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Very high humanitarian assistance needs are likely to persist in East Africa in 2022

  • Key Message Update
  • East Africa
  • January 2022
Very high humanitarian assistance needs are likely to persist in East Africa in 2022

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes are prevalent in conflict-affected areas across the region, and conflict is a key driver of the above-average humanitarian food assistance needs outlook in 2022. Worst-affected areas in northern Ethiopia and South Sudan face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, with some households likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Large-scale displacement, which significantly disrupts household access to food and income, is one indicator of the far-reaching impacts of conflict on food security and coping capacity. About 4.2 million people are displaced in Ethiopia, with over half displaced by conflict in Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions since November 2020. In Sudan, inter-communal conflict in Darfur and South Kordofan displaced an estimated 188,500 people in late 2021, with most fleeing before the harvest. An upsurge in conflict in Marib and Al Hudaydah governorates in Yemen has also displaced 70,000 people since September. In South Sudan, where the displaced population numbers over 2.0 million people, the 2021 floods further contributed to total displacement.

    • Over 20 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya alone face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes due to conflict and drought. A third consecutive poor rainfall season in late 2021 has led to significant crop and livestock losses across rural areas of southern and southeastern Ethiopia, Somalia, and eastern and northern Kenya, and a fourth below-average rainfall season is expected in March-May 2022. Over 250,000 livestock deaths have already occurred in Borena, Dawa, Liben, and Afder zones in southern and southeastern Ethiopia, in addition to excess livestock deaths in Somalia and Kenya. Remaining livestock are in poor condition, which will limit livestock births and milk access for households through at least mid-2022. Household purchasing power is progressively declining, linked to sharply rising food prices, the death or off-take of livestock assets at reduced prices, limited income from milk sales, and the loss of cash income from agricultural labor. Large-scale emergency food, water, and livelihoods assistance is urgently needed to prevent food consumption deficits, elevated levels of acute malnutrition and hunger-related mortality, and destitution that results in displacement.

    • Extremely high food, fuel, and water prices are significantly affecting household purchasing capacity, further contributing to the occurrence of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across much of the region. Sudan and Ethiopia are witnessing the steepest increases, with staple cereal prices rising three to fivefold above typical levels in several monitored markets in December. Rising cereal prices and declining livestock prices have led to sharp declines in the terms of trade in Somalia’s southern regions and Kenya’s pastoral areas, where the amount of cereal that could be purchased with the sale of a goat dropped 10-40 percent below the December five-year average and by over 80 percent in Buaale, Somalia. Uganda has also seen atypical price increases as of late, with sorghum grain and maize prices jumping 10 to 55 percent above the five-year average November. While recent conflict and drought are major factors, macroeconomic challenges, eroded international budgetary support, and rising global food prices portend household food access challenges will persist across East Africa throughout 2022.

    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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