• Deyr rainy season performs poorly, risk of drought in parts of Puntland and Somaliland; early Action needed to prevent a deterioration of the situation.
• The nexus between nutrition and food security;
• Disability and stigmatization in Somalia;
• Insecurity continues to hinder assistance efforts;
• Sustained donor support required in early 2019.
Deyr season poor, risk of drought in the north
Drought conditions expected in the north
The 2018 Deyr (October-December) rainy season was below average to poor in many parts of Somalia. Drought conditions are expected to develop, mainly in most parts of northeast and central regions of the country, and situation is expected to worsen until the Gu rainy season in April 2019, according to the FAO-led Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) and Food Security and Nutrition Analysis unit (FSNAU). Areas such as Sool, Sanaag, Bari and Nugaal are among the worst affected by the poor rains.
The Deyr season started off well in the northern areas but ended early. Most parts of Somaliland received poor rains, with the eastern areas recording no or insignificant rains. Mild to moderate drought conditions are now expected in these areas. Below normal to poor rains were received across Puntland and some areas in Galmudug.
Vegetation conditions in these areas have already deteriorated. Earlier than normal livestock migration in search of pasture and water trucking have also been reported in parts of Bari and Nugaal regions of Puntland. The situation is expected to deteriorate further by the next Gu rainy season.
Good rains were recorded in December in the south, particularly parts of Bay, Shabelle and Juba areas. However, the rainfall amounts were not sufficient to compensate for rainfall deficits experienced in October and November, especially in agro-pastoral livelihoods zones. This has had an adverse impact on crop production and pasture conditions, particularly in Bay, Bakool and Hiraan regions.
The short-lived rains in the upper catchments of Shabelle and Juba rivers in the Ethiopian highlands led to reduced river flow compared to the previous two rainy seasons. By the third week of December, the water levels were below normal along the two rivers in Somalia and are expected to decrease further with a high likelihood of dry river beds in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle river as early as late-February 2019. This declining trend of the river levels will affect riverine activities, including off-season planting and pump irrigation.
Meanwhile, the prices of local cereals (maize and sorghum) remained relatively stable across the country and lower than the same time last year, which has been attributed to the improved Gu season harvests this year. On the other hand, the prices of imported food (rice, sugar, vegetable oil and wheat flour) slightly increased in most central and south areas compared to last year. Livestock prices were higher in most regions due to improved livestock body conditions this year compared to last year.
Early action required to prevent deterioration in the north
The need for the immediate early action and targeted scale up of humanitarian response has been recommended by the inter-agency mission to Somaliland and Puntland in early December, in order to prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, due to the poorly performing 2018 Deyr rains.
The deficit or absence of Deyr rains, followed by a longer-thanaverage dry season (Jilal) is likely to lead to the deterioration in food security for the most vulnerable households in the rural areas, particularly in the north-eastern parts, that rely heavily on agricultural and livestock production. The shift of the population from IPC 2 to IPC 3, and IPC3 to IPC 4 might occur in the first months of 2019, prompting further displacements.
The poor 2018 Deyr season follows several consecutive below-average or failed rainy seasons, mainly in the north, and has severely affected some areas since the onset of the 2015 drought. The most affected areas include the Northern Inland Pastoral livelihoods zone, stretching through the conflict-affected southern Sanaag and northern Sool, the southern Bari and northern Nugaal, as well as Guban (Awdal), Togdheer Agropastoral and parts of Deeh (Bari, Nugaal) livelihoods zones.
The 2018 Gu rains only provided temporary relief in some areas. Multiple cycles of drought, other climatic shocks and environmental degradation, as well as inter-clan conflict and political tensions, have decimated communities’ income and livelihood opportunities, and deeply eroded their ability to resist to shocks.
Humanitarian partners and the authorities are working jointly to identify the high-priority areas, but the available resources will not suffice to ensure the immediate sufficient scaleup in assistance. The currently available funds from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) are being prioritized for the immediate response as partners are also working towards identifying other resource opportunities and scaling up the advocacy, including to secure support for more resilience and longer-term interventions.