MOGADISHU, Somalia — Above average rainfall throughout 2018 is expected to drive food security improvements in Somalia, a donor-funded report released on Saturday says.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), an early warning system that monitors food insecurity, says food security has improved considerably in many of the areas worst-affected by the 2016/17 drought, as a result of large-scale humanitarian assistance and improvements in seasonal performance.
The report says April to June Gu (main rainy season) rainfall started earlier than normal and was significantly above average.
“Overall the harvest in July is expected to be average. Flooding increased recession cultivation opportunities and the September off-season Gu harvest is expected to be above average,” FewsNet said.
The report says large-scale humanitarian assistance throughout 2017 also played a significant role in driving improvements and likely preventing catastrophic outcomes.
“Despite early indications that the April to June 2018 Gu season would be below average, heavy rainfall during this time has been largely beneficial, and this alongside continued humanitarian assistance has supported further food security improvements across much of Somalia,” FEWS Net said.
The report warns of an elevated likelihood of an El Niño event occurring in late 2018, driving above-average rainfall during the October to December Deyr season.
“Deyr rainfall is expected to support average production and normal livestock births and productivity in most areas, though flooding will likely cause crop losses in riverine and lowland areas,” said FEWS Net.
The Horn of Africa nation experienced a prolonged drought from late 2016 through late 2017 that resulted in significant livestock losses and consecutive seasons of below-average production, causing severe and at times extreme acute food insecurity.
According to FEWS Net, the performance of the 2017 Deyr season (October-December) was mixed, but overall rainfall was sufficient to support improved livestock conditions and near normal production, and food security began improving in late 2017.
It said most water catchments were fully replenished with Gu rainfall and free water is available through natural sources, causing the price of water to seasonally decline across most reference markets between February and May.