Information & Reports Unit, Khartoum
Figure 1. Map of Drought Affected Areas
Based on recent regional assessments the current drought affecting Kordofan, Darfur and Red Sea State in the Northern sector and Equatoria, BEG and Jongelei in the Southern sector will persist. Extensive relief efforts are needed through out the drought stricken regions (See Figure 1).
The serious drought affecting Darfur, Kordofan and Red Sea State in the Northern sector and Equatoria, Jonglei and BEG in the Southern sector is forecasted to continue through April, should the current dry pattern persist. The seasonal rise in temperatures during March and April is expected to further worsen moisture conditions. On the other hand, the much-anticipated start of the seasonal rains in April in the South and in June in the Northwest might begin to gradually replenish the drought affected water reservoirs while improving moisture levels.
Overall, Spring is likely to enter the region against intact long-term drought conditions in all regions and potential still exists failing rains again this year, thus requiring very close monitoring.
The critical water situation of West Darfur is exacerbated by refugee influx from Chad as well as internal displacement in West Darfur. An estimated 5,142 persons (more than 4,000 are Chadian nationals) are temporarily settled at the border village of Tandalti. With a traditional problem of poor water supply, competition for the limited available resources is acute.
Severe reduction of grain supply to markets as a result of poor and very poor harvest production in most parts of North Darfur state and the traditional food supply areas of West and South Darfur states. As livestock prices continue declining (since September 2000), grain prices are alarmingly escalating. Pasture scarcity and water shortages are the main reasons for the price disturbances. Grain supply to the market in El Fasher has reduced by over 60% compared to the same period last year. Some factors causing low availability are:
- Scarcity of grain in rural and urban market across the states due to insignificant production;
- Movement of grain from Darfur to Chad and Kordofan state.
North Kordofan is considered to be severely affected by the drought. Production of cereals has been extremely low during 2000 this was due to both poor rainfall and pest infestations. The prices of cereals have doubled since the same period last year and the income of the population in the region have declined and the prices of livestock continue to drop due to dwindling pastures.
West Kordofan is moderately affected as the crop production in some areas within the state have been reasonable and allowed some populations to acquire income from crop sales.
Monitoring & Assessment
In both Kordofan and Darfur States four teams are conducting rapid updates on 23 Rural Councils in Kordofan and a further 20 RCs in Darfur. These missions will determine the number of beneficiaries and the food requirements for immediate Emergency interventions.
WFP will provide 10,000 MT of commodities for distribution to drought effected population in North Kordofan over and above 4,000 MT of commodities provided by Euronaid to CARE. . WFP will provide an extra 2,000 MT of commodities to drought effected populations in West Kordofan.
For Darfur, WFP will provide 20,000 MT of commodities to North Darfur and 5,000 MT of commodities to West Darfur. In addition, Euronaid will provide to SC-UK 4,000 MT of commodities for distribution in North Darfur. The overall requirement assessed for the drought for North Darfur is 33,000 MT and for West Darfur the requirement is 8,000 MT. All WFP assistance in the region is subject to donor pledges.
Equatoria and Jonglei
These States have experienced two successive drought years thus the crop performance was reported to have been very poor thus leading to a continuos decreases of grain carry over, especially in the lowlands. The most affected areas include Kimotong, Nagrich, Lutukei and parts of Komiri Payams. Harvests in these areas especially, the sorghum was reported to have been minimal. The poor rains created additional problems, which are poor pasture quality and inadequate water for the animals. As a result livestock is being kept in distant grazing lands for long periods of time, further restraining access to milk and blood which are vital nutrients for the populations in the region.
It is projected that all socio-economic groups will rely heavily on trade and sale of livestock to purchase grain. This reliance needs to be monitored very closely, as grain in the highlands may not be adequate to cover the whole regions’ needs. Furthermore, depletion of livestock assets will hinder the population’s future coping mechanisms and make them more dependents on relief aid.
Overall, the better-off might be able to meet their needs, while the poorer groups are likely to face a problem between now and the next harvesting season, consequently requiring assistance.
Registration and verification exercises are ongoing in Equatoria and Jongelei since February and will continue into April to determine internal population movements within the states.
739.381 MT of food commodities has been distributed by WFP to 53,197 beneficiaries in Equatoria and Jongelei, February into March.
Bahr el Ghazal
Recent assessments in the Aweil region of BEG have shown that there was a complete crop failure during 2000 and the situation has further deteriorated this year. Prices of essential items in Aweil have increased significantly compared to 1999. The insecurity in the region has discouraged trade and commodity transfers.
WFP will provide 50% ration for local residents for the month of April through to August.
WFP is currently arranging to carry out a rapid assessment in April for the areas of Aweil to determine the needs for the vulnerable groups. WFP is also participating in a crop assessment mission planned for Raga at the end of the month.
Red Sea State
Red Sea State is experiencing a severe drought this year. The most affected areas are Sinkat, Rural Port Sudan and the Halaeib province. Currently, the drought-affected areas are facing a critical water shortage as they depend on open wells for 83% of their needs. A consequence of the drought, malnutrition admissions in local hospitals are up to 40%. In addition, the market prices of cereal has increased, now it requires six goats to exchange for a bag of Sorghum, compared to one goat for a bag of sorghum last year.
A multi-agency drought assessment in February recommended, WFP to provide 5,000 MT of food assistance to 109,000 beneficiaries through SRC and OXFAM from March to August 2001, at half ration.
Haleib is provided for the through the EMOP for 13,5000 beneficiaries requiring 661MT of food over the six months support period in 2001.
Continuous assessments are being conducted in the affected regions. A number of forecast tools suggest a change to normal and possibly above normal precipitation which may lead to improved moisture conditions for the Southeastern part of the country in coming months. In the Western regions of the country the drought is likely to persist over most of the region. But the persistent lack of rains associated with the Western parts of the country has the potential to increase dryness and will be under close monitoring.