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Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists in Somalia

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Somalia
  • February - September 2017
Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists in Somalia

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  • Key Messages
  • Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in Somalia in 2017
  • National Overview
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • In January, FEWS NET and FSNAU released joint statements on deteriorating food security in Somalia and the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in a worst-case scenario in which the April to June 2017 Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/11, and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need. In the most likely scenario, though, agropastoral areas of Bay/Bakool and Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone are expected to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, and associated risk of increased mortality, through September. 

    • The April to June Gu season is currently forecast to be slightly below average. Terms of trade in southern regions are expected to decline significantly, and may be only slightly better than 2011 levels. Terms of trade in northern regions will be slightly more favorable, given stable rice prices.

    • Humanitarian access is relatively better than in 2011 and humanitarian partners are present in previously inaccessible areas of southern Somalia. Humanitarian partners distributed emergency assistance to over 1,079,000 beneficiaries in February, reaching over 50 percent of the need in many areas of Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone and 35 percent of the need in Baidoa, two areas of high concern. 

    • An estimated 2,912,000 people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phases 4) acute food insecurity between now and the peak of the agricultural lean season in June. Urgent humanitarian assistance is needed to save lives and livelihoods.

    • The ongoing drought has led to high levels of internal and external displacement. According to recent reports by UNHCR, an estimated 256,000 people are newly displaced within Somalia, the majority of whom are in Mudug, Bay, and Banadir (Mogadishu). People have also sought refuge in Dolo Ado camp in Ethiopia, where the over 4,100 Somalis have arrived since January 2017. 

    • The scarcity of safe drinking water has led to an outbreak of AWD/cholera. According to WHO, there have been 10,571 cases reported and 269 deaths since January 2017. Nearly half of all cases where reported in Bay, and the majority of these cases were in Baidoa town where crowding of newly displaced households is likely exacerbating the outbreak. 

    • FSNAU plans to conduct SMART surveys in Bay Agropastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, Bakool Pastoral livelihood zones, Baidoa IDPs and Mogadishu IDPs in early April. The results of these integrated surveys will update the malnutrition, mortality and food security status of these areas.  

    Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in Somalia in 2017

    In January, FEWS NET and FSNAU warned of rapidly deteriorating food security in Somalia and the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in a worst-case scenario where the 2017 Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2011, and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need.

    It was these factors, alongside persistent high levels of acute malnutrition, which led to Famine (IPC Phase 5) in 2011. Conditions in early 2017 compared to early 2011 are mixed (Figure 1). International wheat and rice prices are lower and the prices of these imported commodities are expected to remain stable and act as a price ceiling on maize and sorghum prices, but terms of trade are still expected to deteriorate significantly, and may be only slightly higher than in 2011. Humanitarian access is relatively better, though, and humanitarian partners are present in previously inaccessible areas of southern Somalia. Although there remains a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5), it is not the most likely scenario given current humanitarian access and the expectation of only slightly below average Gu rainfall. In a worst-case scenario where humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations and need and the Gu rains are more below average than currently forecast, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely. Of highest concern are agropastoral areas of Bay and Bakool and Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone.  

    In agropastoral areas of Bay and Bakool, many poor households did not harvest crops during the Deyr season and have few livestock to sell to fund cereal purchases. Furthermore, high cereal prices are restricting normal food access. Internal displacement to Baidoa town has increased significantly over the past three months. The scarcity of safe drinking water has led to the outbreak of AWD/cholera in these regions, exacerbated by the overcrowding of newly displaced populations. The prevalence of acute malnutrition was at ‘Critical’ levels in December and has likely further deteriorated in recent months. In the event that the Gu season is significantly delayed or poorer than currently forecast, production will be well below average and food security will further deteriorate. Humanitarian access is relatively better compared to 2011, but there remain inaccessible areas in Bay and Bakool. Food insecurity is expected to be severe for those who cannot be reached by humanitarian assistance. In a worst-case scenario where large-scale assistance is not delivered and the Gu season performs poorer than expected, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected. 

