Food Security Post Gu 2010

Issued: September 27, 2010

The findings of the FSNAU, FEWSNET and partners’ post Gu 2010 seasonal assessment confirm that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia dropped by 25 percent in the first half of 2010. However, about 27% of the total population or an estimated 2 million people still remain in need of emergency humanitarian assistance and/or livelihood support until the end of 2010. The assessment results indicate that improved crop and livestock production, due to favourable seasonal rainfall performance, is the primary reason for the improved food security situation in the country. However, sustained conflict in southern and central parts of Somalia and IDPs’ reduced access to aid agencies’ assistance - due to insecurity - overshadow these positive developments.

Although Somalia’s nutrition situation has slightly improved in the North, 90% of the estimated 35,000 severely malnourished children in the country remain in the conflict-stricken South and Central zones. With one in six children acutely malnourished and one in twenty-two severely malnourished in South-Central, nutrition situation remains as one of the worst in the world. With shrinking humanitarian aid and reduced access to basic services, such as health care and clean water, children’ capacity to meet their development potential is severely constrained.

Sustained Humanitarian Emergency in Central and Hiran
The epicentre of the humanitarian crisis continues to be in central regions (Mudug and Galgadud) and Hiran due to several seasons of drought and on-going conflicts that have left more than half of the population in crisis. While parts of the pastoral livelihoods of these regions show positive indicators thanks to the average Gu rainfall, the agropastoral and riverine areas have suffered from crop failures due to poor seasonal rainfall performance and floods. In addition, large numbers of destitute pastoralists gather in main villages and towns in search of support and/or labour. In order for these populations to recover a combination of expanded lifesaving and livelihood support is required. In addition, some of the highest rates of acute malnutrition reported this season are also found in Central and Hiran.

Receded Drought and Improvements in Parts of the North
The food security situation has improved in most pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods of the North, leading to a reduction of numbers of population in crisis from 14% in post Deyr 2009/10 to 10% in post Gu 2010.  Good seasonal rainfall performance that improved livestock conditions and eliminated acute water shortages is mainly responsible for this positive development. However, Sool Plateau Pastoral of Sanaag region, which had suffered from four seasons of drought, still remains in Humanitarian Emergency (HE) due to significantly reduced livestock assets. On the positive side, Togdheer Agropastoral, previously identified in HE, has fully recovered from the crisis due to a significant improvement in cereal and cash-crop production.

Internally Displaced Population in Crisis

IDPs who have been forced from their homes due to conflict in recent years continue to be the largest single population group in crisis. The UN estimates provide that 1.41 million people are currently displaced within the country, with 92% of the displacement cases mainly triggered by conflicts. Due to the on-going conflict nearly 300,000 people have become internally displaced since January 2010. Most of the IDPs are concentrated in southern and central Somalia. IDPs’ nutritional status is also of great concern, with high rates of chronic malnutrition reported - 1 in 5 children is malnourished - compared to the host population. This compares to 1 in 10 in the host population in northern regions. Comparable rates are reported between IDP and host population in South Central.

Urban Food Security Crisis
The number of urban population in crisis has significantly decreased in the Post Gu due to reduced inflation, increased wages and overall improved food production in the country. However, significant numbers of urban poor still remain in crisis, particularly in South and Central, due to conflict escalation, high numbers of IDPs competing for resources, reduced labour opportunities and soaring cost of living,. Out of the total urban population in crisis, an estimated 230,000 people are in Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis (AFLC) and about 80,000 are in HE. The urban areas of South and Central have respectively the highest magnitude and intensity of population in crisis.

Bumper Harvest in the South
Current Gu cereal production has been exceptionally good across most agricultural livelihoods of the country due to above average and well-distributed Gu rains and increased cultivation. The bumper harvest and significantly improved livestock production have led to improvements in most livelihoods of southern regions including Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Lower and Middle Shabelle, as well as in agropastoral areas of Juba regions. However, excessive rains led to floods with devastating impact on the Juba Riverine livelihood where many farmers suffered from considerable damage to the standing crops from early Gu planting. This resulted in 55,000 people from Juba Riverine falling into crisis, out of which over 70% are currently in HE. However, the total number of rural population in crisis has dropped in the South, from 555,000 in Deyr 2009/10 to 395,000 in Post Gu 2010.