MARS Bulletin on Food Security in the Horn of Africa – May 2012

The overwhelming food crisis that struck the Horn of Africa last year revived fears of famine in Africa. Somalia numbers - famine declared over whole or parts of 7 regions, 4 million in crisis, tens of thousands of deaths, 640,000 children acutely malnourished - highlighted the need for a regular and close monitoring of the region. This task is foremost important this year, inasmuch as local populations have just started to recover from distress. Households are presently more vulnerable to new shocks: malnutrition levels are high, livestock herds have dwindled and refugees and IDPs have to adapt to new environments or endure the journey back home.
Fortunately, the most affected areas, around the borders between Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, experienced favorable weather conditions at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 with a resulting increase on food and fodder availability. However, a rainfall delay and deficit have been observed during the same period in Sudan and the northern part of South Sudan. Therefore, while in Somalia areas previously classified as in famine conditions are now in the emergency phase, in Sudan and South-Sudan the situation is deteriorating and already reaches emergency levels in some regions.