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Flooding and slow recovery from drought drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse in late 2019

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Somalia
  • October 2019 - May 2020
Flooding and slow recovery from drought drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse in late 2019

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  • Key Messages
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    Key Messages
    • Sustained, large-scale food assistance continued to play a critical role in mitigating food gaps for many poor households in October, sustaining widespread Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in pastoral areas and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone. However, due to slow recovery from recurrent drought in central and northern pastoral areas, river flooding and flash floods in riverine and low-lying agropastoral areas, and protracted conflict and displacement, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity is expected to persist in Somalia through the end of 2019.

    • Although earlier forecasts indicated an increased likelihood of above-average Deyr rainfall, rainfall in October has been exceptionally above average, leading to flooding and the displacement of an estimated 182,000 people, mainly in Beletweyn district. This is expected to delay main Deyr crop production and prolong the lean season, but flood-recession cultivation and off-season Deyr planting that occurs after flood waters recede in December are expected to be above normal. Based on historical trends, the total main and off-season Deyr cereal harvest from January to March is most likely to be above average.

    • In the absence of planned and funded food assistance from November onward, food insecurity is likely to worsen in the short term. In the absence of assistance, more widespread deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is anticipated through January in northern and central pastoral areas and settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs), due to the extended impacts of the poor 2019 Gu season rainfall and previous droughts. Food security is expected to improve in early 2020, as the October-December Deyr rains are likely to ultimately support above-average harvests and improve livestock herd sizes, which will lead to improved household food availability and access.

    Current Situation

    Based on the August 2019 IPC results, 2.1 million people are projected to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the absence of humanitarian food assistance in the October to December/January period. The impact of drought from late 2018 through mid-May of 2019 has driven heightened food insecurity throughout 2019, compounded by protracted conflict and continued displacement. Poor Gu 2019 rainfall resulted in the lowest cereal harvest since 1995, including the pre-famine Gu harvest of 2011 (Figure 1). Poor households’ livestock assets, which have yet to recover from losses incurred in the severe 2016/2017 drought, have stagnated or further declined in many areas. A scale up in food assistance from May to August 2019 under the UN and Government of Somalia Drought Impact Response Plan has been critical to mitigating food gaps for many poor households, leading to widespread Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in pastoral areas and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone as of October. Although the October-December Deyr rains are expected to lead to food security improvements by early 2020, food insecurity is likely to worsen in the near-term without sustained food assistance. Deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is anticipated in pastoral areas, low-potential rainfed agropastoral areas, and flood-affected riverine areas.

    During the Xagaa and Karan seasons from June to September, most of south-central Somalia experienced hotter-than-normal and dry conditions, while northwestern Somalia received above-average rainfall (Figure 2). In coastal southern areas that are dependent on Xagaa showers for off-season Gu production, the rains broadly failed, except in agropastoral areas of Lower Juba. As a result, most households in Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone experienced crop failure, apart from those in Qoryoley and Baraawe districts of Lower Shabelle. In contrast, the Karan rains in northwestern Somalia brought much-needed relief to pastoral and agropastoral areas and slightly improved crop yield prospects. However, given that the seasonal decline in temperatures from October to December will inhibit crop maturation, households plan to harvest some of these crops for fodder sales instead of consumption. Although much of northeastern and central Somalia typically receives little to no rainfall during this period, land surface temperatures were up to 2 C° degrees above average, driving accelerated deterioration of rangeland resources.

