Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Over one million people in Somalia face acute food insecurity as food crisis worsens

August 2014 to December 2014


Figure 1. Current food security outcomes, July 2014
Figure 1. Current food security outcomes, July 2014

Graphic: FSNAUThis map represents acute food insecurity outcomes relevant for emergency decision-making. It does not necessarily reflect chronic food insecurity.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • About 1,025,000 people will remain in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) through December 2014. This population consists of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who make up 62 percent, rural people who are 27 percent, and the urban poor who are 11 percent of those likely to remain in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4).

  • 218,000 children under the age of five are currently acutely malnourished. 43,800 are severely acutely malnourished and face a higher risk of death. Immediate and targeted nutrition interventions would likely reduced this risk.

  • In parts of Lower Juba, Gedo, and the northeastern and central regions, many pastoral areas remain very dry. Many water points are depleted and water prices are high, placing great stress on livestock. Water availability is unlikely to increase until the Deyr rains start in mid-October.

National Overview

Current Situation
Rural Areas

The latest findings from a joint assessment conducted in July 2014 by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU), a project managed by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and other partners indicate that an estimated 1,025,000 people were in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) in July. This figure is a 20 percent increase above the estimates made in January 2014. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to constitute a majority of the total number of people in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4), being 62 percent of the population in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4), followed by rural people being 27 percent, and the urban poor being 11 percent of the population in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4).

As a result of delayed and erratic April to June rainfall, the Gu cereal harvest in July/August was estimated to be 37 percent below the 1995-to-2013 long-term average and 28 percent below the five-year average. Below-average rainfall also contributed to water shortages, poor livestock performance, and reduced access to milk in several pastoral areas, particularly in parts of the Northeast, the central regions, Gedo, and Lower Juba. Military maneuvers since March 2014 have disrupted trade in several urban areas in the South, and reduced access to seasonal agricultural employment in rural areas, particularly in Lower Shabelle Region. In these areas, roads remain under insurgent control, and trade has been heavily restricted, resulting in sharp increases in staple food prices in these towns. Between January and August 2014, cereal prices have quadrupled or doubled in Wajid in Bakool Region and doubled in Xudur town in Bakool Region, Jowhar in Middle Shabelle, and Buloburte town in Hiraan Region.

Nutrition surveys conducted across the country in July indicate that an estimated 218,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. This is nearly one in seven children under the age of five and a seven percent increase since the surveys conducted in January 2014. 43,800 severely acutely malnourished children have an even higher risk of morbidity and death. Critical levels of acute malnutrition, defined as global acute malnutrition rates exceeding 15 percent, were found in 21 out of 50 population groups surveyed. Morbidity, poor infant and young child feeding practices, and less humanitarian assistance than in the recent past are among the main contributing factors to malnutrition.

The performance of the April to June Gu rains varied across the country. The amount of rain was near average over parts of the southern and northwestern croplands. However, rainfall was below-average in other areas of the South including in agropastoral areas in Gedo, Bakool, and Hiraan. In the central and northeastern pastoral areas, rainfall was significantly below average, being as little as 25 percent of average in some places.

  • The rains started late in most central and northern regions. Spatial and temporal distribution remained erratic throughout the season.
  • The rains ended earlier than usual in most parts of the country. The early cessation of rains was followed by strong Xagaa winds, which accelerated the drying up of water sources and the deterioration of pasture conditions. In some areas, the dry winds retarded crop development.
  • From April 1 to June 30, total rainfall was mostly below the 2001 to 2013 mean in northern, central, and southern regions (Figure 3).
  • Northwest: Most pastoral areas in the Northwest received below-average rainfall with poor distribution and duration. However, parts of West and East Golis Pastoral livelihood zones received near average rain. Guban Pastoral livelihood zone does not typically receive rains at this time of year, but this year unseasonal Gu rains were widely distributed across this zone. Generally, pasture and water conditions are poor. Agropastoral areas received below-average Gu rainfall, which slowed crop development and reduced productivity. The July to September Karan rains started in Woqooyi Galbeed and Awdal Regions on time, but their cumulative totals are below average.
  • Northeast: Rainfall performed poorly in most pastoral livelihood zones. Most of East Golis Pastoral, Karkaar/Dharoor Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones received below-average rainfall. Overall, pasture and water conditions are poor. Water shortages are report in East Golis Pastoral and Karkaar/Dharoor Pastoral livelihood zones. The cyclone that came ashore in November 2013 destroyed roads and fishing facilities, and these have not been fully repaired or replaced yet.
  • Central regions: In Hawd, Addun, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones, the rains were below-average in amount and erratic in terms distribution over time and space. Overall, pasture and water conditions are poor. Central Agropastoral livelihood zone received near average rainfall only in May, which allowed some cowpea development. However, dry conditions after that led to almost all of the crop failing to reach maturity.
  • South: The rainfall performance varied, but many areas had near average amounts of rain and typical distribution. However, some parts of Gedo, Bakool, and Hiraan Regions had below-average rainfall. In many cases, these were insufficient for crop development, so crops wilted or failed to reach maturity.

