Regional Coordination Food Crisis in Africa - Emergency Appeal n° MDR60003 Operations update n° 1

Emergency Appeal start date:19 April 2017

covered by this update: 19 April to 12 May 2017

The Regional Food Crisis in Africa Emergency Appeal (EA) seeks CHF 3,877,335 to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support National Societies in their activities to help the population affected by the Food Crisis in Africa. The Appeal was launched to complement and to support the current country-level emergency operations Emergency Appeals (EAs) related to the Food Crises, mainly those focusing on drought and food insecurity. It aims at providing a structural framework for the country-level EAs, enabling opportunities to support the country-level response activities by strengthening and scaling up operational support, coordination, communication, capacity building, security and safety for staff and volunteers in all affected countries in the region. The scope is to better assist the affected population by addressing challenges in response and early recovery and effectively utilizing resources through shared opportunities. The Regional Coordination Food Crisis does not highlight specific implementation activities, but rather provides a strategy to coordinate implementation in the country-level EAs for enhanced synergies. In total, seven countries under the Regional Coordination for Food Crisis in Africa framework (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia and Zimbabwe), including DREF-supported operations, seek to reach over 1,600,691 people through the consolidated support of 53,835,245 Swiss francs. The main components of the response focus on multi-sectoral needs through Health and Nutrition, WASH, Food Security and Livelihoods’ interventions. Anticipated appeals in Nigeria and South Sudan will drive the total beneficiary population of this appeal considerably higher.

The Regional coordination team dedicated to this Food Crisis Appeal is based in Nairobi and now functional with the arrival, between last week of April and first week of May of the following surge positions: Operations Coordinator, Health\Nutrition, Cash Transfer Programming (CTP), Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (PMER), and Logistics. The IFRC would like to thank the Australian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross, the Danish Red Cross, the Netherlands Red Cross and Luxembourg Red Cross to have funded the deployment of these key regional positions.

Situation Analysis:

Since the end of 2016, the African continent is facing an unprecedented food crisis. According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-NET), 70 million people across 45 countries could require food assistance in 2017. Famine was formally declared in parts of South Sudan by the UN in February 2017, and Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia are facing a credible risk of famine this year.

The causes and factors of this crisis are multi-layered. At the environmental level, the severe droughts observed in 2015/2016 due to El Nino and in 2016/2017 due to La Nina with below-average rainfall have sharply reduced crop harvests and severely limited the availability of water and pasture for livestock in the region. These effects have been amplified by a chronic situation of below average rainfall and poor harvest seasons for the last few years. At the social level, the environmental impacts have drastically reduced the coping capacities of the population, especially for those already impacted by reduced livelihood opportunities or other circumstances, such as poor access to health facilities.

Conflicts and violence have further exacerbated vulnerabilities of the population present in affected countries. At the economic level, the persistence of local or regional conflicts have been creating disruption to household livelihoods, production of food and trade. Another consequence of this violence is decreased access to humanitarian aid. This is particularly true in Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. Further, the lack of preventive measures has not allowed for proper mitigation efforts for the risks connected to the food crisis.

In South Sudan, conflict and insecurity along with the upcoming lean season puts additional counties at risk of famine unless humanitarian assistance is delivered2. According to FEWS-NET, evidence suggests Nigeria was impacted by famine already in 2016 and the situation remains critical. In Somalia, failure of the October to December 2016 Deyr rains and a forecast of poor spring rains threatens a repeat of the 2011 disaster. The emergency has reached the highest levels of humanitarian concern (IPC Phase 4) in three countries and likely in Ethiopia through September. The situation is characterized by large food gaps, significant increases in the prevalence of acute malnutrition, and increased mortality among children.

Taking into consideration the effects of population movement, the situation is particularly problematic in the East Africa region due to the extreme complexity of population movements, which include Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees, migrants, people displaced because of the drought, returnees, as well as people moving in huge numbers from rural areas to urban centres. The current crisis is likely to lead to an increase in the number of displaced persons across the region, adding considerable pressure on the existing and already limited resources available in most of the countries concerned, thus having an impact on the overall humanitarian situation. These movements may also exacerbate competition for resources such as water, food and pasture, with increasing possibilities of local tensions that could lead to conflict. Provision of Health, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), Relief, Shelter and Protection (provision of information, Restoring Family Links (RFL) in affected areas will be necessary for migrants also and measures in this regard should take into consideration the specific vulnerabilities of migrants. The IFRC expects some population movement to cause further overcrowding and disease outbreaks especially within urban centers. It is therefore important to keep the door open for multiple scenario planning which will further highlight population movements (or even stabilizing or host populations), where specific support such as shelter and gender/diversity could be included, fostering the links from relief to recovery (LRRD).

To prevent a situation similar to the one of 2011, where interventions and humanitarian support arrived too late and lacked longer-term vision, the IFRC has launched this appeal to scale-up actions in the most affected countries in support of the National Societies and to do more to increase the resilience of people to cope with the environmental, social and economic impacts.