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Floods and renewed violence exacerbate poor access to food

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • December 2019
Floods and renewed violence exacerbate poor access to food

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  • Key Messages
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK TO MAY 2020
  • Key Messages
    • In late 2019, household incomes and access to food are adversely impacted by flooding, a relative increase in violence against civilians since September 2019. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in conflict-affected areas, where agricultural production is low and high food prices are high.

    • Although national agricultural production is above the five-year average, the conflict continues to disrupt access to markets, and several markets are inaccessible due to flooding. Heavy rainfall at the end of the season has also affected crop drying and storage during the main harvest. Market supplies of staple foods are below normal in flood and conflict-affected areas. In several key reference markets, staple food prices are higher than last year.

    • Staple food prices are expected to remain above average throughout the projection period. Food prices are likely to continue to rise in 2020, as household food stocks are depleted and the lean season begins, particularly if tensions rise ahead of the 2020/21 elections and cause disruptions to trade flows. Without improved humanitarian access and food aid delivery, populations of concern - including internally displaced persons (IDPs), poor households in areas with a high presence of IDPs, and households that lost crops and assets during the 2019 floods - will face an increase in deficient food consumption indicative of a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.

              

    ZONE CURRENT ANOMALIES PROJECTED ANOMALIES
    National An upsurge in violence against civilians from September to November led to further displacement and hampered planned and spontaneous IDP returns (OCHA, October 2019). Due to further flooding in November, around 100,000 people have been affected by flooding this season, mainly along the Oubangui River, and some affected areas are difficult to reach. Humanitarian access is limited in conflict-affected areas and flooded areas difficult to reach by road. Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for late 2020 and early 2021, preceded by electoral mapping and voter registration operations. It is feared that the forthcoming elections could lead to renewed inter-community tensions, clashes between armed groups or violence against civilians, which could result in further internal displacement or hinder the voluntary return process of IDPs or refugees. Renewed violence would further hamper humanitarian access and the supply of food assistance.
    National Flooding and conflict have reduced trade flows and the functioning of markets in the affected areas. As a result, staple food prices remain abnormally high during the harvest period, despite above-average national agricultural production. Food prices are expected to remain high and above average throughout the projection period. Food prices could rise further during the lean season, when household food stocks are depleted, particularly affecting households in conflict or flood zones.

     


    PROJECTED OUTLOOK TO MAY 2020

    Un upsurge in violence against civilians has been observed since September, particularly in Basse-Kotto, Kabo, Batangafo and Bokaranga (Figure 1). The violence continues to restrict humanitarian access and lead to temporary suspensions of humanitarian operations and the supply of food assistance. In 2019, 272 events again humanitarian actors were reported, mainly in Kaga-Bandoro, Bria, Bambari, Batangafo and Bangui and several other areas that are home to large numbers of IDPs. In Birao, in the Vakaga prefecture, the presence of the armed peacekeeping forces and the mediation efforts of local community leaders have enabled a gradual resumption of commercial activities. However, the IDPs on site (around 10,000) feel that the security conditions are not yet right to encourage returns (Interview, GUIRA FM). 

    In addition, new tensions between farmers and herders were observed in December along the transhumance corridors: Kaga-Bandoro, Bouca, Kabo, Mingala and on the Bambari-Ippy axis. Renewed tensions between farmers and herders were observed in December.  The destruction of fields is generally at the root of these tensions. In the affected corridors, this contributes to reducing production and discourages some producers from farming.

    The prefectures of Bangui, Basse-Kotto, Lobaye, Mbomou, Nana-Gribizi, Ombella Mpoko, Ouaka, Ouham and Vakaga were the hardest hit by flooding (Figure 2). With the exception of the prefectures of Bangui and Ombélla-Mpoko, access to most flood-affected localities remains limited, particularly in Mobaye, Mingala, Kabo, Bambouti and Zangba. As a result, food assistance, which reached 46,674 people, was more prevalent in accessible areas, while elsewhere, foraging is the main source of food for disaster victims. For December, the WFP has planned to distribute 15-day food rations to 4,474 disaster victims in Kouango in the Ouaka region, and to 8,210 people in Bema and Ouango in the Mbomou region.

    In areas where local agricultural production was above average, such as the prefectures of Sangha-Mbaéré, Ouham-Péndé, Kémo and Lobaye, market supply is adequate and local production is the main source of food. However, market supply remains weak in conflict and flood-affected areas, sustaining high food prices. Renewed violence, roadblocks and taxes imposed by armed groups, and floods that have destroyed crops in localized areas or isolated several localities have all contributed to reduced trade flows and market functioning, resulting in atypically high food prices during the harvest period. In Bria, for example, a bowl of cassava cost XAF 2,500 in early December, compared with XAF 1,500 in December 2018. In the markets of Bambari, Bangassou and Bangui, corn and cassava prices rose by 38 percent and 67 percent compared with December 2018. In Obo in Haut-Mbomou, corn and cassava prices are respectively two and four times higher than in the country's more accessible markets.

    In conflict-affected areas, IDPs and hosts continue to have food consumption deficits due to low agricultural production and limited access to food, although the maximum availability of foraged produce after the rainy season has probably improved their food intake somewhat. In some of these areas, flooding has also damaged crops. Although these populations derive some income from the sale of harvested products, mining activities and small-scale trade in fishing and hunting products, high food prices and difficult access to markets limit their ability to buy food. Access to food is expected to deteriorate until May, particularly as household food stocks are depleted by March and food prices rise during the lean season. In the eastern and south-eastern prefectures, particularly Vakaga, Haute-Kotto, Basse-Kotto, Mbomou and Haute-Mbomou, food deficits are expected to increase. Increased food assistance and improved humanitarian access are needed to prevent the crisis phase (IPC Phase 3) or worse.

    In accessible areas less affected by conflict, the main sources of food and household income come from agricultural production. Floods have damaged harvests in several central and southern prefectures, including Nana-Gribizi, Ouaka, Ouham and Bangui, where armed groups are also active and tensions between farmers and transhumant herders are adversely affecting livelihoods. However, market functioning and access to food aid are much better in these areas, while the availability of harvested produce is also at its annual peak. These areas are the most likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the calmer western prefectures, where agricultural production was above average, Minimal ( IPC Phase 1) is expected, given the availability of household food stocks until March, the availability of harvested products and relatively normal staple food prices.

    Figures graphique montrant les incidents et les décès par mois

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: données ACLED

    une carte indiquant le nombre de personnes touchées par les inondations dans chaque préfecture

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: OCHA

    Central African Republique Seasonal Calendar
Saison des pluies : avril à octobre dans le sud et juillet à septembre dans le

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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