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Conflict in South Sudan and Sudan led to Emergency (IPC Phase 4)

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • May - September 2014
Conflict in South Sudan and Sudan led to Emergency (IPC Phase 4)

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by Country
  • Events That Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • As of May 2014, nearly 17 million people are in Stressed, Crisis, and Emergency (IPC Phases 2, 3, and 4) in East Africa. Populations in the higher phases of acute food insecurity can be found in South Sudan, Sudan, eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, southern Somalia, and northern Kenya.
    • Following continued conflict in South Sudan since mid-December, more than three million people are currently in need of urgent humanitarian response to address acute food insecurity of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and higher. Further deterioration is likely with continued conflict. Without urgent action, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible in localized (sub‐county) areas of Jonglei and Unity States between May and August.
    • Record-high staple food prices are expected across Sudan through August due to the below average 2013/2014 harvest, high production costs, increased marketing costs due to the partial removal of fuel price subsidies in late 2013. High prices will limit food access for the poor in many areas as market purchases tend to peak during the May to September lean season.
    • Conflict continues to disrupt markets in Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei States in South Sudan. No staples are available in some of the markets, and prices are very high in the markets where staples are still available. Possibility of imports into these areas from neighboring countries is very limited.
    • Emergency (IPC Phase 4) with high levels of acute malnutrition will persist among displaced households in Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North- (SPLM-N) controlled areas of South Kordofan State in Sudan between July and September as the lean season peaks and staple prices increase further.
    • Food security in pockets of Mandera and Wajir Counties in northeastern Kenya is expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with conflict having reduced market access and access to humanitarian assistance. Also, in some conflict-affected areas in riverine areas of Lower and Middle Shabelle in Somalia are expected to move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as conflict has reduced market access, displaced populations, and led to unusually low planted area.

    Outlook by Country


    • In general, the performance of February to May Belg rains had been near normal in terms of amount and temporal distribution from February until early April. However, since mid-April, almost no rain fell in Belg-growing areas. With early forecasts for the June to September Kiremt rainfall being mostly normal in terms of likely total rainfall, western, eastern, and southern agricultural areas are expected to have average agricultural production this season, if the Belg rains resume in a timely fashion. Food security should start to improve in the Belg-producing areas in June and in October in areas further west.
    • Household food security in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) is expected to improve from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from April to June to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July to September. Similarly, Belg-dominant areas of northeastern Amhara will likely improve from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from April to June to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July to September, if the Belg rains resume.
    • The March to May Sugum/Diraac rains started late in the northern pastoral areas whereas Gu/Genna rains in southern pastoral areas started on time and have been near normal in terms of amount. Pasture, browse, and water availability is expected to improve, helping increase household food and income access from livestock, and thus their food security, especially from July to September. However, very low livestock holdings due to recurrent droughts since 2010 in northeastern Afar along with the rising costs of food will likely keep that area in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September.

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


    • The largest increase in the acute food insecure population between August and February was in agropastoral areas, though a large number of the acutely food insecure can also be found in pastoral areas in the Northeast. Also, about 1.3 million people remain acutely food insecure in the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas and pastoral areas, with majority of the population in these regions remaining Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
    • Food security is expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the southeastern, marginal agricultural areas and pastoral areas in the Northeast, with food access coming from casual labor income, income from livestock, and short-cycle crops through June. However, food availability and access is expected to decline from June through September as these sources of food and income dissipate, even as households maintain minimally adequate food consumption.
    • The onset of the long rains in March was normally timed in much of the country during the second to third weeks of March. There was a short dry spell at the beginning of April but the rains resumed in the second week of April. However, thus far, the spatial distribution and temporal distribution has been erratic, which is likely to negatively impact crop and livestock production.
    • The performance of the long rains and food price trends will help determine food security outcomes through September. Due to the below average and erratic performance of the long rains thus far, household food availability and access will slightly improve through June, but it will deteriorate between July and September, driven by increases in food prices during the August to October lean season.