    In Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone, pastoralists are expected to be able to access some food through borrowing and credit, and food security will likely improve minimally after the Gu rains, when livestock body conditions improve and allow for the sale of a few goats. Large-scale humanitariain interventions are also ongoing in this livelihood zone and likely to continue through at least June. Food consumption gaps are expected to remain throughout the scenario period, though, and herd sizes will decline sharply due to atypical deaths and high sales. In the event that the Gu rains perform much worse than currently forecast, additional livestock deaths are expected and some pastoralists would lose their entire herd. Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible in a worst-case scenario where the Gu rains fail, leaving pastoralists without livestock to sell, and humanitariain actors are unable to distribute large-scale assistance to those in need. 

    FSNAU plans to conduct SMART surveys in early April in Bay Agropastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, and Bakool Pastoral livelihood zones, and among Baidoa IDPs and Mogadishu IDPs. The results of these integrated surveys will update the malnutrition, mortality, and food security status of these areas.  

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Rainfall. Somalia has two rainy seasons a year, the April to June Gu season and the October to December Deyr season. The October-December 2016 Deyr rainy season was significantly below average throughout Somalia and failed in many areas. In most areas, rainfall was two to four weeks late, distribution was erratic, and precipitation was 30–60 percent below normal (Figure 2). In the northeast, the rainy season was poor in all areas and significantly below average in Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone and Hawd and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones of northern Mudug. In the northwest, unseasonal rainfall was received in late 2016, but the subsequent Xeys rains, which are typically received in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone in December and January, were below average. In central regions, near average rainfall was reported in localized areas of Addun Pastoral and Central (Cowpea) Agropastoral livelihood zones, but all other areas received only 10-50 mm of rainfall. In the South, there was little to no rainfall until late November. From late November through the end of December 50-100 mm of rainfall were received in Lower and Middle Juba, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, and Bay.

    Production. As a result of the extremely poor rains, Deyr cereal production in the south was well below average, estimated at 32,600 metric tons (MT), 68 percent below the 1995-2015 long-term/post-war average (PWA) and 75 percent below the 2011-2015 five-year average (Figure 3). This is the second lowest cereal harvest on record, after 2010/11 Deyr production. Sorghum production was 80 percent below the PWA in Bay, the main sorghum-producing region, and maize production was 58 percent below the PWA in Lower Shabelle, the key maize-producing region. Nationally, this is the second consecutive poor season: 2016 Gu production was 20 percent below average.

    Conversely, in Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone, the only production area in the north, November/December Gu/Karan cereal production was estimated at 37,500 MT, 68 percent higher than the 2011-2015 five-year average. Production was relatively better in this area, which follows a different rainfall pattern, due to favorable 2016 Gu/Karaan rainfall.   

    Pasture and water resources. Rangeland conditions in most pastoral livelihood zones are significantly below average. Rainfall totals were higher in the northwest and parts of Bay, Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba, and Lower Shabelle and pasture partially regenerated in December, but was quickly depleted by the heavy influx of livestock from other drought-affected areas. Resources are the scarcest in Northern Inland Pastoral, Addun, Hawd, Coastal Deeh, and agropastoral areas in Hiran. Extensive water trucking is ongoing in these areas. In northeastern regions, the price of a 200-liter drum of water is around 45,000 SOS, 60 percent higher than the 2012-2016 average and the highest price observed in these areas since April 2011.

    The scarcity of water in reservoirs has increased demand for water from the Shabelle River. The heavy use of the river upstream has led to lower river water levels for households downstream. In Jowhar of Middle Shabelle, river water is only 0.5 meters high, substantially lower than the 1.8 meters typical of this time. It is quite likely river water levels are even lower in this area, though; partners at SWALIM have noted that although the gauge reads 0.5 meters, ground reports indicate the river is completely dry at Jowhar. Water levels in the Juba River in Gedo, Middle Juba, and Lower Juba remain at or above normal levels due to relatively better rainfall in the Juba River basin, a greater number of tributaries, and the lower intensity with which river water is used for irrigation purposes.

