Ethiopia Food Security Outlook Update, October 2020 to May 2021

Ethiopia Food Security Outlook Update, October 2020 to May 2021

Food security Crisis expected to continue despite timely start to deyr season in areas of Somali Region


  • The start of the meher harvest is improving food access in many crop-dependent areas and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are present. In some areas of Afar, SNNPR, Gambella, where flooding and landslides destroyed crops, households are experiencing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes as humanitarian food assistance is improving food access. In southern, eastern, and some northern areas of the country, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present. This is due to atypically high reliance on markets as desert locusts and flooding resulted in crop losses. Moreover, households in these areas are expected to have continued below-average purchasing power due to continued high food prices and the weak labor market.

  • Generally, continued high inflation, the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the negative impacts of flooding and desert locusts are expected to continue to negatively affect food access from own crops, livestock production, and markets. Therefore, most poor and very poor households in the eastern half of the country will most likely continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through May 2021. These outcomes are likely to persist beyond the projection period due to the forecast for consecutive belowaverage rainfall seasons in southern and southeastern pastoral areas.

  • The start of the deyr/hagaya October to December rainfall season was timely in many areas; however, rainfall was at least 10-days late across some areas. In the later part of October, rainfall was established resulting in average to above-average cumulative rainfall across many southern and southeastern pastoral areas. There are some areas with localized deficits, with the largest deficits observed in border areas of Somali/Oromia. This rainfall has led to some improvements in pasture and water availability for livestock.

  • Beginning in June 2020, high levels of desert locust breeding, and hatching occurred in northwestern Afar and bordering areas of Amhara and Tigray. Furthermore, swarms migrated from Yemen and Somalia into northeastern and southeastern areas. Unlike the 2019 meher season, where desert locusts arrived after the harvest was mostly complete, this year, desert locusts are present as meher crops are maturing. This, coupled with the increased scale of the upsurge, has resulted in large-scale crop losses. In pastoral areas, particularly in Dire Dawa, northern Somali and agropastoral areas of eastern Oromia, desert locusts consumed pasture, resulting in pasture losses between September to mid-October.

  • Favorable Kiremt rainfall facilitated crop development; however, heavy rainfall in the latter half of the season resulted in severe flooding in parts of southern Afar, eastern Amhara, eastern and central Oromia, including Dire Dawa, northern and southern Somali, along with Rift Valley areas of SNNPR regions. This resulted in the damage and loss of crops, waterlogging of pasture and cropping areas, livestock deaths, and damaged infrastructure. According to NDRMC, flooding affected about 1.1 million people, and more than 342,000 people were displaced due to flooding.

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    Ethiopia Crisis Response Plan 2020

    Funding Required $77,600,000

    People In Need 8,000,000

    Target Beneficiaries 1,200,000

    IOM Vision

    IOM Ethiopia plans to provide timely and tailored humanitarian assistance and resilience programming for crisis-affected populations in Ethiopia, aiming towards durable and sustainable solutions.

    Context Analysis

    Ethiopia faces one of the most complex human mobility environments in the world, with a range of social, economic, political and climatic factors driving populations within and outside its borders. Millions moved throughout the country in 2018 and 2019, with displacement risks remaining high in 2020. In March 2019, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimated approximately three million individuals were displaced across Ethiopia. The primary drivers of this displacement were conflict – by a large margin – and climatic shocks such as drought and floods.

    At the same time, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) launched a plan to return or relocate internally displaced persons (IDPs) nationwide. In the ensuing months, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Ethiopians returned to their areas of origin. Others relocated to land designated by governmental bodies, while still others remained displaced in collective sites or secondary displacement locations. In October 2019, IOM’s DTM identified approximately 1.6 million Ethiopians who remained displaced across some 1,149 sites. While Ethiopia’s displacement landscape shifted significantly in 2019, needs remain high. Living conditions for returnees, relocatees, and IDPs alike are dire. Shelter, safe access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), basic health services, and critical non-food items (NFIs) are urgent for all. Community stabilization, peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts are much needed to resolve and prevent further conflict-induced internal displacement. In addition, disaster prevention and reduction efforts are essential to reduce displacement associated with natural disaster and climate risk and strengthen resilience by incorporating “build-back-better” measures in recovery and reconstruction.

    In addition, Ethiopia continues to receive refugees from neighbouring countries, in particular, Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia. Between January and October 2019, Ethiopia received a total of 88,044 new arrivals.

    Relocation assistance to refugees is a vital lifesaving operation and failure to do so may result in: – Vulnerable refugees being detained, with rights to freedom of movement denied;
    – Forcefully pushing the refugees through the borders back to where they came from against their wishes;
    – Tensions escalating between refugees and host communities;
    – Increased risk of harm to refugees the longer they wait at border entry points and/or in reception centres;
    – Delayed/lack of access to life-saving services in camps, including food, non-food items (NFIs), water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and health;
    – Denial of dignified transportation options, with refugees overloaded in trucks as a last resort by other stakeholders.

    In cooperation with UNHCR and the Ethiopian Government’s Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), IOM provides emergency transportation services for refugees arriving in Ethiopia and ensures that the most vulnerable individuals receive access to immediate life-saving services, including food, shelter and health care.

    Ethiopia in 2020 presents both hope and concern. While there is an opportunity to work with communities to progress peacebuilding and support durable solutions for sustained prosperity, risks of political and intercommunal violence, droughts, and floods persist. The international community must act in this critical moment to ensure a positive outcome in 2020 and beyond.

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