In southern Somalia, the total planted area under cereals during the Gu 2014 season including maize for off-season harvest was estimated at 251,000 hectares (ha). About 49 percent of this land was under sorghum and 51 percent under maize. However, only around 70 percent of the planted area, an estimated 178,000 ha were harvested. Early estimates of the cereal harvest stand at 85,000 metric tons (MT). This is 23 percent less than the five-year average and 35 percent less than the post-war average for 1995 to 2013 (PWA). Lower Shabelle and Bay jointly accounted for 75 percent of Gu cereal production in in 2014 in southern Somalia. This Gu harvest is the fifth lowest Gu harvest in the past decade. Low rainfall was the main driver of the low yields. However, the ongoing conflict limited planting or agricultural labor in some places. Birds damaged crops in others. The availability of agricultural inputs was lower, and they had higher prices. Conflict and other market disruptions along with population displacement caused some to abandon their agricultural lands. Also, cash crops were planted instead of grain in parts of Bay and Middle and Lower Shabelle. Other major crops harvested included sesame, cowpeas, citrus fruit, banana, watermelon, tomatoes, and onions, of which an estimated 32,000 MT were harvested in southern Somalia. After cereals, the crops with the largest harvest were onions, of which 20,850 MT were harvested and cowpeas, of which 7,250 MT were harvested. Poor households’ cereal stocks were near average in the Shabelles and Bay, but they were limited in agropastoral and riverine areas of Hiraan, Bakool, the Jubas, and northern Gedo. In these areas, poor households are currently purchasing food at a time of year when usually they would be primarily getting food from their own stocks.

In Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone, the Gu/Karan cereal crops were in the establishment stage in July. Based on this, projected production was estimated to be around 26,000 MT of grain. This would be only 41 percent of the 2010 to 2013 average, the average since the pictorial evaluation tool (PET) has been used to estimate yields and production. The white sorghum harvest is estimated at 17,150 MT while maize production is estimated at 8,900 MT. The below-average production was mainly attributed to lower yields because of moisture stress. Moisture stress reduced yields in Togdheer  Agropastoral livelihood zone, and the vast majority of the short-cycle Gu maize failed in Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone.

Rangeland conditions vary from poor to near normal. Pasture is poorest in Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central and northeastern regions and in East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone. However, in most areas, livestock are using pasture that remained after the October to December 2013 Deyr when rainfall was normal to above normal. Mostly normal seasonal migration patterns have occurred, except in parts of the Hawd of Togdheer Region where a large number of pastoralists from Ethiopia have in-migrated their livestock and in Southeast Pastoral livelihood zone in Lower and Middle Juba where there was abnormal in-migration from Kenya. Similarly abnormal livestock migration occurred from pastoral areas in northern Gedo to Bay in search of better pasture.

Water points were only partially filled during the Gu rains. Earlier than normal water purchases have started in June in dry areas in Bari, the central regions, and Gedo. Water trucking is ongoing in these areas. In some pastoral areas of the Jubas, water scarcity has been reported, and livestock and households have been moving to riverine areas for better water access.

Livestock body conditions are average to poor, owing to poor pasture conditions. The purchasing power of households measured through terms of trade (ToT) between local-quality goats and cereals have remained favorable for pastoralists even though they are less than six months ago and the same time last year but higher than their five-year averages. Cereal prices have been higher than last year, and local-quality goat prices are lower than last year, but they remain higher than their five-year averages in most southern and central regions. Despite the decline in livestock-to-cereals terms of trade in southern and central regions, they continue to support food access for households who need to exchange goats for locally grown cereals.

In pastoral and agropastoral areas, livestock conceptions this season were at a medium to low level. Milk production varied from being near average to being below average. By June, livestock holdings and herd sizes for poor households had increased across all species since December 2014. However, overall, reported herd sizes in June were still below baseline numbers recorded between 2007 and 2011. The only area that was above its baseline areas was Southern Inland Pastoral (SIP) livelihood zone in Lower Juba where herd sizes were higher than baseline levels from 2007. This is likely due to the fact that camels survive droughts better than other species, and camels make up a larger proportion of holdings in this livelihood zone.

Casual labor wages are the major source of income for poor households. July terms of trade (TOT) between daily casual labor wages to local cereals are below six months ago and a year ago in the southern regions, but they generally increased from June to July. However, the greatest declines in casual labor wage to cereal ToT were in Bakool Region as insecurity and associated large increases of cereal prices and significant reductions of labor wage rates made ToT as low as half of the five-year average.

