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Above-average rains support improved crop and livestock production, though humanitarian needs remain elevated amid ongoing conflict

  • Key Message Update
  • East Africa
  • April 2024
Above-average rains support improved crop and livestock production, though humanitarian needs remain elevated amid ongoing conflict

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In April, above-average rainfall supported increased crop and livestock productivity and income-earning opportunities across most of East Africa. However, food assistance needs remain high due to conflict and seasonal flooding and continue to outpace the delivery of humanitarian food assistance, especially among Internally displaced persons (IDPs). Overall, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persist in most conflict affected areas, with a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) assessed in parts of Sudan and South Sudan. In Tigray, if humanitarian food assistance and social support notably decline or are disrupted for an extended period, then more extreme outcomes could occur. 
    • In the eastern Horn of Africa, above-average March-May rains have supported the recovery of water resources, pastures, and crop production, despite localized damage caused by flooding. However, severe outcomes are expected to persist in several parts of the region, mainly driven by conflict. In Somalia, above-average rains have supported continued recovery from the impacts of the 2020-2023 drought, although resultant flooding has caused localized damage in riverine areas in the south. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes remain widespread across most pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4)  outcomes expected in the worst drought, flood, and conflict-affected areas in the south, central, and northwest regions and IDP settlements. In Kenya’s pastoral areas, average rains have supported ongoing recovery and improvement in livestock productivity. In combination with reduced maize prices, pastoral household purchasing power and food access has improved, driving area-level Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 
    • In Ethiopia, despite significant humanitarian assistance mitigating consumption deficits, the number of people in need is expected to increase through September, outpacing aid supply and resulting in widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. In Tigray, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are ongoing and expected to persist through at least the next harvest in September.  If humanitarian food assistance and social support notably decline or are disrupted for an extended period, more extreme outcomes could occur. Meanwhile in the pastoral south and southeast, favorable rains and recent food distributions have supported moderate food consumption in some areas, from the current Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes by June.
    • In Sudan, over 12 months of warfare between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is driving a devastating deterioration in acute food insecurity across the country. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are already widespread, and as the lean season progresses through September, rising levels of hunger and severe malnutrition are anticipated to result in increasing levels of hunger-related mortality. Some households are expected to face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes in parts of West Darfur, Khartoum, and among the displaced population in Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan. In these areas, a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) is assessed if the armed actors deliberately isolate households for a prolonged period or as a byproduct of further escalation of conflict such that populations are cut off from access to food assistance, community support, and remittances, and informal cross-border trade flows are blocked.
    • In South Sudan, food assistance needs are rising sharply as the lean season approaches, driven by sustained impacts of conflict and/or flooding, high returnee burden, and seasonally low wild foods, exacerbated by deterioration in macroeconomic conditions since February. Area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) are widespread, with some households expected to be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in parts of Pibor and among returnee populations. The disruption of assistance deliveries in April by the imposition of new customs and border fees on humanitarians has further contributed to expansion of Emergency (IPC Phase 4). In the upcoming lean season, a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) exists in parts of north-central Unity and Upper Nile. In these areas, if severe flooding occurs alongside periods of intense conflict and impedes households’ mobility and access to humanitarian assistance for a prolonged period – particularly in areas with high burden of returnees unfamiliar with traditional coping mechanisms and already experiencing critical levels of acute malnutrition – then famine would occur. 
    • Most of Uganda and Burundi continue to see improving food security outcomes; however, erratic rains in April resulted in crop damage due to moisture stress and flooding in some areas. In bimodal Uganda, first season crop damage is anticipated to result in some harvesting delays, although overall production will likely be average. Seasonal agricultural labor opportunities and carry-over stocks from 2023 are generally sustaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. In Karamoja and in refugee settlements, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) remains widespread. An increasing number of households in Karamoja are expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by September with the onset of the harvest. In refugee settlements, the influx of Sudanese refugees is straining the already limited resources, land access, and income opportunities, particularly in Kiryandongo settlement. In Burundi, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the Northern Lowlands, Eastern Lowlands, and Eastern Dry Plateaus livelihood zones, driven by high food prices, below-average cross border income-earning opportunities, and below-average 2024 Season A crop production. The ongoing shortfall in food assistance for refugees and asylum seekers is expected to sustain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. East Africa Key Message Update April 2024: Above-average rains support improved crop and livestock production, though humanitarian needs remain elevated amid ongoing conflict, 2024.

    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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