Rainfall performance improves, but Emergency (IPC Phase 4) still expected in many pastoral areas

June - September 2019 Map Photo Credit: FEWS NET


MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: An international organisation has warned of an impending food crisis in Somalia caused by the delay of the rainfall season.

“After the onset of the Gu 2019 rainfall season was delayed by 10 to 30 days across Somalia, rainfall performance improved in May but remained largely below average and characterized by erratic, poor distribution. Severe to exceptional drought conditions persist in parts of the Northeast, particularly in Bari. Although moderate to heavy rainfall has improved conditions in other parts of central and northeastern pastoral areas and elevated seasonal totals to above average in parts of the South – most notably in Hiiraan and across the cowpea belt – poor distribution is still likely to result in below-average crop and livestock production overall. Therefore emergency outcomes are expected through at least September across the country,” says an update of the food situation in Somalia and a forecast of the June to September released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) on June 1.

May 2019 June- September 2019

The statement continues that in most pastoral areas, livestock body conditions and household access to water are beginning to improve due to progressive pasture and water regeneration. Although births in the Gu are low, medium livestock conception is ongoing, which is anticipated to lead to medium births and milk production during the October to December Deyr season. Nevertheless, due to the gradual pace of livestock recovery and the mid-June to September dry period, Emergency and Crisis outcomes are expected in the pastoral livelihood zones of East Golis, Guban, Hawd, Northern Inland, and Addun through at least September. Exceptions include some parts of pastoral and agropastoral areas in southern Somalia where above-average May rainfall is improving livestock conditions and food security more rapidly.

“Rainfall has supported cowpea crop development in central agropastoral areas. However, water resources remain below average in most southern agropastoral and riverine areas. This has led to competition over access to irrigated water, and total Gu production is most likely to be below average with localized instances of crop failure. Deficits will likely be most severe in Southern Agropastoral livelihood zone in Hiiraan and Gedo and in Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle. In these areas, food security is expected to deteriorate until the start of the Gu harvest in late-July/August, and then resume as food stocks are quickly depleted. However, better-than-expected improvements in livestock body conditions are likely to prevent severe outcomes. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is likely in many areas through late 2019,” reads the statement.

The statement adds that in agropastoral areas of the Northwest, farmers suspended short-cycle maize planting due to below-average Gu rainfall. Land preparation and dry sowing of long-cycle sorghum is now in process in anticipation of an average Karan (June-September) rainfall season.

“Should the current forecast hold, normal seed germination and crop development would be likely. However, total Gu/Karan production is still expected to be below average due to early season losses. A food crisis is expected to persist in Northwestern Agropastoral and Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zones, and some poor households are likely in Emergency,” the report concludes.

(Source: Famine Early Warning Systems Network -FEWS NET)


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