Food Security Statement: January 2024 update

January 2024
  • High levels of acute food insecurity persisted in various parts of the region, following El Niño-induced heavy rains and flooding during the 2023 October-December (OND) rainfall season, particularly in the Horn of Africa, compounded by ongoing conflicts, widespread displacement, and long-standing macro-economic challenges across almost the entire region.
  • Based on IPC data, an estimated 58.1 million people in 10 of the 13 countries covered by the FSNWG were highly food insecure (IPC Phase 3+) in January 2024. Of these, 30.5 million were from six of the eight IGAD member states.
  • In the northern part of Ethiopia, including parts of Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions, a severe food crisis is unfolding, as a result of an El Niño-driven drought that led to a failed Meher harvest, poor pasture conditions and severe water shortages. Close to 4 million people in the country are estimated to be impacted by the drought.
  • Sudan’s food crisis continued to worsen as armed conflict spilled over to new areas, including the south-east states, interrupting agricultural activities, such as main season harvesting and winter wheat growing in the Gezira irrigation scheme, and causing population displacement, both new and secondary.
  • Cereal prices in most markets in the region declined in the last quarter of 2023, driven by expectations of above-average harvests and reduced shortfalls in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi, but were higher compared to the recent five-year average.
  • The number of forcibly displaced persons in the region continued to rise, with an estimated 5.1 million refugees and asylum seekers, and 17.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) as of 14 February 2024. In Sudan, close to 8.2 million people had been forcibly displaced due to the ongoing conflict – 6.3 million internally and about 1.9 million into neighbouring countries – making it the world’s largest internal displacement crisis.
  • The region faced numerous disease outbreaks, with the recent El Niño-induced flooding worsening the risk of water- and vector-borne diseases. In particular, increased cases of cholera, malaria and dengue were identified in the flood-affected areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
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