    Although earlier forecasts indicated an increased likelihood of average to above-average Deyr rainfall, rainfall amounts received so far in October have surpassed previous expectations and led to flooding and the displacement of an estimated 182,000 people. This is associated with one of the strongest Indian Ocean Dipole events on record ae a result of atypical warming of sea surface temperatures off the East African coast. In southern Somalia, the Deyr rains began one to two weeks early and range from moderate to exceptionally heavy. Satellite-derived data indicate anomalies of 50 to 200 mm above average in many areas, reaching up to 600 percent of normal (Figure 3). Rainfall has also continued to be above average in the northwest, but with less extreme positive anomalies. However, rainfall is fairly normal in north-central Somalia and has yet to be established in the Northeast. Due to heavy rains not only within Somalia but also in the Juba and Shabelle river catchments in the Ethiopian highlands, high river levels have resulted in flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers, while flash floods have been reported in Banadir, Lower Shabelle, and Lower Juba. According to Somali Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) data and OCHA reports, the Shabelle river reached bankfull levels in Beletweyne in late October (Figure 4), leading to inundation of 85 percent of the town. Flooding has also been reported along the Juba river, with Bardheere of Gedo being worst affected. Flash floods have also been reported in Bay, affecting Deyr seed germination. In Shabelle riverine areas in Jowhar, river flooding in mid- September damaged an estimated 7,000 hectares of off-season Gu crops.

    The Deyr rains generally facilitated timely land preparation and planting of cereals in most southern and central agropastoral and riverine areas, though recent heavy rains and flooding have led to suspension of planting, especially in riverine areas. In agropastoral areas, farmers have increased area planted with cereals to above-normal levels, encouraged by the early rains and high market cereal prices. Early seed germination has already been observed in many areas, though heavy rains prevented germination in low-lying areas like in Bay. In many riverine areas, desilting and canal rehabilitation activities prior to the start of the rains provided labor opportunities. These activities have generally increased the demand for agricultural labor, and as a result, both poor riverine and agropastoral households realized a temporary increase in income in September. In Farsoleey rural market in Qoryoley of Lower Shabelle, the agriculture labor rate increased 78 percent from 22,500 SOS/day in August to 40,000 SOS/day in September, returning to near-average levels. In Bardale market in Baidoa of Bay, the agriculture labor rate increased by 56 and 41 percent compared to the 2018 and five-year averages, respectively. In October, however, labor demand has stagnated due to the atypically heavy rains.

    According to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and field reports as of late October, pasture and water availability is broadly below normal in central and northeastern pastoral areas, mixed in southern pastoral areas, and well above normal in northwestern pastoral areas. However, Deyr rainfall is beginning to lead to rangeland resource regeneration (Figure 5). Although late Gu rainfall in May and June regenerated rangeland resources across most pastoral areas, above-average land surface temperatures and strong dry winds in northeastern and central Somalia accelerated their depletion during the Xagaa dry season, prompting atypically high levels of livestock migration and water trucking. In the Northeast, significant livestock out-migration occurred towards Sool, Sanaag, and Ethiopia; in central Somalia, significant out-migration from Hawd Pastoral to Ethiopia occurred but migration was limited within Addun Pastoral livelihood zone due to clan conflict. In September, the price of a 200-liter drum of trucked water was significantly above normal in most northeastern and central reference markets. For example, in rural settlements of Addun of northern Mudug, key informants reported the price of a drum was 170 percent above normal at SOS 96,855. In Dhusamareeb of Galgaduud, the price reached SOS 30,000, which is 114 and 61 percent above the September 2018 and five-year average, respectively. In the South, pasture conditions vary based on the performance of the Gu and Xagaa rains, with below-average conditions observed in parts of Gedo, Middle and Lower Shabelle, and Hiiraan.

    Despite general improving trends in vegetation in October, FSNAU field reports indicated that locust swarms have damaged pasture in parts of Hawd and west Golis Pastoral of Burao and Sheikh, Buuhoodle, and Oodweyne districts in northwestern Somalia and devastated vegetable farms and grasslands in Iskushuban district of Bari. Eggs laid earlier in the year in East Golis Pastoral areas and Dharoor Valley of Bari region hatched in late September, flying westward and southward to Ethiopia. Pastoral households in Ethiopia’s Somali region, where locusts damaged local pasture, have out-migrated to Sanaag and Sool in search of pasture. Additional locust breeding has been reported in northeast and eastern Ethiopia and along Somalia’s northwest coast, posing a risk of additional locust damage later in the season if adequate control measures are not implemented urgently.

