High food prices and flood-induced crop losses constrain food availability and access in late 2019
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes prevail across much of the region. Conflict and very poor macroeconomic conditions remain among the primary drivers of food insecurity in Yemen, South Sudan, and Sudan. In addition, recent flooding across East Africa has led to crop and livestock losses, disrupted trade flows and market access, and increased the risk of waterborne disease incidence, most significantly in South Sudan and the Horn. The October to December rainfall season has been among the top wettest seasons in forty years, with cumulative rainfall ranging from 120 to 400 percent of normal.
Well above-average staple food prices continue to severely restrict food access for poor households in Yemen, South Sudan, and Sudan. In Yemen, there is increasing concern that the depletion of currency reserves in early 2020 will reduce capacity to finance food imports and lead to still higher food prices. Rising staple food prices are also expected in 2020 in Sudan, due to depreciation of the local currency, and in South Sudan, where an estimated 72,611 metric tons of 2019 cereal crops were lost from flooding – equivalent to about 15 percent of total cereal production in 2018. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in many areas. A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) also persists in Yemen and South Sudan.
New flooding and landslides in late November and early December caused human fatalities and displacement in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, while many riverine areas in southern Somalia remain inundated with flood water. Crop damage and excessive soil moisture are leading to above-normal pre- and post-harvest losses. In addition, a locust outbreak in parts of Ethiopia and Somalia is causing localized crop and pasture loss. As a result, below-average crop production is likely in some Meher-producing areas of Ethiopia, some marginal agricultural areas of Kenya, and riverine areas of Somalia. Although favorable national harvests and gains in livestock production are still expected to drive improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) across much of the Horn in early 2020, the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) population is expected to be atypically high through June.