FSAU REPORTS AND ACTIVITIES
The Gu 2002 Seasonal Assessment workshop took place in Hargeisa between 7-15 September. FSAU's 22 Field Monitors, FSAU Nairobi staff, representatives from FEWS NET and the Food Economy Group participated.
Following the completion of the security assessment in northern Gedo, the FSAU nutrition surveillance unit have been given permission to undertake a nutrition survey in the area, along with partners - the likely location will be Belet Hawa. A four day training will commence in Mandera around 14 October and will be followed by around five days data collection in Belet Hawa District.
On 5 October, the FSAU Assistant Food Security Analyst travelled to Mandera to research information on northern Gedo which has been closed due to insecurity. For his update see page 6.
FOOD AID DISTRIBUTION
Somalia's two principal food aid agencies, CARE and Word Food Programme, continued their operations in September, providing much needed food to targeted beneficiaries through general distribution, food for work and feeding operations. In Gedo region CARE distributed a total of 2,924 MT of food in a general food distribution. The distribution consisted of sorghum, lentils and oil. 472 MT were distributed in El Waq district, 899 MT in Belet Hawa, 396 MT in Dolow and 1,158 MT in Luuq.
Meanwhile WFP distributed 800 MT to 6000 families in Garbaharey and 550 MT to 4000 families in Burdhubo.
In Bay region, CARE carried out targeted food for work on road rehabiliation projects. 30 MT was distributed to 162 beneficiaries in Qansah dere and 32 MT in Burhakaba to another 162 beneficiaries.
Although Baidoa has been closed to UN staff due to insecurity, WFP is continuing its programmes in Bay region and has set up an operating base in Wajid. WFP distributed 325 MT of food for work in Bay and Bakol. In September WFP distributed 165 MT in the NorthWest and did a free food distribution of 25 MT in Bari region.
SUMMARY OF GU SEASON AND IMPLICATIONS ON FOOD SECURITY: Figures from the 2002 Gu harvest assessment, conducted by FSAU indicate that overall sorghum and maize production is 35-40 percent up compared to the post-war reference year of 1995 and just over 80 percent up on 2001 Gu production. FSAU Field Monitors report particularly good production in southern Bay, Lower and Middle Shabelle regions but poor harvests in Hiran, Bakool and Gedo regions. The Gu harvests there only contribute a small percentage of needs even in a good year and is not critical for food security of the pastoralists and agro-pastoralists as long as market access is not constrained. Pastoral groups that form the majority of the country's population remain highly dependant on the coming Deyr rainy season in October-November that breaks the long dry spell between June/July and April. The 'near to normal' precipitation forecast by the Climate Outlook Forum might allow some recovery following several difficult seasons for livestock owners. However, a poor Deyr season could herald a very difficult time and sudden downturn in local economies seriously undermining the food security of pastoral groups.
DEYR RAINFALL BEGINS IN NORTH WEST: As a result of the poor Gu rains, the FSAU and Horn Relief reported last month that about 25,000 Somali pastoralists in the Sool Plateau in north-western Somalia faced increasing food insecurity. The high cost of water has weakened the purchasing power of the poor pastoralists and scarcity of quality pastures has weakened the livestock of better-off groups. Food access is threatened by increasingly restricted income opportunities. Good Deyr rains in October will be critical to improving food security in the Sool Plateau, as well as in the neighbouring Sanaag region, and to prevent conditions in other pastoral and agro-pastoral areas from taking a further turn for the worse. Recent rains are offering hope that the Deyr will bring some essential recovery.
GEDO: In northern Gedo the poorer urban populations of Luuq, Dolow, and Belet Hawa were reported to be heavily dependant on food aid since March 2002. Populations figures now need to be checked as it is expected that many groups moved to surrounding areas during the months when humanitarian assistance was blocked by insecurity. Further interventions will need to be carefully planned to prevent populations being drawn back to these areas. It has been suggested that the access to food in neighboring areas such as Madaytu and El Bon need to be assessed and to consider whether interventions outside the key areas of vulnerability would promote some better opportunities for recovery. Any interventions to promote income generation will help enormously where food remains unaffordable for many.
Highlights from the FSAU "Nutrition Update"
Health and Nutrition organisations met in Belet Weyne (Hiran region) and agreed on a number of short-term interventions that will be established in the coming weeks to address poor nutrition conditions. These will include targeted general ration, supplementary and therapeutic feeding as well as a package of preventive and curative health interventions. During October, FSAU will undertake assessments of nutritional status in other parts of Hiran.
A report on 'Food Utilisation in Somalia' has now been completed and is available on request from the Nutrition Project of FSAU. The study has highlighted the strong possibility that some sections of the population in Somalia experience substantial deficits in basic nutritional requirements outside times of crisis.
Preliminary results of nutrition surveys in Rabdure District of Bakol Region and Bari Region, Puntland will be available in the October Nutrition Update'.
In northern Gedo, FSAU will lead an interagency nutrition survey when the security situation allows.
In Huddur, FAO met with partners from twenty-three international and local organisations to analyse issues that contribute to malnutrition in the region and to develop innovative interventions to address problems, in particular in the food security sector.
For copies of nutrition survey reports and further information related to nutrition, see the FSAU monthly publication 'Nutrition Update' or contact email@example.com