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


    • The Eastern Congo-Nile Highland Subsistence Farming, Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral, and Eastern Agropastoral livelihood zones depleted their food stocks one month earlier than normal due to the around 50 percent below-average Season A harvest of maize and beans in January/February. Poor households in these areas are selling a higher number of livestock than usual to purchase food and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the next harvests in June when these areas will move to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least September.
    • The March to May long rains started normally in early March, but poorly-distributed rainfall since mid-March has led to unusually dry conditions in southern and eastern parts of the country. Normal Season B harvests in June/July are expected to replenish household food stocks across Rwanda.
    • Food prices have been atypically high so far during the current April to June lean season. Key staples in March were between 30 and 60 percent above the two-year average. This is due to unusually low supply due to a lack of carryover stocks from the below-average Season A harvest in January/February. Prices are expected to continue to increase until the arrival of the Season B harvest in June. However, poor households in most areas are still accessing food through normal livelihood strategies, and most are at None (IPC Phase 1).

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


    • Recently intensified conflict in the Shabelle Valley will likely result in reduced availability of agricultural labor opportunities followed by a below average Gu harvest in June/July. With decreased local supply, local cereal prices will likely increase over the coming months. Food security is likely to deteriorate as poor households’ food access declines, reaching Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September 2014.
    • Outside of Lower and Middle Shabelle, pastoral and agropastoral areas in the South are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Livestock values and sales are expected to increase as exports for Ramadan and the Hajj start. While still affected by conflict, in these areas conflict will likely be less disruptive both to agricultural production and to trade than in the Shabelle Valley.
    • Food security outcomes in pastoral livelihood zones, specifically in Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone in the North and Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in the South are likely to continue improving. Herd sizes area above their levels from the 2007 to 2008 livelihood baselines, and livestock production and values are increasing. These areas are likely to enter Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July through at least September.

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

    South Sudan

    • FEWS NET participated in a multi-agency IPC process to classify the food security situation. FEWS NET supports the preliminary conclusions reached on the size and scope of current needs in South Sudan, which far exceed a normal year.
    • Due to the impacts of continued conflict in South Sudan, more than three million people are currently in need of urgent humanitarian response to address food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or higher). Large portions of the population in conflict-affected areas face Emergency (IPC Phase 4), meaning that they are unable to meet basic survival needs even with extreme coping, such as selling all of their livestock.
    • Further deterioration in food security is likely, along with an increase in the size of the food-insecure population, given ongoing displacement, expectations for a poor 2014/2015 cropping season, and significantly reduced income in the context of high staple food prices and widespread market disruption.
    • Without urgent action, this deterioration, in combination with high background levels of malnutrition and mortality, suggests that Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible in localized (sub-county) areas of Jonglei and Unity States during the coming four months. This deterioration coincides with the area’s lean season, when food insecurity is already at its peak.
    • The limited amount of information makes it difficult to pinpoint the specific location of the worst affected populations. However, the counties of greatest concern are Mayendit, Koch, Panyijar, and Leer Counties in Unity State and Ayod, Duk, Uror, and Nyirol counties in Jonglei State. The worst-off areas of Upper Nile State are Baliet and Panyikang.

    To learn more, read the complete South Sudan Food Security Alert from May 9, 2014.


    • An estimated 4.5 million people in Sudan are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) with an estimated 60 percent of the total food insecure population being in Darfur. Currently, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)-controlled areas of South Kordofan are the most acutely food insecure.
    • Record-high staple food prices are expected across most of the country through August, constraining food access for poor households in many areas. Combined with renewed conflict and displacement, and ongoing macroeconomic instability, food insecurity is expected to deteriorate in many areas of the country.
    • The size of the food insecure population is expected to peak at nearly 5 million people in June 2014, with widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3), concentrated in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Red Sea, Kassala, North Kordofan, and White Nile States. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in the SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan. Food assistance and voucher programs are expected to continue for IDPs in Darfur, but Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance is likely through September.

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


    • Below-average rainfall since March has exacerbated dry conditions across the eastern part of the country. Continued below average rainfall would likely retard crop performance in the near term and reduce potential yields in both bimodal areas and in the unimodal region of Karamoja for June/July harvests.
    • Food security outcomes remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in bimodal areas. These areas are expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least September. However, as a result of early depletion of food stocks and high dependence on the market, the lean season started early in February instead of March in the unimodal region of Karamoja that will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to the presence of humanitarian assistance through July/August.
    • Prices of white sorghum, millet, and cassava chips have remained stable despite the below average harvests that followed the October to December 2013 second rainy season. Maize, beans, and cooking banana prices have risen since February. Prices of these commodities are expected to remain high until the next harvest arrives in June/July.

