Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected in north-central areas after second consecutive poor rainfall season
In April and May, FEWS NET and FSNAU released two alerts and multiple analyses to the donor community detailing the poor start of the April-June 2019 Gu rainfall season and expected deterioration in food security conditions across the region. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes were anticipated in June-September 2019. Although heavy rains in mid-May to early-June significantly improved pasture and water availability and restored livestock body conditions, previously projected outcomes remain most likely due to significantly below-average food and income sources resulting in large food consumption gaps and widespread, high acute malnutrition prevalence.
An estimated 2.2 million people are expected to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes through September and are urgently in need of humanitarian food assistance and interventions to prevent high levels of acute malnutrition. This number could increase as the dry season progresses. The average number of beneficiaries reached with food assistance from January to May 2019 declined 47 percent compared to those reached from August to December 2018.
In north-central pastoral areas, where most households are still recovering from the extended impact of the 2016/17 severe drought, food security outcomes are driven by stagnated or declining herd sizes. In areas of greatest concern, poor households have maximized debt and credit and are unwilling or unable to engage in extreme depletion of productive livestock assets. As a result, they are expected to have large food deficits reflected by heightened acute malnutrition and excess mortality risk through October, when current livestock conceptions lead to herd size increases. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in Northern Inland Pastoral, East Golis Pastoral of Sanaag, northeastern and central Hawd Pastoral, and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones in July through September and will be sustained in Guban Pastoral through January.
In agropastoral areas, national maize and sorghum Gu production deficits are anticipated to be approximately 50 percent of normal. Crop failure is likely in Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zone and localized areas of Bay and Hiiraan. In Hiiraan, severely reduced access to irrigated water prevented timely cultivation, and harvests are not expected until September. As a result of anticipated poor harvests and below-average labor income, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in Southern Agropastoral livelihood zone of Hiiraan through September, while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is anticipated in High and Low Potential Agropastoral, Riverine Pump Irrigation of Hiiraan, and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zones.
The October-December 2019 Deyr rains, which are forecast to be average, are expected to usher in some food security improvements. In pastoral areas of greatest concern, livestock births are anticipated to increase herd sizes, enabling poor households to engage in some distressed sales of livestock. As households would be able to marginally meet their minimum food needs through livelihoods coping, improvement to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected. The exception is Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, where herd sizes are lowest and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely to persist. In agropastoral areas of concern, access to agricultural labor income and milk is expected to improve during the Deyr. However, since green Deyr harvests will not become available until late December, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in Southern Agropastoral of Hiiraan, Bay-Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral, and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zones.