FSNWG Special Report on Drought

February 2022

  • The performance of the 2021 October-December “short rains/Deyr” rainy season was extremely poor, characterized by a delayed onset of seasonal rains, an erratic temporal distribution, and below-average cumulative rainfall. Across much of the region, this represents the third consecutive season of below-average rains, with severe impacts on household livelihoods, food security, and nutrition.
  • Through May 2022, FSNWG estimates that between 12-14 million people in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) regions of Kenya and Somalia will likely face high levels of food insecurity (in line with IPC Phase 3+) because of the ongoing drought.
  • Beyond May, the food security outlook is heavily dependent on the performance of the upcoming March-May 2022 “long rains /Gu” rainy season. Unfortunately, this season is notoriously difficult to forecast with global models showing mixed signals and high levels of uncertainty. Given this uncertainty, FSNWG has agreed to develop two separate food security projections through September 2022, one based on an assumption of average to above-average rains and a second based on a scenario of significantly below-average/failure of the rains.
  • Under an average to above-average rainfall scenario, food security outcomes will begin to improve from April in pastoral areas and from July in agro-pastoral areas. However, an analysis of food security outcomes after the 2011 and 2017 drought emergencies shows that recovery will take time. Widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes would be likely through September 2022, with between 7 to 11 million people still highly food insecure (IPC Phase 3+) in drought-affected areas. Additionally, a total of 5.7 million children would be wasted, out of whom 1.7 million would be severely wasted and in need of life-saving treatment.
  • Severe food insecurity would be expected if the March to May rains were significantly below average or failed. Without a scale-up of humanitarian assistance, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) area classifications would be likely. In a worst-case scenario where the rains completely fail and there is no humanitarian assistance to worst-affected households, it is possible that some households could face extreme food consumption gaps indicative of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Under this scenario, between 15 to 20 million people could become highly food insecure (IPC Phase 3+) in drought-affected areas. The nutrition situation would also sharply deteriorate with 6.9 million children expected to be wasted in 2022, about 2 million of them severely so.
  • Given the current severe drought and uncertainty around the performance of the March to May 2022 rainfall season, large-scale emergency food, nutrition, livelihood, and non-food interventions, including water, health, and sanitation access, are critically needed to urgently mitigate an acceleration in food insecurity and nutritional outcomes.

Tags: FSNWG , Food Security