GIEWS - Global Information and Early Warning System

Countries requiring external assistance for food

Countries in crisis requiring external assistance for food are expected to lack the resources to deal with reported critical problems of food insecurity. The list below covers crises related to lack of food availability, widespread lack of access to food, or severe but localized problems. GIEWS updates this list four times a year.

September 2020
  (total: 45 countries)
Nature of Food Insecurity
Main Reasons
Changes from last report
Conflict, displacements with food supply constraints
  • According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, the number of severely food insecure people (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and above) was estimated at 2.4 million during the lean season (May‑August 2020), a 15 percent increase compared to the 2.1 million forecast prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Floods, desert locusts
  • About 980 000 people were estimated to be severely food insecure in the April-July 2020 period, mainly located in northern and eastern areas as a result of livelihood losses due to floods in late 2019 and localized damages to crops and pastures due to desert locusts.
Floods, civil insecurity, desert locusts, COVID-19 pandemic, lingering impact of consecutive unfavourable rainy seasons on pastoral livelihoods
  • About 3.5 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency assistance for the July‑September 2020 period. The areas of major concern are southern flood-affected riverine areas, urban IDP settlements, parts of southern Bay and Bakool regions of central Mudug and Galgaduud regions and of northern Sanaag, Bari and Woqooyi Galbeed regions.
Economic downturn, below-average cereal harvest, high food prices
  • Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the number of food insecure people was estimated at 4.3 million in the first half of 2020.
  • The current number of food insecure is expected to be higher and remain so until the start of the next harvest from April 2021, due to the negative effects of the pandemic and the associated containment measures that have curbed households’ income and disrupted food supply chains. A second consecutive below‑average cereal harvest in 2020 and persisting high food prices are also significant food security stressors. 
Floods, landslides
  • About 0.85 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in the June-August 2020 period, mainly due to livelihood losses caused by floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains since March.
Civil insecurity
  • After the revision of the humanitarian response plan due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, 5.9 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in August 2020, at the peak of the lean season.
  • About 236 000 people were displaced due to insecurity in the Lake Chad Region. In addition, nearly 476 000 refugees from the Central African Republic, Nigeria and the Sudan reside in the country due to persisting conflict.
Persisting civil insecurity, restrictive measures related to COVID-19 pandemic
  • According to the latest IPC analysis, carried out in July 2020, 21.8 million people (over 30 percent of the analyzed population) were estimated to be severely food insecure, 60 percent above the figure that was projected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consecutive unfavourable rainy seasons
  • About 175 000 people were estimated to be severely food insecure in January 2020, mainly due to consecutive unfavourable rainy seasons.
  • The regions most affected by food insecurity were Dikhil and Obock, where 45‑50 percent of the population were acutely food insecure.
Macro-economic challenges have increased the population's vulnerability to food insecurity
High food prices, floods, desert locusts, COVID-19 pandemic, impact of previous droughts
  • About 8.5 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure between July and September mainly in SNNP, Oromia and Somali regions. The main drivers of the food insecurity are a below-average “Belg” harvest, localized crops and pasture losses due to locusts and the negative impact of the restrictive measures related to the COVID‑19 pandemic on food prices and incomes.
  • About 175 000 people have been affected by floods triggered by torrential rains in July and August.
Civil conflict
  • According to the COVID‑19 assessment carried out in April 2020 by several institutions, an estimated 5.6 million people were affected by the food crisis, including 2.7 million who were estimated to be experiencing severe food insecurity.
  • An estimated 265 500 people have been displaced in Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabery regions due to the civil conflicts. In addition, the country hosts approximately 227 800 refugees, mainly from Nigeria and Mali.
Persisting conflict in northern areas
  • According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 7 million people were assessed to need humanitarian assistance between June and August 2020.
  • Over 2.6 million people are estimated to be internally displaced due to conflict in northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, communal clashes in North West/North Central zones and natural disasters. The areas inaccessible to humanitarian interventions are facing the worst food security conditions.
Severe economic downturn, civil insecurity, lingering impact of prolonged conflict
  • Despite sustained humanitarian assistance, food insecurity still affects large segments of the population, driven by insufficient food supplies, an economic downturn and soaring food prices.
  • About 6.48 million people (55 percent of the total population) were estimated to be severely food insecure in the May‑July period. The highest prevalence of food insecurity was estimated in Jonglei State, the area worst affected by the floods, where more than 70 percent of the population were facing severe food insecurity. In July 2020, the number of internally displaced people was estimated at 1.6 million.
  • As of early September, about 600 000 people were affected by the floods triggered by torrential rains since July. 
Civil insecurity in the north
  • According to the updated "Cadre Harmonisé" results released by the Government, about 3.28 million people were estimated to need external food assistance during the June to August 2020 period.
  • Due to the conflict, about 1 million people have been displaced with 50 percent of them living in Centre Nord Region. In addition, about 20 000 refugees, mostly from Mali, are still residing in the Sahel region.
Poor performance of the 2019 agro‑pastoral cropping season
  • Based on the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 10 000 people (approximately 2 percent of the total population) were estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above in the June‑August 2020 period.