    Reflective of rangeland resource conditions and migration patterns, livestock body conditions are varied across Somalia. In the northwest, where rangeland conditions are at historically optimal levels due to the Karan and early Deyr rains, livestock body conditions are average to good. In most northeastern and central areas, livestock body conditions are generally poor, though livestock that have benefitted from migration to areas with dry pasture are currently in average condition, primarily in Bari and the western sector of Hawd of Nugaal and Mudug. In the South, livestock body conditions are normal to good in Middle and Lower Shabelle, Middle and Lower Juba, and Bay. This is inclusive of coastal areas, as livestock were able to migrate to riverine areas in the dry season. However, in the rest of the South, including Bakool, Hiran and Gedo, livestock body conditions are poor.

    Livestock birth and conception levels vary across the country, with peak livestock reproduction in the Deyr typically occurring in late October/November. Households that received favorable off-season or Karan rainfall in pastoral and agropastoral areas of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions report medium conception rates across all species. Medium kidding levels have begun in most northern pastoral areas and in most of the South and milk yields are seasonally normal. In contrast, in eastern Hawd, Addun, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones as well as in Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone of Gedo, kidding is low to none due to prior poor conception levels and the impact of the harsh Xagaa season, which led to a significant number of spontaneous goat and sheep abortions. Milk production is poor across these areas as well as in agropastoral areas of Hiiraan, not only due to harsh Xagaa conditions but also due to low camel calving rates during the Gu.

    In September, household purchasing power remained below normal across Somalia due to the impact of low market supply on cereal prices and below-normal household income from agricultural labor and livestock sales. In the South, domestic staple cereal prices were above the September 2018 and five-year average. In Baidoa reference markets of Bay, the price of a kilogram (kg) of red sorghum was double that of September 2018 and 39 percent above the five-year average. In Qoryoley reference markets of Lower Shabelle, a kg of white maize was double that of September 2018 and 33 percent above the five-year average. Prices are still higher in areas that are affected by even more limited domestic Gu production and the impact of conflict and associated unofficial taxation – namely, in Bakool, Gedo, and Hiiraan regions. In Wajid markets of Bakool and Belet Hawa markets of Gedo, the price of sorghum was SOS 12,000/kg and SOS 17,800/kg, respectively, or 52 and 28 percent higher than five-year average, respectively. In neighboring Baidoa, maize cost SOS 8,750/kg and red sorghum SOS 8,050/kg.

    Domestic cereal prices in central and northern reference markets are similarly high, as traders and farmers anticipate a below-average local Karan harvest in October/November. The highest price increases are observed in the reference markets of Togdheer and Woqooyi Galbeed, where cereal prices are 20 to 30 percent above the five-average. Higher price increases have been mitigated by cereal imports from Ethiopia in the towns along the border. However, the cost of imported staple foods in this region, including sugar, wheat flour, and rice, remained near- to below average in September, a trend observed since early 2019. This is attributed to ample supply on international markets and gains in the exchange rate of the Somalia shilling (SOS) and Somaliland shilling (SLS) against international currencies like the US Dollar (USD), due to implementation of exchange rate transaction controls.

    High cereal prices have outpaced any gains in the labor wage, and the labor-to-cereals terms of trade (TOT) remained low or declined from June to September in most agropastoral areas of southern Somalia. In most regions, labor-to-cereals TOTs are lower than last year and their five-year average. Further, demand for agricultural labor during the below-average 2019 Gu season was low, as was labor demand in the crop marketing season for processing, transportation, and other market-related activities. In Beletweyne in Hiraan, the daily labor wage in September could only buy 9 kg of white sorghum, down from 17 kg in September 2018 and the 11 kg five-year average. In Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle, the daily labor wage could buy only 12 kg of white maize, nearly half the amount a laborer could buy one year ago and less than the 17 kg five-year average.

