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East Africa Food Security Outlook, June 2019 to January 2020

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Humanitarian food assistance needs to be higher than normal through September

Key Messages

An estimated 6.96 million people in South Sudan and 17 million people in Yemen are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the presence of planned humanitarian food assistance. This includes some households in Jonglei and Upper Nile of South Sudan that are likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Although food assistance is mitigating more extreme outcomes, the reach of assistance remains below the estimated need and access to populations in need remains a significant concern. In South Sudan, the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) will persist through January 2020 despite an anticipated increase in 2019/20 crop production compared to 2018/19, given existing high levels of acute food insecurity and the potential for conflict to quickly shift and restrict household movement and humanitarian access. In Yemen, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely in a worst-case scenario where commercial imports significantly decline far below requirement levels or conflict cuts off populations from trade for a prolonged period.

In the Horn of Africa, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes are anticipated through January 2020 due to drought and two consecutive poor production seasons in 2018/19, though some improvements will likely be realized during the October – December 2019 rainy season. In Somalia, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in central and northern pastoral areas and several northern and southern agropastoral areas. In Ethiopia, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in the lowlands of Oromia, northeastern Afar, northeastern Amhara, and the Somali region. A likely safety net pipeline break in the worst-affected areas of Ethiopia would also result in an increase in the number of households in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), elevating the already high prevalence of acute malnutrition. In Kenya, outcomes are expected to improve from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in late 2019, but some poor households may remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Among populations displaced by conflict and civil unrest in Ethiopia and Sudan, food gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are likely to persist throughout the outlook period and some households may deteriorate to Emergency (ICP Phase 4) in the ongoing lean season. About one million people remain displaced in Benishangul Gumuz, Oromia, SNNPR, and Somali regions of Ethiopia. In Sudan, 2.0-2.6 million people are displaced, including protracted internally displaced persons (IDPs) in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and SPLA-AW-controlled areas of Jebel Marra in Darfur States of Sudan. Conflict-displaced households have lost access to typical livelihoods while population movements, trade flows, and access to humanitarian assistance are restricted.

Overall, an estimated 43 million people affected by drought, conflict, and macroeconomic shocks are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Yemen, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, and Burundi. These populations in need require urgent humanitarian food assistance to mitigate deterioration in food security outcomes in the outlook period. This figure includes an estimated 11.4 million internally displaced people and 4.3 million refugees throughout the region, many of whom are also expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. Although planned humanitarian assistance is enabling Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in many settlement sites for IDPs and refugees, anticipated pipeline breaks would likely lead to deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.