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Normal progress of the season supports normal food access during lean season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Sierra Leone
  • July 2014
Normal progress of the season supports normal food access during lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Average to above-average cumulative rainfall since April is supporting good crop development and the prospect of at least an average harvest.
    • Agricultural labor opportunities (weeding, harvesting), local labor, sale of charcoal, and petty trade are normal and providing income for market-dependent households during the May-to-July lean season.
    • No significant anomalies of concern are present or expected to affect food security in Sierra Leone between July and December 2014. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity will be expected through at least December.

    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    According to the AGHRYMET regional forum on climate forecasts in West Africa, near to below-average seasonal rainfall from June to September 2014 are expected, but given the large amounts of rainfall received by the country, FEWS NET assumes that this will be sufficient to support plant growth. However, the cumulative rainfall estimates (RFE) for April 1-July 20, 2014 shows average to above-average rainfall across the country (Figure 1). This has supported normal income generating activities that allow households to maintain their access to staple foods.

    Good food availability from local products and regular rice imports is meeting market demand and keeping prices stable. As a result, normal access to basic food needs will continue throughout the lean season (June-August). Income derived from the partial sale of new harvest along with the sale of cash crops such as pepper and other vegetables will help maintain good access to staple foods for poor households.

    Sierra Leone continues to be affected by the Ebola outbreak, which is also occurring in Guinea and Liberia. As of July 20, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported a cumulative total of 454 suspect and confirmed cases, including 405 laboratory confirmations and 219 fatal cases. The outbreak in Sierra Leone is concentrated in the major urban and trading areas of Western (Freetown), Port Loko, and Kambia districts in western Sierra Leone, as well as urban and trading areas of Bo, Kenema, and Kailahun districts in the east near the borders of Guinea and Liberia.

    Since the outbreak most likely originated with the consumption of bush meat from infected animals, many people are forgoing the hunting, trapping, trading and consumption of these animals. Consumption of bush meat is a source of protein for some households in Sierra Leone, and some households may participate in the trade of bush meat. From now through December, households who have lost a productive family member as a result of illness or death will face the most acute food security impacts, due to reduced income and productive activity. Ebola is not expected to significantly impact food security at the district, livelihood zone, and national level, though some households may see reductions in income as a result of reduced trade of bush meat and fewer opportunities to seek work transporting people to and from the outbreak areas. Coastal and urban areas should be able to offset, at least to some extent, their intake of protein through the purchase and consumption of fish. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected from July through December 2014.

    Food security conditions will remain favorable throughout the lean season due to well supplied markets of newly harvested local products such as cassava, maize, millet, vegetables and sweet potato, normal livelihood strategies and stable prices.  Most households across the country will be able to meet their basic food and non-food needs. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected from July through December 2014.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Rainfall Estimate (RFE) Anomaly, April 1-July 20, 2014 compared to the April/May 2009-2013 average.

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Rainfall Estimate (RFE) Anomaly, April 1-July 20, 2014 compared to the April/May 2009-2013 average.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    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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