Recent good rains, which were particularly abundant in several parts of drought affected northern pastoral regions, signalled an early start to the secondary “deyr” season in most of northern Somalia. This has resulted in increased water availability and improved grazing conditions. However, major crop producing areas in southern Somalia remain largely dry. The recently harvested main “gu” season cereal crop in southern Somalia is estimated at about 125 000 tonnes, about 25 percent below average.
Food prices have started to ease with the arrival of the current “gu” harvest. However, the humanitarian emergency in the country is expected to continue due to the previous high loss of livestock assets, poor rangeland conditions, high household debt, and destitution. Recent nutrition survey found wasting levels of 20 percent, confirming the severe humanitarian emergency. In the South, both Gedo and Middle Juba regions remain in critical need of humanitarian assistance following poor “gu” harvests on top of chronic vulnerability. Currently,an estimated 700 000 people are in need of humanitarianassistance.
The Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) has recently issued estimates of the 2004/05 Cereal Balance, indicating a national cereal shortfall of about 36 000 tonnes. Further information and analysis can be accessed at: www.unsomalia.net under the FSAU web page.