Eastern Africa Region: Regional Food Security and Nutrition Update 2022 Update First Quarter (May 2022) – Ethiopia
Food insecurity is rapidly worsening in East Africa – an estimated 81.6 million people, including internally displaced people, refugees and host communities in rural and urban areas, face food insecurity high treble. This represents an increase of around 39% from the 58.6 million recorded in November 2021. In Somalia, there is a growing risk of famine over the next two months if seasonal rains fail completely and aid humanitarian food was not reaching those most in need in time. The overall food insecurity situation is expected to worsen in most countries of the region during the lean season while facing multiple and overlapping shocks (drought, floods, macroeconomic challenges and conflicts).
The nutritional situation in the region is critical, with an estimated 7 million children under the age of 5 expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, including more than 1.7 million from severe acute malnutrition. There is a high likelihood that the nutritional situation will deteriorate over the next three months, exacerbated by the unaffordability of nutritious diets and the impacts of drought.
Worsening drought conditions in southern Ethiopia, eastern and northern Kenya and southern and central Somalia have resulted in severe water and pasture shortages, livestock deaths, below-average harvests (65% in Somalia and 70% in marginal agricultural areas of Kenya), a sharp increase in the price of cereals and other staple foods while eroding household purchasing power. A fourth consecutive season of below-average rainfall is very likely during the GU rains (March to May), complicating the situation. Floods in South Sudan, which have inundated large tracts of land for three consecutive years, continue to limit agriculture and livestock production, affecting many people in the Sudd, particularly in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.
Conflicts continue to aggravate the severity of food insecurity, particularly in northern Ethiopia, parts of South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia. Severe food insecurity persists in the northern regions of Ethiopia (Tigray, Afar and Amhara) despite the recent ceasefire and limited humanitarian flows. In Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, politically triggered sub-national conflicts over resources as well as inter-communal violence continue, causing population displacements, disrupting livelihoods, markets and limiting humanitarian access.
Different countries in the region continue to face macroeconomic challenges that negatively impact food security, with Sudan being the most affected, followed by Ethiopia and South Sudan. COVID-19, which triggered the worst global recession in over a century, deepened pre-existing economic vulnerabilities, which have now been compounded by the global fallout from the war in Ukraine. The risk of a spike in domestic food inflation remains high in six of the ten East African countries, four of which are already experiencing double-digit food inflation (13% in Somalia, 16% in Burundi, 42% in Ethiopia and 258% in Sudan). ). Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti are the countries most exposed to the risk of rising and rising inflation due to the war in Ukraine.