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Conflict, high prices, and flooding sustain elevated humanitarian needs in much of the region

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • November 2023 - May 2024
Conflict, high prices, and flooding sustain elevated humanitarian needs in much of the region

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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
    • In October, humanitarian needs remained atypically high across several parts of East Africa, driven largely by conflict and macroeconomic challenges on top of the impacts of the historic drought of the preceding five seasons. Additionally, heavy rainfall in October has caused severe flooding in riverine and lowland areas of the eastern Horn, resulting in displacement, crop and livestock losses, and disruption to livelihood and trade activities, though the rainfall has also improved conditions for pasture and livestock production across the region. Overall, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes persist in the worst drought- and flood-affected areas of the eastern Horn amid reduced levels of humanitarian assistance in many areas, with concern for more extreme outcomes in Ethiopia amid the pause in humanitarian assistance and escalated conflict in Oromia and Amhara. Meanwhile, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, are widespread in Sudan and South Sudan, driven by the impacts of conflict—including high levels of displacement—and limited income-earning opportunities.
    • In the eastern Horn of Africa, seasonal improvements in crop and livestock production will generally support improvement in food security outcomes throughout the projection period. However, severe outcomes are expected to persist in much of the region. In Ethiopia, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist in conflict- and drought-affected northern, southern, and southeastern areas, with populations in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) and with a greater number of areas in the north expected to deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the February to May period due to the impacts of very poor crop production. In Somalia, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist in several settlements hosting flood- and conflict-affected displaced people. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are also expected to persist in the February to May period in areas of Somalia and Ethiopia that have been impacted by conflict, drought, and recent flooding.
    • In Sudan, ongoing conflict is driving a record-setting displacement crisis and is disrupting trade and seasonal harvesting. Amid below-average crop production and high prices in many areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will persist across the country, with some areas in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Highest concern exists for urban centers that have been main hotspots of conflict across Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, and Khartoum, given the severe disruption to livelihoods and inadequate humanitarian assistance since mid-April.  In South Sudan, the continuing influx of South Sudanese returnees from Sudan and Ethiopia remains a major driver of food insecurity, exerting high pressure on the host community who share resources with the returnees. Given this on top of below-average production, high prices, and limited opportunities to earn income, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to remain widespread, with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or worse outcomes expected in counties where crop and livestock production has been particularly poor due to the protracted impacts of flood and conflict, further exacerbated by the arrival of large numbers of returnees.
    • Most of Uganda and Burundi continue to face comparatively better food security outcomes, though high prices are straining poor households’ resources. In most of bimodal Uganda, the second-season harvest is expected to improve outcomes from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) around November.  However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist through at least May 2024 among refugee settlements due to limited livelihood options, high food prices, and reduced assistance, and in the Karamoja region due to the compounding impacts of four consecutive below-average harvests driven by erratic rainfall and insecurity. In Burundi, seasonal harvesting is expected to gradually improve outcomes throughout most of the projection period, though Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will likely persist in eastern areas amid high food and fuel prices. 
    • In Yemen, the main cereal harvest season is expected to provide temporary improvements in poor households’ access to food and income through around January 2024. However, beyond this, deterioration in food security is anticipated given recent additional reductions in humanitarian food assistance rations and, in areas controlled by the internationally-recognized government, expectations for further economic deterioration and food and fuel price increases. Across the country, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to persist as of this analysis. However, since the completion of this analysis, new information has indicated to FEWS NET that a full pause in emergency food assistance in SBA-controlled areas will start in December. FEWS NET's acute food insecurity projections will be updated to reflect this development in the forthcoming December Food Security Outlook Update report.