In the areas that had very poor livestock production, the nutrition surveys conducted in June and July 2014 in Southern Inland Pastoral (SIP) livelihood zone in Bakool, Dawa Pastoral livelihood zone in northern Gedo, and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone in the central regions found high malnutrition rates with the global acute malnutrition (GAM) being 24.8, 20. 7 (17.4 – 24.5), and 17.3 (13.2 – 22.4) percent, respectively. Similarly, both East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone of the Northeast and West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone of the Northwest had Critical levels of malnutrition with GAM of 15.8 percent. In southern Gedo’s SIP livelihood zone a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC)-based survey indicated a Critical nutrition situation with 16.9 percent of children under five years of age classified as being acutely malnourished, defined as MUAC less than 12.5 centimeters (cm). This indicates sustained Critical levels of nutrition over the past year.

As a result of a variety of shocks and changes, food security outcomes for most rural households have deteriorated since January 2014. Most rural areas are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2), but there are many poor households that still remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4). A few areas did not see deterioration in food security including Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Lower and Middle Juba, Bay, Hiraan, and the Shabelles and Nugal Valley Pastoral livelihood zone in the Northwest. Those areas remained either in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

Urban Areas

From January to July 2014, food security outcomes remained stable in the northwestern, northeastern, and central urban areas. It was similar to the trend seen in rural areas. However, food security outcomes deteriorated in urban areas in the South. Food consumption scores (FCS) found over 80 percent of urban population in the surveyed urban areas had “acceptable” consumption. This was true in the northern regions, Mogadishu, and Kismayo. According to the Coping Strategies Index (CSI), most households adopted typical copying strategies, but most of the scores were above their baselines. The majority of the surveyed households in urban areas across the country consumed four or more than four of the twelve food groups used for the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS).

Locally-produced sorghum and maize prices increased from January to July 2014 in all regions in the South. The highest increases were between 18 and 76 percent. However, these prices were mostly stable in the central regions, the Northeast, and the Northwest from January to July. Conversely, declining or stable international prices continue to be transmitted to urban markets for rice, wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, and diesel, but in local currency terms these have increased marginally from May to July. From July 2013 to July 2014 prices of most commodities increased. Imported food prices are mostly below their five-year averages.

The consumer price index (CPI) in Somalia is measured through changes in the cost of the minimum expenditure basket (MEB). From June to July, CPI was mostly stable in most places, but it increased from January to July by an average of 12 percent in the South. It was mostly stable in the central, northeastern, and northwestern regions. From January to July, the cost of the minimum expenditure basket (CMB) increased 12 percent in Mudug, 46 percent in Bakool, 14 percent in Bay, 10 percent in Gedo, 25 percent in Hiraan, 10 percent in Lower Shabelle, seven percent in Middle Juba, 19 percent in Middle Shabelle, and 28 percent in Banadir Region. In southern Somalia in the towns where conflict had disrupted trade, local cereal prices are very high, but most imported commodity prices remain more stable. CMB and the cost of living increased in all regions of the South from January. The July CMB in the South was 30 percent more than July 2013 and at the five-year average. In the central regions, CMB increased by 12 percent from January to July. It was 11 percent more than July 2013 and at the five-year average. In the Northeast and the Northwest, CMB was stable from January to July at the regional level. CMB increased from July 2013 to July 2014 by 16 percent in Woqooyi Galbeed and eight percent in Bari. Compared to their five-year averages, the July 2014 CMB was 16 percent higher in Woqooyi Galbeed, six percent higher in Sanaag, 31 percent lower in Togdheer, and 9 percent lower in Bari.

While the CMB provides a guide to the overall cost of living, the actual purchasing power of the urban poor can be approximated through the terms of trade (ToT) between casual, daily labor wages and cereals. In 13 of 18 regions, the ToT between daily, casual labor wages and locally grown cereals decreased between one and 12 kilograms (kg) per day from January to July, meaning a casual laborer’s wages for one day would purchase less red sorghum or white maize in July than in January. The casual, wage labor to cereals ToT decreased by one kg per day in the Northwest and by two to 12 kg in the South. The highest decreases were in Middle Juba, Bay, Bakool, Banadir, and Gedo Regions of between four and 12 kg. In Woqooyi Galbeed, the TOT increased by two kg, but they remained stable in Sanaag, Bari, and Nugal Regions. In July 2014, ToT ranged from seven to 13 kg per day in the South, but in Bakool and Middle Shabelle were only three to four kg of red sorghum or white maize, a decrease of five and four kg, respectively, since January. In Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle, the ToT decreased from 17 kg per day to six kg due to trade disruptions caused by the conflict. In Wajid in Bakool and in Middle Shabelle, cereal prices doubled between January and July 2014 due to trade restrictions imposed by the insurgents and below-average Deyr crop production in late 2013 and early 2014. In the central regions, July daily wage to local cereal ToT were around four to five kg of grain. Cereal prices doubled in Buloburte in Hiraan Region from January to July due to restrictions on e economic activities by the insurgents. ToT ranged from six to nine kg in the Northeast and nine to eleven kg in the Northwest. Overall, the July 2014 daily labor wage to locally produced cereal ToT are significantly above their five-year averages except in Hiraan, Middle Shabelle, Bakool, and Middle Juba Regions where they are 11 to 50 percent below their five-year averages (Figure 4). In Lower Juba, the ToT were near their five-year average.

