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In late April, the government relaxed measures against the spread of COVID-19 by reopening shops and restaurants, however social distancing and wearing a mask or turban is still required. Since then, the country has registered a rapid increase in cases of the virus and as of May 26, 240 active cases of COVID-19 were registered in the capital and in four Wilayas in the interior of the country. The capital and the city of Kiffa (chief town of the Wilaya of Assaba) are in quarantine and transport out of the cities is prohibited. The borders with Senegal and Mali remain closed, thus confining transhumant pastoralists in the wilayas of Gorgol and Guidimaka.
The increased pressure from livestock in transit areas is accelerating the degradation of pastures and in some places heightening tensions around water points for animals. To limit livestock mortalities, the government has launched a subsidized sales operation of 88,000 tonnes of animal feed which will be distributed in all moughataas. This operation will cover the entire pastoral lean season, pending the regeneration of pastures from mid-July. However, the prices of these foods remain high on the markets and are, for example, 17 percent above the average on the Sélibaby market in Guidimaka.
The resumption of economic activities is still timid in urban centers, but also in rural areas. Recent measures to quarantine certain cities will further slow-down income-generating activities and reduce the demand for seasonal workers. To compensate for the loss of income usually obtained from seasonal migration, households in the rain-fed cultivation (MR09) and agropastoral (MR07) areas are increasing the sale of animals. As supply exceeds demand, sheep prices are down 16 percent and 30 percent compared to last year on the markets of Adel-Bagrou and Sélibaby, respectively.
While the prices of imported foodstuffs remain stable due to control measures, those of local cereals (millet and sorghum) show increases of between 30 and 50 percent. In addition to the seasonal increase in demand, the additional demand during Ramadan contributed to the increase in prices. The government in-kind distributions in progress since the past month targeting 30,000 beneficiaries are more concentrated in urban centers, exposing the poor in rainfed cultivation and agro-pastoral areas, more affected by the decline in income from migration and the sale of livestock, to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.
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.