    Livestock prices continue to be broadly above average in most central and northern reference markets, driven by a low supply of saleable animals with good body condition. Comparable rises in goat and cereal prices maintained favorable goat-to-cereals TOT across these pastoral areas in September, which were near the September 2018 average and near- to above the five-year average. For example, in Galkayo in Mudug, a local quality goat could be exchanged for 100 kg of imported red rice, up from 95 kg in September 2018 and the 71 kg five-year average. Despite the favorable TOT, most poor households are limited in their ability to earn this amount, given their limited number of saleable animals. In the South, livestock prices exhibit a downward trend due to high supply, as many households sold more livestock than usual during the Xagaa dry season. In September, livestock prices in the South were up to 20 percent below the five-year average, with the lowest prices observed in Middle Juba, Bay, and Hiraan. Coupled with high local cereal prices, the goat-to-cereal TOT declined in September relative to the September 2018 five-year averages. For example, in Baidoa markets of Bay, a goat could be sold in exchange for 136 kg of sorghum, compared to 281 kg in September 2018 and the 214 kg five-year average.

    Conflict continues to be a contributing factor to food insecurity in many parts of Somalia, due to disruption of livelihoods and abandonment of fields, loss of household assets, and increased illicit taxation. According to ACLED and other sources, the number of conflict events since May is similar to slightly higher than the same period of 2018. In many southern and central regions, armed confrontations have increased between insurgents and federal troops supported by AMISOM, with most confrontations occurring in the Shabelle, Juba, Gedo, and Bay regions. Insurgents and allied militias also continue implementing road blockades, which restrict trade flows and humanitarian access to most rural settlements in south/central Somalia. Inter-clan conflict in Lower Shabelle and central Somalia has also resulted in loss of life and displacement.

    Large-scale humanitarian assistance has been instrumental in preventing worse food security outcomes in many rural areas and IDP settlements, particularly where household assets have been depleted due to the severe impact of the 2016/17 drought, resurgence of drought in 2018/19, and ongoing conflict. According to the Somalia Food Security Cluster, an average of 1.9 million beneficiaries were reached monthly from July through September with cash/voucher or in-kind assistance ranging from a half to full ration, which most households share within their community. The majority received cash/voucher assistance. The number of beneficiaries reached in August was the highest in 2019, with more than 2.025 million beneficiaries receiving assistance (Figure 6). However, field enumerators observed during the FSNAU and FEWS NET Xagaa impact assessment in September that most food assistance was delivered to IDP settlements, rather than rural areas. Assistance continued at comparable levels in October, reaching an estimate 1.9 million.

    According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN), conflict and drought continue to be the primary cause of displacement in 2019, with additional displacement due to recent flooding in October. As of January 2019, an estimated 2.65 million people were internally displaced across Somalia. From January to September, an estimated 302,000 additional people were displaced, followed by more than 180,000 people in October due to flooding. Of those displaced in  2019, at least 75 percent originated from Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bay, Bakool, and Sanaag regions. 42 percent of new population displacement in 2019 was due to drought-related issues, with new displacement spiking during the Xagga dry season, while 52 percent were displaced due to conflict (Figure 7). Although displacement from January to October is approximately half that of 2018, it should be noted that many persons who have been displaced in recent years have yet to return home. The ever-rising number of displaced people face difficulties in accessing labor opportunities and face vulnerability to illness due to inadequate sanitation in IDP settlements. Gifts from social networks, a critical source of income for rural poor households and IDPs, are increasingly overstretched. In October, humanitarian assistance continues to reach at least 25 percent of the population and meet at least 25 percent of their kilocalorie needs in Hargeysa, Berbera, Burao, Laasanod, Dhusamareb, Dollow and Dobley  IDP camps, enabling Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes prevail elsewhere.

    In most rural areas in October, household food and income sources are significantly below average, food stocks have largely been exhausted, and high food prices continue to limit food access. Ongoing humanitarian assistance has continued to prevent more extreme outcomes in many areas, including Guban Pastoral, where Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) exists given slow recovery of household livestock assets since losses incurred in the 2016/2017 drought and Cyclone Sagar, though there is an improving trend in livestock productivity and reproductivity in 2019. In Hawd Pastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, and Northwestern and Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zones, as well as Cowpea Belt Agropastoral and Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing of Mudug region, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes exist in the presence of assistance. In these areas, food assistance has largely prevented food gaps for poor households, though household income remains low due to below-normal livestock and milk production and consecutive seasons of poor crop and fodder production.

