Due to a combined impact of COVID-19, conflict, desert locusts and economic decline, around 8.6 million people out of the analysed population of 53 million (16%) in rural Ethiopia are facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) between October and December 2020. Of these, around 7.2 million people are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 1.4 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), despite ongoing Humanitarian Food Assistance (HFA).
During the first projection period (January-June 2021), which corresponds to the seasonal post-harvest period for Meher and lean season for Belg, an estimated 12.9 million people are expected to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above), despite planned and funded humanitarian response interventions. During the second projection period (July-September 2021) around 4 million people are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above), particularly in the Meher-dependent areas of Tigray, Amhara, SNNPR and Oromia. There regions are most likely to experience the seasonal lean period when the majority of households typically run short of food stocks and depend more on markets. Due to the limited amount of confirmed HFA during this period, around 4 million people are expected to be in IPC Phase 3 or above in the Meher areas.
Desert locusts destroyed crops and pasture in October 2020 in both Belg and Meher dependent areas of Amhara, Tigray, Afar, Somali and Oromia regions reducing food availability and impacting on the food security conditions of the residents. Traditionally Belg areas experience the peak of high food prices during the lean season that falls within this period and are exposed to multiple shocks. Addition- ally, earlier migration of livestock keepers in search for water and pasture is likely in northern pastoral areas that will most likely result in reduced milk availability as well as household incomes. Overall, Terms of Trade (TOT) will likely continue to disadvantage livestock keepers. Reports show that conflict and climate-induced displacement including floods, high food prices fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, impacts of desert locust on crops and livestock feed as well as long dry season and poor performance of the February- May rains will likely be the key drivers of food insecurity.