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Minimal food insecurity will remain in Sierra Leone through next harvest in September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Sierra Leone
  • August 2013
Minimal food insecurity will remain in Sierra Leone through next harvest in September

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • As the lean season comes to a close in August, most households have good access to basic food needs due to new harvests of maize and vegetables, normal seasonal incomes, and stable imported rice prices.  Food availability will increase beginning in September with the early rice harvest. 

    • Higher than normal rainfall levels recorded in August resulted in localized damages to crops and infrastructure but no major impact on crop production has been reported. The seasonal forecast continues to support the likelihood of normal crop development through the rest of the season, leading to at least an average harvest.

    • Some isolated cholera cases have been reported but the situation remains under control following measures put into place by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to prevent another cholera outbreak.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    No significant anomalies are currently observed or projected during the outlook period.


    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    The regional seasonal forecast from May to October suggests average to above average rainfall country-wide, supported by an already moderate excess of cumulative rainfall amounts recorded between April and late August, particularly in the central belt of the country.  Good rainfall has promoted favorable crop development to-date, and planting activities are completed for the majority of crops (upland rice, cassava, sweet potato and vegetables). Other major ongoing agricultural activities include weeding, the sweet potato harvest (continuing through September), as well as harvests of pepper and other vegetables. The seasonal forecast continues to support the likelihood of normal crop development through the rest of the season, leading to at least an average harvest. Heavy rains in August caused localized flooding in Freetown, destroying houses and killing at least six people, while rising sea levels destroyed homes and fishing equipment, including boats. No significant damage to crops has been reported to-date.

    The lean season, when households tend to substitute tubers for rice, is now ending after a one-month late start in August as households were able to consume their better-than-average holdover stocks from 2012 harvests.  Household food stocks are now seasonably lower or depleted for poor household; however well-supplied markets and normal prices are easing access as market dependency increases among the poor.  Market purchase is possible due to normal seasonal income earning through sales of pepper and vegetables as well as local labor and gold extraction.

    Prices of imported rice and local varieties vary between 3600 and 4000 LE/kg and remain stable and within average levels. Normal access to basic food needs will continue in August with the harvest of sweet potato and groundnut prior to the beginning of the rice harvest September.  Some market dependent poor households may continue to depend on residual lowland cassava harvests which have been ongoing country-wide since June. Income derived from the partial sale of this off-season production, along with the sale of cash crops such as pepper and other vegetables, local labor, gold extraction, and animal sales are all contributing to increasing household  incomes.

    UNICEF reported nearly 370 cholera cases in Sierra Leone from the beginning of 2013 to July 22, mainly in the Kambia area. In August, in Kono where there were severe shortages of pipe born water leading to high dependence on wells and streams, heavy rains and the chronic sanitation problems have contributed to new cases of cholera.  Four deaths and additional cases have been reported. The rapid response of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the measures in place since last year’s outbreak will likely mitigate any large-scale propagation of the disease. 

    Well supplied markets, stable rice prices, normal labor opportunities, and average incomes from the sales of forest and farm products, petty-trade, local labor, and mining activities will allow market purchase of rice and other basic food throughout the lean season, which is ending in late August. Depleted household stocks will be reinforced by the green harvest of rice in September before the main harvest starting October. Typical livelihood strategies are likely to remain in place until October, and food insecurity will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through December. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly,  April 1 – August 20, 2013

    Figure 2

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly, April 1 – August 20, 2013

    Source: USGS/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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