Food Security Outlook Update

Food assistance needs remain high in Somalia, with Famine (IPC Phase 5) projected in parts of Bay Region

August 2022

August - September 2022

October 2022 - January 2023

IPC v3.1 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.1 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.1 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.1 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
FSNAU

Key Messages

  • 12 September 2022, Mogadishu – Amid a scale-down in funded humanitarian assistance in late 2022, approximately 6.7 million people across Somalia are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity outcomes between October and December 2022. Furthermore, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is projected among agropastoral populations in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts and displaced people in Baidoa town of Bay region in southern Somalia, where malnutrition and mortality levels are already very high. These projections reflect the population still in need of urgent assistance after accounting for already planned food assistance for October to December 2022. Humanitarian needs are extremely high due to the impacts of four consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, an anticipated fifth season of below-average rainfall from October to December, and exceptionally high food prices, exacerbated by concurrent conflict/insecurity and disease outbreaks (primarily acute watery diarrhea/cholera and measles). 

  • Moreover, the nutrition situation has deteriorated across most of the country. Acute malnutrition case admissions among children under age five have continued to rise sharply. Based on the results of 29 integrated food security, nutrition and mortality surveys conducted by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and partners in May, June and July 2022 and the subsequent IPC acute malnutrition analysis conducted in August, the total estimated acute malnutrition burden for Somalia from August 2022 to July 2023 is approximately 1.8 million children. This figure represents 54.5 percent of the total population of children in Somalia and includes 513,550 children who are likely to be severely malnourished. 

  • While projections were not produced for 2023, persistent drought is expected to worsen the level of humanitarian needs during the January to March 2023 dry Jilaal season across most of Somalia.

  • In addition to the Famine (IPC Phase 5) projection in two districts of Bay Region, several areas in central and southern Somalia have an increased Risk of Famine through at least December 2022 if (1) the 2022 Deyr season rainfall turns out to be poorer than currently predicted, leading to more crop and livestock production failures and (2) humanitarian assistance does not reach the country’s most vulnerable populations. The areas and population groups facing an increased Risk of Famine are Hawd Pastoral of Central and Hiiraan; Addun Pastoral of Northeast and Central; Coastal Deeh Pastoral of Central; Sorghum High Potential Agropastoral of Middle Shabelle; and IDP settlements in Mogadishu, Garowe, Galkacyo, and Dollow. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute malnutrition and rising mortality levels are already occurring in these areas.
  • The ongoing delivery of humanitarian food assistance is currently mitigating the size of the acutely food insecure population and has likely prevented the worsening of food security and nutrition outcomes in many areas, but levels of acute food insecurity across Somalia remain high and will further deteriorate if food assistance is not scaled up and sustained. Between June and September 2022, an estimated 4.3 million people (or 26% of the total population) are still experiencing Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or higher) outcomes, including 121,000 people estimated to be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), meaning they have not received sufficient food assistance to prevent food consumption gaps. Current levels of food assistance delivery have increased compared to earlier in the year, reaching an average of 3.1 million people per month between April and June 2022 and 4.5 million people per month between July and September 2022. However, based on currently available funding levels, humanitarian food assistance delivery is expected to reduce by half in November and December 2022. If humanitarian food assistance is not scaled up and sustained, then acute food insecurity and malnutrition are expected to deteriorate further and faster between October and December 2022, with approximately 6.7 million people (or 41% of the total population) expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, including 2.2 million people that will likely be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and at least 300,560 people that will likely be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

  • The window for Famine (IPC Phase 5) prevention is closing fast. Urgent and timely scaling up of integrated humanitarian assistance (in-kind food, cash/voucher transfers, nutrition, WASH, and health-related) is required through at least December 2022, and likely through March 2023, to prevent Famine (IPC Phase 5) – defined by extreme levels of food insecurity, acute malnutrition, and excess mortality, including starvation – in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts of Bay Region and the Risk of Famine in the eight other areas. The conclusions above are based on IPC Acute Food Insecurity, Acute Malnutrition, and Famine Risk Analyses conducted in August 2022 by food security and nutrition experts drawn from government, UN, local and international NGOs, local universities and technical partners, with the support of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Global Support Unit (GSU).

