decline slightly in areas controlled by the Sana’a-based authorities (SBA) alongside improvement in income-earning opportunities and stable purchasing power. Meanwhile, needs are expected to increase slightly in IRG-controlled areas alongside a reduction in income-earning opportunities and purchasing power due to inflation.
    • Conflict between the SBA and IRG has not re-escalated since the truce expired in October 2022. The reduction in conflict has led to some slight improvements in the business and trade environment. Overall, however, full recovery of livelihoods and income-earning opportunities will take many years of sustained economic recovery.
    • The SBA continues to effectively block oil exports from IRG-controlled seaports using the threat of drone strikes, denying the IRG their key source of revenue. Meanwhile, both sides are competing for imports through seaports under their control, with the SBA blocking the movement of goods from IRG- to SBA-controlled areas via land borders. Given the loss of oil export revenue and some tax revenue associated with exports to SBA areas, the IRG is experiencing worsening shortages of government revenue and foreign exchange.
    • In IRG-controlled areas, the local currency has continued to depreciate, driving a further increase in food prices over the past year (though the pace of increase was slower compared to the prior year). Meanwhile, in SBA-controlled areas, food prices have declined slightly compared to the same time last year due to declining global food prices, declining domestic fuel prices, and associated price ceilings enforced by SBA authorities. Given food price trends and rising labor wage rates in many governorates – particularly in IRG-controlled areas, driven by inflation – purchasing power has improved or remained stable in many governorates compared to last year. However, notable variability exists across governorates.
    • Due to funding shortfalls, the provision of humanitarian assistance has been reduced further in 2023. Households are now expected to be receiving distributions around once every eight weeks, though key informants report that households who receive cash transfers – especially in Aden and Lahj – are receiving distributions less frequently. Given that each distribution is expected to provide rations equivalent to 65 percent of a household’s minimum energy requirements for a one-month period, the total contribution of assistance to households’ food needs has declined notably, to around one third of households’ total minimum energy needs, down from the 80 percent that households were receiving through the end of 2021. Additionally, many beneficiary households are likely meeting an even lower share of their food needs from assistance due to sharing of rations.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Yemen Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024.

    Remote Monitoring Countries


    • The ongoing Season B harvest has enhanced food availability throughout the country, sustaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. Furthermore, the government eliminated the value-added tax (VAT) for Irish potatoes, rice, maize flour, and maize in April, which, combined with the increased availability of the Season B harvest in June, has caused a significant 30 to 40 percent decrease in staple food prices. This reduction in prices has further facilitated access to food through purchases. According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), the monthly food inflation rate in rural areas slowed in May by 6.2 percent compared to 3.8 percent in April, while the annual food inflation rate increased by 46 percent. However, despite the decline in staple food prices, non-staple food and non-food items remain atypically expensive, particularly impacting poor rural households that heavily rely on the market.
    • Given national and international forecasts indicating for above-average rainfall, an above-average Season C harvest is expected in September, which is likely to improve food availability in rural areas. However, during the main lean season from October to December, poor households are expected to exhaust their food stocks, making them reliant on market purchases. As a result of above-average food prices, the number of people experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes is likely to increase, although remaining less than 20 percent of the population. Access to interseason crops and income from agricultural labor and increased livestock sales are expected to mitigate the severe deterioration of food security outcomes. The projected above-average rainfall from October to December is expected to yield a bumper harvest during Season A in the beginning of 2024, thereby enhancing food access. However, the heavy rainfall will also increase the risk of flash flooding, landslides, crop damage, infrastructure destruction, and displacement of people in localized areas, particularly in the western parts of Rwanda.
    • In Kigali City, it is expected that Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes will continue throughout the projection period. Most households are likely to have access to various income-generating opportunities resulting from the improvement of industrial activities and contributing to increased food access. Additionally, local seasonal harvests, combined with improved cross-border trade with Uganda and Tanzania, are contributing to increased market supply and enhanced food availability. These factors, along with the removal of VAT on staple food items, are helping to stabilize food prices. As per the May NISR 2023 report, the monthly food inflation rate in urban areas slowed by approximately 4 percent, while the annual inflation rate was around 25 percent, indicating above-average food prices. Due to the continued high prices of both food and non-food items, poor urban households, accounting for less than 20 percent of the population, are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes during the lean season from October to December.
    • The estimated 133,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Rwanda are expected to face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) throughout the projection period. While cash transfers were adjusted to mitigate the impact of rising food inflation and prevent more severe food insecurity outcomes, the ongoing increase in food prices continues to erode the purchasing power of cash transfers, widening consumption gaps among most refugees. The refugees have limited income sources and rely mainly on humanitarian assistance, which covers approximately 50 percent of their monthly food needs, complemented by some income from petty trading. The expected increase in food prices during the lean period will further diminish the value of cash transfers and is likely to limit access to food. Additionally, the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in an influx of approximately 7,000 refugees since November 2022, further straining humanitarian resources. These recent arrivals are being temporarily hosted in the Nkamira transit site, while the poor households in Western Province are likely to have below-average income due to the ongoing conflict along the border with DRC.

    For more information, including events that would change the most likely scenario, see the Rwanda Remote Monitoring Update for June 2023.

    Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. East Africa Food Security Outlook July 2023: Humanitarian needs remain high amid Sudan crisis as the Gu rainy season concludes in the Horn, 2023.

    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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