    In areas where crop and livestock production has been poor and food assistance is not significant, many poor households are facing food gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3). This includes central Addun Pastoral, Cowpea Belt Agropastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing of Galgaduud, Southern Agropastoral of Hiiraan, Southern Rainfed Agropastoral, and Sorghum High Potential Agropastoral livelihood zones. Poor households in central Addun, Hawd, and Coastal Deeh livelihood zones, as well as in Southern Agropastoral of Hiraan are worse off relative to neighboring parts of their respective livelihood zones due to much lower herd sizes, more limited humanitarian access, and conflict that limits market functioning, disrupts livelihood activities, or inhibits livestock migration. More severe Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes exist in Bay Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral livelihood zone, given failed Gu production, below-normal labor demand, few livestock, and few alternative sources of income. In riverine areas along the Shabelle and Juba rivers, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected given that heavy Deyr rainfall and flooding has suspended agricultural labor opportunities and caused displacement, and most poor households have already exhausted their food stocks from the below-average Gu harvest.

    Less severe outcomes are observed in southern and northern pastoral areas where livestock herd recovery has been relatively sustained, permitting relatively better access to income and milk production. In areas where herd sizes and saleability remain below normal, impacting milk consumption and milk and livestock sales, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are prevalent. However, where herd sizes near normal and vegetation has supported body conditions and milk production, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is observed, despite intermittent disruptions to livelihood activities as a result of the conflict.

    Based on SMART survey data collected by FSNAU and partners in June and July 2019 and the results of the August 2019 Acute Malnutrition Analysis, global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence by weight-for-height z-score (WHZ) is projected to be Critical (GAM WHZ 15-29.9 percent) across most analyzed areas in the south as well as in central Hawd Pastoral and East Golis Pastoral livelihood zones as a result of both food and non-food security factors. Serious (GAM WHZ 10-14.9 percent) levels of acute malnutrition are projected in most remaining rural areas and IDP camps, with the exception of Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, where Alert (GAM WHZ 5-9.9 percent) levels are expected given humanitarian interventions for health and nutrition services. One contributing non-food security factor to consistently poor acute malnutrition is the incidence of measles as well as AWD/cholera, due to unprotected water use and poor WASH practices. According to joint WHO and Somalia Federal Ministry of Health reports, nearly 1,257 measles cases were reported from January to August 2019, keeping the outbreak at epidemic levels. In the same period, 1,909 cases of AWD/cholera were reported, an increase of 48 percent from the number of cases reported in June to August 2018, but 31 percent lower than same time in 2017 drought year. More than 250 cases were reported in August 2019. There is concern for increased waterborne disease in October due to ongoing flooding and contamination of water sources. 

