ACAPS Briefing Note – Ethiopia: Food insecurity and malnutrition in Somali region, 4 August 2017
A drought that began in October 2016 has been ongoing in Ethiopia, leading to high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. Somali region is the most affected, where 1.7% of the population are affected by SAM. The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR), and southern Oromia are also affected. Within the Somali region, the most severely affected areas are Dollo, Korahe, Afder, and Jarar Zones. At least 9.5 million people need food assistance across the country.. As of June, the worst affected households are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity outcomes. The drought has resulted in significant livestock losses, greatly reduced access to food, and has driven large-scale displacement. The nutritional situation has also been deteriorating rapidly with a caseload of over 376,000 children suffering from SAM - 97,000 of whom are in the Somali region.
Anticipated scope and scale
The emergency is likely to continue into early 2018 and 9.5 million people are in need of food assistance in Ethiopia. Previous poor harvests have contributed to food insecurity and the upcoming belg harvest is also expected to yield below average production, further deepening the crisis. The outlook for pastoralist households is extremely concerning as the loss of livestock will have a long-term impact on food access. In the worst affected parts of the Somali region, poor households are expected to fall into Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) between July and September.
Nutrition: Dollo and Korahe zones are priority areas for response as they are experiencing the highest levels of malnutrition and child mortality.
Food: Poor households in Somali region may fall into Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) if not assisted urgently.
Livelihoods: In pastoral zones livestock losses and excessive sales have impacted on household access to food. Herd sizes will be difficult to replenish, creating potentially long lasting negative impacts.
There are restrictions on movement for some people in the Somali region, making humanitarian assistance difficult. Trade embargos in the region limit food availability. Insecurity in the Somali and Oromia border regions have affected aid delivery.