Civil insecurity
  • According to a recent analysis conducted by FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, about 4.9 million people (18 percent of the total population) were estimated to be in severe acute food insecurity, more than double the figure projected in the last “Cadre Harmonisé” report (March 2020). The escalation is the result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which added to the impacts of the persisting conflict and population displacements.
Influx of refugees
  • About 700 000 people were estimated to be food insecure in Brazzaville (more than one-third of the city’s population), as a consequence of the socio-economic impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic, according to a recent study by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Humanitarian Action and WFP.
  • Furthermore, there are about 21 000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and about 22 000 refugees from the Central African Republic residing in the country. Host communities face food shortages and limited livelihood opportunities, and refugees’ food security is essentially dependent on continued humanitarian assistance.
Localized shortfalls in production, reduction in income-generating activities
  • About 366 000 people are projected to be food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance during the October 2020 to March 2021 period, higher than the current figure of 330 000. The projected deterioration reflects localized production shortfalls, high food prices and the loss of income‑generating activities due to the economic downturn instigated by the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Localized shortfalls of cereal production
  • About 267 000 people are estimated to be in need of food assistance during the June‑August 2020 period. In addition, over 5 000 refugees were residing in the country.
Localized shortfalls in production, loss of income-generating activities
  • About 380 000 people in rural areas were projected to face acute food insecurity between July and September 2020, while the projection for the October 2020 to March 2021 period indicates an increase to 582 000 people. The projected deterioration reflects high food prices and the loss of income‑generating activities due to the economic downturn instigated by the COVID‑19 pandemic.
High food prices
  • According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 41 000 people were estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above in the June‑August 2020 period. The country is hosting approximately 8 200 refugees.
Civil insecurity, political instability, low oil prices
  • The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020 was estimated at 0.9 million, of which 0.34 million require food assistance. Refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced are among the most vulnerable. The number of people is likely to increase as the local currency depreciates, food prices increase and COVID‑19 constrains work opportunities for casual labour. 
Reduced harvests in southern areas, high food prices and limited income-earning opportunities
  • About 554 000 people were estimated to face acute food insecurity between April and June 2020 in southern and southeastern regions, nearly one‑third higher than the same period in 2019. The higher prevalence of food insecurity mainly resulted from the lower availability of, and access to, food, owing to reduced crop production, high food prices and limited income-earning opportunities for rural households in southern regions.
  • The impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic were not included in the latest estimation and, therefore, the food insecurity situation is expected to be more severe and could even deteriorate further from the third quarter of 2020 to early 2021.
Localized production shortfalls, income losses associated to an economic slowdown
  • According to the last official figures, an estimated 2.7 million people were assessed to be food insecure in 2020, of which 1.9 million live in rural areas and the remaining 800 000 live in urban areas. Despite the upturn in cereal production in 2020, the direct and indirect effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic have curtailed access to food through income losses and disruptions to the food supply chains, sustaining high levels of food insecurity.
Civil insecurity
  • According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 6.8 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in August 2020 (one-third of the population).
  • Over 266 000 people have been displaced in central and northern parts of the country. In addition, the country hosts approximately 43 000 refugees.
Poor performance of agro‑pastoral cropping season
  • According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 609 000 people were assessed to need assistance between June and August 2020.
  • About 65 000 refugees, mostly from Mali and who require assistance, reside in the country.
Economic downturn, localized shortfalls in staple food production, insecurity in northern areas
  • Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, nearly 2 million people were assessed to be food insecure.
  • The current food insecurity situation is expected to be more severe and could deteriorate further from the third quarter of 2020 to early 2021, due to the negative effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic, on account of income losses and disruptions to food supply chains, while shortfalls in production in southern regions is an additional driver of the poor food security conditions.
  • Insecurity in the northern Cabo Delgado Province has resulted in the internal displacement of about 250 000 people and severely hampered the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In this Province, as of July 2020, about 310 000 people were estimated to be severely food insecure.
Shortfalls in agricultural production
  • Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, about 354 000 people, were projected to be in need of food assistance between April and September 2020, nearly 20 percent below the estimate for the October 2019 to March 2020 period, reflecting the positive impacts of the production recovery in 2020.
  • However, the food insecurity could deteriorate from the third quarter of 2020 to early 2021, due to the negative effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic, primarily channeled through income and job losses.
Localized shortfalls in cereal production
  • According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 767 000 people were estimated to need assistance between June and August 2020.
  • An estimated 14 500 refugees, mostly from Mauritania, are residing in the country.
High food prices
  • About 1.3 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure during the June‑September 2020 period. 
Conflict, civil insecurity, COVID-19 pandemic, soaring food prices
  • The number of severely food insecure people was estimated at 9.6 million for the June-September 2020 period. The areas most affected by food insecurity are South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and most of the Greater Darfur Region.
Localized crop production shortfalls, refugee influx, floods
  • About 500 000 people were estimated to be severely food insecure in eastern Teso Region and northeastern Karamoja Region in early 2019 (latest available information).
  • About 882 000 refugees from South Sudan and about 416 000 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are hosted in camps and rely on humanitarian assistance.
