Somalia is facing the worst episodes of food insecurity seen in decades, with an estimated 7.8 million people severely affected by the drought due to unprecedented impacts of multiple failed rainy seasons and soaring food prices that have created a perfect storm of a humanitarian crisis. A historic fifth poor rainy season is forecasted, which will keep needs high into 2023, and worsen food insecurity as well as water scarcity.
According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), 7.1 million people are now acutely food insecure—including over 213,000 people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5)—and eight areas of the country are at risk of famine between August and February 2023.
Somalia is already impacted by cumulative shocks, including conflict, extreme weather conditions, climate change, desert locusts and the negative socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the country has experienced climate-induced crises for decades, the impact of the current drought has been severe.
The 2022 drought is compounded by skyrocketing commodity prices exacerbated further by the war in Ukraine. Prices of basic commodities have risen by 140 to 160 percent, leaving poor families hungry and destitute.
Climate forecasts indicated below average rainfall in the October/November season. If these short rains fall, it will help replenish water and pasture resources but there will be no immediate improvement in the drought situation.
Although donors have donated to the Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan which is currently 70 per cent funded, humanitarian needs in Somalia have continued to increase over the last months. Without sustained funding to facilitate a rapid response, we are looking at a potential catastrophe.
The humanitarian situation has been aggravated by the Covid -19 pandemic. Families in the diaspora that have been a lifeline for communities in Somalia during times of drought, have also been affected by COVID 19, some falling sick and dying and many losing jobs and therefore unable to support families back home.
With the increasing frequency of climate disasters and without adequate funding and long-term support to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs in the country, the Somali NGO Consortium warns that the current situation is likely to escalate to a catastrophe unless countries, institutional donors, corporates, the Somali diaspora, philanthropic individuals step up efforts and avail more funds immediately and quickly to save lives.
**Adverse climate change characterized by prolonged dry spells are placing 7.8 million people at risk of potential catastrophe **in the coming months if no immediate humanitarian finance is mobilized to deliver aid.
A fully supported humanitarian response can have real impact in Somalia, from lessons learnt in 2017 when a famine was averted. Even with the current inadequate funding, humanitarian partners have reached drought-affected people with life-saving support. The scale and severity of the crisis demand an immediate large-scale response to prevent potential famine. We need to ACT NOW to save lives!
**Over 500 children have died in nutrition centres across the country since January 2022 **and an estimated 1.5 million children under age five face acute malnutritionof which nearly 386,400 are likely to be severely malnourished by the end of 2022. Urgent Action is needed to save lives.
The number of people displaced by the record-breaking drought in Somalia since January 2021 has crossed the one million mark, 66% are children. This adds to 2.9 million already in the camps for internally displaced persons. Further displacement into major cities will overwhelm critical services such as health care.
Women and children continue to bear the brunt of the humanitarian crisis as they face a heightened risk of sexual violence and harassment. There is an urgent need to ensure children’s specific needs are considered with both stand-alone actions and enhanced mainstreaming and integration efforts**.**
The education of 2.4 million school-going children has been affected by the drought, with 1.7 million children already out of school. A further 720,000 children are at risk of dropping out. Experience from past droughts indicates that 90 per cent of children who dropped out of school never returned.
**More than 3 million livestock have perished since mid-2021, even camels known to endure harsh conditions have succumbed to the drought **reflecting the large-scale loss of food and income from livestock and milk sales as well as milk production.
More than 4.5 million people cannot access enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Many water points have dried up or diminished in quality, heightening the risk of water-borne diseases, and increasing the risk of skin and eye infections. In some of the worst affected areas, water prices have spiked by up to 72 per cent since November 2021.
The drought-affected Somalis are the human face of the global climate emergency that they have done little to create. As humanitarians focus on saving lives and averting famine, there is a critical need to invest in livelihoods, resilience, infrastructure development, climate adaptation and durable solutions to ensure those affected can adapt and thrive in the future.
Priorities localization and provide direct, long-term, flexible funding to INGOs, particularly local NGOs of aid for immediate response close to rural populations as possible is key — based on the lessons learned in 2017 to mitigate the impact of the drought on lives and livelihoods and to minimize further displacements.
Strengthened coordination efforts by stakeholders bringing together local, national, and international NGOs, the Federal Government, regional authorities and upscale of life-saving assistance and facilitating access to ensure no one is left behind.
Timely humanitarian action prevented more extreme outcomes during the lasts multi-season drought in 2017. Urgent humanitarian action is needed to avert a preventable famine like the 2010-2011 famine in which over a quarter of a million people died in Somalia including 133,000 children under the age of five. WE CANNOT WAIT FOR A DISASTER TO HAPPEN TO ACT!
Source: Somali NGO Consortium