12 September 2022, Mogadishu – Amid a scale-down in funded humanitarian assistance in late 2022, approximately 6.7 million people across Somalia are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity outcomes between October and December 2022. Furthermore, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is projected among agropastoral populations in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts and displaced people in Baidoa town of Bay region in southern Somalia, where malnutrition and mortality levels are already very high. These projections reflect the population still in need of urgent assistance after accounting for already planned food assistance for October to December 2022. Humanitarian needs are extremely high due to the impacts of four consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, an anticipated fifth season of below-average rainfall from October to December, and exceptionally high food prices, exacerbated by concurrent conflict/insecurity and disease outbreaks (primarily acute watery diarrhea/cholera and measles). Moreover, the nutrition situation has deteriorated across most of the country. Acute malnutrition case admissions among children under age five have continued to rise sharply. Based on the results of 29 integrated food security, nutrition and mortality surveys conducted by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and partners in May, June and July 2022 and the subsequent IPC acute malnutrition analysis conducted in August, the total estimated acute malnutrition burden for Somalia from August 2022 to July 2023 is approximately 1.8 million children. This figure represents 54.5 percent of the total population of children in Somalia and includes 513,550 children who are likely to be severely malnourished. While projections were not produced for 2023, persistent drought is expected to worsen the level of humanitarian needs during the January to March 2023 dry Jilaal season across most of Somalia.

In addition to the Famine (IPC Phase 5) projection in two districts of Bay Region, several areas in central and southern Somalia have an increased Risk of Famine through at least December 2022 if (1) the 2022 Deyr season rainfall turns out to be poorer than currently predicted, leading to more crop and livestock production failures and (2) humanitarian assistance does not reach the country’s most vulnerable populations. The areas and population groups facing an increased Risk of Famine are Hawd Pastoral of Central and Hiiraan; Addun Pastoral of Northeast and Central; Coastal Deeh Pastoral of Central; Sorghum High Potential Agropastoral of Middle Shabelle; and IDP settlements in Mogadishu, Garowe, Galkacyo, and Dollow. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute malnutrition and rising mortality levels are already occurring in these areas.

The ongoing delivery of humanitarian food assistance is currently mitigating the size of the acutely food insecure population and has likely prevented the worsening of food security and nutrition outcomes in many areas, but levels of acute food insecurity across Somalia remain high and will further deteriorate if food assistance is not scaled up and sustained. Between June and September 2022, an estimated 4.3 million people (or 26% of the total population) are still experiencing Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or higher) outcomes, including 121,000 people estimated to be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), meaning they have not received sufficient food assistance to prevent food consumption gaps. Current levels of food assistance delivery have increased compared to earlier in the year, reaching an average of 3.1 million people per month between April and June 2022 and 4.5 million people per month between July and September 2022. However, based on currently available funding levels, humanitarian food assistance delivery is expected to reduce by half in November and December 2022. If humanitarian food assistance is not scaled up and sustained, then acute food insecurity and malnutrition are expected to deteriorate further and faster between October and December 2022, with approximately 6.7 million people (or 41% of the total population) expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, including 2.2 million people that will likely be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and at least 300,560 people that will likely be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

The window for Famine (IPC Phase 5) prevention is closing fast. Urgent and timely scaling up of integrated humanitarian assistance (in-kind food, cash/voucher transfers, nutrition, WASH, and health-related) is required through at least December 2022, and likely through March 2023, to prevent Famine (IPC Phase 5) – defined by extreme levels of food insecurity, acute malnutrition, and excess mortality, including starvation – in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts of Bay Region and the Risk of Famine in the eight other areas. The conclusions above are based on IPC Acute Food Insecurity, Acute Malnutrition, and Famine Risk Analyses conducted in August 2022 by food security and nutrition experts drawn from government, UN, local and international NGOs, local universities and technical partners, with the support of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Global Support Unit (GSU).

