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A delayed start to the rainy season in certain areas of West Africa

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • June 2015
A delayed start to the rainy season in certain areas of West Africa

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The start of the rainy season has been several weeks delayed in localized areas of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Senegal, as well as northern areas of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon. For the July-September period, seasonal forecasts (NOAA/CPC, ECMWF, IRI, UK MET, and PRESAO) are showing mixed results with certain models showing an increased probability of below-average precipitation while others indicate average to above-average rainfall, depending on the zone. The most recent update of AGRHYMET’s PRESAO forecast also indicates an early end of the season across the Sahel.

    • Cereal availability should be sufficient to meet needs until the next 2015 harvest, given good stock levels currently observed on regional markets. The main drivers of food insecurity in the region are conflict, the late start of season, poor 2014/15 agricultural and pastoral production in localized areas, and the residual effects of the Ebola outbreak.

    • In areas affected by the Boko Haram conflict, a rapid assessment of northern Nigeria conducted by FEWS NET in May confirms that there will be Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in worst-affected zones between July and September. In the absence of increased, well-targeted humanitarian assistance, approximately 3.5 million people in northeast Nigeria, as well as a further 400,000 people in neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse.

    • In Mauritania and Senegal, the ongoing lean season has been atypically difficult due to the effects of below-average 2014/15 agricultural and pastoral production. Affected poor households will face food consumption gaps and will engage in atypical coping strategies. Consequently, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity is expected to continue between now and September in agropastoral zones.

    • In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, atypical low incomes due to the general economic slowdown are limiting food access for some poor households. Despite the start of agricultural activities and a favorable evolution of the current cropping season, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are still likely in worst-affected areas through September 2015.

    • In the rest of the region, average to above-average food stocks, typical income levels and normal market functioning are enabling households to meet their basic food and non-food needs without engaging in atypical, negative coping strategies. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is expected through September 2015 despite the late start of season.


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    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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