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Impacts of multiple shocks sustain elevated food insecurity across the region

  • Key Message Update
  • Middle East and Asia
  • April 2024
Impacts of multiple shocks sustain elevated food insecurity across the region

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In Afghanistan, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in northern, northeastern, and western areas, following the impacts of the three-year drought that persisted through 2023. Continued below-average production and constrained labor opportunities are keeping needs high; additionally, returning migrant workers from Iran and Pakistan are contributing to a labor surplus and reducing remittances. WFP distributed humanitarian food assistance to an estimated 7.6 million people – including 665,000 returnees in March – with each family receiving 50 percent of recommended calorie needs. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely ongoing in southern and southeastern areas of the country: better access to labor and remittances from the Gulf countries are expanding household income sources and purchasing capacities while mitigating declines in food security. Above-average precipitation – although late in the season – improved prospects for favorable harvests in southern and southeastern cropping areas. The upcoming May harvest is therefore anticipated to increase household food access. However, severe flooding in the eastern and southeastern areas led to loss of crops, livestock, and livelihood assets, impacting an estimated 10,000 acres and displacing 6,000 households in April. 
    • In Yemen, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are widespread across most of the country. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persisted in some areas controlled by the Sana’a-based authorities (SBA) amid the ongoing pause in WFP-provided humanitarian food assistance that has been affecting 9.5 million people since December 2023. The impacts of protracted conflict and worsening macroeconomic conditions on acute food insecurity are being exacerbated by a cholera outbreak in April and flooding during the March to May rainy season. The recent cholera outbreak reported across all 22 governorates (though most severe in SBA areas) is expected to be among the worst since 2019. Cholera can increase the risk of acute food insecurity by preventing household members from being able to work and by increasing essential health care expenditure requirements. Meanwhile, flooding in late April disrupted livelihoods and damaged infrastructure in Hadhramaut, Al Maharah, and Shabwah governorates. 
    • In Lebanon, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist throughout the projection period in northern areas, refugee-dense areas of Akkar and Beqaa, parts of Mount Lebanon, and conflict-affected southern areas. Ongoing conflict and poor macroeconomic conditions have compounded impacts of protracted governance instability. Over 90,000 people remain displaced in southern Lebanon amid fighting between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah, disrupting agricultural production which provides the majority of food and income for residents, displaced households, and refugees. The local labor market contracted as the tourism sector slumped amid ongoing conflict and insecurity, further compounded by protracted macroeconomic deterioration. Reduced humanitarian assistance due to funding constraints, re-targeting of food assistance, and halting of government social protection programs have prompted increased engagement in negative coping strategies among refugee, IDP, conflict-affected, and poor households, sustaining elevated food insecurity.
    • While Gaza is not a regularly monitored FEWS NET country and therefore not typically included in regional summaries, FEWS NET’s targeted analyses on Gaza can be accessed here. To prevent widespread loss of life, an immediate cessation of hostilities is required, alongside a large-scale, multi-sectoral response with unrestricted access to populations in need.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Middle East and Asia Key Message Update April 2024: Impacts of multiple shocks sustain elevated food insecurity across the region, 2024.

    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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