Food insecurity expected to worsen at the peak of the lean season in many areas of GHA

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BY NECJOGHA TEAM

Nairobi, Kenya- The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) has warned that food insecurity is expected to worsen in many countries of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA).

FEWS NET 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. 

A food security outlook released by FEWS NET on Tuesday said that in July, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes remained widespread in pastoral and agropastoral areas in Somalia, northern and eastern Kenya, Karamoja sub-region of Uganda, and Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia. Below-average milk availability, declining livestock-to-cereals terms of trade, and below-normal livestock assets have reduced food access for pastoral poor households.

In Kenya and Somalia, bimodal harvests have been delayed to August/September and are expected to be significantly below average to failed. Although the Karamoja harvest and Ethiopian Belg harvest are similarly delayed, improved rainfall in June and July has boosted production prospects in Karamoja and in Ethiopian Meher-dependent areas. Overall, reduced food and milk intake is driving atypically high global and severe acute malnutrition prevalence, and food insecurity is likely to worsen through the peak of the pastoral lean season in September and October.

“Most areas in South Sudan and Yemen continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. In both countries, the reach of humanitarian assistance remains significantly below the estimated population in need and a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists. In South Sudan, an estimated 21,000 people are likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in parts of Jonglei, Lakes, and Upper Nile. Food consumption gaps are widening at the July/August peak of the lean season, and critical to extremely critical levels of global acute malnutrition have been observed in greater Upper Nile and in Bar el Ghazal, Jonglei, and Lakes states, according to recent nutrition SMART surveys,” the outlook says.

FEWS NET continues that poor and internally displaced (IDP) households in conflict-affected areas in Ethiopia and Sudan are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase) or worse outcomes through late 2019. IDPs in Gedeo Zone of SNNPR region of Ethiopia have missed three agricultural seasons and are not expected to have own production to meet their food needs until November/December 2019. IDP and poor households in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan and parts of Jebel Mara in Darfur have limited access to food and labor markets, resulting in large food consumption gaps, and they are likely to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through September. In Sudan more broadly, deterioration in national macroeconomic indicators and below-average crop production have driven sorghum prices 100-300 percent higher than the five-year average. Household purchasing power and coping strategies have been eroded while food consumption gaps have expanded, exacerbating widespread acute food insecurity.

“As of late June, more than 47,000 South Sudanese refugees have returned to South Sudan since the signing of the September 2018 peace agreement, while nearly 73,000 Burundian refugees have repatriated to Burundi since September 2017. An estimated 4.28 million refugees remain displaced in refugee settlements across the region, primarily due to protracted or on-going conflict and insecurity. Food and non-food assistance have upheld Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) Outcomes in most refugee settlements through July. In settlements in Uganda, however, anticipated funding pipeline breaks are expected to lead to ration cuts as early as August, which would likely lead to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are prevalent among IDP settlements in Somalia,” the outlook concludes.

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