East and Southern Africa are facing an ongoing food crisis, with widespread food insecurity affecting millions of people due to a combination of drought, flooding, conflict, and economic hardships according to a World Bank report.
The situation is particularly dire in Ethiopia, where Emergency (IPC Phase 4) conditions persist, and parts of Somalia and South Sudan are at risk of Famine.
In Sudan, the continued conflict is expected to exacerbate hunger, pushing up to 2.5 million more people into acute food insecurity during the lean season (June-September). This would bring the total number of food-insecure individuals in the country to an unprecedented level of over 19 million people, representing approximately two-fifths of the population.
Despite some relief from the 2020-23 drought brought on by April rainfall in the Horn of Africa, many households continue to face limited access to food and income due to significant declines in livestock herd sizes and high levels of debt accrued during the drought. Flash floods have also taken a toll, resulting in the loss of an estimated 70,000 head of livestock in Ethiopia and 4,000 in Kenya.
In contrast, some regions in East Africa, including most of Rwanda, bimodal Uganda, and western Burundi, are expected to experience Minimal food insecurity due to the availability of food stocks from previous harvests and increased cross-border trade.
In southern Africa, household food access and dietary diversity have improved as many households participate in the harvest. Surplus-producing areas of countries such as Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are experiencing Minimal food insecurity.
However, dry spells in January and February led to significant production losses in southern Mozambique and southern and central Zimbabwe, causing most poor households in those regions to face stressed conditions. Crisis outcomes are anticipated in areas affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy, spanning the grand south of Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique.
Despite a decline in staple food prices in most markets following the main harvest, prices remain higher than last year and the 5-year average. In areas with below-average production, prices are expected to rise earlier than normal in August and September as more households rely on market purchases and food stocks deplete.
Additionally, local currency instability and depreciation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe are contributing to commodity price increases, further limiting the ability of vulnerable households to access food.