By NECJOGHA TEAM, MOGADISHU
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has said that an estimated 2.2 million people in Somalia are urgently in need of humanitarian food assistance and this number could increase as the dry season progresses.
“In April and May, FEWS NET released two alerts and multiple analyses to the donor community detailing the poor start of the April-June 2019 Gu rainfall season and expected deterioration in food security conditions across the region. Although heavy rains in mid-May to early-June significantly improved pasture and water availability and restored livestock body conditions, previously projected outcomes remain most likely due to significantly below-average food and income sources resulting in large food consumption gaps and widespread, high acute malnutrition prevalence,” says a food security outlook for Somalia released by FEWSNET on June 29th.
FEWSNET is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries mostly in the Greater Horn of Africa.
FEWSNET says that in north-central pastoral areas, where most households are still recovering from the extended impact of the 2016/17 severe drought, food security outcomes are driven by stagnated or declining herd sizes. In areas of greatest concern, poor households have maximized debt and credit and are unwilling or unable to engage in extreme depletion of productive livestock assets. As a result, they are expected to have large food deficits reflected by heightened acute malnutrition and excess mortality risk through October, when current livestock conceptions lead to herd size increases.
“Emergency conditions are expected in Northern Inland Pastoral, East Golis Pastoral of Sanaag, northeastern and central Hawd Pastoral, and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones in July through September and will be sustained in Guban Pastoral through January 2020,” the update says.
Projected food security outcomes, June – September 2019 (Left) Projected food security outcomes, October 2019 – January 2020 (Right)
The release says that in agropastoral areas, national maize and sorghum Gu production deficits are anticipated to be approximately 50 percent of normal. Crop failure is likely in Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zone and localized areas of Bay and Hiiraan. In Hiiraan, severely reduced access to irrigated water prevented timely cultivation, and harvests are not expected until September.
“As a result of anticipated poor harvests and below-average labor income, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in Southern Agropastoral livelihood zone of Hiiraan through September, while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is anticipated in High and Low Potential Agropastoral, Riverine Pump Irrigation of Hiiraan, and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zones,” the update says.
On the security situation FEWSNET says that the number of conflict-related incidents between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and insurgents has increased in 2019, most notably in Mogadishu (Banadir region) and in Bossasso (Bari region). Other areas disrupted by insecurity include Mudug, Galgaduud, Bay, Bakool, Hiiraan, Lower Juba, and Middle and Lower Shabelle, due to resurfaced clan-based conflicts over resources and land ownership in addition to the violent and prolonged armed conflict. In Banadir and Lower and Middle Shabelle, targeted assassinations, roadside bombs and armed clashes between militants and Government forces, backed by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), have been commonly reported in 2019.
“Conflict is driving double taxation of commodities, increased travel distance to avoid roadblocks or illegal tax payments resulting in increased transportation cost, and localized food price increases in rural markets. This adds additional strain to household purchasing power and impedes food access,” FEWSNET says.