    • Based on rainfall accumulated to date and forecasts by NOAA and ICPAC, total cumulative rainfall from October to December is expected to be above average, driven by the current positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). Rainfall is most likely to be above average through the end of October, but is forecast to ease to normal levels by mid-November. Given current river levels, flooding is expected in riverine and lowland agropastoral areas in Hiraan and the Juba and Shabelle regions. Widespread flash floods are also likely in other low-lying areas across the country, particularly in Gedo, Bay, and Bakool regions as well as in the Nugaal and Dharoor Valleys in the Northeast.
    • Riverine and flash floods are likely to cause displacement in the short term. Of high concern are Beletweyne town of Hiraan, which lies on the Shabelle River and has a population of 400,000 people, and Lower Shabelle region, where the population exceeds 1.2 million people and humanitarian access is poor. Coupled with continued displacement from armed conflict, the internally displaced population is expected to rise and could reach the highest level on record.
    • According to CPC/IRI and NOAA forecasts, the IOD is expected to transition to neutral by January. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently neutral and will likely remain neutral through May. Based on these conditions, the December to January Xays rains in northern coastal Somalia are most likely to be average. Similarly, the April to June 2020 Gu rains are most likely to be average. However, there is uncertainty given the long-term nature of this forecast.
    • Based on the rainfall forecast and past trends, farmers in most south-central agropastoral areas are anticipated to increase area planted with cereal and cash crops. In riverine and low-lying agropastoral areas, main season planting activities will likely be negatively impacted by flooding; however, flood-recession cultivation and off-season Deyr planting that occurs after flood waters recede in December are expected to be above normal. Although some crop loss is expected, the total main and off-season Deyr cereal harvest from January to March is most likely to be above average (Figure 8).
    • Given the presence of locusts in northeast Ethiopia and direction of north easterly monsoon winds, there is high of risk of locust destruction of crops and pasture in parts of the Northwest and localized areas in the South in November.  
    • Based on planting and harvest activities, agricultural labor demand is likely to be above normal through February in most agropastoral areas. In riverine areas, agricultural labor demand is likely to be below normal until December and above normal from December through the end of the off-season harvest in March.
    • According to the Somaliland Ministry of Agriculture, the Gu/Karan production estimate has been revised to 28,000 MT, which is 21 percent higher than estimates made in July 2019 but 32 percent below the 2010-2018 PET averages.
    • Driven by Deyr rainfall, pasture and water availability is expected to improve to normal to above-normal levels across most of Somalia through December. In the unimodal Northwest, where rainfall is minimal during the Deyr, pasture and water availability will seasonally decline. Seasonal trends are expected in the January-March Jilaal and April-June Gu.
    • Given adequate rangeland resource availability, livestock body conditions in Deyr-receiving areas are expected to be restored to normal from October through January and in December and January in unimodal areas. Based on this and prior conception rates, low to medium births are expected across species in October and November in northern and central pastoral and agropastoral areas. A medium rate of births is projected in the South.
    • Due to expected births and average body conditions as well as average to good rangeland, milk availability is anticipated to seasonally increase through January in both pastoral and agropastoral areas. In riverine areas, however, milk availability typically decreases as livestock are migrated away to wet season grazing areas. Overall, milk production will likely be below normal due to low births and below-baseline herd sizes in many livelihood zones in north-central regions.
    • Based on FEWS NET and FSNAU’s analysis of livestock prices in the key reference markets of Hargeysa, Galkacyo, Burao, and Baidoa, local goat prices in northern and central regions are expected to follow seasonal trends but will remain above the five-year average due to below-normal supply and stable demand (Figure 9). In the South, an increase in income from agricultural labor is expected to reduce distressed livestock sales. As a result of lower supply, local goat prices are expected to return to the five-year average.
    • Based on FEWS NET and FSNAU’s analysis of cereal prices in the key reference markets of Baidoa and Beletweyne, the retail price of locally-produced maize and sorghum is expected to remain above the five-year average in southern and central markets through May, though prices are will decline with the Deyr harvest. High prices will be driven by below-average Gu 2019 market stocks, structurally deficit Deyr cereal production, and high household demand. Price increases will be sharpest in flood-affected areas, where market feeder roads are expected to close.
    • Based on FEWS NET and FSNAU’s analysis of cereal prices in the key reference market of Hargeysa, local cereal prices in the Northwest are expected to rise until December, when the bulk of Karan harvest begins to enter the market. Although the Karan harvest is likely to drive a modest decline in prices, cross border imports from Ethiopia will contribute to overall price stability and prices will likely be average through May.
    • The goat-to-cereal TOT are expected to improve in pastoral areas given above-average goat prices and declining cereal prices. In the South, the goat-to-cereal TOT are likely to remain below average, though the TOT are likely to improve after the Deyr harvest given anticipated price declines for local cereals. Similarly, high cereal prices are expected to sustain below-average labor-to-cereal TOT until at least the middle of the Deyr harvest in agropastoral and riverine areas.
    • According to the Somalia Food Security Cluster, planned humanitarian food assistance is expected to reach an average 1.6 million people in November and December. However, the distribution plan is not yet available to FEWS NET and FSNAU. From January to May, planning and funding is not yet confirmed. An absence of food assistance is assumed from November to May.
    • Government troops supported by AMISOM will likely continue attacks, aiming to take control of major towns in the Shabelle, Juba, Bay, and Bakool regions from Al Shabaab and open roads linking towns to rural settlements. Organized and targeted killings, suicide bombings, and car bombings will likely continue in Mogadishu and Kismayo as well as other major towns. The conflict is likely to continue to constrain humanitarian access, increase loss of life and assets, and periodically disrupt both trade and population movements.
    Most Likely Outcomes Pastoral areas

