Food aid remains insufficient amid very high levels of hunger and malnutrition
- The severity of food insecurity in Ethiopia is among the worst globally, with record-breaking food assistance needs driven by the impacts of prolonged drought and ongoing insecurity. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely be widespread in northern, central, southern, and southeastern Ethiopia through at least January 2023. Multiple areas of the country face the potential for more extreme outcomes associated with high levels of acute malnutrition and hunger-related mortality. Scaled-up and sustained food assistance, as well as unfettered humanitarian access, is needed immediately to save lives.
 This statement is in relation to the 2014-2022 for which FEWS NET has comparable national needs estimates. Prior to 2022, the highest recorded needs in this time period were in 2016 following the El-Nino drought.
Tigray is expected to remain the area of highest concern until the start of the meher harvest in October. While households continue to engage in agricultural activities within Tigray as they are able, seasonal labor migration to West Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia – which is usually a critical source of income – is not a viable option due to insecurity. Food prices are also exceptionally high, and given that most households must purchase nearly all of their food until the harvest, anecdotal reports suggest they are using high and severe levels of coping to survive. Recent humanitarian aid distributions are mitigating food consumption deficits among recipients, but current levels remain far below the scale of need. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, at a minimum, are expected to be widespread, and more extreme outcomes will likely remain possible through the peak of the lean season in September. In October, the harvest is expected to stabilize food consumption somewhat and sustain Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, but more extreme outcomes are not expected during this time as active conflict is not ongoing during the land preparation and planting season.
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is also expected to be widespread in southern and southeastern pastoral areas, where drought conditions are forecast to persist through at least mid-2023 due to an unprecedented fifth consecutive poor rainfall season in late 2022. Levels of acute malnutrition are already within the ‘Critical’ and ‘Extremely Critical’ levels. Minimal pasture and water availability have resulted in poor to emaciated livestock body conditions, rendering household livestock holdings increasingly unsalable and milk availability very low. According to the government, reported livestock deaths amounted to around 3.4 million as of early June. Conditions will only further deteriorate during the July to September dry season and minimally improve during the below-average October to December rainy season. There is a risk that more extreme outcomes could emerge in mid-to-late 2022 if food assistance delivery is not scaled-up and timely.
The belg/gu/genna rains from February/March to May 2022 were historically low. Across much of central and eastern Ethiopia, the rains fell for only a few days and totaled less than 50 percent of average. In belg-cropping areas, poor rainfall culminated in a failed belg season, which in turn caused a significantly below-average long-cycle meher harvest. In pastoral areas, pasture and water availability are limited, resulting in minimal milk availability, high livestock deaths, and poor terms of trade. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected until the next harvest is available in October.