Desert locusts and floods pose a risk of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in many areas by mid-2020

Issued: March 9, 2020


• The above-average 2019 Deyr harvest, gains in livestock herd sizes, and sustained humanitarian food assistance have supported recovery from the preceding 2018/2019 drought and recent floods in rural areas. In February, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are prevalent in the presence of food assistance. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are observed in flood-affected Juba riverine areas, Addun Pastoral livelihood zone in central Somalia, and several internally displaced person (IDP) settlements. Based on food security data collected by FSNAU, FEWS NET, and partners in the post-Deyr 2019 food security assessment, an estimated 1.15 million people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) as of February 2020.

• Despite localized and limited negative impacts on food security to date, new desert locust swarms pose a significant risk of food insecurity in northern Somalia and in south-central areas on the border with Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya. In addition, there is a high likelihood of river floods due to a forecast of above-average rainfall in the south during the April to June Gu season. Crop losses from desert locust and river floods are expected to result in a Gu cereal production deficit of 15-25 percent. Although favorable Gu rainfall will likely mitigate pasture loss from April to June, below-normal pasture availability is expected in locust-affected areas throughout the July to September Xagaa dry season, which is expected to lead to atypical livestock migration and a decline in livestock productivity.

• Given the existing high risk of food insecurity in the aftermath of recurrent climatic shocks since 2016, poor households in locust-affected areas have a reduced ability to cope with the loss of agricultural labor income, loss of own-produced crops, and costs of atypical livestock migration. From February to September, the population in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4), who are in need of urgent humanitarian food assistance, is expected to rise by 40 percent to 1.61 million people. Meanwhile, more than 2.9 million people are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

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