Somalia: Food Security and Nutrition Quarterly Brief 30 Apr 2007

Originally published


Key Findings

SPECIAL ALERT: Displaced populations outside and inside of Mogadishu face Humanitarian Emergency conditions. The FSAU Somalia Integrated Food Security and Phase Classifi cation (IPC) map is updated to include newly displaced populations in Humanitarian Emergency (see Map 2, Table 1). Urgent humanitarian assistance is needed for the most vulnerable populations, including shelter, water, access to safe sanitation, medical services, food, and measures to prevent the further spread of ongoing outbreak of Acute Water Diarrhoea (AWD). The critical needs of the poorest displaced populations require immediate response. Humanitarian access is currently constrained and improvements are urgently needed to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the populations with the most critical needs (see page 2).

Fighting in Mogadishu during March and April has resulted in the displacement of up to 365,000 people or roughly one third of the city's population of almost one million people as people have fl ed the city in search of safety. In addition, another 30-40% of the population of Mogadishu is estimated to be displaced within Mogadishu itself, as people search for areas of safety within the city. In total up to 70-80% of the total population of Mogadishu is currently displaced. Most of the population who have fl ed Mogadishu are concentrated in Shabelle region (39%) and central region (51%) with the remaining 10% displaced in other regions. In some areas the concentration of displaced population is so great that the displaced population are half or even more than the resident host population (see page 2).

The sheer magnitude and concentration of newly displaced people in such a short period of time is leading to a humanitarian crisis in which basic amenities of shelter, clean water, safe sanitation, health care, medicines and food are severely constrained or insuffi cient to meet the needs of the displaced populations and host communities. In areas of concentrated and high population displacement the prices for rental properties, transportation, water, and basic food and non-food items have increased sharply, between 30-70% in the last four weeks. These sharp price increases are compounding problems related to the loss of livelihoods and income. In addition to this already critical situation there is an ongoing and increasing outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD), which is most severe in the same areas where there are large concentrations of displaced populations (see page 2).

Civil Insecurity: Insecurity and confl ict in Mogadishu has intensifi ed since the end of February leading to the loss of lives, injuries, and signifi cant population displacement within and from the capital. Insecurity in Mogadishu and surrounding areas, as well as road blocks, port closures, and marine piracy are creating diffi culties in humanitarian access, the importation of food and non-food commodities and inter-regional trade fl ows in southern Somalia (see page 2).

Climate: There is a timely and widely distributed start to the Gu seasons rains (April-June) throughout most of the country, indicating that the seasonal rains may be normal. In March, light showers, locally known as Todob or Jar fains, fell over many parts of southern Somalia including the Juba valley, Gedo, Bay, Bakool and Hiran. In the northwest good rains were received in parts of Awdal, Togdheer and the Hawd of Hargeisa and also in the Ethiopia highland catchment areas of the Juba and Shabelle rivers (see page 6).

Markets: A slow down of activities in the main Mogadishu port due to increasing levels of insecurity, renewed marine piracy and the imposition of new port tariffs is having an impact on the supply and price of imported food and non-food commodities to and within the Mogadishu market catchment area. Insecurity has disrupted market activities, informal trade and the casual labour market in Mogadishu. The depreciation of the Somali Shilling against the dollar noted between January and February continues with further depreciation in south, central and northeast Somalia during March (see page 6).

Agriculture: Findings from the FSAU and partners off-season crop assessment, conducted between 17th March and 7th April 07, estimate that total off-season cereal production was 11,000mt of maize or 52% of the projected 21,000mt. Sesame production is also well below the projection (at 29%) at an estimated 5,103mt. These reductions are attributed to fl ood waters that remained longer than expected, the impact of insect damage, and the low utilisation of farm inputs. Maize prices are continuing to increase due to the overall poor harvest in last Deyr season (Nov.-Dec.), but are still lower than their peak levels in the last three years. Sorghum prices continue to decline, sorghum is widely available, and terms of trade is good in most markets throughout the south and central regions (see page 7).

Livestock: As the result of an extremely mild dry season (January-March) in which rangeland conditions were above normal, livestock body conditions for all species (cattle, sheep, goat, and camel) are good throughout the country. Rains in March and April are further replenishing water and pasture in most areas and livestock migration is minimal. In general, incidence reports of the unknown camel disease and symptoms of RVF continue to decline. Livestock export markets in the north began to reopen in March and the total number of sheep and goats exported increased signifi cantly up to 376,400 heads. Although average terms of trade (cereal to goat) decreased between February and March in the Juba region due largely to maize price increases, terms of trade is still above long term average for the season. In the Sorghum Belt, terms of trade (cereal to goat) increased over the same period, as the price of sorghum decreased and goat prices increased (see page 8).

Nutrition: The nutrition situation in parts of South and Central Somalia remains consistently critical in spite of the improved food and livelihood security status. The contribution of illness, including the persistent Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) outbreak, poor access to health services, sub-optimal care practice and the recent confl ict affected displacement is likely to be signifi cant (see page 9).