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East Africa Food Security Alert: May 6, 2011

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Poor performance of April rains brings major food security concerns in the Eastern Horn

The progress of the March to May rains to date in pastoral and cropping areas of Kenya and Somalia and belg cropping areas of Ethiopia has been extremely poor. In Kenya, rainfall deficits in most districts of the southeastern cropping lowlands and the northeastern pastoral areas have been between 50 to 200 mm (or 10 to 50 percent of normal) (Figure 1), indicating that conditions in the pastoral areas in particular are moving toward the ‘worst case scenario’ identified by FEWS NET in the March 15 East Africa Food Security Alert. In the belg areas of Ethiopia, comprising SNNPR, the northeastern highlands, and parts of Oromia, the erratic start and distribution of the season have led to a near‐total loss of the belg crop. In Somalia, food insecurity conditions remain at Crisis and Emergency levels, despite the rains during the last week in April. Activation of response plans is advised to deal with the current and anticipated very high levels of food and non‐food assistance needs.