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Increased conflict in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur drives additional displacement

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • April 2016
Increased conflict in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur drives additional displacement

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2016
  • Key Messages
    • Staple food prices remained stable or increased slightly in March due to the availability of above-average carryover stocks from the 2014/15 season. These stocks are helping to offset below-average 2015/16 production associated with El Niño-related dryness in 2015. 

    • However, purchasing power of poor households in pastoral and agropastoral areas continues to decline as livestock prices drive reduced terms-of-trade and staple food access. As a result, food security outcomes have started to deteriorate two months earlier than normal in March/April.

    • Increased conflict in parts of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile has recently displaced tens of thousands of people, and disrupted livelihood activities and trade. Households in rebel-held areas are likely to face the worst food security outcomes driven by reduced income-earning opportunities, sharp increases in staple food prices, and little or no humanitarian assistance.

    • With an early start to the lean season in March/April, many IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security outcomes due to displacement, restricted trade, disrupted livelihood activities, and sharp increases in staple food prices. Small conflict-affected areas of Darfur will also be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely in much of the Darfur, Red Sea, and some parts of Kassala and North Kordofan States. 

    Current Situation

    Sorghum prices increased by five to 13 percent between February and March in main collection and consumption markets of El Obied, El Fasher, Kadugli and Nyala, mainly due to increased market demand for local consumption and lower than usual supply. Large commercial and government carryover stocks from 2014/15 near eastern and central production and consumption markets, such as Al Qadarif, Khartoum, and Ad Damazin, helped sorghum prices to remain stable or decline by up to 14 percent in March. The closure of the border with South Sudan in late March and continuing macroeconomic issues in South Sudan have also helped to reduce some external demand. Millet prices increased five to eight percent between February and March in the main millet production and consumption markets in western Sudan, such as El Fasher and Nyala, likewise due to below-average market supplies. 

    Livestock prices continue to decline in markets where poor pasture conditions are reported this year. In Kassala, goat prices declined by 20 percent between March and April and are now 20 to 26 percent below last year and the recent two-year average. This is mainly due to increased sale of goats, the main asset of poor households, due to poor pasture conditions and the above-average need for cash to buy food as a result of below-average production in 2015/16. When combined with staple food price increases, goat-to-sorghum terms of trade (ToT) have declined by 29 percent since March, and are 42 percent and 53 percent lower than last year and the five-year average, respectively. Similar declines in terms-of-trade have been observed in other areas where harvests were below average and pasture conditions are poor this year.

    Extreme food insecurity, conflict, and deteriorating economics conditions have driven increased numbers of refugees from South Sudan into Sudan since the beginning of 2016. By the end of March 2016, 55,000 refugees from Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Eastern Bahr el Ghazal, and Warap States of South Sudan crossed into Sudan, mostly into East Darfur, but also into South Darfur and West Kordofan States, where in some cases very high levels of severe and global acute malnutrition among refugees has been reported.

    Increased conflict between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan Liberation Army – Abdelwahid faction (SLA-AW) since mid-January has driven over 100,000 IDPs into parts of North Darfur State, more than 14,000 IDPs into parts of Central Darfur State, and another 5,000 IDPs into parts of South Darfur State. While most new IDPs in North Darfur, Central Darfur, and South Darfur have received food and nutrition assistance, thousands more are reportedly hiding in wadis and caves in the mountains of Jebel Marra and are not accessible for humanitarian agencies.

    Heavy fighting between SAF and Sudan People Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) has been ongoing since the beginning of February in parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The increased fighting so far has displaced about 720 people to Al Abassiya, Rashad and Abu Jubaiha in the eastern mountains, and additional displacement is likely with continued fighting. The increased conflict has also disrupted livelihood activities and trade flows to SPLM-N-controlled areas. The result is reduced market functioning and reduced supplies of essential food items, including staple foods. In some SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile States where security concerns are very high and the harvest of of 2015/16 agricultural season was below-average, cereal prices in these areas have increased remarkably between January and February. 

    Updated Assumptions

    Assumptions made in the Sudan Food Security Outlook for February 2016 to September 2016 remain unchanged, except for the following:

    • WFP’s funding need for emergency food distribution in Sudan has increased this year, due to the influx of South Sudanese refugees, new displacements in Jebel Marra, and increased numbers of food-insecure people due to El Niño. WFP is currently facing a 12-month funding shortfall of US$ 181 million of which US$ 19 million will be used to meet the needs of the South Sudanese refugees through its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO). Should no additional funding recieved, WFP’s contingency plan includes cutting rations for South Sudanese refugees by at least half and prioritization and suspension of programs in other areas likely during July to September 2016 peak lean season. Therefore, FEWS NET assumes the impact of food aid to mitigate food insecurity is likely to be reduced during the second half of the scenario period. 

    Projected Outlook through September 2016

    As household purchasing power continues to decline, particularly in western areas, due to reduced income from the sale of livestock and daily labor, and expected high increases in staple food prices, poor households will be unable to cover their basic food needs between April and September 2016. Assistance needs will be above-average in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, among poor residents in northern parts of North Kordofan, North Darfur, Kassala, Central Darfur and among new IDPs in Darfur, where food security has deteriorated to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with the beginning of the lean season in March/April. In conflict-affected areas of South Kordofan, food security outcomes have likely already deteriorated to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and will remain there through September 2016 among IDPs and poor residents due to below-average harvests, displacement, and conflict-related restrictions on movement, trade, and livelihood activities. 

    Figures Figure 1. Goats to sorghum terms-of-trade, Kassala market, July 2013 to April 2016.

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Goats to sorghum terms-of-trade, Kassala market, July 2013 to April 2016.

    Source: FEWS NET/FAMIS

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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