Continued Food Insecurity in East Africa

Many areas of East Africa will continue to face high levels of food insecurity through late 2019, according to a new report from FEWS Net . The situation will hit its worst levels at the peak of the pastoral lean season in September and October.

Pastoralists in Somalia and parts of Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia have experienced IPC Crisis (Phase 3) or Emergency (Phase 4) food insecurity since earlier this year. Harvests in some regions were delayed, which has led to below-average milk availability, terms of trade, and livestock assets for these producers. All of these challenges have reduced food access and food and milk intake, and many pastoralist households have struggled with unusually high levels of acute malnutrition. FEWS reports that the situation is expected to worsen as the region nears the peak of the traditional pastoral lean season.

In South Sudan and Yemen, the estimated population of households in need of humanitarian assistance to stave off famine remains high. In three regions of South Sudan (Jonglei, Lakes, and Upper Nile), 21,000 people face IPC Catastrophe (Phase 5) food insecurity. Food consumption gaps widened during July and August, and critical levels of acute malnutrition have been observed. Both South Sudan and Yemen remain in dire need of humanitarian food aid.

In conflict-affected areas of Ethiopia and Sudan, poor and internally displaced households may face IPC Crisis (Phase 3) or higher levels of food insecurity through the end of 2019. Producer households in some areas of Ethiopia have now missed the last three agricultural seasons, and FEWS predicts that they will not produce enough to meet their own food needs until at least November of this year. In Sudan, sorghum prices have soared to between 100 and 300 percent higher than the five-year average due to below-average crop production and a deterioration of the country’s macroeconomic indicators, including household purchasing power.