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    seasonal calendar for the region; major rainy seasons are March to May and October to December, with major harvests following

    Source: FEWS NET


    Outlook by Country

    Burundi

    • The Northern Lowlands livelihood zone is expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes from October to December, driven by the rapid depletion of 2023 Season B food stocks, exceptional increases in food prices, elevated fuel prices, restricted access to cross-border opportunities, and notably low labor wages. Concurrently, the Eastern Lowlands and Eastern Dry Plateaus livelihood zones are likely to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions during the same period. This is driven by the characteristic lean period marked by surges in food prices and constrained access to cross-border opportunities.
    • Burundi’s inflation rate, hovering around 30 percent as of August, and the annual depreciation of the Burundi Franc (BIF) at a rate of 10 percent are causing high food prices. Furthermore, the parallel market registers between 75 and 100 percent higher than the official market. The persistent trade balance deficit, ranging between 15 and 25 percent annually, further adds to the complexity of the economic situation. These factors are resulting in elevated prices for imported goods; for instance, in the case of fuel, there have been three price hikes since the beginning of the year, with the most recent increase, in early October, raising the price to 4,550 BIF per liter (about 6 USD/gallon). This represents an increase of 40 percent compared to July and nearly 70 percent compared to the same period last year.
    • Despite ongoing economic challenges, the near-average 2023 Season B harvest helped stabilize staple food prices in September. However, prices remain significantly high, ranging from 30 to 75 percent above last year and 80 to 120 percent above the five-year average. The food basket price has increased by 50 percent compared to the five-year average and around 30 percent compared to the previous year. These price surges are attributed to higher costs of imported food due to national inflation, increased expenses for agricultural inputs, and elevated fuel and transportation costs.
    • The timely onset of the short rains season allowed a normal start of 2024 Season A. According to international weather forecasts, above-average rainfall is anticipated from October to December 2023 due to the projected occurrence of El Niño. The above-average precipitation 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, funding shortfalls resulted in around 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers receiving about 70 percent of their usual food ration. This shortage in food assistance is likely to contribute to Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes among these households until January 2024. Approximately 6,300 individuals who have returned to their homes have been provided with a full ration, inclusive of hot meals during their stay in transit centers, along with a three-month package to support their reintegration. The humanitarian assistance has been extended to over 22,000 individuals who have been affected by climatic and socioeconomic shocks in Ngozi, Kirundo, Muyinga, Cibitoke, and Bujumbura through a combination of in-kind and cash transfers, covering 100 percent of their caloric needs.

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

    Ethiopia

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in northern, southern, and southeastern Ethiopia through at least early 2024. Household capacity to produce and purchase food remains low in areas of Tigray recovering from the 2020-2022 conflict and areas of the pastoral south and southeast recovering from the 2020-2023 drought. Additionally, the conflict in Amhara, El Niño-induced drought in some meher crop-producing areas and northern pastoral areas, El Niño-induced floods in the southern plains, and poor economic conditions are contributing to atypically high food assistance needs. The gradual resumption of food assistance deliveries by early 2024 is expected to moderate the size of kilocalorie deficits among beneficiaries, but not yet at a scale and frequency that would prevent high levels of food insecurity.
    • In southern and southeastern (S/SE) pastoral areas, the recovery of livestock holdings following large-scale losses during the nearly three-year drought is expected to take multiple years. While above-average rainfall during the late 2023 deyr/hageya season is broadly facilitating livestock reproduction and milk production, localized flash floods and elevated disease incidence is expected to result in further livestock losses for some affected households. Regional governments have already reported over 2,200 livestock deaths. More substantial improvement in access to milk, food, and income is not anticipated until the next rainy season begins in April/May and cattle and camels give birth, supporting improvement from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in several areas. Even then, however, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected to persist in parts of southern Somali Region and Borena Zone of Oromia where there are large displaced and destitute populations who lack sufficient livestock. 
    • In northern Ethiopia, food security conditions continue to remain of concern. The degree of seasonal improvement associated with the ­2023 meher­ harvestand livestock production is significantly below normal. While the harvest is currently providing food and income to households through either their own-production or in-kind payments and gifts, the harvest is well below average due to low financial access to inputs, poor rainfall, and the conflict in Amhara. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are widely expected during the post-harvest period; furthermore, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in remote areas of Wag Himra and North Gondar zones of Amhara, where the meher­ harvest failed and market functionality is typically limited, as well as in western Afar, where pastoralists lost many livestock due to conflict and drought. By early 2024, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to spread, especially in Tigray, as households exhaust their food stocks, food prices remain exceptionally high, and income-generating activity remains low.
    • While Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes with households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) are expected in the most likely scenario, close monitoring of the risk of more extreme outcomes remains imperative in pastoral areas of Borena, Afder, Dawa, and Liban zones. During the October 2023 to May 2024 outlook period, worse outcomes could materialize in these zones if seasonal increases in food and income from livestock production do not occur to the degree that is currently anticipated. In northern Ethiopia, this risk is considered low through May; however, there is concern this risk will re-emerge at the peak of the 2024 lean season between June and September.

