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East Africa Key Message Update, December 2017

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Extreme food insecurity to persist in East Africa, Yemen through at least mid-2018

Key Messages

  • A major food security Emergency is expected to continue in southeastern Ethiopia into mid-2018. Worst-affected areas include Dollo, Korahe, and Jarar zones, along with parts of Afder and Liben, which will be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through May 2018, while some households will be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Large-scale, sustained assistance is needed in order to mitigate food consumption gaps and limited increases in acute malnutrition and the risk of excess mortality.

  • In Somalia, widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity persists, though humanitarian assistance is preventing more extreme outcomes. During field assessments conducted in November, households reported relying on small amounts of milk, purchasing food on credit, and sharing food assistance. In a worst-case scenario of very poor Deyr rainfall through December and a protracted absence of assistance, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is likely.

  • Extreme food insecurity persists across the country, including Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in most areas despite the ongoing harvest. Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes are still likely in counties of greatest concern, including Leer, Ayod, Nyirol, and Wau, where some households do not have access to harvests or assistance and are unable to migrate in search of alternative food sources. There is a continued risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) and large-scale assistance and action to end the conflict are needed urgently to save lives. Greater Baggari of Wau remains of extreme concern, where Famine (IPC Phase 5) may be ongoing, but there is insufficent evidence to confirm or disprove.

  • In Yemen, current limitations on maritime ports are highly concerning. A prolonged closure of key ports risks an unprecedented deterioration in food security to Famine (IPC Phase 5) across large areas of the country. Even before the current blockade, Yemen already faced the largest food security emergency in the world, with more than 15 million people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse food insecurity and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. For additional information, please see FEWS NET’s Food Security Alert from November 20, 2017.