The urban poor continue to spend most of their money on food. Often more than 75 percent of total household expenditures are for food. This means households are vulnerable both to high prices and to drops in their income. Among the urban poor in July, expenditures on food as a proportion of total household expenditures was highest in Banadir and Lower Shabelle at over 80 percent of total expenditures (Figure 5).

In July 2014, an estimated 693,000 urban people were Stressed (IPC Phase 2), 123,000 were in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and 30,000 were in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 43 percent of the urban population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) are in Bakool in Xudur and Wajid towns. In Bakool, cereal prices increased by 75 percent from January to July. In July, they were 122 percent higher than a year ago and 64 percent above the five-year average. The wage labor-to-red sorghum ToT in Bakool decreased from seven kg to three kg from January to July. This was well below both July 2013 when it was 10 kg and the five-year average of six kg. The CMB increased 46 percent from January to July. 30 percent of the urban population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) are in Buloburte town in Hiraan where cereal prices doubled from January to July due to the disruption of economic activity by conflict. The CMB increased 25 percent from January to July, and it was 21 percent more than a year ago and 10 percent above the five-year average. Over 75 percent of their income is spent on food. In Lower Shabelle, 11 percent of urban population in Marka is in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and in Qoryoley, 27 percent of the population are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) due to the disruption of economic activities by conflict. CMB in Qoryoley increased 10 percent from January to July, and in July it was 36 percent higher than a year ago and in the same as the five-year average. More than 80 of income of these households is spent on food. Out of the total urban population classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2), 62 percent of this population are in the South, 33 percent in the North, and 5 percent in the central regions.

Settlements of internally displaced persons (IDPs)

From June to July 2014, FSNAU and partners conducted nutrition and food security assessments in 13 of the larger IDP settlements. Due to decline in labor wages to cereals terms of trade (ToT), displacement caused by intensified conflict in the South as well as reduced humanitarian assistance led to an increasing number of IDPs. The food security situation deteriorated from January to June/July in most of the assessed IDP settlements. An estimated 613,000 IDPs throughout the country are currently in Crisis (IPC Phases 3) or Emergency (IPC Phases 4). In July 2014, the IDP settlement in Hargeisa was classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2). IDPs in Kismayo were classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Other assessed IDP settlements were classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In Hargeisa, the improvement was due to stable labor wage to cereals terms of trade (ToT) since January, a normal supply of both imported and local food commodities, and access to humanitarian interventions. Consumption as measured by food consumption score (FCS) was “acceptable” for 91 percent of IDP households in Hargiesa, and the nutrition situation improved from Serious in December 2013 to Alert in June 2014.

A large proportion of IDP households across the settlements consumed four or more of the 12 food groups included in HDDS. However, a large portion of IDPs in Baidoa, Dolow, and Kismayo consumed fewer than four food groups. On the other hand, in most IDP settlement FCS indicates “poor” to “borderline” food consumption among IDPs. About 11 percent of the IDP households in Kismayo were consuming less than four food of 12 groups used in HDDS and 23 percent had “poor” plus “borderline” food consumption as measured by the FCS. The CSI scores significantly increased from January to June/July. There were continued Critical levels of malnutrition with a global acute malnutrition (GAM) of 16.6 percent. The crude death rate (CDR) was Critical at 1.3 per 10,000 people per day. Food spending was 76 percent of all expenditures (Figure 6).

Most IDP households have a very limited diversity in their sources of income, which typically include casual labor. In Baidoa, Mogadishu, Dolow, and Kismayo, incomes were more diversified, and households who had two to three income sources were more common (Figure 7). IDP households in all surveyed settlements spent on average between 75 and 88 percent of their income on food. The vast majority of IDPs are asset poor. The most common assets were mobile phones and tools for skilled labor. IDPs have high levels of debt. The majority of the IDPs assessed did have access to potable water. However, in Baidoa, Bossaso, and Burao, between 44 and 78 percent of households had access to only a limited supply of safe water.

Nutritional Status

Between May through July, FSNAU conducted 50 nutrition surveys with a sample size of 34,162 children between 6 and 59 months old from 18,022 households across most regions and livelihood zones of Somalia (Figure 8). The assessments were conducted in collaboration with government institutions such as ministries of health and partners. Surveys were conducted using the standardized monitoring and assessment of relief and transitions (SMART) methodology, which incorporates standard guidelines, questionnaires, and a software package to assess data quality. Weight for height was measured for 45 surveys while mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) was used as an indicator of wasting in the remaining five surveys.

