Our working context
According to 2023 UNOCHA’s situation analysis, the humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to deteriorate. The severe drought, hunger, disease and violence merge to bring Somalia to the brink of famine. An estimated 8.25 million people (1.5 million children under five, 1.8 million girls (five to 17 years), 1.8 million boys (five to 17 years), 1.3 million women, 1.4 million men and 412,000 elderly) require humanitarian assistance. Significant segments of the population are on the brink of famine. In the absence of sufficient funding and enhanced capacity, Famine is projected between April and June 2023 and beyond for three population groups in the following areas: Baidoa and Burhakaba Rural districts as well as IDPs in Baidoa and Mogadishu
Following the historic failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, Somalia is facing a climatic event not seen in at least four decades.
The current drought (2021-2023) is the longest and most severe in recent history and has surpassed the 2010/2011 and 2016/2017 droughts in terms of duration and severity. Climate change and variability are increasingly understood as major drivers of conflict in Somalia as the struggle for dwindling resources exacerbate clan divisions and inter-clan conflict. Climate change disrupts rural livelihoods resulting in rapid urbanization which in turn contributes to high rates of forced evictions. These evictions are among the most severe and prevalent protection threats in Somalia and represent both a cause and a multiplier of the internal displacement crisis.
The prolonged drought, conflict, high food and water prices and displacement are driving the country to the brink of famine.
One in two Somalis is facing food insecurity. Over 8.3 million Somalis (49 per cent of the population) are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity between April and June 2023, and about 1.8 million children under five are likely to face acute malnutrition through June including over 513,000 who are expected to be severely malnourished. About 1.8 million children under five are likely to face acute malnutrition through mid-2023 including over 513,000 who are expected to be severely malnourished. Disease incidence, including an increase in measles cases, contributes to rising levels of acute malnutrition. Over 1.3 million children received treatment for malnutrition between January and November 2022. At the same time, 1,049 children have died in nutrition centers since January 2022 following related complications. Many more may have died without being able to receive treatment.
Although the formation of a new Government and the peaceful transition of presidential power in May 2022 brought some level of political stability, the security situation in Somalia remains extremely volatile.
In addition to ongoing political and inter-clan tensions, the recent escalation of the military offensive against Al-Shabaab has resulted in significant humanitarian impacts including increased displacement and reprisal attacks. Overall, it is expected that up to 450,000 additional civilians will be displaced due to conflict in 2023. Protection concerns include widespread forced family separation, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, freedom of movement restrictions, forced recruitment, abductions and destruction of civilian.
Mortality in famine is often driven by disease which overwhelms a weakened immune system.
Somalia is experiencing epidemic outbreaks with a measles outbreak that resulted in significant deaths as well as an uptick in cholera. The high epidemic risks are attributed to low vaccination coverage, poor WASH coverage, a shortage of functional health facilities, low capacity for surveillance and rapid response to alerts. Increasing food insecurity and declining water availability and quality have led to outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) and cholera in many parts of the country. As of December 2022, 13,430 cumulative suspected AWD cases and 73 deaths were reported. Similarly, more than 16,000 cumulative suspected cases of measles were reported, 77 per cent among children below five years of age.
The lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable and marginalized people have been irreversibly harmed and last-resort coping mechanisms have been exhausted.
According to the World Bank, overall inflation is projected at above nine per cent with food inflation reaching 17.5 per cent which increases the pressure on households. High food prices disproportionately affect poor households including internally displaced people (IDPs) and exacerbate inequality.