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Conflict in the North contributes to food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Yemen
  • February 2014
Conflict in the North contributes to food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Insecurity, particularly recently in Amran Governorate, has led to concerns about food insecurity among locals and displaced due to reduced cereal market supply and labor market demand.
    • Despite below-average first-season rains in the southwest and the locust outbreak in northwestern cropping areas, 2013 national cereal production is estimated to be slightly above the five-year average. Areas experiencing both shocks and/or conflict are likely to face the worst food security outcomes.
    • March to June 2014 rainfall forecasts suggest near-average rainfall performance for most of Yemen with an increased likelihood for above-average rains over northwestern cropping areas.
    ZoneCurrent AnomaliesProjected Anomalies
    Amran GovernorateDisplacement of 60,000-70,000 people from Amran due to conflict 
    Northwestern coastThe desert locust invasion caused substantial, if possibly localized, damage to sorghum, millet, and sesameMany groups and swarms from the Red Sea coast will likely move to the interior of Saudi Arabia over the coming four to eight weeks to breed.


    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    Violent conflict has displaced thousands of people from Amran governorate, northern Yemen since October 2013. As much as 15 percent of the population of Amran (70,000 people) are estimated to be displaced. Monitoring food security impacts of conflict in Amran is important because WFP’s Updated Food Security Monitoring System’s report of September 2013 stated that about 23 percent of the population was severely food insecure based on data collected at the peak of the lean season in June 2013, before the start of the conflict.

    According to OFDA’s Emergency Trans boundary Outbreak Pest (ETOP) situation report for January, with a forecast till mid-March, 2014, the desert locust situation remains active on the Red Sea coastal lowlands and hills (Tihama) with hoppers and swarms reported. These areas were more vulnerable to locusts than usual at the end of 2013 because the first-season rains had not performed very well, leading to relatively high investment in second-season cereal cropping. As a result, the desert locust invasion in October-December caused substantial, if possibly localized, damage to standing sorghum, millet and sesame crops, mainly in the Western Coastal Plan Sorghum, Millet and Livestock Livelihood zone. The western coastal cropping areas contribute almost half of Yemen’s cereal production on which the majority of rural households in the area depend in part for food, but also heavily for labor. Despite this localized damage, the 2013 national cereal production was estimated at about 864,000 tons, which is near or slightly above (5 percent) the five-year average. Remaining sorghum, millet, and sesame crops should have been fully harvested in January; therefore, remaining locusts are unlikely to cause further damage to agriculture.

    Terms of trade (labor- or sheep-to-wheat flour) were within normal ranges as of December 2013.

    The forecasts for the first season (March to June) 2014 rains suggest near-average rainfall for most of Yemen with above-average rainfall likely over Yemen’s main cropping areas of the northwest coast (Figure 2). If rains perform as predicted, it could result in average agricultural wage labor income for poor households during the production season, as well as average first-season crop production beginning in June.

    Figures Yemen Seasonal Calendar

    Figure 1

    Yemen Seasonal Calendar

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    March to May rainfall forecast

    Source: ECMWF

    Figure 4


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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