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Persistent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • August 2023
Persistent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • August was less rainy than is typical in Mali, Chad, Cameroon, northern, eastern, and western Burkina Faso, western Niger, northern, eastern, and southeastern Nigeria, and eastern Mauritania. However, cumulative rainfall from May to July was generally average to above average across most of the Sahel, except for below-average levels in southern Mali, eastern Burkina Faso, and northwestern and central Nigeria. Most of these areas have experienced long dry spells during the same period, which could delay crop development. The below-average rainfall expected from August to September in southern Mali, southwestern Burkina Faso, and northwestern and central Nigeria could affect crop yields. However, climate forecasts suggest growing confidence for a strong El Niño by the end of 2023. Based on historical trends, El Niño years are not correlated with notable anomalies in rainfall performance in West Africa.

    • The pastoral situation is improving thanks to the regeneration of pasture and the replenishment of water availability. However, pasture development is below average in eastern and central-western Niger, and in parts of northern Mali and Chad. Persistent insecurity, particularly in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria is also making access to certain areas difficult, leading to a concentration of livestock in relatively secure areas.

    • Staple food prices remained stable or increased from June to July 2023, in the midst of a lean season marked by low supplies and a peak in market dependency. Overall, prices remained above the five-year average, mainly due to atypically high stock depletion, insecurity and persistent trade restrictions or export bans in the Sahel, strong demand, high international prices, and lower exchange rates in Gulf of Guinea coastal countries. The deteriorating macroeconomic situation and soaring prices in Nigeria have worsened. In addition, the economic and trade sanctions imposed on Niger by ECOWAS following the military takeover have led to recent price increases. Looking ahead, despite a seasonal dip expected from September/October onwards with the main harvests, prices will remain above average throughout the region through the end of the year.

    • The majority of areas will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes until January 2024, with some additional areas Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes will persist until January 2024 in the civil unrest-affected Diffa and southernmost Maradi regions of Niger, and until September 2023 in the Komondjari province in eastern Burkina Faso due to food assistance. The Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes driven by persistent insecurity/armed conflict and deteriorating livelihoods currently affecting the Seno, Gnagna, Gourma, Kompienga, Bam, Sanmatenga, Yatenga, Sourou, and Mouhoun provinces in Burkina Faso, Lac, Kenem, Bahr El Gazal, Tibesti, Wadifira, Logone, northeast Guera and east Ouaddai in Chad, South Timbuktu, northeast, east and southeast Mopti in Mali, the Far North region of Cameroon, and northeast, northwest, and part of north-central Nigeria, will persist until September 2023, and will also reach the provinces of Namentenga and Tapoa in Burkina Faso and parts of Ennedi and Sila in Chad. Most of these areas will see an improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes between October and January 2024 due to new harvests; however, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will persist until January 2024 in Sanmatenga, Séno, Loroum, and northern Yatenga in Burkina Faso, and Lac, Wadifira, and Ouaddai in Chad. In Niger, the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes that prevailed in July in the north and west of the Tillaberi region and in the north of Tahoua will persist until January 2024. In light of the heavy sanctions imposed on Niger following the coup d'état, this level of food insecurity could be extended to many other populations, or even worsen, particularly for those who are displaced and/or residing in conflict zones and dependent on food assistance.

    • Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in the provinces of Yagha and Oudalan in Burkina Faso, Ménaka in Mali, and in inaccessible local government areas in the northeastern states of Nigeria, where households are expected to have reduced food stocks and limited access to markets and humanitarian aid, will persist until September 2023 in Mali and January 2024 in Burkina Faso. In Burkina Faso the lean season is the period of greatest need, driving Emergency! (IPC Phase 4!) outcomes in the commune of Djibo; however, the severity of hunger will diminish only marginally in the post-harvest period, and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected between October and January. Although not the most likely scenario, FEWS NET estimates that a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) will persist in Djibo until at least January. Between June and September, if aid deliveries are severely disrupted by factors including interference from armed groups, reduced helicopter capacity, or delays in flight clearance, Famine (IPC Phase 5) could occur. Given the size of the population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the post-harvest period from October to January, the risk remains that any intensification of the conflict further restricting crops, market supplies, and aid will lead to Famine (IPC Phase 5).

    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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