East Africa Key Message Update, February 2017
Famine (IPC Phase 5) likely ongoing in parts of South Sudan; risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) continues in Somalia
In February, the IPC National Technical Working Group in South Sudan declared a Famine (IPC Phase 5) in central Unity State. Although available evidence was insufficient to make a Famine determination following IPC protocols, the IPC Emergency Review Committee agreed that a Famine was likely occurring. Persistent conflict, which has contributed to severely restricting food access and humanitarian assistance provision, resulting in high levels of acute malnutrition and mortality, remains the primary driver of extreme levels of acute food insecurity in South Sudan.
In much of Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, and parts of northeastern Kenya, well below-average cereal production, coupled with deteriorating livestock productivity in pastoral areas, is expected to significantly increase the number of people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through September 2017. In a worst-case scenario in Somalia, where the 2017 Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/11, and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected.
Conflict continues to drive acute food insecurity in Yemen, with approximately seven to 10 million people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse, including about two million people who are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and face an increased risk of mortality. In a worst-case scenario, where food imports drop substantially for a sustained period of time or where conflict persistently prevents the flow of food to local markets, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible.
Poor seasonal progress has led to below average harvests, an early exhaustion of food stocks, and increases in the number of people facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security in parts of Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, as well as some areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Uganda. Moreover, continued displacement in Burundi, flows of Burundian refugees into Tanzania and Rwanda, and flows of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda are resulting in higher than usual humanitarian assistance needs.