Ethiopia Key Message Update, September 2018
Ahead of the harvest and October to December pastoral rains, food insecurity intensifying
In September, ahead of the Deyr rainy season and the Meher harvest that will begin next month, the areas of highest food insecurity in Ethiopia include large areas of eastern Somali Region, border pastoral areas of Oromia (parts of Guji and Borena) and Somali regions, parts of East and West Hararghe in Oromia, and West Guji of Oromia and Gedeo of SNNPR. These areas are projected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2019.
Most Meher crops are at typical developmental stages, and a near-average harvest is expected in most areas of the country. After a below-average Belg harvest in northeastern Amhara and southern Tigray and in parts of central and eastern Oromia, some of the same localized areas are also expected to experience a below-normal Meher harvest due to a delayed onset in Kiremt rainfall (June to September) and extended dry spells through early August. Regardless, outcomes are generally expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Minimal (IPC Phase 1) following the harvest.
According to CHIRPS, cumulative June to September Karan/Karma rains have been 15 to 30 percent above average, though erratically distributed, across most of Sitti Zone of northern Somali Region and Afar Region. However, rainfall in northeastern areas was below average. With better pasture, browse, and water availability, livestock body conditions are currently average. As milk production improves, despite remaining below average, outcomes are expected to move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) in the presence of humanitarian assistance to Stressed (IPC Phase 2), beginning in October.
Market prices of most staple cereals remained stable in August, but at seasonally elevated levels compared to previous months. However, household purchasing power is expected to improve starting in October, as staple food prices gradually decline with the likely near-normal Meher harvest. With increased food availability and expected seasonal improvements from the October to December Deyr/Hageya rains, household-level food access from October 2018 to January 2019 is expected to improve in most agricultural and pastoral areas.
Insecurity and localized conflict between ethnic groups in parts of Somali Region, Gedeo of SNNPR; and West Guji, and East and West Hararghe zones of Oromia has caused significant displacement, continuing to drive food and multi-sectoral assistance needs. Livelihoods and access to typical sources of food and income remain disrupted, which, based on an increase in therapeutic feeding program (TFP) admissions, has led to a deterioration in nutritional status for children under five and pregnant and lactating women. The reported delayed and irregular humanitarian assistance in these areas due to the insecurity and significant resource gaps among IDPs are also exacerbating the nutrition situation.