Early Warning and Livelihood Update, February 2013

Situation Report
Originally published
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The performance of the Deyr rain (October to December) was near normal to normal that had resulted in improved water availability, improved pasture and brows. This in turn has slightly improved milk availability, livestock body condition and income from sale of livestock in most of the zones. Prices of staple food marginally declined or remained stable due to improved supply of cereals from the highland (mehe season) and pocket areas of Fafan and Korahe zones. Continues relief food distribution and food transfer through PSNP are also the other factors contributing for the cereal market stabilization. As a result, Terms of Trade (TOT) for the pastoralist has improved or remained stable. In general, food security has shown slight improvement or remained stable in many woreda during the period November to December, largely due to declining staple food prices, improved pasture condition, improved livestock value and expanded humanitarian assistance. However, the food security situation in pastoral areas of siti zone, Barey, Doloado, Dolobay and Elweyn districts continued to decline in last two months of this year due to poor performance of last Deyr/karan rains, poor livestock condition and less cereal availability. Likewise, unsatisfactory last rainfalls recorded (Deys/Karen) and the reality on the ground at the moment reveal that the pastoral areas of Barey, Dolobay, Doloado, Fik, Hamero, Qubi, Salahad, Raso, west Imey, west of Danan, Elweyn, Guredamole, Mayumulko, Harshin, Ayisha, Miso, districts and pocket area of Afdem district have got drier than normal starting from late December 2012 to February 2013.

Despite the failure of the past two rainy seasons, all outlooks and forecasts tip off increased likelihood of below to near normal gu (March to May 2013) rainfall over all parts of the Somali region. This undermines the short term positive impacts of the good 2012 rains for the pastoralist and agro pastoralist livelihoods to recover from the past successive failures of rainy seasons.

If the pastoralists and agro pastoralists are to recover from the impact of long successive drought and ensure sustained improvements in food security, it will require several consecutive good rainy seasons to boost conceptions, enhance milk availability, and provide sufficient time for the pastoralists and agro pastoralists to rebuild herd sizes to pre drought levels. However, this sustained improvement in food security is not likely owing to the early start of the 2013 first quarter dry season due to early cessation of Karan, failure of deyr rains in some parts of the region, and the expectation for a near to below normal of coming main season Gu rains{ March to May 2013}. Conversely the looming crisis may speed up an adverse impact and food insecurity may most likely reverse to emergency levels in parts of the Siti, Afder, Nogob, Shabelle and Liban zones of Somali region unless timely and appropriate preparedness measures are put in place. Concerns are growing over the deterioration nutritional status of children in some of the hotspot woreda like Ayisha, Hadagale, Shinile, Harshin, Barey, Dolobay, Dolado,West Imey, Danan, Fik, Hamero, Salahad, Lagahida, and Qubi districts of Somali region. Timely preparedness and initiation of nutrition responses is critical for preventing and avoiding an unusual increase in acute malnutrition in coming quarter {March-June 2013}

According to the Climate Prediction and Application Center’s seasonal forecast of the National Meteorological Agency (NMA) of Ethiopia and others, there is an increased likelihood of below to near normal to normal rainfall in all parts of the Somali region during the March to May 2013 season. Nonetheless, Siti, Nogob, and part of Afder zones are already facing food insecurity due to the cumulative impacts of the past draughts.

Therefore, given the prevalence of various levels of food insecurity in different parts of the region and the possibility of below-average March to May 2013 rainfall, there is an urgent need to prepare contingency plans by Government and humanitarian agencies to enable timely response before further deterioration of food security situation in the region.