- Gu’ harvest expected to be 50 per cent below average
- Funding gaps threaten nutrition response
- Stronger institutions can make a difference
- Access remains a critical challenge
- Interview with the Director General of the Jubaland State Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation
- Limited funding hinders effective response
- SHF releases $7.6 million to respond to drought
Gu’ harvest expected to be 50 per cent below average
Somalia is experiencing the negative impact of erratic and abnormally performing Gu’ rains (April – June) which followed a poor 2018 Deyr season (Oct-Dec), and unusually dry conditions during the 2019 Jilaal season (Jan-Mar). This has compounded the limited recovery from the severe drought of 2016/17. The effects of the poor Gu’ are expected to persist until late 2019.
The just ended rainy season started late throughout the country and in most areas resulted in cumulative below-average rainfall. In some parts of the country, heavy rains received over a short period resulted in flooding and significant damage to planted crops, pasture and other resources critical for agriculture and livestock production.
According to the FAO-managed Food and Nutritional Analysis Unit (FSNAU), while the late rains eased drought conditions in some places, which improved water availability and supported the livestock sector to a certain extent, they will not be sufficient for sustainable agricultural production. The rains generated pasture growth, albeit late, improving livestock body conditions and some animals, mainly sheep and goats, are conceiving. Some catchments have replenished and water prices declined in parts of the country.
However, pasture availability and livestock body conditions remain below average in parts of Hawd of Togdheer and Addun as well as Coastal Deehin the northeast areas. In southern areas, the benefits of the rains to livestock will not be realized before early October, when current livestock conceptions lead to herd size increases. Impoverished pastoralists, particularly those in the northern and central regions, whose livestock herds were depleted due to the impact of the 2016/17 severe drought, have accumulated substantial debts since the beginning of the year and will face large food consumption gaps, expected to result in heightened acute malnutrition and excess mortality risk through October.
In crop growing areas, the delay in the Gu’ rains has significantly affected planting and germination. As a result, the season’s cereal harvest is projected to be 50 per cent below average. Due to exhausted food stocks, reduced income from agricultural labour and below average harvest prospects, poor agro-pastoral families and farmers in most parts of the country are expected to face food consumption gaps until late 2019. Some 2.2 million people, an increase of almost 30 per cent compared to the projection of February, are estimated to face acute food insecurity through September and are urgently in need of food assistance and interventions to prevent high levels of acute malnutrition, according to FSNAU. This number could increase as the dry season progresses.
Response continues but not at the required scale due to limited resources. In May, over 1.2 million people received food assistance and 510,000 people were reached with seasonal inputs or livestock assets protection, while 450,000 people received cash assistance. More than 631,500 people were assisted with access to water, 26,100 children with nutrition services and 606,000 medical consultations have been conducted since the beginning of the year. A cholera vaccination campaign was implemented in areas reporting elevated numbers of AWD/cholera.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.