    Livestock. Due to scarce pasture and water resources throughout the country, livestock body conditions have atypically deteriorated. In northeastern and central regions, livestock body conditions are very poor and atypical livestock deaths have been reported in Northern Inland Pastoral, Hawd Pastoral, Addun Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh livelihood zones. Livestock body conditions are slightly better in the northwest and south, but still poorer than normal. Rates of livestock conception during the Deyr season were very low in all northeastern, central, and southern regions. Due to limited livestock births and poor body conditions, milk production is extremely poor in most northeastern and central regions and only slightly better in the south and northwest.  

    Poor livestock body conditions have also driven the decline in livestock prices across the country. Between December and January, prices decreased sharply. The most significant decline was in Cerrigaabo of Sanag where the price of a local quality goat declined 72 percent. Price decreases were less significant between January and February, and in some markets prices increased slightly, but prices remain significantly below average. Cattle prices exhibited a similar trend, declining 25-40 percent below average in most southern and central markets between December and February.

    Labor. In addition to the loss of income that households are experiencing due to declining livestock prices, household income from agricultural labor is also below average, as low demand is driving lower wage rates. Wage rates in Baidoa and Qorioley remain stable compared to the five-year average, but all districts of Bay and Lower Shabelle, wage rates have declined significantly in recent months and are now between 5-20 percent below average.

    Food prices. At the same time that income from livestock sales and labor is decreasing, local cereal prices have sharply increased due to low supply. In Baidoa of Bay, the key reference market in sorghum-producing areas, the price of sorghum in February was 116 percent above last year and 74 percent above the five-year average. In Qorioley of Lower Shabelle, the key reference market in maize-producing areas, the price of maize in February was 43 percent above last year, but near average. The price of maize in Qorioley was 74 percent above average in January, but declined 71 percent between January and February. In both markets, prices are below those observed in 2010-2011 (Figure 4). The price of imported rice and wheat is roughly two to three times higher than the price of maize and sorghum, but prices remain stable, owing to sufficient international supply and relatively low transportation costs.

    Terms of trade. The combination of rising cereal prices and diminishing income has led to a sharp decline in household purchasing power, as measured by terms of trade (ToT) (Figure 4). The most significant declines were observed in regions such as Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle, where maize or sorghum prices are increasing alongside declining livestock and labor prices. In Hudur of Bakool, a day’s labor now only purchases 3 kilograms of sorghum and the sale of a goat purchases 30 kilograms of sorghum, both more than 50 percent less than average. In pastoral areas of Lower Juba, Middle Juba, and Gedo, the decline in ToT has been more slight, despite high maize and sorghum prices, due to a less significant decrease in livestock prices. In northeastern and central regions, where rice prices remain stable, declining livestock prices are driving lower than normal ToT. Relatively better ToT can be observed in northwestern regions such as Woqooyi Galbeed, where livestock prices are near normal and rice prices are stable.

    Displacement. The ongoing drought has forced many people to leave their homes in search of alternative sources of food and water. According to UNHCR, over 256,000 people have been newly displaced between November 2016 and February 2017, as a result of the ongoing drought. The majority of new displacements are in Mudug, Bay and Mogadishu, and Mudug (Figure 6). Internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been observed moving to current IDP settlements as well as setting up new settlements in town centers. People have also sought refuge in Dolo Ado camp in Ethiopia, where the over 4,100 Somalis have arrived since January 2017. The majority of new arrivals are from Bay, Middle Juba, and Gedo. According to nutrition screenings conducted by UNHCR, the prevalence of acute malnutrition among newly arrived children under five is extremely concerning. No Somalis have been recorded moving towards Dadaab camp in Kenya.

    Outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)/cholera. WHO reported  10,571 cases and 269 deaths between January 1 and March 10 across 39 districts in 12 regions of Somalia. Nearly half of all cases where reported in Bay and the majority of these cases were in Baidoa town where crowding of newly displaced households is likely exacerbating the outbreak. The epidemic is attributed to the drought that started in October 2016 that has caused limited access to safe water and sanitation services.

