Monthly Food Security Report for Somalia Jul 2003


Sool Plateau In Alarming Food Security Situation:

In June, FSAU carried out a food security assessment of the most vulnerable areas in the Sool plateau of Sanag and Sool region which confirmed that up to 3,500 households were facing deficits of 25-35% of their energy requirements. This information was corroborated by a nutrition survey undertaken by FSAU, UNICEF, MOHL and SRCS which indicated a GAM of 12.5% (see below) in the area. These households require immediate assistance. The FSAU northern pastoral assessment which was also carried out in June, estimated that approximately 9,000 households in Sool Plateau Food Economy Zone, (this figure includes the 3,500 households in the Sool plateau of Sanag and Sool) Dharoor Food Economy Zone (upper Dharoor in Sanag region) and Nugal Food Economy Zone (the lower valley) are facing chronic vulnerability and need close monitoring for interventions.

Gu 2003 Cereal Forecast For Southern Somalia.

The total Gu 2003 cereal production in southern Somalia (on average contributing 95% to the final Gu production figure) is expected to be approximately 214,900 MT. Maize accounts for 68% of this production and sorghum 32%. This is 28% more than the post-war average (167,900 MT) and is very close to the final Gu 2002 cereal production figure. Areas that are not faring well are parts of Middle Juba, Bay region - in particular Qansah-Dere and Dinsor districts and parts of Hiran. Latest field reports indicate that insecurity, insufficient rainfall and pests could further reduce the final cereal production figure. For more information on the Gu 2003 crop establishment.

Pastoral Conditions In Somalia:

Pastoral conditions in the north of the country are normal other than those areas highlighted above : Sool Plateau Food Economy Zone, Dharoor Food Economy Zone (upper Dharoor in Sanag region) and Nugal Food Economy Zone. (the lower valley) A comprehensive pastoral assessment was not carried out in southern Somalia but all indicators in the most likely vulnerable areas suggest that conditions are near normal.

Highlights from the FSAU 'Nutrition Update'

The results of a nutrition survey undertaken collaboratively between FSAU, MOHL, UNICEF and SRCS in Sool plateau of Sanag and Sool Regions in May/June 2003 confirm serious under-nutrition and a compromised health status of the plateau's population. The results indicated a global acute malnutrition rate of 12.5% (CI 10.5-14.9) using Weight/Height <-2 Z scores or oedema and severe acute malnutrition 1.8 % (CI 1.1 -3.0) using Weight/Height <- 3 z-scores or oedema. The under-five mortality rate was 1.9 deaths/10,000 children/day.

The area has experienced persistent drought for three years resulting in inadequate accessibility to water (humans and livestock) and pasture. (livestock) A food security assessment conducted during the survey showed a resultant food deficit of 25-35% among the poor (some households in the 'middle' category may also have deficits). The lack of sufficient rainfall has subsequently affected the production of livestock and livestock products. This has affected food availability since the population depends on these for food and income.

With income opportunities diminished, access to medication is also a major challenge. Childcare practices have also been negatively affected. For example inadequate food intake by mothers affects breastfeeding and there is only minimal food varieties available for complementary feeding. Children also suffer as a result of their parents absence when mothers are forced to spend long periods away from home, in search of food to eat.

In Buale District, Lower Juba Region the population affected by the inter-clan tension showed extremely high malnutrition rates of 28% using MUAC measurement <12.5 cm and a further 11% were reported at risk of malnutrition. This population has experienced the destruction of property and food stocks, businesses, standing crops and underground granaries. The riverine food economy group and villages surrounding Buale town have been the most affected by this insecurity. Insecurity has also hampered the market supply of local cereals and imported foods. Prices have risen by 50% compared to May 2002.

UNICEF, MOH and FSAU in collaboration with local partners began a repeat nutrition survey in Bossaso IDP camps on 2 July 2003, expected to end in two weeks time. At the same time, UNICEF in collaboration with FSAU, IMC and SRCS plan to undertake a nutrition survey in Beletweyne district between 12 and 21 July 2003. The two surveys are expected to have a strong food security input.

For copies of the nutrition survey reports and further information related to nutrition, see copies of the FSAU monthly publication 'Nutrition Update' or contact: Noreen.

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