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FSNAU Quarterly Brief - Focus on the 2020 Jilaal Impact and Gu Season Early Warning

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Somalia
  • April 2020
FSNAU Quarterly Brief - Focus on the 2020 Jilaal Impact and Gu Season Early Warning

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  • Key Messages
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    Key Messages
    • The 2020 Jilaal (January-March) dry season was mild, with continued availability of pasture and water for livestock across the country due to the average to above-average 2019 Deyr (October-December) season rainfall. There were also localized light to moderate, off-season rains in many parts of Somalia during February and March, which has intensified further since the onset of the 2020 Gu (April-June) season in mid-April.
    • Moderate to heavy precipitation in the upper catchment of the Juba and Shabelle rivers in the eastern Ethiopian highlands, combined with heavy rainfall in Somalia since mid-April, caused riverine flooding in Bardhere district of Gedo region and in some areas of Middle Juba and Lower Juba. Flash floods were also reported in Qardho town in Bari region. According to OCHA, as of May 5th, more than 200,000 people have been affected by flooding, of whom 70,000 have been displaced and 16 killed in 19 districts across Somalia. However, the heavy rains were beneficial for pasture and water availability, which has improved conditions for livestock production and reproduction across most of the country.
    • While damage thus far remains moderate and localized, the latest information from FAO indicates that Desert Locust continues to pose a risk to current Gu season crop production. Further, Desert Locust may also threaten pasture availability and crop cultivation across Somalia through the following 2020 Deyr (October-December) season.
    • Despite favorable rainfall conditions, current Gu season production is expected to be 15 to 25 percent below average due to the anticipated, cumulative impacts of flooding and Desert Locust.
    • Data from obtained from the Somalia Nutrition Cluster indicate a 13 percent increase in monthly new admissions of acutely malnourished children from January to March 2020 compared to the first-quarter average for monthly admissions from 2016 to 2019. This can be attributed to sporadic disease outbreaks, including acute watery diarrhea (AWD)/cholera and measles, as well as worsening the food insecurity in many areas.
    • Data obtained from UNHCR indicate that an estimated 126,000 people were displaced from January to March 2020, mainly due to insecurity (76 percent) in Lower Shabelle, Bay, Galgaduud and Gedo regions. The other main reasons for population displacement include lack of livelihood opportunities (17 percent) and drought (4 percent).
    • Somalia’s population is currently experiencing multiple shocks: the Desert Locust upsurge that started in late 2019 and continues to threaten the food security and livelihoods of pastoralists and farmers in many parts of the country; riverine and flash floods during the current Gu (April June) season that affects the food security, livelihoods, and safety of farmers and people living in flood-prone, populated areas; the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is having severe health and socio-economic impacts both in Somalia and globally; and the extended impact of previous shocks (flooding, drought, displacement, etc.) on livelihoods.
    • From January to March 2020, the provision of food assistance in Somalia declined. However, the level of food assistance has increased in April 2020. The average number of beneficiaries reached monthly from January to March was 0.9 million, compared to 1.6 million reached in April.
    • Somalia confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 16th. As of May 8, 2020, Somalia’s Ministry of Health and Human Services reported a total of 928 cases and 44 deaths in Somalia.
    • Some of the measures taken by the Government of Somalia and Somalia’s trading partners to curb the spread of COVID-19 are beginning to have negative economic impacts. As the spread of COVID-19 continues and measures aimed at containing its spread remain in force, this is likely to have negative impacts on the overall economy and food security outcomes in Somalia. Movement, trade, and travel restrictions within Somalia and with Somalia’s neighbors and trading partners, as well as in countries with large Somali diaspora populations, are expected to remain in effect through at least June 2020, resulting in severe disruptions to economic activity. The assumptions informing the most likely scenario for food security outcomes from April to September 2020 include:
      • A 30 to 50 percent decline in livestock exports is expected during the peak export period from April to early August 2020 (the lead up to and during Ramadan and Hajj festivities)
      • A 30 to 50 percent decline is expected in external remittance flows into Somalia
      • Imported food prices are anticipated to increase by 20 to 30 percent
      • Income among poor urban households and IDPS is expected to decline by 20 to 30 percent, due to declines in casual labor income, petty trade, and remittances.
    • It is assumed that movement, trade, and travel restrictions within Somalia and its major economic partners and in countries with significant Somali diaspora population will be eased by July 2020. As a result, the resumption of economic activities is anticipated by July, but the recovery will likely be gradual. Prolonged economic impacts on the Somali economy and food security outcomes are expected to persist through at least September 2020.
    • An estimated 2.7 million people across Somalia are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in April and May without sustained humanitarian assistance. An additional 2.9 million people are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), bringing the total number of people facing acute food insecurity to 5.6 million. These numbers are expected to rise further from June to September 2020, when 3.5 million people are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes and an additional 2.9 million people are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), bringing the total number of people facing acute food insecurity across Somalia to 6.4 million. Areas of highest concern include urban IDP settlements, Riverine Pump Irrigation, Riverine Gravity Irrigation, and Guban Pastoral livelihood zones, where it is likely that some of the most vulnerable poor households will deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
    • Humanitarian assistance must be scaled up through September 2020 to prevent Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes for up to 3.5 million people. Livelihoods support is also required for people that are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse.

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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