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.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily channeled through economic shocks, are expected to cause a deterioration in food insecurity conditions across the globe. While agricultural production has been comparatively unaffected and supplies of staple foods are reported to be generally ample or stable, income losses due to the measures implemented to contain the spread of disease and the overall economic downturn are likely to increase the severity and prevalence of food insecurity. With different degrees, all countries listed have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it must be considered as a factor that will trigger an increase in the need for humanitarian assistance. It should be noted that the pandemic’s impacts have not yet been systematically captured in the food insecurity estimates, with most in-country assessments still underway or yet to be conducted. Therefore, the numbers presented on this page do not comprehensively reflect the prevailing food security situation and are likely to only provide an indication of the minimum number of people who are in need of assistance for food. Only where a national food insecurity estimate has incorporated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is it mentioned as a factor on this page.

July 2020
  (total: 44 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) is 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 are 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.

As of May, about 393 000 individuals had been affected by the floods, which were triggered by torrential rains since March.

Floods, civil insecurity, desert locusts, lingering impact of consecutive unfavourable rainy seasons on pastoral livelihoods
  • About 2.7 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency assistance for the April‑June 2020 period. The areas of major concern are the flood‑affected riverine areas, urban IDP settlements and northwestern Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions, where the most vulnerable households are facing IPC Phase 4: “Emergency” levels of food insecurity.
  • As of May, floods, which were triggered by torrential rains in April, affected about 919 000 people.
Below-average cereal harvest, high food prices
  • The number of food insecure people was estimated at 4.3 million in the first half of 2020.
  • The number of food insecure is expected to remain high and could increase later in 2020, reflecting the impact of a consecutive below-average cereal harvest in 2020 and persisting high food prices; food availability and access will remain poor for many households. 
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
  • According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 1 million people are estimated to be food insecure between June and August 2020.
  • Nearly 236 500 people remained internally displaced, almost entirely on account of the insurgency in the northeast. In addition, the country hosts about 470 000 refugees.
Persisting civil insecurity
  • About 13.6 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure, mostly residing in the areas with a high concentration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, including the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu, where the security situation remains precarious and households face serious food access constraints.
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.
  • As of May, floods, which were triggered by torrential rains since March, affected about 110 000 people. 
Economic constraints have increased the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity
High food prices, floods, desert locusts, impact of previous droughts
  • About 8.5 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure between February and June 2020, mainly in eastern agricultural areas and in northern and southeastern agro-pastoral areas due to poor 2019 “Karan/Belg/Gu/Genna” seasonal rains between early and mid-2019.
  • As of May, about 219 000 people have been affected by floods triggered by torrential rains since March.
Civil conflict
  • According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 2 million people in the June‑August 2020 period are assessed to be in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
  • Due to the civil conflict in neighbouring countries, the country hosts 223 000 refugees, of which 162 961 are from Nigeria and 58 813 from Mali, while an estimated 265 522 people are internally displaced.
Persisting conflict in northern areas
  • According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 7 million people are assessed to need humanitarian assistance between June and August 2020.
  • Over 2.6 million people are estimated to be internally displaced due to persisting civil insecurity. 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) are estimated to be severely food insecure in the May‑July period. The highest prevalence of food insecurity is reported in Jonglei State, the area worst affected by the floods, where more than 70 percent of the population are severely food insecure. In May 2020, the number of internally displaced people was estimated at 1.6 million.
  • About 12 000 people have been affected by floods triggered by torrential rains in May.
Civil insecurity in the north
  • According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is estimated at 2.1 million for the June-August 2020 period, mainly due to civil insecurity in the north.
  • An estimated 21 000 refugees, most of them from Mali, are living in the country, while about 921 500 individuals are internally displaced.
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) are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above in the June‑August 2020 period.
Civil insecurity
  • According to the March 2020 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 2.6 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure (Phase 3 or higher) in the second quarter of 2020. About 45 percent of the food insecure population are located in the Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, where fighting is still ongoing between the security forces and separatist armed groups. Increased levels of insecurity in the Far North Region in March and April 2020 triggered new population displacements.
Influx of refugees, floods
  • The country is estimated to host about 20 000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and about 22 000 refugees from the Central African Republic. Between October 2019 and January 2020, heavy rainfall triggered flooding that affected approximately 170 000 people, including 30 000 refugees from the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in northern and eastern areas.
  • Host communities face food shortages and limited livelihood opportunities, and refugees’ food security is essentially guaranteed by continued humanitarian assistance.
Localized shortfalls in production
