Flooding in August and below average deyr to contribute to high needs in late 2020
High food assistance needs are likely to persist in Ethiopia due to the compounding impacts of COVID-19 related restrictions, insecurity, weather shocks including forecast below-average October to December rains, the poor macroeconomic context, and dessert locusts. In much of the eastern and central parts of the country, though economic activity has slowly increased, households still face limited ability to access income. This coupled with the increasing food prices and atypical flooding is leading to many households facing difficulty meeting their food and non-food needs. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are anticipated to persist through much of the projection period.
While rainfall has been largely favorable in 2020, heavy rainfall has led to flooding, notably during the ongoing kiremt season. The atypically high levels of flooding in Afar, parts of SNNP, Gambela, Amhara, Oromia, and Somali regions have resulted in displacement, destruction of crops, and loss of livestock. The average to above-average rainfall likely for the remainder of the kiremt season will still favor normal crop development, though the desert locust infestation will likely lead to localized crops and pasture losses.
Forecasts indicate a below average October to December 2020 deyr season is likely. While pasture and vegetation continue to be above the median across southern and southeastern pastoral areas, which may mitigate the impacts of the upcoming below-average season, a deterioration in livestock body conditions, productivity, and prices is still expected in late 2020 and into early 2021. Poor rains alongside the continued effects of past weather shocks, conflict along the Oromia/Somali border, and the impacts of COVID-19, will likely drive poor pastoral households to engage in unsustainable livestock sales or face food consumption gaps. Preliminary research suggests there is also a possibility for a below-average March to May 2021 season.
Staple food prices increased across much of the country between July and August, and prices continue to be relatively higher than normal. In areas where prices are steadily increasing, notably in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, this is driven by the lower than normal market supply associated with conflict. Livestock prices show similar trends to that of staple foods and given that livestock prices are further above average than food prices, terms of trade favor pastoralists.