Horn of Africa Update May 2012
Dry conditions have generally eased in many parts of the Greater Horn of Africa following the onset of rains in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. However, significant rainfall deficits remain in some parts of the subregion and are likely to affect crop production in eastern Kenya, southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia and southern parts of South Sudan. Northern parts of South Sudan and Sudan, remain seasonally dry and do not expect rain until June. The ongoing recovery from the severe 2011 drought in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya; below-normal start to the 2012 rains in many parts of the Greater Horn; the impacts of conflict in Sudan, South Sudan and southern Somalia; and rising food prices in the region, imply that food insecurity is likely to persist for months.
Djibouti: The food security situation in the country is poor. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted in December 2011 placed about half the country under Phase 2 (Stress), with the other half in Phase 3 (Crisis). The Food Security Cluster is considering raising the targets planned in the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for inclusion during the Mid Year Review (MYR).
Ethiopia: Although rainfall was not evenly distributed, many parts of East and West Hararghe, Borana and Guji zones of Oromia, most parts of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region (SNNRP), and some areas of Amhara and Tigray received good seasonal rains during the first half of May 2012. Land preparation for irrigated agriculture is ongoing in most parts of Afar despite reported shortage of improved seeds. Planting of Belg (February – May) crops continued in most areas of SNNPR, while In East and West Hararghe of Oromia, major Belg crops – in particular sorghum, maize, haricot bean and groundnuts that were planted in the past three weeks have germinated. Availability of water and pasture for livestock is improving in most parts of south and west Afar, Somali, Amhara, Borana, Guji and East and West Hararghe Zones of Oromia, as well as most parts of SNNPR. The continued rise in price of milk since November 2011 is of concern. The current price of cow milk is 68 percent higher than it was in December 2011.
Kenya: Following the onset of rains, areas in western Kenya, central highlands, southern Rift Valley and Nairobi received above-average rains and some areas were flooded. The heavy rains are likely to negatively impact crop production and an assessment is under way in affected areas. However, in many areas, rainfall was late and poorly distributed – over space and time – resulting in late planting. Parts of central, eastern and coastal Kenya have received below-average rains. If this is not compensated by a longer rainy season, a negative impact on yields is likely. Northern pastoral livelihood zones affected by poor rains will likely suffer from inadequate pasture regeneration, further exacerbating the fragile food security situation. Furthermore, it has been reported that maize crops in the southern Rift districts of Kenya have been attacked by a fungal affecting 18-30 percent of the crop.
Somalia: Recent Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) updates indicate significant improvements from the December 2011 survey. In Mogadishu, internally displaced persons (IDPs) nutrition situation has improved to Critical, with general acute malnutrition of 16.1 percent and severe acute malnutrition of 3.7 percent. The food security situation in the rest of Somalia is expected to remain unchanged up to June 2012 regardless of the behaviour of the Gu rains (April – August), which currently is projected to be below normal. This is due to the positive effects of a favourable Deyr (October/ November) season in 2011 and the humanitarian support in the south in the first quarter of 2012.
South Sudan: The vegetation anomaly data for mid - May 2012 show poor vegetation development in the entire Greater Equatoria region. This generally means that the rainfall is still below average and especially so in Western Equatoria, considered to be one of the breadbaskets of South Sudan. Current food prices are far above the 2007 – 2011 average, and much higher than at the same time last year, in most markets in South Sudan. The worst affected areas lie in the conflict-hit border between Sudan and South Sudan. These locations are in IPC phase 3 (Crisis) levels of food insecurity.
Sudan: Water and pasture sources are scarce across the country as the dry season comes to an end. FAO field officers have reported worsening animal body conditions. In the east, donkeys have started eating the noxious mesquite tree and are showing signs of toxicity. Farmers with access to land are currently preparing for cultivation in June. Across Sudan food prices are atypically high.
Uganda: Northern Uganda, Teso and West Nile are currently classified as IPC phase 2 (Stressed), while the rest of the country is classified in phase 1 (Minimal food insecurity). Although the first season rains for 2012 were delayed, they are now well established; however, they are expected to recede in June. This may affect the development of some crops, especially cereals. Currently, households have minimal stocks after selling most of their harvests during the dry season. Most of the food that is available with traders is targeting external markets (neighbouring countries) that attract higher prices.