Results from these surveys indicate that 14.9 percent of children under the age of five in Somalia are acutely malnourished, with 2.6 percent being severely malnourished. In 19 out of 50 livelihood zones, the prevalence of acute malnutrition exceeds the UN trigger for emergency action with global acute malnutrition (GAM) exceeding 15 percent of the population (Figure 9). Southern Inland Pastoral (SIP) livelihood zone in Bakool had the highest levels of GAM at 24.8 percent (Critical) and of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) of 6.3 percent (Very Critical).

The median GAM was 17.3 percent and the median SAM was 3.7 percent in South-Central Somalia, which is significantly higher than the 12.7 percent GAM and 2.2 percent SAM in the Northeast or the 10 percent GAM and 1.7 percent SAM in the Northwest. The nutrition situation of children among IDPs was worse than either rural or urban populations. Prevalence of acute malnutrition was Critical meaning the GAM was between 15 and 30 percent, in seven out of 13 IDP settlements surveyed. With GAM exceeding 15 percent accompanied by Crude Death Rates (CDR) exceeding one per 10,000 people per day for IDPs in Mogadishu and Kismayo, these were above the thresholds associated with Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

Among Mogadishu IDPs, the GAM and SAM rates of 8.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, recorded in December 2013 and January 2014 deteriorated to 18.9 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, in June/July. The increase in GAM and SAM was accompanied by a doubling of the CDR from 0.6 to 1.4 deaths per 10,000 people per day. There was a six-fold increase in the under five death rate (U5DR) from 0.5 to 3.4 per 10,000 people per day. Results for Mogadishu IDPs highlight the precarious nature of the nutrition situation among IDPs and the necessity to rapidly detect worsening during a protracted crisis. They also highlight the need for prompt and commensurate adjustment and scaling-up of programs including both routine activities and emergency responses at the earliest signs of deterioration of the nutrition situation.

Prevalence of stunting is higher among IDPs than rural populations with 16 percent of IDPs being stunted compared to 7.1 percent of the rural population. A similar pattern is observed for the underweight. 18.7 percent of IDPs were underweight compared to 13.2 percent of the rural population.

Mortality and Morbidity: Even though the current national CDR of 0.40 and U5DR of 0.68 are in the “acceptable” range of the Sphere/United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) standards, many of those already undernourished are more susceptible to disease. This is reflected in the high prevalence of morbidity. It should be noted that most malnutrition-related deaths will likely be due to severe diarrhea and dehydration and others to malaria or acute respiratory infections. A doubling of CDR from January to July was noted in Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Bakool, agropastoral areas in Bay, pastoral areas in Hiraan, Mataban District in Hiraan, IDPs in Dhusamareb, and IDPs in Bossaso. A doubling of U5DR was recorded only among IDPs in Dhobley, Kismayo, and Mogadishu.

Prevalence of acute malnutrition is closely associated with infection and illness and this was reflected in significant association of morbidity prevalence with GAM and SAM rates. Higher GAM and SAM were observed in areas with high morbidity. For example, in Mataban District, there was with 57 percent morbidity, meaning children were reported to have had an illness in the two weeks proceeding the survey, and GAM was 22.2 percent.

Chronic malnutrition (stunting) and underweight: High prevalence of chronic malnutrition and underweight were found in livelihood zones with high acute malnutrition, reflecting underlying nutritional vulnerability, food insecurity, and poverty.

Current case load: The current prevalence of acute malnutrition translates into 218,000 acutely malnourished children, including 44,000 who are severely malnourished across Somalia. Over 74 percent of these children are located in South-Central Somalia. The overall figure represents a seven percent increase over the number reported in February 2014 from the December 2013 and January 2014 surveys, and it signifies a deterioration of the overall nutrition situation in Somalia from January to July.


The August to December 2014 outlook is based on the following assumptions:


  • A drier than normal July to September Xagaa season is expected in most of South-Central Somalia and the Northeast.
  • However, July to September Karan rains are expected to be near normal in the Northwest and are likely to extend abnormally to some agropastoral areas in Togdheer, East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone, and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone.
  • The October to December 2014 Deyr rains are expected to be near normal to above normal in terms of rainfall totals in most of South-Central Somlia while near-normal to below-normal rainfall is likely in the North.

Agricultural labor demand and crop production:

  • With the Gu cereal harvest in July/August having been below average, the amount of cereals available to both markets and households through December is also below average. Cereal prices will likely decline in August in response to the harvest entering to the market, but they moderately increase starting October, particularly in consumer markets and where production was substantially below average.
  • An estimated off-season cereal crop harvest of 4,250 MT is expected in September. This will help stabilize local cereal prices in producing markets of the Jubas, Gedo, and the Shabelles, but while stable, prices will likely remain high through December 2014.
  • With somewhat near normal to above-normal October to December Deyr rainfall expected, area planted for Deyr crops in October is expected to be above average. Land preparation and planting should occur at a seasonally normal time. Agricultural labor demand for land preparation, planting, and weeding is likely to be normal from October through December.


