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South Sudan: East Africa Key Message Update, May 2019

Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Yemen

Food security expected to deteriorate across greater Horn through September

Key Messages

Food security outcomes are likely to deteriorate across the greater Horn of Africa through September, due to delayed onset of the rainfall season and significantly below-average March to May rainfall performance. This is the second consecutive season of below-average rainfall in many areas. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in Somalia, while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. Food consumption gaps are being driven by deterioration in livestock body conditions, below-normal livestock assets, depletion of household food stocks, and low agricultural labor opportunities, which has reduced poor households’ purchasing power as staple food prices rise near to above the five-year average. Although rainfall has increased in May, livestock and crop production is unlikely to recover to normal levels until the start of the next season in October.

Although conflict in the first quarter of 2019 declined in South Sudan, protracted conflict and economic instability remain key food insecurity drivers in both Yemen and South Sudan, sustaining the likelihood of households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) and enhancing the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) outcomes. An estimated 17 million people in Yemen and nearly eight million people in South Sudan are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse, including households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) is likely in South Sudan’s areas of greatest concern, including in Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Unity states, and is associated with destitution and excess mortalities. On-going humanitarian food assistance has forestalled further deterioration in food security in both countries, though the total number of beneficiaries reached with assistance will likely remain well below those in need.

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In Ethiopia and Sudan, populations displaced by civil unrest and political conflict are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) though at least September. The nutritional status of children under five has exceeded emergency thresholds in most IDP camps in Ethiopia, including Gedeo IDP camp in SNNPR and in East and West Hararghe. Food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further due to restricted access to food, compounded by inadequate water and sanitation. IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan and in Jebel Mara in Darfur are experiencing restricted access to livelihoods activities, labor opportunities, and humanitarian assistance. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in Sudan are likely to persist at the peak of lean season in August and September.

According to the most recent NOAA and IRI forecasts, the June to September 2019 rainfall season in the northern and western sector of East Africa is most likely to be average to above average. This is the main production season in South Sudan, Sudan, western Kenya, and Karamoja sub-region of Uganda, and an important secondary season in western Ethiopia and northwestern Somalia. Favorable rains are likely to support normal to enhanced crop and livestock production and labor demand, which would support household-level improvement in food security in areas that are accessible for crop production and among households that retain significant herds of livestock. However, food security among conflict and drought-affected households in parts of northwestern Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, as well as some households in Karamoja with below-average area planted, are not likely to substantially improve.

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