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

    Kenya

    • Global climate forecasts indicate that the ongoing moderate to strong El Niño is likely to continue into early 2024. There is an 80 percent likelihood that El Niño will remain the dominant ENSO state during the 2024 March to May long rains. Based on the high likelihood of a strong El Niño and positive IOD conditions in late 2023, the October to December 2023 short rain season in northern and eastern Kenya is expected to be above average, with an over 70 percent probability that rainfall will be in the highest 20 percent of climatology in eastern Kenya. Flooding is likely to occur in northern and eastern Kenya, associated with the high likelihood of significant rainfall during the short rains season, especially from November through early 2024.
    • In October, Marsabit and Turkana are facing Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes as humanitarian assistance programs conclude, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes across northern and eastern pastoral Kenya as poor households recover from the historic drought. From October to January, the above-average short rains and average livestock births are expected to slowly improve household access to milk, an important source of food and income, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to continue, but increased access to food and income is expected to lower acute malnutrition rates. From February to May, widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected as pastoral households return to normally accessing staple foods, but the high cost of living will limit household access to non-food needs.
    • In the marginal agricultural areas, widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through January as households recover from a below-average long rains harvest. While the expected above-average October to December short rains are likely to increase cropped areas and agricultural labor opportunities, the high cost of staple foods and non-food needs is likely to keep households relying on income from off-own farm income activities to meet their food needs in addition to paying off past debts. Between February and May 2024, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to emerge driven by the expected above-average short rains harvests and access to income from crop sales and agricultural labor opportunities during the March to May long rains season except in Kitui and Makueni where Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to persist.
    • With the expected above-average long rains production, Kenya's maize deficit is expected to reduce to 118,000 metric tonnes compared to 300,000 metric tonnes last year. However, this deficit will maintain a high demand for maize that highly-priced cross-border imports will likely meet. FEWS NET price projections indicate that maize prices are likely to be above the five-year average but lower than 2022/2023 prices. However, bean prices are projected to be higher than the five-year averages and prices last year, driven by high production, fuel, and transportation costs and the depreciation of the KES. 

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

    Somalia

    • Humanitarian assistance needs remain high in Somalia, as many households continue to suffer from the impacts of the historic five-season (2020–2023) drought, particularly in central pastoral areas and settlements for internally displaced people. Additionally, in October, flooding associated with significantly above-average deyr rainfall is increasing needs in riverine and flood-affected agropastoral areas of the south. In October, most of the country is facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are assessed in central Coastal Deeh Pastoral areas and among the severely conflict-affected displaced populations in Laascaanood.
    • The October to December deyr rainy season started on time or slightly early in most of the country. The intensity of rainfall quickly increased in October, with heavy rainfall and rapidly rising river water levels causing severe flooding in southern riverine and even agropastoral livelihood zones. The flooding has caused population displacement and damage to standing crops, in addition to disrupting agricultural activities for the deyr season. 
    • In riverine and other flood-prone areas, needs are expected to remain elevated during the October to December deyr rainy season due to anticipated negative impacts of heavy rainfall and flooding. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely in riverine areas during this period, and an increase in the population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes is expected in urban areas and IDP settlements in riverine areas alongside an influx of IDPs from rural areas. However, despite severe disruptions to the main deyr agricultural season in flooded areas, recessional cultivation opportunities once the floods subside will provide income-earning opportunities from agricultural labor and food and income from the recessional harvest around March/April. This will improve outcomes to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • In the rest of the country, the deyr seasonal rains are expected to generally support crop and livestock production. As such, though main-season deyr crop production is now expected to be below-average at the national level given losses due to waterlogging and flooding in affected areas, most rural households will experience improved access to seasonal food and income during the October to December deyr season and the beginning of the 2024 gu season in April and May, leading to widespread improvement in acute food insecurity outcomes in the February to May 2024 period. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely persist in northern areas worst affected by prior seasons of poor crop production, central areas worst affected by the 2020 to 2023 drought, and riverine areas affected by flooding during the deyr season. Meanwhile, in IDP settlements, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes will be likely given low levels of assistance and a continued influx of IDPs due to flooding and conflict.

