Release of the Quarterly Food Security and Nutrition Special Brief - September 2017

Issued: September 28, 2017

Highlights and key messages:

Based on results of assessments conducted across Somalia in June and July 2017 by FSNAU and FEWS NET, in collaboration with government and other partners, levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition will remain high in Somalia through the end of the year. In the worst-case scenario where humanitarian assistance is scaled down substantially, food prices increase sharply, and the Deyr rains perform poorly, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible.

  • In southern Somalia, which is the major crop producing part of the country, 2017 Gu cereal production is estimated at 78 400 tonnes, which is 37 percent lower than the long-term (1995-2016) average.  In the Northwest, 2017 the Gu/Karan harvest is estimated at 6 500 tonnes (preliminary), which is 87 percent lower than the 2010-2016 average.
  • Prices of local cereals remain well above average, and substantial livestock losses have occurred, all of which have lowered household access to food and income. Persistent drought has led to large-scale population displacement.
  • The drought, which was the result of three consecutive very poor rainy season (Gu 2016, Deyr 2016, and Gu 2017), resulted in substantial livestock losses (decline in herd size), low conception, low births and low milk production in most pastoral livelihood zones. The above situation is expected to persist in most pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods through the end of the year.
  • The projected outcomes were based on an assumption that October to December Deyr rainfall would be average to below average, as indicated in the September forecast by ICPAC/IGAD. Additional information since then suggests there is an increased likelihood for a La Nina and below-average Deyr rainfall. This combined with warmer than normal temperatures during Deyr are expected to lead to faster depletion of pasture and water and cause moisture stress on crops during the growing season.
  • Due to all of the preceding factors, over 2.3 million people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 802,000 are in Emergency (IPC Phase4) through December 2017, totaling over 3.1 million people who need urgent humanitarian assistance. Additionally, approximately 3.1 million people are Stressed (IPC Phase 2), bringing the total number of people in need of emergency food or livelihood support (IPC Phases 2, 3 and 4 combined) through the end of 2017 to 6.2 million.
  •  Acute and widespread food insecurity and increased morbidity have contributed to deterioration of the overall nutrition situation in Somalia. An estimated 388 000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, including 87 000 who are severely malnourished.
  • The Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)/cholera outbreak that peaked in April and contributed to increased malnutrition and mortality in parts of southern Somalia has started to subside with fewer AWD cases and deaths reported since August 2017. However, according to WHO and the Federal Ministry of Health, a measles outbreak is reported (the worst in four years), with over 14 800 suspected cases reported between January and July 2017. If not brought under control, the outbreak could exacerbate acute malnutrition and mortality, especially among children.
  • Sustained humanitarian assistance during the first half of 2017 was a key factor in preventing further deterioration in food security and nutrition conditions in Somalia. According to the Somalia Food Security Cluster, emergency food and cash assistance reached roughly 2.5 million people a month since April.  
  • Scaled-up humanitarian assistance is needed through the end of the year, targeted at populations in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse, in order to prevent further deterioration of the food security and nutrition condition of the affected population.  Populations in Stressed (IPC 2), Crisis (IPC 3) and Emergency (IPC 4) also need livelihood support to prevent livelihood asset erosion and depletion which could further exacerbate the humanitarian situation.

Multi-cluster, integrated humanitarian response is needed in areas that have been affected by sustained high levels of acute malnutrition, morbidity and food insecurity.

The full brief can be accessed through the following FSNAU website link: Food Security and Nutrition Quarterly Special Brief – September 2017.