Special Report

Illustrating the extent and severity of consecutive droughts, 2014/15 to 2019/20 seasons

January 6, 2021

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Not mapped
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners. FEWS NET only maps the Eastern half of DRC.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

This report details, through a series of maps, the extent and severity of drought during the 2019/20 agriculture season, the number of poor seasons[1] across the region since 2014, and their associated impacts on crop and rangeland conditions, food prices, and food security. Below-average and erratic 2019/20 rainfall marked the third, fourth, or fifth poor season since 2014 across much of Southern Africa. The moisture and rainfall deficits experienced early in the season, coupled with the erratic mid-season rainfall, resulted in agricultural drought[2] across parts of the region. For a more detailed narrative and analysis of the drought’s current and expected effects on food security, please visit https://fews.net/southern-africa.

 

The map above illustrates that much of Southern Africa experienced only one or two favorable main rainfall seasons since 2014, with three or more of the last six seasons registering as below-average throughout much of the region (Figure 1). Poor households are typically able to withstand one bad rainfall season; however, the compounding effects of consecutive poor seasons limit households’ capacity to cope. Due to consecutive poor seasons, agricultural-based casual labor opportunities and livestock productivity have remained lower than normal in some places over the last six years. 

 

 

[1] A below-average season is defined as a WRSI value that was either 90 percent or less of average or did not receive sufficient rains for an onset.

[2] Agricultural drought is considered when the soil moisture availability to plants has dropped to such a level that it adversely affects the crop yield (Mannocchi et al. 2004)

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics