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Hot, dry conditions causing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in northern Gedo, Somalia

  • Alert
  • Somalia
  • October 15, 2014
Hot, dry conditions causing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in northern Gedo, Somalia

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  • Summary
  • Situation

  • Summary

    In Dawo Pastoral and Southern Agropastoral livelihood zones in northern Gedo Region, the Gu rains ended early and were below average in many areas. Temperatures have been above-average since February. Livestock body conditions are poor, and livestock prices are low, limiting incomes. In agropastoral areas, almost no crops were harvested in June/July. Given high water prices and low incomes, poor households cannot afford adequate quantities of food and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Additional humanitarian food assistance is needed between now and the start of the Deyr harvest in February.


    Situation

    April and May rainfall was well below-average in many areas of Gedo Region. In Luuq, a rain gauge recorded less than 50 millimeters of rain, less than half of the five-year average. There was no rain in May when crops needed it to reach maturity. Almost no sorghum was harvested in rainfed, agropastoral areas in Dolo, Luuq, or Belet Hawa Districts (Figure 1). Dry conditions were exacerbated by temperatures that were consistently higher than normal, up to four degrees Celsius warmer than average in Belet Hawa District in May. This caused faster than usual depletion of pasture and water sources. Water availability for human and livestock consumption has been low. Some water points went dry as much as three months earlier than usual.

    As a result of livestock sales, unusual goat deaths, culling of newborns, and few births, herd sizes for poor households are decreasing. The number of saleable animals and thus household purchasing power are very low. Milk production has dropped, decreasing both milk sales and consumption. Without their own crops, agropastoral households are relying primarily on credit to purchase food. In the past, charcoal burning was a common coping mechanism, but the local administration and village elders are currently enforcing a ban on cutting down acacia trees, limiting this income. Staple food prices have been mostly stable since October last year but they are higher than they have been for the past two years. They did not decline following the February/March Deyr harvest or the July/August Gu harvest as is typical. Many households must purchase water for themselves and their livestock, and water prices have reached record highs (Figure 2). Both Southern Agropastoral and Dawo Pastoral livelihood zones are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Average to above-average October to December Deyr rains are forecast. When the rains start, temperatures are likely to drop suddenly, causing livestock deaths from hypothermia. While less will be spent on water, incomes are likely to remain low. Very few livestock will give birth during the Deyr rains as few are pregnant, resulting in very low milk availability into 2015. With few agricultural labor opportunities in these areas, households are limited to collecting bush products for sale. As cereal prices are unlikely to decline, the lack of own Gu production and high water prices are likely to result in food deficits lasting into the first quarter of 2015. Food availability will increase and prices decline after the Deyr harvest with many poor agropastoral areas likely to harvest enough grain in February to move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2). As this agropastoral area depends far more on livestock than crops, even the improvements in food access in February will be modest. Poor pastoral households will move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in April/May 2015 when goats give birth, improving milk availability.

    Humanitarian access remains low, particularly in Garbahare District and in rural areas. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Advancement of Small Enterprise Program (ASEP) estimate that around 1,500 people are displaced internally, mostly women and children going to camps in urban areas. At the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia, officials report 70 to 80 households were arriving daily in August. Currently, most humanitarian programming is targeting riverine areas, internally displaced persons (IDPs), towns, and nearby areas. Increased levels of humanitarian food assistance to rural areas are necessary between now and February to assist households in accessing food. If the October to December Deyr rains were to be below average, food security could continue to deteriorate into early 2015, making contingency planning necessary.

    Figures Figure 1. Affected livelihood zones of northern Gedo

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Affected livelihood zones of northern Gedo

    Source: FAO/GAUL, Food Securitty and Nutrition Analysis Unit-Somalia (FSNAU)/FEWS NET

    Figure 2. Water prices in Ara’ase, Beled Hawa District, Gedo Region in Somali shilling (SOS) per 20 liter jerican

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Water prices in Ara’ase, Beled Hawa District, Gedo Region in Somali shilling (SOS) per 20 liter jerican

    Source: FSNAU/FEWS NET

    FEWS NET will publish an Alert to highlight a current or anticipated shock expected to drive a sharp deterioration in food security, such that a humanitarian food assistance response is imminently needed.

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