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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) expected in worst conflict, drought, and flood-affected areas through September

  • Key Message Update
  • East Africa
  • May 2024
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) expected in worst conflict, drought, and flood-affected areas through September

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In May, humanitarian needs increased in several parts of East Africa, driven by intensifying conflict, flooding, and the sustained impacts of the 2020-2023 drought in the Horn. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to be widespread in affected areas. In parts of South Sudan, Sudan, and Ethiopia, some households are expected to face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) – including severe acute malnutrition and hunger-related mortality – with a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) assessed in parts of Sudan and South Sudan. In Tigray, if current levels of food assistance and social support decline or are disrupted, more extreme outcomes could occur. However, in most areas, the above-average March to May rainfall improved crop and livestock productivity, increasing food access and income-earning opportunities and easing food security outcomes.
    • In Ethiopia, the lean season is expected to peak from June to September when the population in need is expected to increase. Ongoing and planned large-scale humanitarian food assistance is preventing worse outcomes in previously conflict- and drought-affected areas of the country with Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes most likely through September. However, in some areas where humanitarian food assistance is not significant, households are expected to face moderate to extreme difficulty accessing food and income for food purchases, and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected. More extreme outcomes could emerge in Tigray if humanitarian food assistance and social support are not sustained or disrupted at length until the harvest in October. 
    • In Somaliadue to the compounded impacts of the deyr 2023 and gu 2024 flooding in the south, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in the worst-affected riverine areas in Gedo and Middle Shabelle regions. In most pastoral and agropastoral areas, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated through September. Improved livestock production and birthing are supporting increased access to income for most pastoralists, though the central regions continue to face the impacts of the 2020-2023 drought. Meanwhile, the gu 2024 main harvest is now anticipated to be below average following the flooding and erratic May rains. IDPs are expected to sustain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes due to limited income and amid reduced humanitarian assistance. In Kenyawidespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas due to average cumulative rainfall during the March to May long rains season, improving livestock and crop production, increasing food availability, and driving a seasonal decline in staple food prices. However, in flood-affected areas, particularly Garissa, Tana River, and Mandera counties, households face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to crop and infrastructure damage and displacement.
    • In Sudan, the escalation of the over 13 months of fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on multiple fronts sustained deterioration of food security outcomes and elevated humanitarian needs, with about 10 million internally displaced at the end of May. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) are widespread across Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, Khartoum, Al Jazirah, Kassala, and parts of the southeast. The number of people facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) is expected to increase towards the peak of the lean season (August/September) in areas with high concentrations of displaced persons and in hard-to-reach conflict-affected households across Greater Darfur, particularly around besieged El Fasher of North Darfur, and in parts of South Kordofan and Khartoum. A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) is assessed in these areas as fighting and besiegement continue to constrain trade and human movement, disrupt livelihoods, and interfere with humanitarian access.
    • In South Sudan, humanitarian needs are rising as the lean season approaches, accelerated by deteriorating economic conditions due to significant oil revenue losses, conflict, high returnee burden, early depletion of food stocks, high food prices, and disruptions to humanitarian assistance. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persist in 28 counties, while Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes are expected in Pibor and Aweil East counties and among returnee households with no assets, limited coping capacity, and few social connections. While the tax on fuel was reportedly lifted from humanitarian operations, food aid distributions continue to be disrupted by the pause in UNHAS air drops, as well as insecurity, logistical constraints, and increased transportation costs. As a result, FEWS NET assesses that food assistance to priority counties, including Twic East of Jonglei, Koch and Mayendit of Unity; Kapoeta North of Eastern Equatoria, and Ulang of Upper Nile, will be insufficient to mitigate worse outcomes with these areas classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in May. Given projections of severe flooding worse than in 2020 and expectations of sporadic conflict, a risk of famine is assessed in parts of north-central Unity and Upper Nile in the June to September period, particularly in areas with a high burden of returnees with no assets and little coping capacity.
    • In Uganda, below-average and erratic March to May rains are anticipated to cause below-average first season crop production, particularly in northwestern Uganda. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are now expected to emerge from June to September in some parts of the north and west. Crisis (IPC Phase 3), outcomes are expected to persist in Karamoja and refugee settlements due to inadequate access to food and income and reduced food rations among refugees due to funding shortfall. In Burundi, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to persist 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 harvest. Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes will likely persist among refugees and asylum seekers, though humanitarian needs are expected to outpace food assistance delivery, and needs are anticipated to increase from flood/landslide displacement and amid an anticipated increase in returnees. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. East Africa Key Message Update May 2024: Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) expected in worst conflict, drought, and flood-affected areas through September, 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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