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Over 100,000 additional displaced people registered in the northeast since February

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • May 2018
Over 100,000 additional displaced people registered in the northeast since February

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  • Key Messages
  • Current situation
  • Updated assumptions
  • Projected outlook through September 2018
  • Key Messages
    • As of April 2018, an estimated 1.88 million people are displaced in the northeast, including in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba States. This represents an increase of nearly 100,000 individuals from the previous round of estimates in February. In Benue and Nasarawa States, estimates indicate that approximately 300,000 individuals have been displaced due to conflict between pastoralists and farmers. Most of the displaced are heavily dependent on assistance, as market disruptions, restricted off-season activities, and above-average staple prices have severely limited the coping options for displaced households.

    • Humanitarian actors have reached a monthly average of 2.25 million people with food assistance in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States since March 2017, including 2.58 million people reached in April 2018. However, despite the increasing population of displaced households in both Adamawa and Yobe States, food assistance in these states declined by 29 percent and 10 percent, respectively, between March and April 2018, primarily due to funding constraints.

    • Most households in central and northern Borno, southern Yobe, and northern Adamawa States who have been impacted by the conflict continue to depend on humanitarian assistance for limited food access and are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3!), while others who are unable to access assistance are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. Other households in these areas have access to both income-earning opportunities and functioning markets and remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Populations less affected by the conflict across the three states are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Significant areas within these regions remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, and it is likely that outcomes are similar or worse than in adjoining accessible areas.

    • Household food stocks and market supplies continue to deplete towards the onset of the typical lean season across the country. However, except for in the northeast, most poor households are depending partly on their own production, market purchases, and labor work to maintain typical access to income and food. Prices for most staple foods are currently lower than last year, but remain above average. Most poor households outside of the northeast are able to meet basic food needs and are in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    Current situation

    According to the IOM-DTM Round XXII assessment conducted between March 18 and April 18, 2018, the number of displaced people identified in the northeast is more than 1.88 million, or an increase of about six percent compared to the previous round conducted in February 2018. Of displaced people surveyed, 73 percent identified food as their primary unmet need, as compared to 70 percent during the February 2018 assessment. The increasing population of displaced people in the northeast, restricted movements for displaced populations to access alternative livelihoods and the resulting heavy dependence on food aid have likely overstretched the food assistance provided in many camps.

    Military operations are underway in the northeast, particularly in the northeast and southeast areas of Borno State, causing further population displacement in affected areas. Between October 2017 and April 2018, over 100,000 new arrivals have been recorded, including about 19,200 in April alone, mainly in Bama (6,200), Gwoza (4,600), Ngala (2,450), Jere (850), and Damboa (800) LGAs. These movements present major humanitarian challenges, as resources are already overstretched in the locations in which these populations have arrived. Given that military operations have been announced to continue throughout the 2018 rainy season, these displacement trends are likely to continue at least until the end of August 2018. For the response to be sustainable and to avoid interruption in lifesaving services, it is crucial that additional funding is urgently received across all sectors. Funding for the food security cluster partners in the northeast for 2018 is constrained. As of late May, only 43.6 percent of the requested USD 435 million has been received, according to Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

    A new joint military operation between the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the Nigerian Armed Forces, codenamed “Last Hold,” became operational on May 1, 2018 and will continue through the rainy season in August. The civil-military coordination group led by UNOCHA indicates that areas that will likely be impacted include Mobbar, Kukawa, Monguno, Ngala, Kala Balge, Dikwa, and Bama LGAs. Other areas that might be impacted as well include Abadam, Guzamala, and Marte LGAs. Based on weekly IOM DTM ETT analysis, from late November 2017 to April 2018, there have been an estimated 100,000 new arrivals across Borno State and northern Adamawa State, due mainly to heightened insecurity and military operations. The current weekly average is 4,500 individuals, who are largely fleeing to LGA headquarters from areas considered hard-to-reach, where there are an estimated 930,000 individuals according to the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2018. Analysis of the IOM-DTM ETT weekly displacement data by the inter-sector working group indicates that over 100,000 individuals could be displaced from these hard-to-reach areas to the following nine locations: Damasak, Baga, Monguno, Ngala, Rann, Dikwa, Banki, Gwoza, and Pulka.

    Humanitarian partners operational in the northeast have reported elevated levels of GAM, particularly in Fori public health center (Jere LGA), and among new arrivals in Dikwa and other critical areas. There is also an increased rate of patient admissions related to different ailments in Fori public health center, managed by MSF. Similarly, since October 2017, UNICEF has attempted to improve the understanding of humanitarian needs in the northeast by disaggregating the data of new arrivals from those living in areas already receiving assistance. A preliminary analysis of MUAC screening from 19,485 children in eight LGAs of Borno State suggests particularly high levels of malnutrition for children arriving in Dikwa (Dikwa LGA), Pulka (Gwoza LGA), Rann (Kala Balge LGA) and Ngala (Ngala LGA), with proxy SAM (severe acute malnutrition) rates as high as 13 percent and proxy GAM (global acute malnutrition) rates as high as 49 percent. Dikwa recorded the worst malnutrition situation. By way of comparison, among the 370,000 children seen during the latest routine screening round in accessible areas, the proxy SAM rate was 1 percent, while proxy GAM was 10 percent.

