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Flood risk continues after heavy rains caused localized flooding across Sudan

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • August 2014
Flood risk continues after heavy rains caused localized flooding across Sudan

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Heavy rains since late July caused localized flooding injuring dozens and destroying thousands of homes in Khartoum, River Nile, North Darfur, West Darfur, Kassala and White Nile states.     

    • Improved rainfall in most parts of Sudan since late July has enabled normal planting except in areas affected by ongoing conflict. However, rainfall in Gadaref, Sinar and South Darfur states has been below average with drier-than-normal vegetation conditions. Although updated forecasts indicate average to above-average precipitation through September, these areas remain of concern, especially given their importance to national production.   

    • Access to food will remained constrained through September, but will improve in October as harvesting begins. Food security conditions will improve from October to December and the food insecure population will decline from 5.3 million to 3.7 million people. Acute food insecurity is expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from October to December. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will persist in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan through December. 

    Current Situation
    • Heavy rains and subsequent flooding since the last week of July have affected 171,000 people in 15 states in Sudan injuring dozens and damaging or destroying roughly 30,000 houses. Flooding was worst in Khartoum, River Nile, South Kordofan, North and South Darfur, Kassala and While Nile states. Stagnating water has increased the risk of waterborne diseases. Water reached record-high levels along the Nile River, Gash River and Atbra River during the second and third week of August. Flooding of these rivers damaged orchards and vegetable farms along their banks. Government and humanitarian agencies are currently providing shelter, food and health assistance to people affected by the flood.
    • Rainfall during the first dekad of August was 10 to 25 percent below average in key production areas of Gadaref, Blue Nile, and Sinar states as well as in North and South Darfur (Figure 1). Rainfall estimates by the Sudan Meteorological Authorities indicate substantial variation across the country. Cumulative seasonal rainfall has been below average in Nyala, South Darfur and Kassala State, but average to above-average in most of other parts of Sudan. Cumulative rainfall since mid-July has ranked above the 90th percentile (among the top wettest years over the past 30 years) across a wide portion of the country.
    • Most crops have reached vegetative growth stages, although, according to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), vegetation conditions in August were below normal in Gadaref, Sinar and West Darfur (Figure 2). Heavy rains during the last week of July caused waterlogging in some areas which may affect crops, especially in the irrigated areas of central and northern Sudan.
    • Staple food prices in July either remained stable at high levels or further increased by up to 18 percent since last month across most markets monitored by FEWS NET, reducing household access to food, during the peak of the lean season. Current sorghum, millet and wheat prices were on average, 82 percent, 92 percent and 64 percent higher than last year. Prices for these commodities were 150 to 160 percent above the July five-year average. Prices were highest in tribal conflict-affected areas in East Darfur and West Kordofan states where insecurity limits the flow of goods and discourages traders. Increased demand from Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal in South Sudan has also put upward pressure on prices in these areas.
    • Recent UN reports indicated improved access in Darfur due to reduced fighting between Darfur rebel groups and Sudan Armed Forces. However, season tribal conflicts and cattle raiding in parts of East Darfur disrupted trade and cultivation in August.
    • An additional 8,000 refugees from South Sudan arrived in Sudan during the first two weeks of August. Sudan currently hosts 93,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled since the crisis began there last year. An estimated 67 percent of South Sudanese refugees have received humanitarian assistance.

    Updated Assumptions

    Assumptions made in the Sudan Food Security Outlook for July to December 2014 remain unchanged, except the following:

    Overall, seasonal rainfall performance has been better than forecast, mostly due to the very slow progression of the El-Nino and associated atmospheric impacts in the region. The revised ICPAC forecast indicates average rainfall through September due to a weakened El Niño signal. Thus, FEWS NET assumes average to above-average rains will continue normally through September, with sufficient moisture conditions for crops to ripen. However, eastern and western parts of the country remain areas of concern in terms of rainfall deficits, and below-normal cumulative rainfall in these areas is still likely.  An elevated flood risk has also resulted from heavy rains in parts of Sudan. 

    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    Food security is likely to improve in October as main harvests become available as well as income from cash crop sales. The seasonal decline of cereal prices is also likely to improve access to food through market purchase. Livestock to cereal terms of trade will improve, although price levels will remain well above average. The food insecure population is expected to decrease from 5.3 million to 3.7 million people by October. Despite these improvements, at least 20 percent of the internally displaced in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to restricted access to humanitarian assistance, ongoing conflict and reduced access to cash income from seasonal agricultural labor. Other areas of concern will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Rainfall anomalies in millimeters for the first dekad of August, 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Rainfall anomalies in millimeters for the first dekad of August, 2014

    Source: USGS/ FEWS NET

    Figure 2.  Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) percent of normal, August 6-15, 2014

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) percent of normal, August 6-15, 2014

    Source: USGS/ FEWS NET

    Figure 3


    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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