Risk of Famine Increases
Nairobi/Washington – As severe drought grips most parts of Somalia, food crisis is worsening in rural areas following consecutive seasons of poor rainfall and low river water levels, which led to near total crop failures and reduced rural employment opportunities, widespread shortage of water and pasture, consequent increases in livestock deaths, and rapidly diminishing food access among poor households as staple food prices continue to rise sharply and livestock prices decrease significantly. Rising food prices are also affecting food access among displaced and poor urban households. Total loss of livestock and destitution have been reported in some northern pastoral areas. There has also been drought-related distress migration from parts of Bakool and Bay Regions towards urban areas in Gedo, Lower Shabelle and Banadir.
In the lead up to the start of the anticipated below normal 2017 Gu (April-June) season rainfall, staple food prices are expected to increase sharply, and widespread livestock mortality is likely to occur as pasture and water resources become depleted. Acute malnutrition remains high and widespread across Somalia. In a worst-case scenario where (i) the 2017 Gu (April-June) season performs very poorly, (ii) purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/2011, and (iii) humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected.