Horn of Africa Drought Fact Sheet #18, Fiscal Year (FY) 2012
On March 9, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a joint March-to-May seasonal forecast for the eastern Horn of Africa. The March-to-May rains typically account for 50 to 60 percent of annual rainfall and often determine primary harvest yields for most areas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and pastoral and agricultural areas of northern Kenya, FEWS NET reports. According to the FEWS NET and USGS joint analysis, March-to-May rainfall in the eastern Horn of Africa will most likely be 10 percent below average and poorly distributed. However, a mediocre rainy season would not substantially impact crop and livestock production. In the worst-case scenario, the March-to-May rains could be 50 to 70 percent of average rainfall, severely affecting rain-dependent crop production and pasture and water availability. FEWS NET and USGS report a one in six chance that rainfall totals will be less than 70 percent of the average. Given the impact of the 2011 drought on individuals’ health and livelihoods, FEWS NET and USGS recommend that humanitarian partners prepare contingency plans to address potential disruptions to household food access and crop or livestock production that may result from below-average rainfall.
On February 22, Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces captured al-Shabaab’s strategic stronghold of Baidoa town, Bay Region, southern Somalia, according to international media. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that fear of retaliation and armed clashes in Baidoa resulted in the displacement of approximately 7,500 people—including 2,100 to Banadir Region and 3,800 within Baidoa District or to neighboring Dinsor District—between February 20 and March 5.