    In most central and northern pastoral areas, food security outcomes will likely deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January in the absence of sustained humanitarian assistance. However, given relatively better livestock production assets, food security outcomes in northwestern West Golis Pastoral, northeastern areas of Addun Pastoral, Hawd Pastoral, East Golis Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing will likely sustain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January. During the current Deyr and subsequent 2020 Gu, milk availability and livestock herd sizes are likely to increase across most livelihood zones, but will remain below baseline levels; the exception is central Addun Pastoral livelihood zone, where significantly below-normal herd sizes are most likely to remain stagnant after births and sales. As a result of increased income from livestock production and favorable TOT, food security is expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in most pastoral areas from February to May. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to persist where herd sizes are lowest, including central Addun Pastoral and East Golis Pastoral of Sanaag. In Southern Inland Pastoral of Gedo and Bakool regions in the South, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will likely persist through May. Conversely, Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Hiraan, Lower and Middle Juba, and Lower Shabelle will likely remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through May with no new shocks anticipated.

    In Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, poor households will likely deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the absence of assistance through January. Low to no calving and kidding is expected until December and current herd sizes remain small and inadequate to provide enough income for poor households’ to meet their minimum food needs without engaging in asset stripping. However, improvement to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in the February to May period due to two anticipated birth cohorts: first, medium kidding and lambing during the December-January Xays rains among shoats that conceived in the June-September off-season rains; and second, medium to high kidding and lambing in April/May 2020 among shoats that conceive in the Deyr. These births are expected to increase livestock herd sizes to slightly below baseline levels, supporting  livestock herd sustainability and permitting some sales increased milk consumption and sales. However, some households are likely to still remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), a percentage equivalent to less than 20 percent of the population.

    Agropastoral areas

    From October to January, many rainfed agropastoral areas are expected to sustain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to limited to no household cereal stocks, total dependency on market food purchases, and below-baseline livestock herd sizes, as well as below-average TOT and disruptions to agricultural labor opportunities as a result of flash floods. In Bay and Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral livelihood zone, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely to be sustained given still lower income from livestock and milk sales, less favorable TOT, and higher dependency on market purchases and gifts. Additionally, the heavy rainfall and flash floods are expected to cause some livestock disease outbreaks and deaths from hypothermia. Increased cases of water-borne diseases among humans is also expected to increase acute malnutrition prevalence. Food security is not expected to improve until the completion of the Deyr harvest in February/March. Replenishment of household food stocks and declining cereal prices, combined with Gu 2020 agricultural labor opportunities and seasonal livestock production, is likely to significantly improve food access and lead to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

    In Northwestern and Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zones, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to be sustained through the end of 2019 given low household income and no household food stocks. However, the below-average Gu/Karan harvest in November and December will offer some stocks for household consumption, while the bulk will likely be sold as fodder to livestock exporters during the 2020 Jilaal season or used for own livestock feed. In addition, cows that conceived in May 2019 will give birth in February 2020, while medium kidding and lambing will occur in March/April, thus improving milk consumption and sales. Finally, the start of the 2020 Gu in March will offer seasonal labor opportunities. As a result, these food and income sources are expected to drive improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January to May.

