East Africa Food Security Outlook (July – December 2015)

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I am Nigist Biru, regional technicalmanager for the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET.

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This presentation summarizes the food securityoutlook through December for the 10 countries that FEWS NET monitors in East Africa, alongwith Yemen.

Before we start, a bit of background on ouranalysis.

FEWS NET forecasts food security outcomesusing a methodology called scenario development.

Every three months, our specialists conducta 9-step process to analyze a range of information and data, and develop scenarios that lookthree to six months into the future.

In Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia,Kenya, and Uganda, this analysis is the basis of Food Security Outlook reports and monthlyupdates.

Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and Djibouti arecovered remotely by an analyst in our regional office.

The monthly remote monitoring reportfocuses on anomalies.

On the maps, a colored outline of the country indicates the highestlevel of food insecurity anticipated in areas of concern.

FEWS NET describes acute food insecurity using Integrated Food Security Phase Classification,or IPC 2.


This five-level scale is used by analysts and humanitarian assistance agenciesaround the world.

As we look at classifications, please notethat when an area reaches Phases 3, 4, or 5—Crisis, Emergency, or Famine—urgenthumanitarian assistance is required.

FEWS NET uses an exclamation point on itsmaps to highlight areas where humanitarian assistance is helping to lower the phase classification.

Here’s a summary of the outlook.

The highest areas of concern are Yemen andSouth Sudan.

Both countries currently have significant populations facing IPC Phase 4Emergency.

Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya,and Tanzania are all likely to have populations in Phase 3 crisis during this outlook period.

Conflict is one of the main drivers of food security in the region.

In Yemen, fighting continues to drive widespread food insecurity, leaving at least 6 millionpeople in need of emergency food assistance.

Diesel and wheat flour, the main staple food,are sporadically available, and only at extremely prices.

OCHA estimates that some 1.

3 millionpeople are displaced.

IPC Phase 4 Emergency is likely to continue through at least December.

In South Sudan, IPC Phase 4 Emergency is widespread in Greater Upper Nile Region.

Continuing conflictprevented many people from planting and blocked deliveries of humanitarian assistance.

Inaddition, rainfall was below average in the region, unlike other parts of the country,which saw average rainfall.

Green harvests will be limited and food security will remainsevere through at least December.

Across all of South Sudan, staple food priceshave reached record highs.

Depreciation of the South Sudanese pound, increased tradercosts, and low import levels are the main causes.

In June, sorghum prices were 66 percenthigher than last year in Juba, and 82 percent higher in Torit.

Poor households in Lakes,Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Warrap states are facing Phase 3 Crisis.

With coming harvests, the number of people requiring urgent food assistance will declineto 2 million by late December, but begin rising again in early 2016.

In other parts of East Africa, the ongoing El Nino weather pattern is having a majorimpact on food security.

In northern areas of the region, El Nino typically decreasesrainfall from June to September, the main rainy season.

In southern areas, El Nino increasesrainfall from October to December.

Consistent with these drying effects in northernareas, parts of Ethiopia and eastern Sudan have had an extremely poor start to the season.

Forecasts suggest this dryness will continue.

In southern areas, above-average rainfallfrom October to December will help improve grazing in pastoral areas and the marginalagricultural lowlands, but also increase the chance of flooding.

Here’s more detail on a few specific countries.

Ethiopia: Below average rainfall delayed plantingand extended the lean season in parts of Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regions.

In southernAfar and Sitti Zone in northern Somali Region, extreme dryness is causing an unusually highnumber of livestock deaths and decimating normal food and income sources.

In many areas of the country, high cereal prices, low livestock prices, and limitedincomes are making it difficult for poor households to purchase enough food.

Acute malnutritionis rising.

Government and international humanitarianassistance is helping reduce acute food insecurity.

For example, areas of northern Somali regionwould be classified higher than the current Phase 3 Crisis without assistance.

Similarly,parts of SNNPR, northeastern Amhara, southern Tigray, and central and eastern Oromia, willremain in Phase 2 Stressed through December because of assistance.

Sudan: Food security improved this year compared to last year due to the availability of 2014/2015surplus production and below-average staple food prices.

The situation is expected todeteriorate as the lean season peaks in September, and then improve through December when newharvests arrive.

Early season rainfall was 25 to 50 percentbelow average in main production areas.

This graph from Kassala state shows how rainfallso far this year is below the mean and also tracking close to 2013, a below average productionyear.

Field reports indicate that water levels in the Nile are low.

As a result, the area planted remains lower than normal, especially for sesame and sorghum,and vegetation conditions are poor.

Forecasts call for below average rains in the main productionareas for the rest of the season.

Harvests are likely to be below average, but carry-overstocks from last year’s exceptionally good season may help fill shortfalls.

Somalia: Across the country, the majority of poor households will face Phase 2 Stressedthrough December.

However, the situation will deteriorate through December as a result offlooding in riverine areas and poor harvests in agropastoral areas.

The most food insecure people will be in the riverine region of Middle Shabelle, alongwith the agropastoral regions of Awdal, Hiraan, and Middle Juba.

Agropastoral households currentlyhave no cereal stocks.

They are expected to fall into Phase 3 Crisis during the extendedJuly to November lean season.

Kenya: Food security remains stable, thoughsignificant areas of the country will face Phase 2 Stressed through December.

Due tobelow average production in the last two seasons, poor households are relying entirely on marketsfor food.

Consequently, demand is abnormally high in most markets.

Localized areas of Isiolo North and Wajir West Sub-Counties will remain in Phase 3 Crisisthrough at least September.

This is due to poor conditions for livestock, and low waterand milk availability.

As livestock productivity recovers during the October to December shortrains, these areas are expected to improve to Phase 2 Stressed.

However, with the increasedrainfall as a result of El Nino, the risk of flooding will also rise.

Due to erratic and poorly distributed long rains from March to May, crop production maybe below-average for a third consecutive season.

Staple food prices are expected to rise throughSeptember, but then decrease after new harvests in October.

A few brief comments on other countries.

Djibouti: Following two successive poor seasons,IPC Phase 3 Crisis is anticipated through December among poor households in the SoutheasternPastoral and Obock pastoral areas.

Additional monitoring of Djibouti City is needed followingreports of increases in the number of children admitted to nutrition treatment centers.

Uganda: Main season harvests in Karamoja are expected in September, three months laterthan normal.

Preliminary estimates suggest production is likely to be 70 to 80 percentbelow average.

Most poor households will be in Phase 2 Stressed in the coming months.

However, in areas where production was extremely low, Phase 3 Crisis outcomes will prevailthrough December.

Before closing, a reminder to check the reportson our website for more detail.

You may also subscribe to alerts on specificcountries or regions.

Once you sign up, we will send an email whenever a new report isposted.

And of course, you can learn about new reports by following us on social media.

Thank you for listening.

Our next video briefing is scheduled for November.

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