    According to data gathered by Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), FEWS NET, and partners during the 2016 post-Deyr assessment, over 1,644,000 people were in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in January 2017.

    Rural areas: In southern agropastoral areas, Deyr production among poor households was significantly below average. Poor households have already exhausted cereal stocks and are now heavily dependent on markets to access food. However, recent price spikes and declining income are lowering household food access. Many are coping through selling atypically high numbers of livestock, purchasing on loans, and seeking assistance through community support. Of highest concern are agropastoral areas in Bay and Bakool where production was a near complete failure and poor households own few livestock to sell as a coping mechanism. As of late February, around 30,000 people have been internally displaced, moving from rural areas to Baidoa, Gedo, and Mogadishu in search of assistance. This area is currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), but an increasing number of households are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). In northern and central pastoral areas, pastoralists have limited livestock to sell, as most have very poor body conditions and some have died as a result of the drought. With limited access to income, household purchases of cereals are below normal. Milk consumption is also very low. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes exist in most pastoral areas. Northern Inland Pastoral, which has experienced several consecutive seasons of drought, is of high concern. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes existed in January. In February, during the pastoral lean season, some areas have deteriorated to Emergency (IPC Phase 4), but many districts of this livelihood zone remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) due to ongoing, large-scale humanitariain assistance. In northwestern areas, near average to above-average 2016 rainfall supported favorable livestock conditions and near-average cereal production, and in southern pastoral areas, late rainfall improved pasture and water for livestock. In these areas households have greater access to milk and saleable livestock to fund market purchases, resulting in somewhat better consumption. Most of these areas are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Urban areas: Food security has also declined in most southern urban areas, due to rising food prices alongside declining income. Income from casual labor and petty trade declined in all southern regions except Middle Shabelle. The largest declines were in Mogadishu and Bakool where the wage rate in February dropped 25-30 percent below the five-year average. Due to lower than normal food access, urban areas in Mudug, Hiraan, Bakool, Bay, and Middle Juba are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Conversely, casual labor wages remained relatively stable in most central and northern urban areas. As a result of this and staple imported commodity prices, ToT in northern and central Somalia have remained stable compared to average. Most urban areas in these regions are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    IDP settlements: Among internally displaced persons (IPDs) who were displaced by December 2016, approximately 402,000 are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 39,000 are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), based on results from the post-Deyr assessment. In seven of the 12 IDP settlements, more than 30 percent of the population has a poor or borderline food consumption score and over 80 percent of all IDPs reported engaging in mild to moderate coping mechanisms to access food. Given that most IDP households allocate over 70 percent of their income to food expenditures, current price spikes are lowering food access. Since the post-Deyr assessment, an additional 250,000 people have become internally displaced. It is expected that the majority of these newly displaced households have sold or lost many livelihood assets and are accessing food through community support and available humanitarian assistance. It is likely many are facing food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.

    Nutritional Status: The results of 27 SMART surveys conducted by FSNAU between October and December 2016 show the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM), as measured by weight-for-height z-score (WHZ), has increased in many areas of the country since the July 2016 post-Gu assessment. Critical levels of GAM (15-30%) were observed in Northern Inland Pastoral, Coastal Deeh, Aduun Pastoral, and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones, and in Gedo and Bay Regions (Figure 7). An estimated 363,000 children between the ages of six and 59 months were suffering from acute malnutrition in Somalia, including over 71,000 children who were severely malnourished. The number of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) cases is 28 percent higher than the same time last year. It is expected that food security and nutritional status has further deteriorated in January and February given high food prices and declining income, which together are decreasing food access.

