East Africa

September 2015


Key Messages
  • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is anticipated to change into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the ongoing presence of humanitarian assistance following the October to January Meher harvest in most of eastern Amhara and Tigray, in eastern and central Oromia, and along the Rift Valley in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia. However, below-average rainfall since February in many areas has will likely result in both seasons in 2015 having well below- production in the eastern, Belg-producing areas. This has reduced the availability of labor opportunities, a key source of income for poor households in many areas. While the lean season is likely to begin earlier in 2016 in eastern agricultural areas in Ethiopia, areas of Wag Himra Zone in Amhara Region and lowlands in central and eastern Oromia may remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) even during the October to January Meher harvest.

  • In southern Afar and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in northern Somali Region in Ethiopia, Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) is expected to continue through at least December but likely through the start of the next rainy season in March 2016.  Below-average rainfall through most of 2015 have led to very low availability of rangeland resources and substantial livestock mortalities. Livestock body conditions have deteriorated sharply, while milk production is low, and livestock-to-cereal terms of trade have declined markedly, constraining food access for poor households. 

  • Over four million people have been displaced by conflict in South Sudan and in Yemen and by political violence in Burundi. The displaced have limited access to agricultural land, labor opportunities, markets, and, in many cases, humanitarian assistance. The vast majority of the displaced are displaced within their country of origin. Households of refugees, households of asylum seekers, and households of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to humanitarian assistance, often depending on the level of humanitarian access to locations where they are living.

  • Staple food prices have increased in recent months in South Sudan, Ethiopia, northeastern Kenya, and central Tanzania, as household and market stocks are drawn down and as conflict disrupts markets in some areas. Higher prices have reduced food access in many places in the region. However, food prices are declining seasonally, following recent harvests in Uganda and southern Somalia. Staple food prices, such as for wheat flour, have also declined in several markets in Yemen though they remain far above their February pre-crisis levels.

  • The forecast above-average October-to-December rainfall in the eastern Horn of Africa due to the ongoing El Niño is likely to lead to average to above average crop and livestock production in many areas. However, likely flooding along lakes and rivers and flash floods in lowlands in southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia, coastal and northeastern Kenya, northern Tanzania, and around Lake Victoria are likely to lead to displacement, outbreaks of water- and vector-borne diseases, crop and livestock losses, and constrained physical access to food and labor markets. Food security could deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the floods, in the worst-affected areas such as some riverine areas along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in southern Somalia.


    For more detailed analysis, see the East Africa Food Security Outlook for July to December 2015.


Other Reports

East Africa Food Security Outlook
(July - December 2015)


The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 35 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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