  • Livestock body conditions are likely to deteriorate, particularly lactating animals during the dry July to September Xagaa season due to limited availability of dry pasture, browse, and water. This atypical decrease of pasture, browse, and water availability will result in continued atypical livestock migration patterns through September to distant areas outside of regions of origin where there was moderate rainfall.
  • Water and pasture availability will likely decrease during the July to September Xagaa dry season in most areas, especially in the Hawd, Addun Pastoral livelihood zone, the Sool Plateau, East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone, and the Karkaar-Dharoor Valley in the North, Southern Agropastoral and Dawa Pastoral livelihood zones in Gedo and Middle Juba, and Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone. These areas had less March to June Gu rainfall, and they started the Xagaa season off with much drier conditions.
  • Milk availability will typically, seasonally decline during the August to September Hagaa season as most of the milking small ruminants will dry-up, while cattle and camels have reduced milk yields due to the limited availability of pasture and water.
  • A medium to low rate of kidding and lambing of small ruminants and calving of camels and cattle are expected in both the the North and the South, after the middle of the Deyr rains in October/early November. A low rate of kidding and calving of goats and camel are expected in the central regions.
  • An average conception rate for all species is expected in October/early November across the country. Most pastoral and agropastoral households would likely have had an increase in herd sizes. In the central regions, all species are expected to have slight growth in number, but this may not replace animals sold, consumed, or that died during the Xagaa. In most pastoral livelihood zones in the North and South, as herd sizes are expected to continue to grow through December, total herd sizes are expected to reach baseline levels in many places, except in the central regions where herd sizes are expected to remain below their historic sizes.
  • Milk prices in the South will follow the seasonal trend of decreasing during the July to September Xagaa dry season and increasing following migration of livestock to wet season grazing areas farther away from the main towns and accessibile only on dirt roads during the October to December Deyr rains. However, in the North and central Somalia, milk prices will increase through October due to declining milk production, but they will decrease, as expected, after the near-normal Deyr rains from October to December.

Markets and trade:

  • Both the Somali shilling (SOS) and Somaliland shilling (SLSH) are likely to appreciate against the U.S. dollar (USD) as proceeds from livestock exports for the current Hajj season peak in September/October.
  • Staple sorghum and maize prices are expected to decline seasonably in September in most of the southern regions from increased supply from the Gu harvest. However, the price decline is expected to be short-lived due to the below-average harvest. Sorghum and maize prices will likely increase from October through December as market stocks are drawn down and demand increases as the agricultural lean season approaches. The prices of staple food commodities in most markets in the conflict-affected areas in Bakool and Hiraan as well as in the Northern regions are expected to remain unseasonably very high due to limited supply from local production.
  • Prices of essential imported commodities like rice, sugar, wheat flour, vegetable oil, and diesel are expected to be stable or decline modestly through at least December as production prospects in source markets remain positive. Following the normal, seasonal trend, prices of imported commodities will likely decline slightly in September as shipping resumes following the the end of May to August monsoon winds off the coast.
  • With a high probability of localized areas of excessive rains and floods along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers during the October to December Deyr rains, short-term price rises may be triggered by disrupted transport and hampered agricultural activities in affected areas.
  • Livestock prices are expected to increase over the next couple of months as demand for goats to export to the Arabian Gulf increases with the start of the Hajj export season in September. Livestock prices are likely to follow typical, seasonal trends. They will continue declining through the end of February due to low export and domestic demand during that time.
  • Below-average cereal production and associated rising prices are likely to further increase the cost of minimum expenditure basket (MEB) for poor urban households during the agricultural lean season from October to December.
  • Informal imports of maize and sorghum from Ethiopia are likely to be very low until after the October to January Meher harvest.
  • The border closure in June in the Northwest will likely still contribute to increasing cereal prices in parts of the central and northern regions from September to December, if it stays in place.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Humanitarian assistance is likely to continue in accessible areas, including southern Somalia.


  • Conflict between the federal government supported by AMISOM and insurgents is likely to continue in parts of the southern regions through December, most likely in parts of Gedo, the Jubas, Bay, Bakool, Hiraan, and the Shabelle Regions. This is likely to induce short-term displacements and disruptions in trade and Deyr farming activities and affect humanitarian access.
  • Inter-clan conflict in the Shabelles and parts of the central regions will likely continue, disrupting and reducing trade, labor migration, and other normal movements of people and livestock.
  • Conflict will likely be concentrated primarily in Mogadishu, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bay, Bakool, Gedo, and Lower and Middle Juba Regions.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

An estimated 1,025,000 people will be in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) between now and December 2014. The recent figure represents a 20 percent increase from the estimate from January 2014. 2.1 million additional people are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December. This group of households may struggle to meet their minimal food requirements through the end of the year, and they remain highly vulnerable to shocks.