    Ongoing humanitarian response. An estimated 825 million USD is required from January to June 2017 to implement the Somalia Operational Plan for Pre-Famine Scale Up of Humanitarian Assistance. As of 13 March 2017, a total of 183.8 million USD has been received against the appeal, approximately 22.3 percentage of requirements. According to the Food Security Cluster, humanitarian actors reached 508,161 beneficiaries in January and 1,079,000 beneficiaries in February with emergency food assistance, delivered either in-kind or through cash/voucher. This assistance reached over 50 percent of the estimated population in need in Borama of Awdal, Bender Belia, Gardo, and Iskushuban of Bari, El Bur, Belet Hawa, Dolo, El Waq, and Luuq of Gedo, Kismayo and Afmadow of Lower Juba, Jariban of Mudug, Badhan and Erigavo of Sanaag, Caynabo, Taleh, and Xudun of Sool, Buhodle of Togdheer, and Gabiley and Hargeisa of Woqooyi Galbeed. It is expected that food security outcomes in these areas are at least one phase better due to this humanitarian assistance. 


    The February to September 2017 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:


    • The January to March Jilaal dry season will be drier and hotter than normal throughout the country.  
    • In southern and central Somalia, seasonal forecasts and analyses conducted by NOAA forecast below-average April to June Gu rainfall. An analysis of analog years of similar climate drivers indicates that rainfall is likely to be 10-25 percent below average, with pockets of rainfall as much as 25-50 percent below average along the southern border with Ethiopia. A delayed onset of rainfall by one to two weeks and erratic rainfall distribution is also expected, given similar trends in analog years. In northern Somalia, forecasts indicate rainfall totals are expected to be near average.
    • June to August Karan rains in northwestern Somalia are expected to be average.
    • The July to September Xagaa coastal showers in Lower and Middle Shabelle and Lower and Middle Juba are forecast to be average.
    • Water levels in the Shabelle River will likely remain significantly below average to completely dry through April in most areas down river of Hiraan. Given the forecast for average to below-average April to September rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands, which feeds in to the Shabelle River, and below average Gu rains, river water levels are expected to remain lower than normal from April through September. This will result in lower than normal irrigation planting.
    • River water levels in the Juba River are expected to remain average to slightly below average throughout the outlook period, given current levels and the expectation of below average Gu rains.

    Agricultural labor demand and crop production:

    • Local cereal stocks are expected to be well below average through June, both on markets and at the household-level.
    • As a result of forecast below-average Gu rainfall in most areas of southern and central Somalia, the area planted, agricultural labor opportunities, and production are all likely to be below average. Sorghum, which is slightly more resistant to drought, is expected to be slightly below average, while maize production will be relatively more below average. Cowpea production, which requires a shorter cultivation period but is susceptible to erratic rainfall, is also likely to be below average. Overall Gu production is expected to be 25-30 percent below average.


    • Livestock body conditions are likely to further deteriorate during the January to March Jilaal season due to limited availability of water or pasture. As a result, atypical livestock migration patterns and higher than normal livestock deaths among cattle and goats/sheep are expected in most regions of the county. Water and pasture availability are expected to replenish in May, following the start of the April to June Gu rains.
    • A very low rate of kidding of small ruminants and calving of camels and cattle are expected in most areas as a result of high abortion rates during the July to September Xagaa 2016 season and minimal conception during the Deyr 2016/17. 
    • Milk availability will be well below average through March, as a high number of milking females will not produce milk. Milk production will increase from April to September, but remain lower than normal due to limited livestock births.
    • Atypically high livestock deaths, abortions, and distress selling of livestock are likely through March, reducing her sizes. The greatest losses are expected in northern and central pastoral areas where livestock herd sizes are expected to decline 50 percent below baseline levels. 

