Kenya + 4 more

East Africa Food Security Update, January 2008


Special focus: Political unrest in Kenya and regional implications

- Civil insecurity precipitated by the political crisis in Kenya since the end of December has displaced more than 300,000 people, killed at least 1,000, and disrupted production, transportation, and markets, increasing food insecurity in 2008. The conflict is also having food security impacts throughout the East Africa region by reducing the supply of essential commodities like fuel and increasing the cost of living. This is mainly because many of these countries rely on the regional port in Mombasa in Kenya for their imports, and transit routes were disrupted.

- Despite near normal deyr production in January in Somalia, civil insecurity in Mogadishu and its environs has displaced up to 700,000 people and is limiting trade, causing inflation and reducing access to food. In the adjacent Shabelle Valley regions, insecurity, poor rains and crop performance and high concentration of the displaced populations are causing food shortages and high malnutrition. In the central regions, poor October to December rains have led to serious water and pasture scarcity for pastoralists and crop failure among agropastoralists. In Somalia, more than 2 million people require emergency assistance, including 1.1 million internally displaced people.

- In Ethiopia, despite record production, cereal prices remain at record high levels. In the more marginal production areas, including Somali Region and Borena Zone of Oromiya, estimates indicate that the number of acutely food insecure people requiring humanitarian assistance could be similar to or more than that of last year (1.3 million). Most of these are in Somali Region, due to the security restrictions that largely remain in place, inflation, and localized poor rains. About 8 million chronically food insecure people continue to be supported through non emergency means. Food security for pastoralists in Somali, Afar, and Oromiya regions heavily depends on the March to May rains, whose performance is uncertain especially given that a La Niña event is unfolding.

- In Djibouti, national global and severe acute malnutrition rates exceed international emergency thresholds at 16.8 percent and 2.4 percent respectively. The situation has been worsened in part by poor milk access due to poor coastal rains and high staple food prices, especially in urban areas and the northwest pastoral zone. Malnutrition is likely to increase until at least April 2008, when the next main rains and improvements in livestock production are expected.

- In eastern Uganda, floods have damaged crops from the first and second season harvests of 2007, increasing localized food insecurity and causing 200,000 people to require food assistance.

Seasonal calendar and critical events timeline