Somalia

Somalia: Food Security and Nutrition Quarterly Brief 15 Jun 2007 - Focus on Gu season early warning

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FSAU and partners will conduct the Gu 2007 seasonal assessment in Somalia beginning June 25th. Two day regional workshops will be held, followed by 2- 3 weeks of fieldwork and analysis. Final conclusions will be agreed during an all team meeting in Hargeisa from July 23rd - 27th. A presentation to the SSS/FSRD is planned for August 13th and the final Technical Series report will be made available by September 12th.

KEY ISSUES & EARLY WARNING FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION

- Displaced populations from the confl ict in Mogadishu still require urgent humanitarian assistance, both for those who have fl ed Mogadishu and those who have returned, due their loss of property, continuing disruption in livelihoods, an overall environment of infl ationary price increases and insecurity.

- Riverine and agro-pastoral households in Middle and Lower Shabelle are at increased risk of humanitarian crisis as the impact of recent shocks is now manifesting itself through increasing rates of acute malnutrition which, as of May 2007, are above the emergency threshold of 15% with mortality rates also above the alert threshold. The cumulative effects of the confl ict, insecurity and concentrated displacement within the Shabelle region; which has led to stress on host communities, with the IDP infl ux and sharp infl ationary price increases over the last few months, is likely to have contributed to this situation. These shocks are further compounded by the ongoing Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) epidemic, the losses from the Deyr fl oods, and three seasons of below normal cereal production.

- For riverine households already in areas of Humanitarian Emergency and Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis in Gedo, Juba and Hiran regions, below normal cereal production or a crop failure this season, will inevitably lead to a further deterioration in their food security and nutrition situation.

- Pastoralists in the south and central regions are continuing to benefi t from good livestock body conditions for all species, medium to high rates of calving, kidding and lambing, increased milk production, high livestock prices and favorable terms of trade (livestock to cereal).

SECTOR HIGHLIGHTS

Climate: The performance of the Gu '07 season rains (mid-April to early June), the most critical rains of the year, are well below normal in terms of intensity, distribution through the season, amount and coverage for most of the country. The exception is the northwest and localized areas in the northeast, central region and Juba Valley (page 2).

Civil Insecurity: Insecurity, confl ict, and tensions have continued, and in some areas increased in the south and central regions. Movement between and within some regions is costly, diffi cult and dangerous. Humanitarian access and the provision of humanitarian assistance to populations most in need, continues to be diffi cult and problematic (page 4).

Mogadishu Displacement: Between 100,000 to 200,000 people have returned to Mogadishu, of which most or 89% are returning from surrounding areas in Lower and Middle Shabelle. Returnees to Mogadishu have found their homes destroyed, food and medical care in short supply and limited business activities in some neighborhoods. Central region hosts the largest number of IDPs or 50% of the total displaced population, although Shabelle region hosts the second largest number of IDPs or 20% of total IDPs, followed by Hiran at 14% (page 4).

Agriculture: The Gu season crop establishment conditions vary from region to region, but generally are well below normal in most agricultural areas in the south, both for rainfed and irrigated cereal crops. Cereal prices in most southern markets are continuing to increase since January 2007 following the normal seasonal price trends, however, they are still lower than the last three years in the Shabelle and seven years in the Juba. Sorghum prices remain at an all time low, due to the bumper harvests last Deyr '06/07, but have begun to increase slightly (page 5).

Livestock: Overall, pasture, browse and water is widely available in most regions of the country, due to very good Deyr '06/07 rains, a mild Jilaal dry season, and a good rains at the onset of the Gu season in April. In all regions, livestock body conditions for all species (cattle, sheep, goat, and camel) remain good and milk production and availability is improving, as kidding and calving (goats, sheep, cattle and camel) is increasing and is anticipated to continue through until the next Deyr '07/08. Livestock prices for all species are signifi cantly higher compared to the last 5 years and pastoralists are benefi ting from favorable terms of trade (livestock to cereal) (page 6).

Markets: The Somali Shilling has depreciated on average 15-25% against the dollar since January, breaking a three year period of relative stability. The depreciation of the Somali shilling, combined with increased insecurity, has had a signifi cant infl ationary effect, especially on prices of essential commodities. High and increasing prices are a serious concern and if trends continue will undermine household food security throughout the different regions, especially for the poorer most vulnerable populations (page 8).

Nutrition: High rates of acute malnutrition continue to be reported in South and Central Somalia. Of most concern, are the results of two nutrition assessments conducted in Shabelle region during May. The population in this region is normally nutritionally more secure, but preliminary results are now showing levels of acute malnutrition of 15-20%1, with families citing the sharing of resources, increasing food prices and increasing disease as the main contributing causes. Two other assessments were conducted in the IDP populations in May in Baidoa and Galkayo, both reporting levels of acute malnutrition above the emergency threshold of 15% and indicating a similar nutritional status in the recent and longer term IDP groups (page 9).

For Food Security Analysis by region see Regional analyses pages on the FSAU website: www.fsausomali.org