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In bimodal areas, erratic rains since September have resulted in cumulative rainfall and soil moisture deficits in central, eastern lowlands, and southwestern Uganda. At the same time, torrential rainfall in the eastern highlands led to flooding and landslides, affecting at least 700 people and causing at least 43 deaths. A weak El Niño is still expected to develop, but total seasonal rainfall is most likely to be average. As a result, second season cereal production is likely to be average to below-average, with high production shortfalls in the Eastern Uganda. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes currently prevail, but some poor households in Teso sub-region are likely Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
In Karamoja, an estimated 50 percent of the population is Stressed (IPC Phase 2). An additional 5 to 10 percent of the population, located in Kaabong and Kotido, have deteriorated to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) after depleting significantly below-average harvests. Although households are accessing food and income by expanding typical coping strategies, the worst-off are facing food consumption gaps and employing stressed and crisis coping strategies, including selling productive assets, foregoing health and school expenditures, accumulating debt, and consuming seed stocks normally saved for the next season.
In September, most retail staple prices remained below the five-year and 2017 averages. In contrast, bean prices have seasonally increased by 17 to 38 percent in bi-modal and select Karamoja reference markets compared to August. In Karamoja, sorghum prices declined or remained stable compared to the August 2018, September 2017, and five-year averages. Favorable sorghum-to-firewood/charcoal terms of trade continue to prevent deterioration in food security outcomes in parts of Karamoja, but shortfalls in second season bimodal production could lead to food price increases by December.
The UNHCR/OPM refugee population verification exercise has verified 1,091,024 refugees as of mid-October, marking the end of the exercise, and new DRC and South Sudanese refugees continue to arrive. Given the volume of cross-border movement and heightened insecurity in DRC’s North Kivu province, WHO and Uganda’s Ministry of Health are implementing Ebola preparedness response and daily surveillance in 22 high-risk Uganda districts. Rations continued at planned levels in October in settlement sites, sustaining Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. However, WFP warns of funding shortfalls that would result in ration cuts, which would likely cause deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
This Key Message Update provides a broad summary of FEWS NET's current and projected analysis of likely acute food insecurity outcomes in this geography. Learn more about our work here.