Localized crop production shortfalls
  • About 499 000 people were estimated to be in need of emergency assistance in the May‑September 2020 period, mainly in northeastern Manyara and Kilimanjaro regions and in central Dodoma and Singida regions, where 2019 harvests were affected by prolonged dry spells that resulted in significant cereal production losses.
Localized production shortfalls, high food prices
  • The upturn in cereal production in 2020 is expected to have improved food availability, positively impacting food security conditions.
  • However, in southern parts of the country, shortfalls in production for a second consecutive year sustained high levels of food insecurity in these areas. Furthermore, the effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic have aggravated food insecurity across the country and its impacts are likely to have kept the number of people in need of assistance at similar levels to last year, when 2.3 million people were facing severe food insecurity.
Financial and economic crisis
  • On 4 August 2020, an explosion in the Beirut Port resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of parts of the port including the bulk terminal and main grain silo, adding another dimension to a multi‑faceted crisis the country is facing.
  • According to the Ministry of Finance, about 45 percent of Lebanese citizens (equivalent to 2.43 million) lived in poverty as of April 2020, with 22 percent in extreme poverty. This figure is likely to be higher as increasing inflation and unemployment resulting from deepening economic crisis, coupled with the impact of COVID‑19 related measures constrain employment opportunities and incomes.   
Civil conflict, stagnant economy
  • According to WFP's Vulnerability and Analysis Mapping (July 2020), there were 9.3 million people food insecure and a further 2.2 million at risk of food insecurity.
  • Although some international food assistance is being provided, Syrian refugees are also pressuring host communities' resources in neighbouring countries. 
Low food consumption levels, poor dietary diversity, economic downturn and floods
  • A large portion of the population suffers from low levels of food consumption and very poor dietary diversity.
  • The economic constraints, particularly resulting from the global impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic, have increased the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity.
  • Floods, caused by several typhoons in August and early September, affected large number of people and resulted in the loss of livestock and food supplies in southern parts.
Conflict, poverty, floods, high food and fuel prices
  • Over 80 percent of the total population, about 24.3 million people, require some form of humanitarian assistance. The Food Security Cluster estimates that 20.1 million people are in need of food security and agriculture interventions from June to December 2020, out of which 10 million people are in acute need. These figures will likely increase with the limited income‑earning opportunities and declines in remittances.
Civil conflict, population displacement, economic slowdown
  • The food security situation worsened in recent months due to the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic as informal labour opportunities and remittances declined. Between April and May 2020, about 10.9 million people (35 percent of the population) were estimated to be in acute food insecurity and required urgent humanitarian assistance. These include around 7.4 million people in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and 3.5 million in IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”. 
Economic constraints, monsoon floods
  • The food insecurity situation is expected to deteriorate due to income losses and a decline in remittances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the national  economy.
  • Severe floods in July, which followed Tropical Cyclone Amphan in May 2020, severely affected the livelihoods of at least 5 million people, caused damage to the agricultural sector and destroyed houses and infrastructure.
  • According to the latest figures from UNHCR (August 2020), about 860 000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were sheltering in Bangladesh, mainly in the Cox’s Bazar District. The large number of refugees have put a strain on the local community as well as existing facilities and services. 
Civil conflict, low oil prices, economic slowdown
  • About 4.1 million people, mostly IDPs and returnees, are in need of humanitarian assistance. The number of severely food insecure people is estimated at about 920 000, while 1.7 million are vulnerable to food insecurity, mostly IDPs and returnees, with the majority concentrated in the governorates of Diyala, Nineveh, Salah Al-Din, Anbar and Kirkuk. 
Economic constraints, conflict in parts of Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayin and Rakhine states
  • Income losses and a decline in remittances due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to affect the food security situation of most vulnerable households.
  • Persistent conflicts in Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Kayin and Shan states have triggered large scale population displacement particularly since 2017. As of June 2020, an estimated 235 000 people, mostly women and children, were internally displaced, with the largest share of these IDPs sheltering in Rakhine and Kachin states.
Population displacement, high prices of main staple (wheat)
  • The country hosts close to 1.4 million registered and unregistered Afghan refugees. Most of these people are in need of humanitarian assistance and are straining the already limited resources of the host communities.
  • Prices of wheat and wheat flour, the country's main staples, have been at high levels since the beginning of the year, constraining access to food.
  • About 1.18 million people are currently estimated to be in IPC Phase 3: "Crisis" and Phase 4: "Emergency" levels of food insecurity in the administratively merged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Severe economic crisis
  • The total number of refugees and migrants from the country was estimated at 5.2  million, with the largest populations located in Colombia (1.8 million) and Peru (830 000). Humanitarian needs for refugees and migrants are significant.
  • According to WFP’s food security assessment, conducted in the third quarter of 2019, about 2.3 million people in Venezuela (8 percent of the total population within the country) were severely food insecure, mainly as a result of the high food prices.
Prolonged dry spells and high inflation
  • About 4 million people are estimated to be facing severe acute food insecurity and thus in need of urgent food assistance in the August 2020‑February 2021 period due to the reduced 2020 main season cereal output, coupled with the high food prices and the economic downturn. Declining remittances and income losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to exacerbate the already poor food security situation.