The multi-season drought that began in Somalia in late 2020 has persisted through July 2022, leading to further deterioration of the food security and nutrition situation across many parts of the country. Persistent insecurity and conflict – particularly in central and southern Somalia, as well as global supply and price shocks, are further exacerbating the food insecurity situation in Somalia. While the recent Gu (March/April-June) rains marginally replenished pasture and water resources in some locations, widespread water and pasture scarcity persists. Over three million livestock are estimated to have died since mid-2021 due to starvation and disease. Four consecutive poor or failed harvests since 2020, escalating local and imported food prices, and drought and conflict-induced population displacement are all leading to a decline in the coping capacity of poor and vulnerable populations across Somalia.

Cumulative Gu season rainfall between March to June 2022 ranged from 40% to 70% below average across Somalia. Due to the impacts of drought on livestock health, poor and vulnerable pastoral households currently have limited access to milk and lack saleable animals. Pastoral households have also accumulated very high debt burdens, driven by the prohibitive costs of water and feed for livestock, increased reliance on purchasing food for the family on credit, and abnormal livestock migration to distant areas in search of pasture and water. Agropastoral and riverine livelihood zones have had several consecutive failed cereal harvests, with further disruption to cash crop and cereal production in riverine areas due to low water levels in the Juba and Shabelle Rivers. In agropastoral and riverine areas, area planted and harvested is far below normal due to the poor rains, the displacement of households away from their farms, and farmers’ reduced ability to afford seeds, irrigation, and other inputs. Accordingly, the 2022 Gu season cereal harvest in southern Somalia is estimated at 59,900 tons, including 10,200 tons of off-season harvest expected in late September/early Oct 2022, which is 50 percent below the 1995-2021 average. Poor households who rely on income from agricultural employment opportunities continue to be adversely affected by the poor harvest in July and August. The low supply of domestic cereals, the reduction of cross-border staple food imports from neighboring countries due to the regional nature of the drought across the eastern Horn of Africa, and the record-high increase in global food prices have all driven staple food prices out of the reach of most poor rural, urban and displaced families, who must purchase most of their food. In more than half of the markets where prices are regularly monitored, prices in July 2022 were abnormally high compared to the five-year average, including for local cereals (60-234%), imported rice (27-85%), and diesel (66-130%). Prices are expected to remain high through at least the end of the year.

As a result of these compounding shocks, many rural households face widening food consumption gaps, and the erosion of their livelihoods limits their coping capacity. Social support systems are increasingly overstretched in many parts of the country. These factors have driven a surge in population displacement from rural areas to IDP settlements and towns and cities.

In pastoral areas, poor pastoralists are unable to cope with the extended impact of the ongoing drought due to rising costs of water and food, especially when they are already experiencing a significant decline in saleable animals due to distressed sales and excess deaths. Poor pastoral households are expected to face moderate to large food consumption gaps through December 2022, based on few livestock births, reduced income from livestock sales, and low availability of milk for both adults and children. Accordingly, most pastoral livelihoods across Somalia are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between October and December 2022. Specifically, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in Guban Pastoral; Northern Inland Pastoral of Northwest and Northeast; Hawd Pastoral of Northwest, Northeast, Central and Hiiraan; Addun Pastoral of Northeast and Central; Coastal Deeh of Northeast and Central; and East Golis Pastoral of Northwest.

Agropastoral and riverine livelihood zones, which have experienced at least four consecutive seasons of substantially below-average or failed harvests, face the likelihood of another poor harvest during the 2022 Deyr season. As a result, poor households who sustained substantial crop losses and low income from agricultural employment face moderate to large food consumption gaps through at least December 2022. Most agropastoral and riverine livelihoods across Somalia are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between October and December 2022, while Famine (IPC Phase 5) is projected in Low Potential Agropastoral and Sorghum High Potential Agropastoral of Baidoa and Burhakaba districts in Bay region. Specifically, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in Toghdeer Agropastoral and several agropastoral livelihood zones in Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Hiiraan, Middle Shabelle, and Lower and Middle Juba regions, including parts of Southern Agropastoral, Bay Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral, Sorghum High Potential Agropastoral, and Cowpea Belt Agropastoral.