  • In the first quarter of 2020, an estimated 232 000 people were in need of humanitarian assistance. The expected upturn in cereal production is likely to improve food availability, but localized harvest shortfalls will adversely affect food insecurity.
Localized shortfalls of cereal production
  • About 267 000 people are estimated to need food assistance during the June‑August 2020 period.
Localized shortfalls in production
  • Between October 2019 and March 2020, an estimated 433 000 people required food assistance. A foreseen upturn in cereal production in 2020 is likely to improve conditions, but localized harvest shortfalls in southern areas will adversely affect food insecurity in these areas.
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 8 700 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 is likely to increase as the local currency depreciates, food prices increase and opportunities for casual labour decrease.
Reduced harvests in southern areas
  • Reflecting the impact of dry weather conditions in southern regions on agricultural production, food insecurity is expected to worsen in 2020.
Localized production shortfalls
  • The national upturn in cereal production in 2020 is expected to improve the overall food security, however, in southern parts of the country, localized shortfalls in cereal production are estimated for a second consecutive year and this is expected to maintain high levels of food security in these areas.
Civil insecurity
  • The country is hosting approximately 45 000 refugees, while 251 000 internally displaced people and 84 000 returnees rely on humanitarian assistance.
  • About 1.3 million people are estimated to need food assistance between June and August 2020, according to the most recent “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, mainly as a result of the civil conflict.
Poor performance of the agro‑pastoral cropping season
  • According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 609 000 people are assessed to need assistance between June and August 2020.
  • About 63 000 refugees, mostly from Mali and who require assistance, reside in the country.
Shortfalls in staple food production
  • Cereal production in southern regions is estimated to be below average in 2020 for a second consecutive year due to rainfall deficits and this is expected to maintain a high level of food insecurity in these areas.
  • Nationwide, nearly 2 million people were assessed to be food insecure during the January‑February 2020 period.
Shortfalls in agricultural production
  • An estimated 430 000 people were already facing IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” between January and March 2020. Although an estimated increase in agricultural production will improve food availability, localized production shortfalls will stress conditions in affected areas.
Localized shortfalls in cereal production
  • According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 767 000 people are 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, 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 State, 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 881 000 refugees from South Sudan and about 415 000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are hosted in camps and rely on humanitarian assistance.
  • As of May, about 177 000 people have been affected by floods triggered by torrential rains since October 2019.
Localized crop production shortfalls
  • About 499 000 people are 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.
  • As of May, about 31 000 people have been affected by floods triggered by torrential rains since March.
Localized production shortfalls, high food prices
  • The upturn in cereal production in 2020 is expected to improve households’ food availability and ease supply pressures on maize prices, which had reached record highs earlier in the year. 
  • Moreover, in southern parts of the country, localized production shortfalls are estimated for a second consecutive year and this is likely to sustain the high levels of food insecurity in these areas.
Civil conflict, stagnant economy
  • In 2019, there were 7.9 million people unable to meet their food needs and a further 1.9 million at risk of food insecurity. This figure is likely to increase in 2020 as a result of the high food prices, stagnant wages and limited livelihood opportunities, amplified by containment measures introduced to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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
  • During the lean season, which stretches from May to August, a large portion of the population suffers from low levels of food consumption and very poor dietary diversity.
  • The economic constraints have increased the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity.
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 are like to increase with limited income‑earning opportunities and declines in remittances.
Civil conflict, population displacement, stagnant economy
  • 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 action. These include around 7.4 million people in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and 3.5 million people in IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”.
Large numbers of people affected by Tropical Cyclone Amphan, refugees continue to put strain on host communities
  • Tropical Cyclone Amphan, which made landfall in May 2020, severely affected the livelihoods of at least 1 million people, destroyed houses and infrastructure, including irrigation facilities.
  • According to the latest figures from UNHCR (May 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, stagnant economy
  • 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.
Conflict in parts of Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayin and Rakhine states
  • 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, are internally displaced, with the largest share of these IDPs sheltering in Rakhine and Kachin states.
Population displacement
  • 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.
  • Wheat and wheat flour prices, the country’s main staple, have been at high levels since the beginning of the year, constraining access to food.
Severe economic crisis
  • Amid the severe and protracted economic crisis, the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela is estimated at 5.1 million. They have settled in neighbouring countries, including Colombia (1.8 million) and Peru (829 000). Humanitarian assistance needs to assist residents in Venezuela as well as refugees and migrants in host countries are significant.
  • According to WFP’s Food Security Assessment, conducted in the third quarter of 2019, about 2.3 million people (8 percent of the total population) are severely food insecure in the country, mainly as a result of the high food prices.
Prolonged dry spells and high inflation
  • About 4.1 million people were projected to be facing severe acute food insecurity and thus in need of urgent food assistance in the March-June period due to the low 2019 cereal production, coupled with the high food prices and the economic downturn.