East Africa Food Security Brief – January 2012

Food security outlook points to deepening food insecurity in some areas even as OctoberDecember rains result in marked improvement in Crisis areas

Current food security conditions and expected outcomes during the Outlook period (through March 2012) are mixed across the East Africa region. Several areas previously at Crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) have shown considerable improvement, namely parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, following favorable and mostly above normal OctoberDecember rains, coupled with a major humanitarian response. Notwithstanding these improvements, the outlook in the eastern Horn is measured, due to the underlying fragility of livelihoods, which have been weakened by a succession of poor seasons and multiple shocks, principally drought, conflict, livestock disease, above-normal food and non-food prices, and more recently, floods. Furthermore, most of the improvements in food security are supported by humanitarian response rather than substantial recovery in productive capacities or enhanced resilience of livelihoods. Blue Nile and South Kordofan states in Sudan, and Jonglei State and border areas of South Sudan, are now emerging as the areas of greatest concern, in addition to parts of southern Somalia. Food insecurity in Sudan and South Sudan is driven by the poor recent agricultural season, and intense conflict and heavy fighting in some areas, as well as restrictions on trade and humanitarian access.

Food security has improved in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Somalia, and the prognosis for the first quarter of 2012 is generally favorable. However, reports by FAO suggest that food security in Djibouti is anticipated to decline through March particularly for pastoralists, the urban poor, and about 19,000 Somali and Yemeni refugees in camps. An estimated 210,000 people will face Stressed levels (IPC Phase 2), while localized households in the north will face Crisis levels. In western Ethiopia, food security is projected to improve to No Acute Food Insecurity (IPC Phase 1) in parts of the cropping highlands after favorable October to December rains. However, Belg cropping areas in North Wollo and northeastern parts of Afar experienced poor rains and poor households will likely remain in Crisis through March 2012. Households in the southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas of Ethiopia bordering Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia are expected to be in Crisis through March 2012, including about 143,000 Somali refugees at Dollo Ado camp and more than 30,000 Sudanese refugees in Benishangul-Gumuz region in western Ethiopia. Insecurity and suspected polio cases are cause for serious concern in Dollo Ado, while water shortages are increasing in Oromiya and Somali regions.

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