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Humanitarian food assistance needs remain high, primarily driven by conflict and drought

  • Key Message Update
  • East Africa
  • April 2019
Humanitarian food assistance needs remain high, primarily driven by conflict and drought

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Food insecurity is likely to remain elevated through September, driven by a conflict, drought, macroeconomic shocks, and inflationary pressures. 42.4 million people in Yemen, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda’s Karamoja sub-region are in Crisis (Phase 3) or worse. Urgent humanitarian food assistance is required to mitigate widening food gaps and accelerated depletion of livelihood assets.  In addition, an estimated 12 million internally displaced people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, and Yemen, coupled with an estimated 5.3 million refugees hosted by Burundi, the DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania, are experiencing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

    • A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists in Yemen and South Sudan.  Conflict, the primary driver of acute food insecurity, has displaced or disrupted the livelihoods of up to 23 million people, who are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse. Most households are unable to access normal livelihood strategies, while access to commodity and labor markets and access to humanitarian assistance are constrained. Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes are already likely among populations in Canal/Pigi and Pibor in Jonglei, Panyikang in Upper Nile, and Cueibet in Lakes of South Sudan. In Yemen, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes continue in Hajjah and Sa’ada governorates, where households are facing large food gaps and/or extreme depletion of livelihood assets. WFP reports four districts (Haradh, Mustaba, Midi, and Hayran) of Hajjah remain inaccessible for delivery of humanitarian assistance due to increased conflict.

    • Delayed or below-average rainfall at the onset of the March to May rainfall season in the greater Horn of Africa has caused considerable concern for a consecutive poor production season. According to satellite-derived data, cumulative rainfall is significantly below-average in northern, southern, and eastern Kenya, southern and central Somalia, and southern and eastern Ethiopia. Resurgence of rainfall in late April is likely to partially recharge surface water sources and partially regenerate pasture and browse, providing some relief for pastoral livelihoods. However, crop production is expected to be below average in many agropastoral and marginal agricultural areas, and near total crop failure would be likely if rainfall is below-average in May and/or ceases by mid-May. An increase in the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse population is expected through September.

    • Areas affected by conflict and social unrest in Ethiopia and Sudan are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase) or deteriorate to worse outcomes through late 2019. Conflict-displaced households in Oromia and SNNPR regions of Ethiopia missed the agricultural season and access to humanitarian assistance is restricted. Rising inflationary pressures coupled with constrained domestic grain supply is likely to narrow household food access, widening consumption gaps. In Sudan, the change in government leadership and related social unrest are likely to disrupt livelihoods and increase macroeconomic instability. This would limit access to normal sources of food and income, especially from May onward, which coincides with the lean season. In addition, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely among IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas in South Kordofan and in Jebel Mara in Darfur.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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