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

    South Sudan

    • South Sudan continues to face high levels of acute food insecurity despite the start of the dry harvest in October. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) persists in 11 counties in Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Eastern Equatoria, and there are pockets of people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Nyirol and Duk counties of Jonglei, Rubkona county of Unity, and among populations that fled Sudan. According to the national 2023 IPC analysis conducted in September/October, a total of 5.83 million people are currently facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes after accounting for food assistance deliveries, a figure expected to increase to over 7 million by April 2024. Funding for planned emergency food assistance will only be sufficient to reach just over 2 million people in April/May, according to WFP.
    • The sustained influx of South Sudanese returnees from Sudan and Ethiopia, many of whom arrive with no assets and extremely limited coping capacity, continues to exert heavy pressure on the host communities to share scarce resources. As of the end of October, over 350,000 returnees and refugees from Sudan and at least 78,000 from Ethiopia had fled to South Sudan due to deteriorating security conditions. This additional burden is driving Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and worse outcomes in counties hosting large shares of returnees, including in Jonglei and areas bordering Sudan and Ethiopia. 
    • The 2023 lean season assistance cycle concluded by the end of October. In Rubkona, which hosts thousands of displaced and returnee households, food assistance ended even earlier in August due to insufficient funding but is expected to resume in November. Livelihood options in Rubkona remain limited by the sustained inundation of much of the county, and these populations have low purchasing power and are expected to increasingly depend on wild foods and fish, with limited income from the sale of gathered raw materials and casual labor. 
    • Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to become more widespread after the harvesting period ends and gives way to the typical lean season by May. The number of counties in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) are expected to increase from 11 to 31 across Jonglei, Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Warrap, and Eastern Equatoria. The deterioration will be driven by the high returnee burden, insufficient crop and livestock production, sporadic insecurity, limited income-earning opportunities, high and rising food prices, and persistently poor macroeconomic conditions. The number of counties with populations in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) is also expected to expand, including Pibor in Greater Pibor Administrative Area; Nyirol, Duk, and Uror of Jonglei; Rubkona of Unity; and Aweil East of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. 
    • FEWS NET has determined that the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) during this projection period (October 2023 to May 2024) is low, based on the low likelihood that flood extent will increase and/or conflict will escalate such that households would be isolated from wild foods, markets, and assistance for a prolonged time. The risk of Famine can be added or removed from a country as conditions evolve, and FEWS NET will continue to closely monitor and regularly assess the level of risk, given that flood and conflict patterns may shift after the 2024 rainy season begins, and in the lead-up to the December 2024 elections.

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

    Sudan

    • Humanitarian needs remain atypically above average as the harvest season approaches, driven by six months of continuous conflict primarily between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected through the projection period with some areas in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), notably in localities with urban centers that have been main hotspots of conflict across Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, and Khartoum. Of highest concern are conflict-affected people in El Obied of North Kordofan, Nyala of South Darfur, El Geneina of West Darfur, and among the urban populations in Khartoum, particularly in Omdurman, given the severe disruption to livelihoods and continued inadequate humanitarian assistance since mid-April.  
    • In October, the two main belligerents have continued to vie for control over the strategic sites in the main urban centers of Khartoum, Nyala, of South Darfur, and El Obeid of North Kordofan, with sporadic fighting continuing in Zalingei of Central Darfur and Al Fasher of North Darfur. El Geneina of West Darfur has remained relatively calm following the local ceasefire in early September but is nonetheless highly volatile.  Clashes have also reportedly spread into some smaller towns and rural areas of Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur. According to the IOM, displacement as a result of the current crisis has surpassed any other displacement crisis globally, with 4.5 million internally displaced and an additional 1.2 million displaced to neighboring countries.
    • Harvests are expected to be below average and below that of last year, with localized areas proximate to areas of heavy fighting experiencing significantly below-average harvests. While cumulative rainfall for the June to September rainy season was broadly average to above average, localized irregularities in the temporal and spatial rainfall distribution, combined with persistently above-average temperatures, have aggravated conflict-related impacts on production. Rural areas close to heavily affected urban centers across Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan, as well as parts of the semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors, have reported variably below-normal cultivation at the start of the season, below-average crop production through the duration of the season, and often the inability to harvest due to the conflict. 
    • The price trends for key staple foods continue to vary across the main markets in Sudan driven by the impact of the ongoing conflict and insecurity on market functionality and trade flows, anticipated below-normal performance of the main agricultural season, as well as declines in household purchasing power due to the conflict. In the east, price increases are subdued relative to the more cut-off areas of the center and west. Prices are expected to remain atypically high in the post-harvest period despite the arrival of the harvest as the conflict continues to disrupt trade and market functionality.

