The humanitarian situation in Somalia is rapidly deteriorating and renewed famine is a strong possibility in 2017. Out of 12.3 million Somalis, over half (6.2 million) are acutely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, nearly 3 million face food security Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) and need urgent life-saving assistance. Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are on the move in search of food, water and treatment for malnutrition and diseases. Rural populations make up two thirds of the people in IPC Phases 3 and 4, and nearly 90 per cent of those in IPC Phase 4. Close to one million acutely malnourished children will need treatment, including 200,000 severely malnourished children who are more vulnerable than any other group and in need of immediate life-saving support.
Extreme lack of access to water is a key driver of the crisis in arid areas. Due to the depletion of water sources, some communities are relying on buying water at prices which are on the increase, beyond the reach of many. Over 4.5 million people are now in need of WASH assistance. Those who resort to unsafe water sources are at increased risk of water-borne diseases such as AWD/cholera. According to WHO, 15,655 AWD/cholera cases and 365 deaths have been reported between January and 20 March 2017, and the outbreak has now spread to 12 out of 18 regions. The number of cases has reached same levels reported for all of 2016 when Somalia experienced its most recent major outbreak of AWD/Cholera. The current case fatality rate is 2.3 per cent which is higher than the emergency threshold of 1 per cent and reflects the severity of the outbreak plus the limited access to proper health service for the affected communities. The widespread water and pasture shortages have forced people to migrate in search of food and water for domestic and livestock use. According to UNHCR, over 4,100 people have crossed into Ethiopia in January and February 2017 (OCHA, 24 Mar 2017)
According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network, 683,000 people have been displaced by the drought since November 2016 (as of 23 May 2017). The Education Cluster is estimating that 270,000 of the displaced people are children between the ages of 5 and 18. The significant increase in displacement is putting additional pressure on the already strained education system in urban areas. There is a need to increase the capacity of existing public schools to allow for displaced children to enroll as well as establish temporary learning spaces in new IDP settlements where there are no public schools nearby. (OCHA, 23 May 2017)