Somalia Food Security Outlook Update, August 2020

After multiple shocks, the below-average 2020 deyr is anticipated to worsen food insecurity

Key Messages

Humanitarian food assistance needs are high across Somalia, where Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes remain widespread. An estimated 3.5 million people in rural livelihood zones, urban areas, and IDP settlements need food assistance. In July, food assistance reached only 55 percent of the population in need. The below-average 2020 *gu *cereal harvest, economic impacts of COVID-19, and forecast of below-average *deyr *rainfall from October to December 2020 drive a worsening food security outlook through at least early 2021. Furthermore, a long-term decline in rainfall performance and preliminary climatological research suggest an elevated likelihood of below-average rainfall in the March to May 2021 season. Two consecutive poor seasons would likely result in rapidly worsening acute food insecurity in 2021.

In agropastoral areas, the *gu *harvest is below average. Erratic *gu *rainfall distribution from April to June resulted in both dry spells and floods that reduced crop production prospects. Production shortfalls are also still expected in southern coastal and adjacent inland areas, despite good *hagaa *rainfall in July and August that relatively improved local yields. Damage from bush cricket infestations is also significant, though desert locust has not been reported in the South. Below-average *deyr *rainfall is expected to result in a second consecutive season of below-average crop production. Due to crop losses and reduced agricultural labor income, deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in nearly all agropastoral areas through at least early 2021.

In riverine areas, heavy rainfall during the gu season combined with heavy rainfall in river catchments in the Ethiopian highlands from June to August resulted in multiple flood events. Riverine communities in Hiiraan, Lower Shabelle, Middle Juba, Lower Juba, and Bay are the worst affected, where households were displaced and significant crop damage occurred. Due to the loss of main season crops and interference with off-season recessional cultivation activities, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected until the delayed off-season harvest in October.

In northern and central pastoral areas, the below-average deyr *is expected to lead to lower milk availability, atypical migration, and higher expenditures on water, livestock feed, and transport among poor households, who already face low saleable livestock holdings and below-normal income sources to purchase food. Widespread deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is most likely through at least early 2021. In southern Somalia, however, poor households will have better coping capacity as a result of higher livestock holdings, higher local pasture availability, and higher milk availability from camel and cattle births in the hagaa *and *deyr *seasons. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected, though Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is likely at the household level.

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