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

    Countries monitored remotely1


    • As Season B progresses, beans and other crops are almost flowering. Heavy rainfall and hail has recently damaged a small numbers of farms, especially in Bururi and Kayanza Provinces, though most areas have had early April rainfall totals that were about 10 percent below average.
    • Prices of the main staple commodities increased slightly between February and March. However, in Ngozi, a key market in the Plateaux Humides livelihood zone, sweet potato prices had increased from February to March by 36 percent, 49 percent higher than last year, and 45 percent higher than the five-year average.
    • From now through June, most areas will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1), except the Plateaux Humides livelihood zone, which is currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and likely to remain so until Season B harvests start in June. From July to September, all areas of the country will likely be at Minimal (IPC Phase 1), following the 2014 Season B harvests.

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


    • Food insecurity is anticipated to worsen for poor households in Southeast Pastoral- Border and Northwest Pastoral livelihood zones and pastoralists in Obock Region from May through September. A substantial reduction in humanitarian assistance, an early end to the October to February Xays/Dadaa rains, and an expected reduction in income-earning opportunities from July to September is likely to shift poor households from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) starting in May.
    • Rapid deterioration in household food security in Southeast Pastoral and Northwest Pastoral livelihood zones and Obock Region is occurring after very good July to September Karan/Karma rains and average October to December Xays/Dadaa rains due to declining levels of humanitarian assistance. An influx of rural households to urban centers is anticipated between July and September as rural food insecurity intensifies.

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


    • Green harvests have started in the southern, unimodal areas. With less demand on market from these areas and market stores from last year remaining available, food prices will continue to be stable until the 2014 Msimu harvest from May through July. At that time, prices will likely start to decline.
    • Food prices are stable in the northern, bimodal areas due to supplies on markets from southern, unimodal areas. With stable prices, poor households are able to purchase food from markets. These areas have moved from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
    • Heavier than expected rains in the coastal, bimodal areas in Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Pwani, and northern Morogoro in March and April mean that cumulative rainfall during the March to May Masika season will likely be near normal.

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


    • With no active conflict since March 22, security is relatively better in Amran Governorate in the North. However, most of the displaced population has not returned due to fears of further violence. The displaced continue to be food insecure as they are not able to undertake their normal income-earning activities.
    • March rains in the western crop-producing areas of Yemen were of below average amounts, leading to drier-than-normal vegetation conditions. March is the first month of the March to June first rainy season.

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

    1With 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 that might change the most likely scenario



    Impact on food security outcomes


    Much below average cumulative June to September rainfall

    Below-average harvests for a second year in would lead to higher phases of food insecurity in Sudan and reduce seasonal improvements to food security expected during the October to March harvest and post-harvest periods.

    South Sudan

    Much below average cumulative June to September rainfall

    Below average rainfall would further contribute to even further below average crop production than already anticipated. In the areas affected by conflict, well below average crop production is already expected due to the shortage of seeds and poor land access, following large-scale displacement. Access to fishing would also decline if river levels were low.

    Meher-producing areas of Ethiopia

    Much below average cumulative June to September Kiremt rainfall

    The eastern, marginal, Meher-producing areas would likely have below average agricultural labor demand from June through January and likely a below average Meher harvest from October to January, leading to increased food insecurity.

    Sudan and South Sudan

    Peace talks between SPLM-N and the Government of Sudan (GoS) are successful at expanding access to labor, markets, and humanitarian assistance in areas currently controlled by the SPLM-N

    Poor households would have the opportunity to access more labor opportunities, markets, and humanitarian assistance, increasing their access to food. The classification from April to September for IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas of Sudan would likely change from its current projection of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) but only due to the presence of humanitarian assistance.

    Southern Somalia, southeastern and northeastern Djibouti, and GoS- controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States in Sudan, many areas in Ethiopia

    Absence or delays in planned humanitarian assistance

    This would reduce food access, and it would likely lead to higher staple food prices, especially during local lean seasons that occur between June and September.


    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 4

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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