Although the El Niño weather event has passed its impact continues to be felt in the region: food insecurity doubled from 12 million in August 2015 to 23.4 million today. Humanitarian partners are targeting 1.25 million children under five for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) this year, of which nearly 83 per cent are from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia. Violence and rising food insecurity in South Sudan and Burundi have displaced nearly 290,000 people (205,541 refugees and 84,459 internally displaced) in the last 3 months alone.
Displacement and conflict
Around 1.542 million people are internally displaced in South Sudan, and over 546,000 have crossed borders and become refugees. About 106,228 people have fled Burundi, and about 25,000 have left Yemen (where 1 million people are internally displaced)3 for Djibouti and Somalia. Areas of conflict in South Sudan and Yemen remain very difficult for humanitarian organizations to access, pushing more to cross borders in search of assistance.
Increase in mostly South Sudanese and Burundian refugees
Food security is expected to deepen for many vulnerable households as the lean period start by end April - May. Malnutrition levels are expected to worsen after May and are already above critical thresholds in parts of northern Kenya, eastern and southern Ethiopia, rural Djibouti, and south-central Somalia.
Conflict and unfavourable climatic conditions remain the main drivers of food insecurity and displacement in the Eastern Africa region. Despite growing humanitarian needs, a difficult global humanitarian financing climate has forced humanitarian country teams in the region to prioritize response plans.
Seasonal outlook and impact on food security
There has been a general decrease in the number of food insecure people as harvests continue across the region. Following an extended dry period and delayed onset of rains, a large part of the arid, semi-arid lands (ASALs) have received below-average rainfall providing limited relief.
A year after the food crisis peaked in parts of the Horn of Africa - including the declaration of famine in parts of Somalia - humanitarian agencies have warned that tentative progress towards recovery could be undone in areas experiencing late and erratic rains, ongoing conflict and high food prices. Although dry conditions have eased in parts of the eastern Horn, and famine conditions are no longer present in Somalia, an at least 9.1 million people are still in need of assistance.
The Horn of Africa crisis continues to affect 13.3 million people, including 3 million people in southern Somalia. In Djibouti, the population is facing the country’s sixth consecutive failed rainy season
In Somalia, the situation is deteriorating with famine declared in six regions and threatening to expand throughout the south. Rates of malnutrition and mortality are increasing, and communicable diseases continue to spread.
Famine has spread in Somalia, including Mogadishu, and threatens to expand throughout the south. US$1.3 billion is still needed to provide life-saving assistance to 12.4 million people.
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Food insecurity remains at emergency levels across parts of the Horn of Africa and famine has been declared in two regions of Southern Somalia. Humanitarian organizations are struggling to cope with the influx of Somali refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya. Malnutrition and mortality rates are alarmingly high in many parts of the region.