With limited livelihood assets, few income-earning opportunities, rising food prices, low access to communal support and high reliance on external humanitarian assistance, a majority of the estimated 3.8 million IDPs across Somalia are poor. Population displacement due to drought has increased sharply since the beginning of this year. According to data obtained from the Somalia Drought Displacement Monitoring Dashboard of July 2022, the number of drought-related displacements since January 2021 has exceeded 1.0 million. During the month of July, 83,518 people were displaced by drought. Most new arrivals have been observed in Bay region (40%), followed by Banadir and Gedo regions (19% and 15%, respectively). As a result, IDP populations in existing settlements are increasing, and new IDP settlements are popping up in the most affected areas. New IDPs arrive in desperate conditions and often face numerous challenges accessing humanitarian assistance after their arrival. Of particular concern are marginalized and minority groups among the displaced populations. As a result, a significant proportion of IDPs face moderate to large food consumption gaps through December 2022. Most of the main IDP settlements across Somalia are classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between October and December 2022. These include IDP settlements in Bossasso, Qardho, Garowe, Galkacyo, Dhusamareb, Beletweyne, Mogadishu, Dollow, Dhobley (Afmadow) and Kismayo. Baidoa IDP settlement is projected to face Famine (IPC Phase 5).

The urban poor across Somalia – who already spend a disproportionately large amount of their income on food (60-80%) – continue to struggle to feed themselves in the face of rising food prices. They have limited room to absorb the impact of further food price increases and have limited opportunities to expand their incomes. Declining labor wages and rising food prices have led to sharp declines in October and December 2022. Many urban areas are classified as Crisis (IPC Phase 3), including Bossasso, Garowe, Galkacyo, Dhusamareb, Baidoa, Dollow, and Kismayo.

Results from 29 integrated surveys conducted in May, June and July 2022 indicate worsening levels of acute malnutrition, which have already reached Critical (GAM WHZ 15-29.9%) levels – indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) – in many areas of central and southern Somalia.  Worsening food security conditions and limited access to clean water have led to outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea (AWD)/cholera in many areas. Coupled with an increase in measles cases, disease incidence is contributing to rising levels of acute malnutrition, reflected in the rising number of moderately and severely malnourished children admitted to treatment centers. Acute malnutrition case admissions among children under age five rose significantly in 2022 with admissions between January to July significantly higher in 2022 than in the preceding three years (43%, 66% and 84% higher than in 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively).

In addition, levels of mortality (both the Crude Death Rate (CDR) and the Under-Five Death Rate (U5DR)) have surpassed Emergency (IPC Phase 4) thresholds in several areas: agropastoral populations in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts, displaced populations in Baidoa and agropastoral and riverine populations in Middle and Lower Shabelle. Based on the results from 25 integrated food security, nutrition and mortality surveys conducted by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and partners in June and July 2022 and subsequent IPC acute malnutrition analysis conducted in August, the total acute malnutrition burden for Somalia from July 2022 to June 2023 is estimated at approximately 1.8 million children under the age of five years (total acute malnutrition burden), representing 54.5 percent of the total population of children, face acute malnutrition through the mid-2023, including 513 550 who are likely to be severely malnourished.