    Humanitarian actors have sustained overall levels of food assistance in the northeast for the past year, and have increased support for livelihoods activities, particularly between September and December 2017 to support dry-season activities. In April 2018, food assistance reached 2.58 million people, an increase of about 14 percent from March 2018. In Borno State, over 2.1 million people were assisted in April, indicating an increase of about 21 percent relative to the previous month. However, food assistance levels declined by about 29 percent in Adamawa State and by 10 percent in Yobe State. In Adamawa State, the decline resulted in approximately 31,000 people in three Local Government Areas (Madagali, Hong, and Michika) benefitting with food assistance in April despite the increasing number of displaced people in the state (Table I), including approximately 50,000 people displaced in these three LGAs. Livelihoods assistance levels were maintained at the same levels in Yobe and Adamawa States between March and April 2018, but increased by eight percent in Borno State. The Special Relief Intervention by government in the northeast of Nigeria provided food assistance to more than 238,000 people in camps and host communities in April 2018.

    Resource-based conflict between farmers and pastoralists have persisted in the central states, and have extended to several states in the southern part of the country. The population of concern for food insecurity resulting from these conflicts are primarily farmers, many of whom have lost their normal livelihoods. For example, in Benue and Nasarawa states, between 75 and 88 percent of the populations of concern are farmers and currently have restricted access to land. They lack access to alternative means of livelihood to meet their basic needs while the conflict persists. The worst-affected states include Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Plateau in the central zone and Zamfara in the northwestern zone of Nigeria. Significant populations are displaced across these states, leading to large humanitarian needs. A joint assessment of the UN and INGOs conducted in late February 2018 in Benue and Nasarawa States identified 110,000 IDPs in seven IDP camps in Benue State, and over 5,000 other displaced individuals in Nasarawa State. However, more recent assessments by government agencies identified more than 70,000 IDPs in Nasarawa state. Similarly, an assessment by Nigerian authorities revealed over 200,000 IDPs in Benue State during February 2018. These vulnerable populations are in dire need of food, shelter, WASH services, and non-food items.

    The rainy season is evolving normally in most areas across the country. However, there are localized and intermittent dry spells in some areas, and above-average rainfall in other areas. Farmers are engaged in land preparation, planting, and weeding, depending on the area.

    Although staple cereal prices (including maize, millet, and sorghum) increased seasonally between March and April 2018, average prices in markets monitored remain lower than in April 2017, by 29 percent for white maize, 23 percent for brown sorghum, and by 17 percent for pearl millet (wholesale prices in Nigerian naira (NGN)). However, prices remain well above the average of previous years on record (Figure 1). Prices remain higher in the northern markets, and particularly the northeast, relative to other parts of the country.

    A recent UNHCR report has indicated a persistent influx of refugees from Cameroon since last year. As of May 8th, 2018, there are 21,291 Cameroonian refugees across four states of Nigeria. Over 17,000 refugees are residing in seven LGAs in Cross River State, with the others distributed between Benue (3,525), Taraba (584), and Akwa Ibom (<200) States. The host LGAs across the four states share borders with Cameroon, where most of the refugees originated from Akwanya localities.

    Updated assumptions

    The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the February - September 2018 Food Security Outlook remain unchanged.

    Projected outlook through September 2018

    Most households outside the northeast of Nigeria are partly consuming own-produced foods. This, coupled with labor work for land preparation, planting, and weeding as well as sales of livestock and typical access to market purchases are facilitating Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes for most poor households through the end of the 2018 lean season. The dry-season harvests in May will further increase food access. However, households affected by communal conflict, prolonged dry spells, and an early end of the growing season in Jigawa, Katsina, Niger, Bauchi, Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Plateau, Zamfara, and Kaduna States have experienced below-average main season harvests and will only meet basic food needs. These households have normal access to markets and will engage in income earning opportunities, and are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from June until the main harvest in October 2018.

    Households in most parts of Borno State, northern Adamawa State, and southeastern Yobe State who are affected by the insurgency and with limited main season harvests for several consecutive seasons, coupled with restricted livelihoods activities and income earning opportunities, are primarily dependent on humanitarian assistance for food access, and will continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes, while others with market access and limited income opportunities are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). However, some populations in areas that are relatively inaccessible in the northeast have limited access to humanitarian assistance and restricted income opportunities and access to markets, and have lost their normal livelihoods, and are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. These households are estimated to comprise less than 20 percent of the total population of the area.  With limited humanitarian assistance funding, elevated food prices, and limited purchasing power during the lean season spanning between June and September, most households who are mainly dependent on assistance in these areas will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Populations in areas that remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors are likely facing similar or worse acute food insecurity compared to adjoining accessible areas.

    Most households in the southern parts of Borno and Adamawa States, as well as in central Yobe State, who are less affected by the conflict and were able to engage in crop cultivation activities will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes through September 2018.

    Figures Displaced populations by state, February 2018 and April 2018

    Figure 1

    Displaced populations by state, February 2018 and April 2018

    Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM); DTM rounds XXI and XXII

    Average price in markets monitored (NGN/100 KG)

    Figure 2

    Average price in markets monitored (NGN/100 KG)

    Source: FEWS NET

    Market functioning and road access, May 2018

    Figure 3

    Market functioning and road access, May 2018

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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