    Markets and trade:

    • As a result of slightly below-average Gu 2016 production, significantly below-average 2016/17 Deyr production, and expected below-average Gu 2017 production, domestic staple cereal supply is expected to be well below average throughout 2017 and similar to that of 2011. Sorghum and maize imports from Ethiopia are expected to be above average, but total quantities are trivial and not likely to impact domestic supply of maize and sorghum.
    • Due to the fact that international markets are well supplied with rice and wheat and prices are below average, wheat and rice imports into Somalia are expected to be well above average and address domestic staple food supply gaps.
    • Imported wheat flour and rice prices are expected to remain stable, with only moderate price increases due to slight depreciation of the SOS and SLS. Prices will likely remain near 15,000 SOS in most markets throughout the outlook period.
    • Maize and sorghum prices are expected to further increase through at least July, driven by low supplies. Below-average and stable wheat/rice prices are expected to act as a price ceiling for maize and sorghum. As a result, local cereal prices are unlikely to exceed 15,000 SOS in most markets, slightly below peak price levels in 2011.
    • Livestock prices are likely to further decrease through April, as livestock body conditions deteriorate. It is also possible that Saudi Arabia’s ban on livestock imports from Somalia will lower demand, further decreasing prices. Livestock conditions and prices are likely to improve slightly from May through September, but remain slightly below average. 
    • Household purchasing power, as measured by goats-to-cereal and labor-to-cereal ToT, is expected to drop significantly and be near 2011 levels (Figure 8) in many key markets. These should be considered conservative estimates, as they do not fully reflect the possible decrease in livestock and labor prices.
    • Milk prices will sharply increase during the January to March Jilaal dry season due to limited availability, decrease slightly from April through June, and seasonally increase from July through September.

    Humanitarian assistance:

    • According to the foods security cluster, humanitarian actors plan to reach 2,800,000 people a month from March through June with emergency in-kind or cash/voucher assistance. In all regions but Middle Juba, humanitarian actors are targeting between 50 and 100 percent of the need. Given uncertainty around levels of funding through June, and possible access constraints, it is unclear if the current assistance plan will be fully implemented. However, it is assumed that humanitarian assistance will continue at least at levels seen in February. Information on funding levels and distribution plans from July to September are unknown; in the absence of this information the most likely scenario assumes the absence of humanitarian assistance from July to September.   


    • Conflict will likely remain at current levels or higher given the Federal Government and AMISOM’s planned offensive against insurgents. Inter-clan conflicts are likely in Lower and Middle Shabelle. Disruptions to trade and humanitarian access are expected in Mogadishu, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bay, Bakool, Gedo, and Lower and Middle Juba.

    Displacement and migration

    • Continued internal displacement, at rates already observed or higher, is expected through at least March.
    • Displacement is expected primarily among poor rural households who are moving to towns in search of assistance and labor opportunities. Internal displacement is likely to slow in April, with the start of the rainy season. 
    • Further external displacement is expected through at least March. It is likely the majority will seek refuge at Dolo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia and it is expected arrivals will continue at or above the current rate of about 70 people a day through at least March. External displacement it is not expected to be as high as in 2011, though, due to improved humanitarian access in southern and central Somalia compared to 2011. Improved access is likely to allow for a larger humanitarian intervention in 2017, decreasing the number who would otherwise seek assistance in neighboring countries. Furthermore, displacement is expected to slow in April with the start of the Gu rains, contrary to 2011 when the Gu rains were significantly delayed and external displacement further spiked[1].
    • As a result of the High Court of Kenya declaring that Dadaab should remain open, it is possible the rate of Somali returnees will slow. However, it is unlikely that new arrivals from Somalia will be permitted to enter Dadaab.


    • The prevalence of GAM is expected to increase atypically through June across Somalia as a result of low cereal stocks, limited milk availability, high prices lowering food access, and increased morbidity.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Food security is expected to deteriorate through June, the end of the agropastoral lean season. An estimated 2,912,000 people are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher between now and the June, 439,000 of whom are likely to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). With the availability of the Gu harvest in July and improvements to livestock body conditions and productivity alongside the April-June Gu season, food security is expected to improve slightly between July and September 2017. An estimated 2,500,000 are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher at this time.

