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. Between November 2016 and the end of February 2017, around 257,000 people have been internally displaced due to drought, according to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Most of the newly displaced are moving into urban areas and joining existing settlements or establishing new settlements, while others are crossing into neighbouring countries. In Baidoa alone, close to 50,000 people have arrived since November, and the number of settlements for IDPs has increased from 78 to 140 sites. According to UNHCR, over 4,100 people have crossed into Ethiopia in January and February 2017 (OCHA, 24 Mar 2017)
Chronic conflict is preventing effective response to Somalia’s prolonged drought and humanitarian crisis. This special briefing, the third in a series of four examining the famine threats there and in Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria, urges Somalia to improve governance and promote countrywide clan reconciliation to end the war.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia is deteriorating and there is renewed risk of famine in 2017, only six years after a devastating famine in 2011 led to the death of more than a quarter million people, half of the children. Over 6.2 million people are estimated to be in need of assistance, more than half of the population of Somalia. Disease outbreaks are affecting most of the country and more than 620,000 people have been displaced from their homes due to drought since November 2016, including 5,000 who have crossed into neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya.
Over 2.9 million people in Somalia face crisis or emergency level acute food insecurity and need emergency food aid, as a result of below average to failed rains in many areas in 2016 that reduced crop production and harmed livestock. In the current April-June rainy season little to no rainfall occurred across much of Somalia in April, but rain has begun and is forecasted in May. Lack of potable water has accelerated an acute watery diarrhea/cholera outbreak with an estimated 32,000 cases reported since the beginning of the year.
A total of 3,475 AWD/ cholera cases and 43 deaths (CFR– 1.2%) were reported during week 17 (24– 30 April 2017) in 50 districts in 13 regions. Of these, cases were reported from Buhodle district, Togdheer region, which represents 26% of the total cases.
There is a slight increase in the number of new AWD/ cholera cases and deaths reported – 3475 cases/ 43 deaths were recorded in week 17 compared to 3356 cases/ 60 deaths in week 16.
20 million people at risk of famine, an additional 10 million threatened by famine in the coming months
80% rely on agriculture for their livelihood
USD 218 million funding gap
The world faces one of the largest food crises in 70 years, with 20 million people in four countries — northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen — at risk of famine. If no action is taken, an additional 10 million will be threatened by famine.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia has rapidly deteriorated in 2017. Over 6.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than 600,000 have been newly displaced since November 2016. Humanitarian partners have significantly scaled up humanitarian assistance, but joint efforts need to be sustained to avert famine in the worst drought-affected areas.
Japan Ambassador to Kenya visited Dadaab to support the youth
On 24th April, the Japan Ambassador to Kenya, HE Toshitsugu Uesawa, visited Dadaab Refugee Camps and donated footballs, uniforms and pumps to youth teams as part of the “Sports for Tomorrow” initiative announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013.
5 May 2017 – Somalia is suffering from the largest cholera outbreak in the past five years and the number of people killed is expected to double by the end of June, the United Nations health agency.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported close to 32,000 cases of cholera, including 618 deaths, since the beginning of the year.
Mogadishu, 5 May 2017 – The deteriorating drought situation in Somalia has forced hundreds of families to abandon their homes in search of food and water in major towns.
However, some of the drought victims have adopted ways to beat the worst drought to ever face the Horn of Africa country in the last five years to supplement assistance received from aid agencies.
Over 20 million people in north-east Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia are already at or over the tipping point of famine. Thanks to the generosity of its donors,CERF has released $93 million for early action and life-saving operations in Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. In north-east Nigeria, an allocation of $22 million is reaching an estimated 2.9 million people affected by Boko Haram related violence and food insecurity. In Somalia, CERF has allocated $33 million to help vulnerable people in severe drought areas in Puntland, Somaliland and South Central.
The Horn of Africa is facing one of the worst droughts in decades, leaving more than 14 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in urgent need of food assistance. Extensive crop failures, record low vegetation coupled with livestock death and limited water resources are affecting the region.
Despite recent rainfall, seasonal rain remains below-average across much of East Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Below-average rainfall accumulations since late February have resulted in significant moisture deficits, which have already negatively impacted agricultural and pastoral activities in many parts of southern South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and northern Tanzania.
Gu rains started in most parts of Somalia after one to two weeks delay
The Gu rainy season kicked off in the last week of March in some areas of Somaliland including southern parts of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed and Togdheer regions. The March rains were poorly distributed in terms of space and time, but provided an immediate relief to water stressed areas.
The month of April saw a reduction of rainfall activities with most stations recording below normal rains for the month. There was a relief in the last week of April when heavy rains were observed in many areas.
In several East African countries the critical humanitarian situation continues. Despite massive efforts from the UN and organizations such as the Danish Refugee Council, more people are at risk of hunger every day.
In Somalia more than 615,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in search of food and water since November last year. The severe drought continues in most of the country and is forcing thousands of people to move towards the urban areas, where humanitarian assistance can be found.
By Suresh Babu
WASHINGTON DC, May 4 2017 (IPS) - The emerging drought-induced humanitarian crisis—prevailing in countries from Niger in West Africa to Somalia in East Africa—and conflict-driven famine conditions in South Sudan, Somalia, and Northeast Nigeria, have become a regular phenomenon.
Even though these food crises can be prevented, they persistently arise due to the development community’s collective amnesia on what has worked and what has not in famine response, recovery, and resilience-building.
The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate and the possibility of famine in 2017 persists.
Rainfall intensified in many parts of the country over the past week and flash floods were reported in Bari, Nugaal, Mudug and Bay regions. The rains are expected to continue in most parts of the country in the next seven days, but with less magnitude.
Light to moderate rains continued to be received in a few places across the country in the last two days. Togdheer and Woqooyi Galbeed regions in Somaliland recorded good rains which was well distributed in space and time since 01 May 2017. Southern parts of the country also received good rains in a few pockets since the beginning of the month. There was a significant reduction of rainfall activities in Puntland over the last two days.
by Bertha Wangari, Information and Communications Assistant, EU Humanitarian Aid.
A growing number of Somali refugees who have lived for decades in Kenya’s Dadaab camp are returning to Somalia via a repatriation program run by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. Dadaab refugee camp is one of the biggest camps in the world. Citing security concerns, the government of Kenya has announced its intention to repatriate Somali refugees and close Dadaab camp which has hosted refugees for over 25 years.