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2020 Global Report on Food Crises - Regional Focus on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Member States

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IGAD regional report 2020 in brief

The data and the analyses in this report were prepared before the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and do not account for its impact on vulnerable people in food-crisis situations.

In 2019, 135 million people faced acute food insecurity that required urgent action (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) in 55 countries and territories analysed across the world, according to the Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) 2020. Of this population, 20 percent, or 27.6 million people, resided in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region in East Africa.

Worst-affected countries in the IGAD region

Three major crises in the IGAD region were among the 10 worst food crises in the world, namely Ethiopia (8 million), South Sudan (7 million), and the Sudan (5.9 million). In terms of prevalence of acute food insecurity, the highest shares were found in South Sudan, where 61 percent of the analysed population was in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above), followed by Ethiopia (27 percent), Kenya (22 percent), Somalia (17 percent) and the Sudan (14 percent).

Acute food insecurity levels across the IGAD region have steadily increased since the GRFC was launched in 2016. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance (IPC Phase 3 or above) increased by 2 percent, or about 650 000 people, largely driven by rising numbers of acutely food-insecure people in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. The numbers were stable in Ethiopia (though the method of analysis changed) and decreased in the Sudan and Somalia.

Primary drivers of acute food insecurity

Weather extremes, conflict/insecurity and economic shocks continued to be the main drivers of acute food insecurity across the region in 2019. Most countries faced all three challenges, with negative impacts reinforcing each other, adding to the complexity of the acute food insecurity situation.

In 2019, weather extremes constituted the primary driver of acute food insecurity and malnutrition in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where collectively 13.2 million acutely food-insecure people were in need of urgent food assistance – around half of the region’s total. These extremes included drought during the first half of the year and flooding during the second half.

Armed conflicts, communal violence and other localized tensions continued to disrupt peace and security in the region, and formed the primary driver for 8.5 million people facing acute food insecurity (31 percent of the region’s total). The number derives from 7 million people in South Sudan mainly facing intercommunal tensions and violence, and 1.5 million in Uganda, the majority of them refugees fleeing armed conflict and war in their home countries.

Economic shocks formed the primary driver of acute food insecurity for 5.9 million people in the Sudan, where the ongoing macroeconomic crisis caused staple food prices to spike, with serious implications for food access since a large share of the population buys rather than produces their food.