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Despite improvements in humanitarian access in Tigray, food access remains limited

  • Key Message Update
  • Ethiopia
  • January 2023
Despite improvements in humanitarian access in Tigray, food access remains limited

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  • Messages clé
  • Messages clé
    • Severe levels of acute food insecurity are expected to persist in southern and southeastern areas afflicted by a multi-year historic drought and in conflict-affected northern areas, where food access remains limited for millions of households despite improvement in humanitarian and trader access to Tigray. Dry conditions are acute in the south and southeast, where the drought has resulted in the significant loss of livestock and reduction in household access to food and income. In northern Ethiopia, the improvements in food access are likely to mitigate consumption deficits; however, these are not expected to be sufficient to drive improvements in area-level outcomes.  

    • In southern and southeastern pastoral Ethiopia, severe dry conditions continue to drive poor livestock conditions and low conception rates, especially for camels and cattle in Afder, Dawa, and Liban zones of the Somali region and Borena Zone of Oromia. While the deyr/hageya season performed relatively better in areas of Bale Zone in Oromia and Korahe and Dollo zones in the Somali region, livestock concentration in these areas is putting pressure on the already few pastoral resources. Livestock deaths are still occurring, and with the likely below-average February to May 2023 gu/genna season, crop cultivation and availability of water and pasture for livestock are likely to continue to be extremely low. Poor households are expected to continue to face extreme difficulty accessing food and income well through at least May 2023. Humanitarian food assistance continues to mitigate some of the most severe consumption deficits with Emergency! (IPC Phase 4!) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes expected to persist.

    • In Tigray, the relative calm in conflict has allowed for the expansion of food assistance delivery. As of early February, OCHA reported new areas are becoming accessible in Central, Eastern, and Northwestern zones; however, some areas remain inaccessible, primarily those along the Eritrean border. Basic services, including banking, telecommunications, electricity, and transportation services, are gradually being restored in major towns. As economic activities are slowly increasing and humanitarian assistance is helping to mitigate market demand, food prices in the last month have decreased, although they remain above last year. WFP reached over 535,000 people between December 30 and January 28 with around 9,000 MT of food, nearly 50 percent of beneficiaries’ kilocalorie needs for 60 days. While assistance is mitigating consumption deficits among beneficiaries, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes remain widespread. 

    • In much of the Rift Valley and some areas of Oromia, the below-average harvest from the meher and belg 2022 agricultural season is likely to result in poor households exhausting their own-produced crops earlier than normal, in the next month or two. As food stocks are exhausted, households will increasingly rely on markets for food. However, purchasing power is expected to be lower than normal as food prices are likely to remain high and income from labor, especially agricultural labor, will be lower than normal. This is expected to drive widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through at least mid-2023. 

    • Overall, conflict in January was lower than in December, concentrated in Oromia and Amhara. Conflict in Oromia is primarily in western areas of the region along the borders with Amhara and Somali regions. According to OCHA, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as of late January. Most recently, the conflicts have driven displacement in the North Shewa Zone of Amhara and areas of East Harage of Oromia. Displaced populations and those remaining in regions affected by conflict typically face restricted access to income-earning activities, along with increased food prices associated with declines in market stocks. 

    • On the national level, poor economic conditions persist, driven by low government revenue and high import costs. According to the Central Statistical Agency, January annual inflation was 33.9 percent, stable from December. In January, the government reduced fuel subsidies further, leading to a 7 percent increase in fuel prices. This will likely drive further increases in transportation costs and food prices. Food price increases are expected to be highest in areas furthest down the supply chain due to the long-distance goods have to travel. 

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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