Populations in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) are approximately 10 percent of the total population in rural and urban areas and among the displaced in Bari, Nugaal, southern Mudug, Galgaduud, Hiraan, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bakool, Gedo, Middle Juba, and Banadir Regions. Population groups with GAM exceeding 15 percent are found in urban areas of Bari Region, and rural areas in Hiraan, Bay, Bakool, Lower Shabelle, Gedo, in East and West Golis Pastoral livelihood zones in Woqooyi Galbeed, Sanaag, and Bari Regions, and among displaced populations in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Dhobley, Dollow, and Dhusamareb. Water shortages in the Northeast, parts of the Northwest, the central regions, and northern Gedo will remain until the beginning of Deyr rains in October.

Due to projected average to above-average October to December Deyr rainfall, food security outcomes in pastoral areas of the country are expected to improve between October and December. Most parts will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), and Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Lower Juba will likely remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1). Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central and northeastern regions will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as it is not expected to have increased livestock production as a result of the Deyr rains.

Agropastoral areas of the country are likely to move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to December as incomes from agricultural labor increase. Nevertheless, the October to December improvements will likely remain minimal until households harvest their own Deyr crops in January/February 2015. However, Southern Agropastoral livelihood zone in Middle Juba is likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the Deyr harvest.

Riverine areas of both the Shabelle and Juba Regions will likely be affected by river floods between October and December. Planted area will likely be below average as river water is likely to cover some of the arable land until December or even later.

Urban Areas

Between August and December, all urban populations in the central, northeastern, and northwestern regions are projected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), despite the anticipated slightly more than seasonal increase in cereal prices. In the South, most urban areas are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), but the areas where conflict has limited trade are not expected to recover. This means that only Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle, due to recent reopening of trade, will improve from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Buloburte in Hiraan and Wajid and Xudur in Bakool are expected to remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The expected magnitude of local grain price increases is unlikely to significantly reduce the purchasing power of the urban poor. Closely tracking these cereal price movements, CPI will likely decline through August due to the expected decline of sorghum prices in the post-harvest period as well as likely stable or declining imported commodity prices that constitute the MEB. These will start to increase again as the agricultural lean season increases demand for grain from markets in October and November. In addition to prices, slowly improving economic opportunities in urban areas in the central, northeastern, and northwestern regions will likely sustain nearly stable labor wages in most urban areas. The lack of economic opportunities in urban areas in the South will likely continue to decrease labor wages. The high cost of the MEB is likely to continue in the South. However, insecurity will remain a major risk factor for food access of urban households, particularly in South-Central Somalia as households who are displaced lose connections to important markets in which to sell their labor. Continued conflict along with violent disruptions of urban life will continue to increase the costs and risks associated with trade and other marketing activities. Displacement also creates increased competition for labor opportunities, as IDPs compete with the urban poor for the same opportunities.

Settlements of IDPs

In the most likely scenario, all IDPs in Hargeisa are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the projection period due to uncertain future humanitarian support as well as the likelihood of decreased labor-to-cereal ToT following the below-average Gu/Karan cereal harvest in the Northwest, which would likely increase cereal prices. However, improved access to labor at the port in Kismayo after the monsoon winds end and shipping increases in mid-September may improve access to casual labor for IDPs, which would have a positive impact on their food security. IDPs are vulnerable to several types of shocks following displacement including disease due to outbreaks, poor hygiene and sanitation, and congestion in informal settlements. They are also at high risk of physical insecurity, adverse exposure to extreme temperatures, and exposure to the rain due to poor housing conditions. Continued conflict is likely to lead to further displacement. From August to December, all 635 000 of the current IDPs are projected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phases 3).

Most Likely Nutrition Outcomes Through April 2014

The outlook for the nutrition situation from August to October is inferred from current estimates of the nutritional situation, seasonal trends in nutrition, historical disease patterns, and the projected food insecurity for August to December 2014.

In general, the prevailing current malnutrition situation is likely to continue through October 2014 across most of the country (Figure 9) with the exception of the following expected changes:

  • Deterioration from Alert to Serious is expected in the Nugal Valley and on the Sool Plateau in Bari and Sanaag regions as health services deteriorate in health facilities. Historical seasonal trends indicate increased malnutrition during this time period.
  • Deterioration from Serious to Critical is expected among IDPs in Bossaso due to decreased labor opportunity during the Xagaa season, as less shipping occuring during the July to September monsoon winds, very hot temperatures, and the usual seasonal trend. In northern Gedo’s agropastoral area, the nutrition situation will move from Serious to Critical due to high current morbidity and low immunization coverage.
  • Improvement from Critical to Serious is expected in the Hawd in the central and northeastern regions based on health facility access and the seasonal trend. Among IDPs in Mogadishu, improvement from Critical to Serious is expected due to the expected increase in humanitarian assistance. Similarly, this is likely in agropastoral areas in Lower and Middle Shabelle with the start of the Deyr rains in October leading to increased incomes from agricultural labor and increased milk availability due to improved pasture and water availability.
  • Improvement from Serious to Alert is likely in Mogadishu due to the likley increase in humanitarian assistance.