    In southern agropastoral areas, food security is expected to deteriorate through June, the peak of the lean season. Most poor households have depleted household food stocks and rely primarily on marekts to access food. Although prices are not likely to reach 2011 peak levels, expected increases are still upwards of 200 percent, which will significantly limit the amount of food poor households will be able to purchase. With the onset of the Gu rains in April, agricultural labor opportunities will be available, but the Gu season is forecast to be below average and erratic, which will lead to lower planting and subsequently fewer labor opportunities. Most agropastoral areas are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through June. In agropastoral areas of Bay and Bakool, where food security outcomes are already severe, many poor and displaced households will be heavily dependent on community support and loans to access food. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist in these areas. After the arrival of the Gu harvest in July, food security will improve slightly. However, many poor households will need to sell a higher than normal proportion of their harvest to repay heavy debts accrued during the lean season. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) are expected throughout the scenario period. In a worst-case scenario where large-scale assistance is not delivered and the Gu season performs poorer than expected, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected.

    In pastoral areas, food insecurity will be most severe during the peak of the lean season in March. At this time, pasture and water will be very limited and pastoralists will have few livestock to sell to fund cereal purchases. Where they are able to sell, they will receive atypically low prices. In southern regions, where the staple is sorghum or maize, pastoralists will face extremely high cereal prices. Pastoralists in central and northern regions are likely to have relatively better food access, due to stable rice prices. During the April-June Gu season, pasture and water resources will likely regenerate to near normal levels, both in the north where average rainfall is forecast and in southern and central regions where rainfall 10-25 percent below average is still sufficient to restore pasture and water. This will not lead to immediate improvements in food security, though. Once livestock body conditions improve in May and pastoralist can sell additional livestock, income from sales will go to both food purchases and repaying debts. Most areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), athough ongoing humanitariain assistance is expected to support Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in areas of Gedo, Lower Juba, Galgaduud, Mudug, Awdal, and Woqooyi Galbeed through June. Of greatest concern is Northern Inland Pastoral, where reoccurant drought has lead to higher livestock deaths and some pastoralists are destitute. Average Gu rains will improve the conditions of remaining livestock, but pastoralists have few to sell and debts are very high. Food consumption gaps and increased asset depletion are expected. Large-scale humanitarian interventions planned, funded, and likely through June are expected to keep many areas of this livelihood zone in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!), but from July through September, in the absense of humanitariain assistance, Northern Inland Pastroal would be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    In urban areas and IDP settlements, food security is expected to further deteriorate through at least June, as higher than normal food prices drive below average purchasing capacity. Based on outcomes collected during the post-Deyr assessment, it was estimated that 452,000 IDPs would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 48,000 would be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through June 2017. Since this assessment, approximately 250,000 additional people have been displaced, most of whom likely have limited access to sufficient food. As a result, it is likely the estimated number of IDPs who are acutely food insecure will be larger than previously expected and will be located not only in previously estimated IDP settlments, but also in informal settlements in main towns throughout the country. The influx of IDPs to urban centers is also expected to increase competition for labor and could lead to more cases of cholera/AWD.

    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

    [1] See Events That May Change the Scenario for expected displacement in the event Gu rainfall is significantly delayed and more below average than currently forecast


    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Conditions in early 2017 compared to early 2011

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, February 2017

    Source: FEWS NET/FSNAU

    Figure 3

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    Figure 2. Rainfall as a percentage of normal, Oct. – Dec. 2016, compared to the 1981-2010 mean

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 5

    Figure 3. Annual cereal production in Somalia in metric tons, 1995-2016

    Source: FSNAU

    Figure 6

    Figure 4. Retail price of sorghum, Baidoa, Bay

    Source: FSNAU/FEWS NET

    Figure 7

    Figure 5. Change in terms of trade (ToT), January 2017 compared to the five-year average

    Source: FSNAU/FEWS NET

    Figure 8

    Figure 6. Drought-related internal displacement in Somalia according to UNHCR, Nov. 2016-Feb. 2017

    Source: UNHCR

    Figure 9

    Figure 7. Nutrition outcomes as measured by global acute malnutrition (GAM), Nov-Dec. 2016

    Source: FSNAU

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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