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Food Insecurity on the Rise as Ebola abates - Application of Shock Impact Simulation Model (SISMod) to measure Ebola’s economic impacts on hunger

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Application of Shock Impact Simulation Model (SISMod) to measure Ebola’s economic impacts on hunger

Executive Summary

From health crisis to economic and food crisis

Since March 2014, Ebola has swept West Africa. Although this unprecedented epidemic has been slowing down – Liberia was declared Ebola-free in May 2015 – its impact continues to be felt not only as a health crisis, but also as an economic crisis that is severely hampering already fragile economies.
The focus of responses is shifting from ending the epidemic to rebuilding the countries. However, the fight against Ebola is far from over as the disease continues to affect household livelihoods and food security through its adverse impacts on the economy.

Shock Impact Simulation Model (SISMod)

Estimates of the economic impact of Ebola on household food security are needed to develop response scenarios. In the view of this, the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service (VAM) of the World Food Programme (WFP) has developed a ‘light version’ of the Shock Impact Simulation Model (SISMod-Light), an economic modelling system. This will provide early quantitative estimates of food insecurity for the current situation as well as anticipated scenarios in the near future, particularly for the coming lean season.

Most likely scenarios: economic slow-down and food price increases in 2015

Based on secondary data available at the time of writing, the two most likely scenarios have been created representing the first half and the third quarter of 2015, based on the following assumptions: a modest decrease in 2014/2015 national food production with disparities at subnational levels; decreasing household income and relatively stable food prices in the first half of 2015; and significant food price increases in the lean season of the third quarter of 2015. These shocks are factored in the model as the input parameters of the simulation.

One-in-four could be food insecure in the 2015 lean season

The three Ebola-stricken countries have a combined population of 23 million. It is estimated that economic slowdown could leave 3.66 million people food insecure (16%) in the first half of 2015. The number of food insecure could increase to 6.24 million (27%) during the lean season in the third quarter of 2015, under the assumptions of continuing economic slowdown and seasonal high food prices. The impact is particularly pronounced among poor households who live in rural areas and mostly rely on agriculture. The minimum food shortfall is estimated at 7,687 mt of cereals a month in the first half of 2015 and 12,949 mt of cereals a month during the next lean season.