    Riverine Areas

    In riverine areas, river and flash flooding have already led to significant displacement, and additional displacement is likely in the months to come. This will likely increase food insecurity in the short term. While food access will improve after the flood waters recede in December, these areas are likely to be among the most food insecure in Somalia in the October-December period. With cultivable land inundated, agricultural labor income is likely to be little to none. A rising number of poor and even some middle-income households will likely deteriorate from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Gedo, Hiraan, Juba, and Shabelle regions. In places controlled by the government and AMISOM, humanitarian access will enable assistance to reach flood-affected households until labor income and road accessibility are restored. However, in Middle and Lower Juba and most parts of the Shabelle regions, households are not likely to receive assistance. After the flood waters recede, food security outcomes are expected to improve from February to May as large-scale and widespread recessional cultivation will likely take place. Agricultural labor and off-season harvests in February and March 2020, followed by 2020 Gu cultivation, are expected to gradually drive improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by March.

    IDP settlements

    In the absence of assistance, deterioration in food security outcomes from Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in Hargeysa, Berbera, Dhusamareeb, Dollow, and Dobley IDP settlements through January. However, slight improvements in access to gifts from kin with livestock and seasonal casual labor opportunities are expected to mitigate widening food gaps in Burao and Laasanod, and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected. In other settlements, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected. However, in the prolonged absence of assistance, more widespread deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected from February to May.

    Acute malnutrition

    Based on the nutrition survey analysis and projections conducted by FSNAU and partners in June and July 2019, an estimated 1,008,500 children under the age of five years (total acute malnutrition burden) are likely to be acutely malnourished through June 2020. This includes 178,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished. In areas of concern including East Golis Pastoral, Hawd Pastoral of northeast and central, and all livelihood zones in Bakool, Bay, Hiraan and Gedo, the prevalence of GAM (WHZ) is expected to increase atypically through the end of 2019 and remain ‘Critical,’ driven by high incidence of disease and lower than normal food access. In addition, Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing will likely deteriorate from ‘Alert’ to ‘Serious’ levels of acute malnutrition, driven by declines in milk consumption and access to credit and cash for food purchases. 



    Impact on food security outcomes

    Riverine areas in the South

    Continued heavy rainfall through November resulting in widespread, large-scale river flooding and flash floods

    Continuous rainfall through end of November would likely lead to crop destruction of approximately 45 percent of riverine cropped land. Recessional cultivation would likely be further delayed, and local harvests would most likely be below-average Deyr harvest in February/March. Additional high levels of displacement and loss of agricultural labor income would likely lead to large food consumption gaps in the absence of assistance. Food security would likely deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through early 2020.


    Early cessation of November to December Deyr rainfall

    Should the rainfall season end early, re-planting after flash floods would be suspended and poor crop production or crop failure would be likely. Limited cereal stocks for consumption and sales and an increase in distressed livestock sales would drive more widespread deterioration to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Bay Bakool High and Low Potential Agropastoral and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zones and sustain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in other southern agropastoral livelihood zones until the start of the 2020 Gu. However, Stressed (IPC phase 2) would remain most likely in riverine areas, as current soil moisture levels and irrigation would support some off-season Deyr production.

    In central and northern pastoral areas – especially in the Northeast where rainfall is still yet to be fully established – pasture and water regeneration would stall, with negative impacts on livestock conception and milk production. The dry January to March Jilaal season would increase the likelihood of livestock deaths and spontaneous abortions, while minimizing livestock marketability for food purchases. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes would be widespread without food assistance.

    Pastoral and agropastoral areas in central    and northern Somalia

    Sustained, large-scale assistance at planned levels in areas of concern through December

    Sustained, large-scale humanitarian assistance at current levels (reaching 1.8 to 2 million people per month) is expected to reduce the food consumption gaps of those reached and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) in central and Northern pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones and Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes would be likely in Guban Pastoral    livelihood zone between October-January 2020.


    Figure 1

    Current food security outcomes, October 2019

    Source: FEWS NET/FSNAU

    Figure 2

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 1

    Source: FSNAU data

    Figure 4

    Figures 2 and 3

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 5

    Figure 4

    Source: SWALIM

    Figure 6

    Figure 5

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 7

    Figure 6

    Source: Somalia Food Security Cluster data

    Figure 8

    Figure 7

    Source: UNHCR PRMN and OCHA

    Figure 9

    Figure 8

    Source: FSNAU data

    Figure 10

    Figure 9

    Source: FEWS NET and 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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