Over 1.2 million people are in need of food assistance in Indonesia as a drought-related food crisis has been affecting most of the country since August 2015. El Niño meant that the rainy season did not start in December as expected: after a short period of average rain in the first days of January, rainfall returned to well below-average in February.
Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), one of the poorest provinces, is one of the most affected, and makes up almost half of the people in need, as high poverty and malnutrition exacerbate the impact of the drought. In NTT, besides the 500,000 people in need of food assistance, an additional 700,000 are considered at risk of food insecurity.
Anticipated scope and scale
Existing vulnerabilities risk exacerbating the food insecurity crises.
Crops were cultivated late, during a short period of average rainfall in January that had ended by end of the month. If the rainy season does not take place, these late crops are expected to fail. If rains do come, flooding and landslides are likely and could damage harvests.
Priorities for humanitarian intervention
Food security, given the high risk of the coming second-season harvest failing, because of the late onset of the rainy season and an increasing likelihood of flooding
Nutrition requires particular attention as pre-existing malnutrition exacerbate the impact of the food crisis in the most affected provinces.
WASH is also critical. 13% of households in Nusa Tenggara Timur have already had to switch to unimproved water sources. The lack of safe water sources aggravates the existing risk of water- and vector-borne diseases.
Lack of adequate transportation infrastructure, together with a widely spread population make access challenging.
If the late, heavy rains cause flooding, food access could become problematic for the people in the most affected provinces.