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  • Food security analysis conducted in six regions of Ethiopia indicates that, despite ongoing assistance, an estimated 8 million people (27% of the 28.7 million people analysed) were severely food insecure in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or worse between July and September 2019. Of these, about 6.1 million people were classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and about 1.9 million people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). 
  • Between October 2019 and January 2020, Ethiopia’s food security situation is likely to improve slightly due to the seasonal (Meher) harvests. However, the below  normal  Belg season production, conflict and climate-induced displacement, high food prices, and the long dry spell in the northeastern pastoral areas will likely affect the food security situation resulting in about 6.7 million people expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.  
  • Between February and June 2020, harvests from the Meher season will  likely be dwindling and insufficient to sustain adequate food consumption through the lean season in areas that rely on Belg agricultural and pastoral production. Moreover, households relying on pastoral livelihoods typically depend on markets for food during this period. As food prices are expected to remain higher than previous years, these will most likely affect market access. About 8.5 million people are thus expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.
  • The analysis includes all food insecure households irrespective of whether they benefit from Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), including current IDPs or returnees. Several factors exacerbate food insecurity in Ethiopia. Conflict and climatic factors have driven internal displacement in different parts of the country, disrupting livelihood activities and distorting food market systems and prices. As of end of September 2019, there were around 1.64 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (IOM, September 2019). About two thirds were displaced by inter-communal violence, while those displaced by climatic factors were estimated to be slightly below half a million. Below average Belg and Gu/Sugum rainfall in parts of Afar, Oromia, Somali, Tigray and SNNP regions, curtailed food production and reduced livestock production. High staple food prices, up to 98%, were also registered in parts of Afar, Oromia, SNNP, Somali and Tigray limiting food access for the poorest households.

Actions Needed

Despite expected seasonal improvements in the food security situation during the October 2019 to January 2020, there will most likely be more than 6.7 million people (24% of analysed population) requiring humanitarian food assistance. In comparison with the first projection period, the food security situation is expected to worsen during the second projection period February - June 2020 to around 8.5 million (28% of the total population analysed). The food insecure population requires urgent humanitarian assistance to save lives and protect livelihoods, reduce food consumption gaps and acute malnutrition. The IPC analysis includes all food insecure households irrespective of whether they benefit from Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), including current IDPs or IDP returnees. 

The following urgent actions are recommended: 

  • Scale up the ongoing humanitarian response to meet all the needs of the food insecure (Phase 3+) population and expanding social safety nets to more households; 
  • Restore and Enhance the livelihood of IDP returnees as well as vulnerable farming and pastoralist communities, by subsidizing basic commodities and agricultural inputs; 
  • Scale up public works programs and rehabilitation of rural community assets, through food and cash based transfer modalities (food-for-work, cash-for-work and food-for-assets programs) aiming at improving access to food 
  • Support ongoing initiatives on social cohesion and peace building efforts in order to reduce the impact of conflicts on food security, nutrition and livelihoods situation of affected populations.
  • In areas affected by shortage of water and public health challenges, improve access to water, hygiene and sanitation for affected population as well as improve access to water to support community-based initiatives that contribute to stabilize and maintain the livelihoods. 
  • Support integrated food security, nutrition, livelihoods and health Programmes targeting in areas affected by diseases such as Malaria and Cholera by reducing the impact of diseases on households’ livelihoods. 

Special attention should be given to displaced population and all recently returned IDPs. The severity of their situation might be masked by the overall area classification. The conflict-induced displacement of population has continued damaging the lives and livelihoods of the affected population. The humanitarian community, donors and partners should continue advocating for and implement an integrated approach of providing humanitarian assistance, and side by side implementing activities that enhance resilience of livelihoods and continuous monitoring of the IDP situation. 

The food insecurity of Ethiopia has a protracted nature, which requires context-specific implementation alignment of short, medium and long-term objectives addressing the drivers of crises, enhancing resilience, and developing capacities simultaneously in a complementary and synergetic manner for the crop and pastoralist livelihood systems. This will facilitate implementation of the Humanitarian-Development-Nexus by implementing the collaboration on strategy, planning and designing programmes to enhance synergies, complementarity and coherence. 

Adverse climatic conditions and shocks, conflict, price hike and economic instability were the main drivers of food insecurity in 2019 for both crop farmers and pastoralist and agro pastoral livelihood systems. Hence, the response analysis and planning should consider additional investments in resilience and on adaptation to climate change to provide food insecure households with a buffer against future shocks and stop the cycle of recurring food crisis.

Situation monitoring and update activities 

Food security and nutrition outcomes and humanitarian assistance should be monitored, as the situation could further deteriorate if response mechanisms are not in place or if they are insufficient. The IPC TWG highly recommends to all stakeholders and decision makers:

  • To continue providing the necessary technical, financial, logistics, and administrative support to regularly conduct Integrated Food Security and Nutrition household surveys that will be used for future IPC analysis. This will ensure all livelihood zones and hotspot weredas have most recent data and information.
  • To ensure compatibility and synergy, stakeholders and partners are advised to streamline their data/information collection and analysis according to global standardized assessment methodologies. This is crucial that IPC partners should collect and analyse data on vulnerable populations to ensure a targeted and integrated response for multiple partners working to address in humanitarian, development and peace nexus.
  • In order to analyse the food security and nutrition situation at a lower administrative level, the IPC TWG recommends planning woreda level data collection and information sharing in order to overcome the data gaps, reduce masking and strengthen food security analysis at all levels. 



Population in IPC Phases

Current July - September 2019

Projected October 2019 - January 2020

Projected February - June 2020

IPC Classification Maps

Current July - September 2019

Projected October 2019 - January 2020

Projected February - June 2020




The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is an innovative tool for improving food security analysis and decision-making. By providing a set of analytical tools and procedures, IPC allows governments and partners to work together to classify the severity and magnitude of acute and chronic food insecurity, and acute malnutrition according to scientific international standards.

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