The drought in the Horn of Africa is generating a humanitarian crisis in Somalia, with urgent needs also in Kenya and Ethiopia. The number of people in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels (Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) 3 or above) now stands at 11.2 million people, with 2.9 million in Somalia, 5.6 million in Ethiopia, and 2.7 million in Kenya.
Global acute malnutrition (GAM) levels among children aged 6-59 months, pregnant women and nursing mothers remain a serious concern. Levels of over 25 percent GAM are being reported in some parts of Somalia.
Governments are leading the planning, implementation and funding of the drought response in Kenya and Ethiopia, with support from humanitarian and development partners.
This drought is evolving against a backdrop of escalating needs in South Sudan, with over 5 million people also in need of urgent assistance. This is in addition to over 1.2 million South Sudanese refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.
The deteriorating food security situation follows the effects of the 2015/2016 El Nino weather event, which caused drought leading to consecutive failed harvests. The situation is expected to deteriorate over the coming weeks as a weak La Niña event and a negative Indian Ocean Dipole have led to delayed and erratic rainfall in large parts of the region, most notably in southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia and parts of Kenya.
Pasture and water resources are critically low across the region, resulting in significant livestock deaths and crop production losses in Ethiopia,
Somalia and northern and coastal Kenya.
In drought affected areas, cereal prices are rising, while livestock prices and casual labor wage levels are both decreasing due to poor livestock conditions and limited agricultural labor opportunities. As a result, household purchasing power is falling sharply.
Inter-communal conflict is expected to rise in drought-affected areas as pastoralists trek further afield with their animals looking for water and grazing. Distress migration is being reported between Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.
There is growing pressure on the grain markets in Uganda as regional traders face diminishing availability, following the export bans that have taken effect in Tanzania and Kenya.