Annex: Somalia Risk of Famine, October-December 2022

In the most likely scenario, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is projected among agropastoral populations in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts and displaced people in Baidoa town of Bay region in southern Somalia. In these two districts as well as other most drought-affected parts of the country, approximately 300 600 people face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) between October and December 2022, representing 5 to 20 percent of the total population in these areas. Moreover, there is an increased Risk of Famine, meaning that Famine (IPC Phase 5) could occur (has reasonable chance of happening) in eight areas across Somalia between October to December 2022 if (1) the 2022 Deyr season rainfall turns out to be poorer than currently predicted, leading to more crop and livestock production failures and (2) humanitarian assistance is not scaled up to reach the country’s most vulnerable populations. The areas and population groups facing an increased Risk of Famine are Hawd Pastoral of Central and Hiran; Addun Pastoral of Northeast and Central; Coastal Deeh Pastoral of Central, Sorghum High Potential Agro Pastoral of Middle Shabelle; and IDP settlements in Mogadishu, Garowe, Galkacyo, and Dollow. The Risk of Famine in these areas is predicated on two key conditions[1]:

(i) October to December 2022 Deyr season crop and livestock production fail. Under this scenario, crop failure (more than 40-60 percent of long-term average) and increased livestock deaths are anticipated. In the most affected livelihoods, cumulative livestock deaths would likely exceed current expectations and reach as high as 20-30 percent. Local crop production failure will significantly diminish seasonal agricultural employment, which is a main income source among poor agropastoral and riverine households. The combination of limited saleable animals and lack of agricultural employment opportunities would subject poor pastoral, agropastoral and riverine households to face widening food consumption gaps as they lack alternative income sources. 

(ii) Planned humanitarian assistance (particularly in-kind food, cash/voucher transfers, nutrition, WASH, and health-related assistance) does not reach the most vulnerable populations, whether due to physical access constraints, logistical barriers, or the marginalization of certain groups. Given that the gap between the conditions in the most likely scenario and the conditions in the alternative Risk of Famine scenario is narrow, the aversion of Famine (IPC Phase 5) hinges on urgent scaling up and continuation of coordinated and multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance.

While the above two conditions are considered the key drivers of the Risk of Famine scenario, there are additional factors that could result from or interact with these two conditions to lead to Famine (IPC Phase 5):

(iii) Although destitution and displacement in Somalia is already included in the most likely scenario, worsening drought during the 2022 Deyr (October-December) season could lead to a worse-than-anticipated influx of newly displaced people to already crowded IDP settlements and urban areas, where food and income sources and levels of food assistance remain limited. Overcrowded IDP settlements with poor water and sanitation conditions would likely result in a worsening outbreak of measles, acute watery diarrhea (AWD), or other diseases, with rising cases mostly affecting children under five years of age. Under this scenario, the interaction of high levels of food insecurity and disease could drive a rapid increase in levels of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) to 30 percent or higher and, at worst, an increase in excess mortality. 

(iv) Increased conflict and insecurity lead to further increases in population displacement, disrupt market access and functionality, impede household access to livelihood opportunities and restricts access to humanitarian assistance, with a risk of potential exclusion of vulnerable groups, especially in central and southern Somalia.

The following risk factors need to be closely monitored throughout the projection period:

  • Conduct follow up integrated food security, nutrition and mortality assessments in all areas facing the Risk of Famine
  • Food prices, livestock prices, wage rates and terms of trade
  • 2022 Deyr season rainfall performance and impact on crop production, pasture and water availability, livestock body condition, births, deaths and milk availability
  • Population displacement
  • Admission of acutely malnourished children to treatment and feeding centers
  • Coverage of and access to humanitarian food assistance, including food security, nutrition, WASH and health

For more information, please contact: William Swanson, Communications Specialist, FAO Somalia, Tel: +254 -20-4000000, William.Swanson@fao.org; Lark Walters, Decision Support Advisor, Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), somalia@fews.net; Petroc Wilton, Communication Officer, World Food Programme Somalia, petroc.wilton@wfp.org, Tel: + 254 110909484; or Frank Nyakairu, IPC Communication Team Leader, IPC Global Support Unit, Tel +39 0657050791, Frank.Nyakairu@fao.org.

 

[1] Food prices are already exceptionally high in Somalia and this is part of the analysis in the most likely scenario. The Risk of Famine analysis is based on conditions that are not currently considered likely but have a reasonable chance of occurring in an alternative scenario.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
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