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

    Uganda

    • In bimodal areas, the second season rains were generally on-time and have been cumulatively average to above average in most areas through October. Cropping conditions are generally favorable, with most cereals and legumes at reproductive stages. Crop production is expected to be average and on time, and rangeland resources in the cattle corridor have seen considerable improvements with the ongoing second season rains. However, flood-prone areas in parts of the West Nile region and Pakwach districts are inundated with flood waters following heavy rains in late October, causing displacement and minor destruction to infrastructure. The number of households facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse outcomes in the northern and eastern regions is expected to decrease in October, and area-level Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected with the onset of the harvest in November/December.  
    • In Karamoja, the compounding impacts of four/five consecutive below-average harvests due to poor and erratic rainfall, insecurity, and reduced household resilience will likely sustain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through May 2024. The 2023 harvest is anticipated to exhaust as early as December, causing an early onset of the 2024 lean season. While staple prices are expected to decrease with the bimodal harvest in December, household purchasing power remains below average due to the loss of livestock assets and below-average income generation from crop sales and off-farm labor opportunities. Poor households will likely have limited access to food and depleted coping capacity. The proportion of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to steadily increase between January and May 2024. 
    • Retail prices of staple foods were mostly stable between August and September, supported by the carryover of first-season food stocks, imported grain from Tanzania, and the decrease in regional demand following the maize harvest in western Kenya. While maize prices in bimodal markets are generally lower than in 2022 – by 20 to 30 percent in some areas – prices remain 7 to 18 percent above the five-year average. In Karamoja markets, sorghum prices showed similar trends, ranging from 24 to 54 percent lower than in 2022 but above the five-year average. The lower food prices relative to last year have improved financial access to food for many poor households, particularly in urban areas.
    • Significantly below-average first season harvests for refugees in settlements – particularly in the north – limited seasonal improvements in access to food during the post-harvest period and resulted in atypically high purchase reliance for food. However, increased competition for few alternative income-generating opportunities and low wages limit household purchasing power. The impacts of this are compounded by the recent implementation of the needs-based re-prioritization of food assistance in July. Now, roughly 80 percent of the refugees in settlements receive rations equivalent to only 30 percent of their minimum daily caloric needs. Findings from a recent FEWS NET assessment indicated that refugee households are increasingly relying on negative livelihood coping strategies to decrease expenditure and increase access to food, such as removing children from school, stealing food, early childhood marriage, or begging for food. Many refugees also reported reducing meal portions and limiting meal frequency to once per day. An increasing number of households will likely face food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through May 2024.

