East Africa Key Message Update, September 2018
Conflict continues to drives high needs, but some food security improvements expected
Across East Africa, food insecurity persists due to a combination of factors, including conflict, drought-recovery in the eastern Horn, and previous and ongoing flooding, which despite crop losses and other damages, has led to some better production prospects. Through January 2019, large populations are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Yemen, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia. In addition, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible in a worst-case scenario in South Sudan if there is a sustained absence of humanitarian assistance, and in Yemen, if commercial imports decline significantly and conflict cuts populations off from trade and humanitarian assistance.
Protracted conflict in various parts of the region has displaced large populations, disrupting livelihoods and constraining access to typical sources of food and income. As a result, displaced households in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, and along Ethiopia’s regional borders of Oromia, Somali, and SNNP, are projected to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. In addition, refugees in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in the presence of humanitarian assistance, but the risk of funding shortfalls remain.
Significantly above-average rainfall continued in August in northern parts of the region, particularly in Sudan. This followed heavy rainfall experienced since April elsewhere in the region, including in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda’s Karamoja Region, which caused severe flooding, crop damage, particularly in riverine areas; destruction of livestock, an upsurge in vector and water-borne diseases, displacement, and loss of life. However, while this affected some crop production and delayed harvests, this has also led to above-average yields and allowed for recession cultivation.
As of August, forecast models indicated enhanced October to December rains are expected over the region, including in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, eastern and western Kenya, and southern Somalia. Average to above-average rains are expected to enhance crop and livestock production, increase demand for agricultural labor, and suppress resource-based conflict. As household access to food and income continues to improve in many parts of the region during the latter part of the year, especially with some major harvests, outside the conflict-affected areas there are projected to be food security improvements.