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Severe food insecurity outcomes persist in conflict and drought-affected areas

  • Key Message Update
  • East Africa
  • February 2019
Severe food insecurity outcomes persist in conflict and drought-affected areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Conflict and macroeconomic shocks continued to drive severe acute food security across Yemen and South Sudan in January. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are widespread, and large populations in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) face wide food gaps and/or extreme depletion of livelihood assets. In Yemen, should conflict increase such that imports and trade in staple food commodities are significantly disrupted, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be possible. In South Sudan, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely in the prolonged absence of humanitarian assistance. Areas of greatest concern remain Sa’ada and Hajjah governorates in Yemen, and Greater Upper Nile, and parts of Western Bar El Ghazal and Lakes in South Sudan. Sustained, large-scale food assistance is critical to saving lives and preventing further deterioration in food security outcomes.

    • High food prices in December and January continue to constrain household purchasing power and access to food for poor households in Sudan, South Sudan, and parts of Uganda’s Karamoja sub-region. Sorghum and millet prices in Sudan were 270 and 150 percent above the five-year and last year averages, respectively, and 170 and 133 percent above the five-year and last year average, respectively, in Wau, South Sudan. In Kaabong, Karamoja, sorghum prices were 22 and 80 percent above the five-year and last year average, respectively. This has driven declining terms of trade, leading to household food gaps and use of crisis coping strategies. As a result, poor households are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!).

    • Below-average October-December rainfall and atypically high land surface temperatures since January are causing earlier-than-normal depletion of rangeland resources in central and northern Somalia, northern and eastern Kenya, and southern Ethiopia. In Kenya, trekking distances to water and pasture resources are already 30 to 45 percent above average in Turkana county. In Ethiopia, current conditions are also being exacerbated by conflict-induced displacement and restricted humanitarian access. As livestock body conditions deteriorate, declines in livestock production and cereal-to-livestock terms of trade are expected to drive Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes until May. Somalia’s Guban Pastoral livelihood zone would be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) without food assistance.

    • According to the NOAA/CPC, March to May rainfall is forecast to begin one week early and be average or above average over much of the East African region. While an early onset would benefit pastoral areas, it would likely disrupt crop production in areas where Deyr/short rains harvests and Gu/long rains land preparation will have not yet been completed. In contrast, below-average rainfall is likely along coastal south-central Somalia. Poor rainfall would negatively impact livestock body conditions and value and crop production, likely leading to an increase in the number of households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    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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