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Continuing security tensions accelerate displacements and heighten food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • December 2015
Continuing security tensions accelerate displacements and heighten food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • According to the Food Security Cluster’s November 2015 Early Warning Bulletin, in spite of favorable rainfall conditions for crop production, production shortfalls are expected due to reduced farming activities following security issues in crop-producing areas. These shortfalls, in turn, are expected to prematurely deplete household food stocks, heighten market dependence, and restrict food access. The worst affected groups will be IDPs and households who had to abandon their fields.

    • The ongoing security tensions are reflected in attacks targeting civilians and continuing displacements reported in northwestern, southwestern, and central prefectures in the country. The general elections scheduled for the end of December 2015 could trigger new security tensions and population displacements. The ongoing conflict is weakening food access, particularly for IDPs, returnees, poor resident households, and host families in northwestern, southwestern, and central areas of the country, who will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity through at least March 2016.

    • According to recent rapid (RRM) assessment findings, prices in December in the areas surveyed of the Sangha Mbaéré prefecture more than doubled following sharp contractions in supplies as a result of insecurity and the flooding in November 2015, which destroyed crops and disrupted trade. Prices in these areas could skyrocket with escalating tensions in the wake of elections scheduled for the end of this year, making it difficult for vulnerable households to maintain their food access.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Sharp deterioration of the security situation, causing an upsurge in IDP numbers
    • Food and crop production shortfalls as a result of conflict, which restricts access to farmland
    • Deterioration of household livelihoods and incomes
    • Poorer food access
    • Sharp increase in food consumption needs and humanitarian needs
    • Reduction of market supplies
    • Limited trade flow of cereals  
    • Persistence, and potential escalation, of  conflict as a result of general elections
    • Continuing displacements and a growing population of IDPs
    • Persistent below-average trade flow of cereals
    • Food price spikes due to security problems disrupting and restricting supplies
    • Poor food access resulting from higher prices

     

    Displaced populations, returnees, and host families in the Northwest, Center, and Southwest of the country

    • Increased number of IDPs in host families and in camps
    • Loss of livelihoods and food purchasing power
    • Sharp reduction in food consumption
    • Increased numbers of IDPs
    • Reduced market supplies in conflict areas 
    • Steadily rising prices
    • Poor food consumption

     


    Projected Outlook Through March 2016

    IDP numbers are steadily increasing as the security situation continues to deteriorate with the approaching general elections. The referendum at the beginning of December 2015 initiated attacks and internal displacements. The size of the displaced population has grown from approximately 350,000 IDPs before the recent security flare-up to roughly 450,000 IDPs currently.

    According to various household food security assessments, the insecurity problems are affecting the main income sources for poor households including crop sales, petty trade, hunting and fishing, casual labor, artisanal activities, and salaried employment. In fact, the crop production shortfalls as a result of the conflict has negatively affected crop sales, trade, and commerce, sharply reducing household income and purchasing power of food.

    The security crisis’ impact on domestic markets is reflected in the limited availability of food crops and their higher prices. According to market data collected as a part of rapid assessments like PU-AMI’s November 2015 RRM in the village of Nola (in Sangha Mbaéré), supplies shortages from security issues and severe flooding in Sangha Mbaéré have driven up prices. Thus, a bowl of cassava, a dietary staple, which was selling for 1000 CFAF in November 2015 in Nola jumped to 2000 CFAF by December. Cassava prices on other markets in that area rose from 1500 CFAF to 2000 CFAF in Bayanga and from 1500 CFAF to 4000 CFAF in Bomandjoko between November and December.

    In general, the rapid (RRM) assessments of resident households and those in IDP camps in Sangha Mbaéré, Bamingui-Bangoran, Nana-Gribizi, and Ouaka prefectures conducted throughout November and December 2015 reveal particularly troubling livelihood conditions for displaced populations in terms of food access and livelihoods. In fact, a large majority of households surveyed in the assessment areas had poor food consumption scores, with most adults and children lacking diversified diets and reducing their food intake to a single daily meal, while their food reserves covered less than a week’s worth of consumption. 

    None of the displaced households surveyed had access to cropland. Thus, they depend mainly on wage income from day labor to buy food supplies on the market, but the large labor supply is lowering wage rates compared to normal price levels and to current food prices. Under such circumstances, the vast majority of IDPs are in an alarmingly precarious situation without a guaranteed income for the medium-term future and dependent on market prices for their main source of food.

    Consequently, IDPs, returnees, and poor resident households dependent on crop production and agricultural day as their main source of income will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity through March 2016 as a result of the ongoing conflict, which will only deteriorate with the potential new security tensions from the general elections. 

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Source:

    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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