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

    Yemen

    • Across Yemen, income-earning opportunities remain highly limited and prices of food and essential non-food commodities remain above average due to the direct and indirect impacts of more than eight years of protracted conflict. While the country’s main cereal harvest season is expected to temporarily support improved access to food and income in the October 2023 to January 2024 period, recent further reductions in humanitarian food assistance and, in areas controlled by the internationally-recognized government (IRG), deteriorating economic conditions and rising market prices are expected to counteract seasonal improvements for many poor households. Overall, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to remain widespread at the governorate level, with an increase in the number of households facing food consumption gaps expected in IRG-controlled areas due to economic deterioration.
    • After several phases of assistance scale-down since the beginning of 2022, WFP has reported further reductions in ration sizes due to funding shortages. As of September 2023, Yemen’s 13 million beneficiaries were being reached approximately once every 45 days with an assistance distribution equivalent to only around 41 percent of a households’ minimum energy requirements for a one-month period. As such, beneficiary households have seen the contribution of assistance to their total minimum food needs fall from around 80 percent in the latter half of 2021 to around 27 percent currently. With limited opportunities to expand income-earning, this is expected to be resulting in an increase in the number of poor households facing food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes nationwide.[1] 
    • In highland areas, the country’s main cereal harvest has nearly concluded, while lowland areas will harvest from around mid-November to December/January. Additionally, the vegetable cultivation season will span November to January in lowland areas and the main citrus harvest will last through December in highland areas. This will provide a seasonal increase in poor households’ access to food and income from crop production and labor opportunities. However, the improvements will be only temporary, with households’ cereal stocks expected to be depleted even earlier than the typical two months in highland areas due to below-average yields following late and below-average rainfall during Yemen’s second rainy season (July to October). 
    • Despite sustained comparatively low levels of conflict, economic warfare between the IRG and Sana’a-based authorities (SBA) is ongoing, with the people of Yemen suffering the most. Most notably, the SBA continues to block oil exports from IRG-controlled seaports using the threat of drone strikes, denying the IRG their key source of revenue. This is resulting in a growing inability of the IRG to support the public budget, and is also driving depreciation of the local currency and rising food and fuel prices. Given the limited ability of poor households to expand income-earning, many poor households in IRG-controlled areas are expected to be increasingly unable to meet their basic needs, with a growing number likely to be facing food consumption gaps.

    [1] This analysis is current as of October. Since the completion of this analysis, new information has indicated to FEWS NET that a pause in emergency food assistance in SBA-controlled areas will start in December. FEWS NET's acute food insecurity projections will be updated to reflect this development in the forthcoming December Food Security Outlook Update report.

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

    Remote Monitoring Countries

    Rwanda

    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are anticipated throughout the country, driven by the availability of household food stocks from seasonal and interseason crops, stable income access from livestock sales, higher agricultural labor wage rates, and expanded employment and trade prospects in urban areas. In addition, improved cross-border trade and labor migration are further increasing income access and the availability of both food and non-food goods in markets. However, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected to persist among refugees, with humanitarian assistance preventing worse food insecurity outcomes. 
    • In rural areas, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are sustained due to adequate stocks from the previous harvest, interseason crops, and enhanced income-earning opportunities. Additionally, humanitarian assistance from the government and partners is helping to maintain Minimal! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes in Western Province, where a severe flash flood in May 2023 led to below-average Season B harvests. However, high and rising food prices continue limiting food access among rural poor households. Based on the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), September's rural food inflation rate rose by 6.7 percent compared to August 2023 and 34.5 percent annually due to depletion of food stocks and depreciation of the local currency against the USD. Food availability is expected to improve significantly by the end of the year, with the expected bumper Season A harvest supported by the anticipated above-average rainfall.
    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes will likely be sustained in Kigali City throughout the projection period, driven by stable food access as household purchasing power increased income opportunities from enhanced industrial activities linked to the progressive growth of the economy. Furthermore, improved cross-border trade with Uganda and Tanzania is stabilizing market supply, which, together with the removal of VAT on selected food items, continues to moderate food prices to some extent, enhancing access to food. Nevertheless, high and increasing food prices remain a key barrier to food access in urban areas for poor and very poor households. According to the September 2023 NISR report, monthly and annual food inflation rates in urban areas rose by about 10 and 30 percent, respectively, driven by reduced rural-urban food supplies, increased transportation costs due to a 10 percent fuel price rise, and a weak exchange rate against the USD that increased prices of imported items. 
    • Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected to be sustained among the estimated 136,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Rwanda, with humanitarian assistance mitigating worse food security outcomes. Since November 2022, an influx of over 12,000 new asylum seekers have fled to Rwanda to escape conflict in eastern DRC, with over 1,000 asylees arriving in September 2023, putting further pressure on limited humanitarian assistance resources. Most refugees rely on humanitarian assistance for their monthly food needs. However, the UNHCR/WFP funding cuts starting in November 2023 are likely to contribute to the deterioration of food security outcomes among refugees, increasing the number of refugees facing food consumption gaps.

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

    Note: FEWS NET is discontinuing reporting on Rwanda beyond October 2023.

     

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

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. East Africa Food Security Outlook November 2023 - May 2024: Conflict, high prices, and flooding sustain elevated humanitarian needs in much of the region, 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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