· The drought in the Horn of Africa is generating a humanitarian crisis of alarming proportions. The number of people in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) 3 or above in Somalia (2.9 million), Ethiopia (5.6 million) and Kenya (2.6 million) now stands at over 11 million people.
· Global acute malnutrition (GAM) levels among children aged 6-59 months, pregnant women and nursing mothers remain a serious concern, with levels of over 25 percent GAM being reported in some parts of Somalia and Kenya.
· There is a risk of potential famine in parts of Somalia if the upcoming 2017 Gu rain season (April– June) also fails, creating a drought crisis even worse than in 2011.
· 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 close to 5 million people also in need of urgent assistance. This is in addition to over 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.
· At both regional and country levels, WFP is working very closely with UNICEF, FAO, OCHA, UNHCR and INGO partners, to support common situational analysis. WFP also works closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is playing a key role in advocating for rapid mobilization of resources by member states.
The deteriorating food security situation follows the effects of consecutive below-average rainy seasons in 2016 across the Horn of Africa.
The regional consensus climate outlook for March - May 2017 season indicates an increased likelihood of below to near normal rainfall over eastern and coastal Kenya; southern and north-western Somalia; north-eastern, eastern and southern Ethiopia; southern parts of South Sudan; and north-eastern Uganda.
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.