Areas of Concern

Southern Agropastoral livelihood zone in Middle Juba Region

Current Situation

As a result of below-average April to June Gu rainfall, much of the planted crops wilted in Middle Juba in May, particularly the agropastoral areas of Sakow, Buale, and Jilib Districts. During a typical year, poor households would be currently consuming their own crops. There will be some minimal harvest in August/September. As a result, this year, there are very few own produced crops to consume, and most people are almost entirely dependent on the market as their source of food.

Pasture conditions and livestock production: Pasture availability is below average. Livestock are concentrated around permanent water sources and in some places where water trucking is ongoing. Livestock body conditions, particularly of lactating females, are deteriorating quickly, reducing their value and milk production. There was a higher mortality rate than typical for kids and lambs during the Gu.

Food prices: In Sakow in Middle Juba, the price of a kilogram (kg) of white maize increased 83 percent from February to July, while a day of labor could purchase six kg of white maize in July compared to 12 kg in February. These labor-to-white maize TOT have been decreasing since March. The decline in TOT and increased prices resulted in an increase of debt levels. Many poor households are continuing to purchase food and essential non-food items on credit.

Insecurity: The Kenya Defense Force (KDF) on behalf of AMISOM has conducted some aerial bombardment in Middle Juba. The presence of Al Shabaab and continued AMISOM attacks have reduced traders’ movements. They have also reduced the availability of non-agricultural labor due to decreased trade and construction.

Humanitarian assistance: In Middle Juba, humanitarian access is still highly restricted. Some assistance does make its way into the area.

Despite no recent nutrition surveys in the Jubas, malnutrition is expected to be at the Critical level. Poor households are unable to afford enough food or only doing so with accelerated asset depletion are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


No additional assumptions to the national assumptions described abovewere made for Southern Agropastoral livelihood zone.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

With the onset of rains in October, land preparation, planting, and weeding will start and continue through December. Agricultural labor demand will likely increase at that time as will wages. However, some flash floods are likely in agricultural lowlands and valleys, leading to largely temporary disruptions in labor demand in localized areas.

From October to December, livestock sales will decline as demand declines. Between October to December, milk sales will also seasonally decrease as goats start conceiving in October/November. Poor households’ income will be below a typical year through December.

In Middle Juba, poor households will likely receive some income from agriculture labor between October to December and likely to access food through purchase, hence food consumption pattern will likely improve, however, food security outcome likely to remain Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone

Current Situation

In Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone, the Gu crop largely failed. Households are not consuming green maize or sorghum as they typically would in July. Livestock have been migrated to pastoral areas nearby, but they are not close enough to settlements to provide milk. Local cereal prices are very high. Sorghum supply from Bay Region and from Ethiopia is low as the Gu harvest has been delayed in those areas. It has yet to reach markets.

Current food prices: The price of white sorghum in Beletweyne in July was 38 percent higher than the same time last year and 30 percent above the five-year average. As a result, local-quality goat-to-white sorghum ToT declined from January to July. A local quality goat could be sold to buy 58 kg of white sorghum in July rather than the 98 Kg that it could purchase in January.

Insecurity: Most rural areas of Hiraan Region are controlled by Al Shabaab. Since the federal government and AMISOM extended their control to Buloburte town in March, Al Shabaab has imposed trade restrictions on the town by increasing the number and frequency of road blocks. Targeted killings and armed skirmishes have also occurred. The trade restrictions have prevented fuel and food from entering Buloburte, and this has also reduced trade to nearby rural, agropastoral areas. The conflict has also resulted in limited humanitarian assistance.

Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone is currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


No additional assumptions to the national assumptions described abovewere made for Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Between October and December, increased agricultural labor demand will likely result in increased cash income, increasing poor households’ ability to buy food. Poor households typically source all their food from purchases during this time of year. However, with high debts, households may need to make some debt repayments in order to keep lines of credit open and merchants continuing to serve rural areas. Despite some livestock mortality expected due to hypothermia at the start of the rains in October, livestock conception rates will likely be average to above-average with better rangeland conditions. However, the number of milking animals will remain low due to last season’s poor conception rate and the high rate of abortions during the dry season. Milk sales will remain an insignificant source of income.

Due to expected average to above-average Deyr rainfall from October to December, crop planting is expected to be average. DSimilarly, between October and December, pasture conditions and livestock production are expected to improve as livestock prices expected to decline seasonally.

As result of some cash income in from agricultural labor between October to December, Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone will be likely to move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for August to December. However, a significant number of households will still have food consumption gaps and remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through December.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming six months. Learn more here.


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 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.