Rain reason to give hungry Somalia a short break, hopefully
A man and a boy fetch water from a hole in a riverbed near Doolow, a Somali border town with Ethiopia, March 20, 2017. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
MOGADISHU, April 2 (Xinhua) — Food security is expected to improve slightly from July through September in Somalia following the Gu (short rainy season) harvest and improvement in livestock conditions, a food analysis has said.
The monthly report by donor-funded FEWS Net, the famine early warning system that monitors food insecurity, said the April to June Gu rains are forecast to be slightly below average.
“In a worst-case scenario in which the April to June Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing capacity declines to levels seen in 2010/11, and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need. Famine would be likely in the worst-affected areas of Bay, Bakool, and Northern Inland Pastoral,” FEWS Net said.
The report notes that food security has further deteriorated in March, the peak of the pastoral lean season, and Hawd and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones are now in Crisis level.
“In most areas of Northern Inland Pastoral, Crisis outcomes exist with ongoing humanitarian assistance, but Emergency outcomes are expected between June and September in the absence of assistance,” it said.
According to FEWS Neto, emergency outcomes are also expected to persist in Bay and Bakool agropastoral areas, but assistance is improving food security for some households.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia is rapidly deteriorating and renewed famine is a strong possibility in 2017 with about 6.2 million people facing acute food shortages.
Failure of two consecutive rainy seasons, Gu (short) and Deyr (long) has brought severe drought to Somalia since 2015. The continuous failure of rain throughout 2016 has made the situation even worse.
While severe food insecurity and malnutrition are chronically widespread across the country, aid agencies say drought in Puntland and Somaliland has deepened and has expanded to Southern and Central regions increasing need to pre-2011 drought levels.
FEWS Net forecast decreases in stable food prices due to increased humanitarian assistance as aid agencies scale up their relief efforts to curb famine.
It said the retail price of sorghum in Baidoa decreased 13 percent between January and March, after increasing 74 percent between October and December.
“The price decline is likely due in part to the influx of humanitarian assistance in recent months. In Diinsoor and Qandadheer, neighboring rural areas with limited access to humanitarian assistance, the retail price of sorghum declined approximately 15 percent over the same time period. This is primarily due to lower demand from Baidoa, the destination market,” said FEWS Net.