Ethiopia + 5 more

East Africa Key Message Update: Conflict-, drought-, and flood-affected areas face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, December 2021

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Key Messages

  • Conflict and political instability continue to lead to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across the region, especially in Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, and Sudan. In northern Ethiopia, for example, most of Tigray and parts of Afar and Amhara regions face extreme difficulty accessing food, resulting in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes with some households likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Similarly, political and intercommunal violence has led to severe food insecurity during the harvest season in parts of western, central, and eastern South Sudan. Sudan is also witnessing the impacts of rising national and regional instability on food insecurity, including among over 12,500 Sudanese recently displaced in the Darfur region and around 70,500 Ethiopian refugees sheltering in Sudan. Low household access to food and income are contributing to rising global acute malnutrition levels and excess mortality in several conflict-affected areas. Large-scale food assistance and full humanitarian access are required to mitigate food consumption gaps and prevent the loss of lives and livelihoods.

  • Drought in the eastern Horn of Africa and severe flooding in South Sudan are also driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, marked by a large reduction in household food and income sources, purchasing power, and coping capacity. A third consecutive season of below-average rainfall in late 2021 has led to significant crop and livestock losses and above-average food and water prices in southern and southeastern Ethiopia, most of Somalia, and eastern and northern Kenya. Conversely, high floodwaters have persisted well beyond the end of the main rainy season in northern and eastern South Sudan for the third consecutive year, leading to significant crop and livestock losses, reduced market access, and high disease incidence. Livestock mortalities are highest in Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia, southern and central Somalia, and the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan.

  • Macroeconomic challenges – including shrinking foreign exchange reserves, local currency depreciation, and the withdrawal of international economic support – are exacerbating food insecurity in several countries by driving high staple food, fuel, and water prices. For instance, in Yemen, the cost of the minimum food basket rose by over 90 percent in areas controlled by the Internationally-Recognized Government and by 30 percent in areas controlled by Sana’a-Based Authorities from January to October. Similarly, Sudan faces food price increases of 60-120 percent compared to late 2020 and a five-fold increase compared to the five-year average across monitored markets. Economic challenges coupled with the drought have also contributed to price hikes in the eastern Horn, such as in Somalia, where sorghum and rice prices ranged from 25 to 70 percent above the five-year average in monitored markets in November.

  • Conflict and weather shocks have led to several occurrences of large-scale displacement in recent months, particularly in northern Ethiopia, Darfur and South Kordofan in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and parts of South Sudan. In Ethiopia, available humanitarian and government displacement estimates are as high as 1 million people in Amhara, over 375,000 people in Afar, nearly 335,00 people in Wollega and Guji zones, and over 40,000 people in East Haraghe. Meanwhile, UNHCR estimates that 204,000 people were displaced across Somalia between September and November. Many recently displaced people face a sudden loss of their livelihoods and lack consistent access to humanitarian food assistance due to ongoing conflict, resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. Regionally, UNHCR data indicates over 20 million people are displaced, with refugees accounting for about 25 percent of those displaced.