Key Messages for Decision Makers
The food security situation is critical amongst newly arrived IDPs. During the past week preceding the assessment, almost 300 people were brought into Rann by the Nigerian Security Forces. More people are expected to arrive, as a result of the ongoing military operations.
Before the crisis, main source of livelihood was farming and livestock rearing. At the moment, source of livelihood includes casual labor, sale of firewood and petty trading.
Women are involved in cow-dung gathering, which is sold and used as cooking fuel.
IDPs and residents invariably had limited farm lands, due to the security threat, hence resulting in reduced food crop production. Though the populations are allowed to practice farming activities within a radius of 4-5 km, local populations are reluctant to go beyond 2-3 km. This confinement of agricultural activities within a limited perimeter has not permitted dry season agriculture (irrigation lands are beyond 5 km).
Before the conflict, Kala Balge Local Government had about 4 important markets: Sigal (6 km distance from Rann); Kala (about 22 km), Gaulfa (36 km) and Jilbe (58 km). The largest market amongst them was Sigal, which attracted a lot of sellers and buyers from Nigeria and Cameroun. At the moment, only Rann market is operating.
Both IDPs and host populations have access to the market. Compared to last year, the number of food vendors operating in the market has almost doubled, although the commercial activities are yet to reach pre-crisis level.
The market can gradually absorb an increased demand resulting from cash based interventions till May. During the rainy season, Rann is cut from Gamborou/Ngala axis, hence making impossible for traders to bring in staple foods (imported rice, maize, millet and beans).
Compared to last year, access to food has slightly improved due to humanitarian assistance and harvest of food cropsresulting from the rainy season production. However, the level of food availability is still below pre-crisis level. Before the crisis, domestic food stocks could last up to August in a production year, while harvest from 2017 agricultural season will barely last till March 2018.
Exhaustive MUAC screening of children 6-59 months shows Global Acute Malnutrition rate (GAM) at (11%) of which 2% are severely acute malnourish. Significant improvement is seen in the nutrition situation of the population when compared with August 2017 MUAC screening result, which reported GAM and SAM, rates of 18% and 4% respectively.
However, the malnutrition situation is still at a serious stage according to WHO classification, and requires more attention.
Kala/Balge LGA was not covered by the recent EFSA (September/October 2017), hence not analyzed during the October 2017 Cadre Harmonise. An EFSA is currently ongoing to collect detailed information on food security situation, in order to inform decision markers. This assessment will provide clearer details on the case load of vulnerable populations within these communities - Food assistance is still required both for new arrivals and IDPs living in collective settlements. Food security actors should transition to early recovery or livelihood support for host populations who have access to land.