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)
“We are overstretched and as we speak we are receiving more patients,” said Dr. Mohamed Dahir, who as a medical doctor in Somalia is struggling to cope with high levels of malnutrition.
There is a massive influx of people into the region of Gedo in South Central Somalia where he works. They are fleeing drought. This has led to high levels of hunger in the area. The assistance available is not enough to keep up with the need.
Mogadishu, 27 April 2017 – Over 1.7 million people have been reached with food security response activities in Somalia as part of the ongoing effort to avert a famine in the country and the drought response still needs to be scaled up to meet the increasing needs, the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Vincent Lelei told a press briefing in the Somali capital today.
Mr. Lelei noted that the need to provide humanitarian assistance to the millions of people affected by the drought crisis continues to outpace response efforts.
Rainfall Outlook: April - June 2017
The world faces one of the largest food crises in 70 years, with 30 million people in four countries — northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen — suffering severe acute food insecurity. If no action is taken, millions may die of hunger.
Many parts of the country remained generally dry throughout the month of March 2017 with extreme drought conditions spreading further to the larger parts of the country.
The Gu rains normally start in late March in the north western parts of the country and by mid April in the rest of the country.
Dryness continues to worsen over the Horn of Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Below-average rainfall since late February have resulted in moderate to locally strong 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.
Mid-season rains perform very poorly in much of the Horn of Africa
Seasonal rainfall has performed very poorly during the month of April in much of the Horn of Africa, following a delayed onset and well below-average rainfall over many areas. During this time, some of the worst drought-affected areas, including much of Somalia, northeastern Kenya, and southeastern Ethiopia, receiving little or no rainfall.
Delayed and below-average Gu rains in many parts of the country
The search for durable solutions to the protracted displacement situation in the region is a key humanitarian and development concern. This is a regional/ cross border issue, dynamic, with a strong political dimension, and which demands a multi-sectorial response that goes beyond the existing humanitarian agenda.
615,000 drought displacements since November 2016
18,000 arrivals to Mogadishu 1 - 21 April 2017
34,700 arrivals to Baidoa 1 - 21 April 2017
75,000 drought-displaced during 1 - 21 April 2017
Drought has brought Somalia to the brink of famine, but a modest injection of cash can give families in rural areas a lifeline to see them into the expected rainy season. More than 55,000 homes in Somalia have already received $100 to improve their nutrition situation. The most vulnerable of them will receive up to three rounds of cash to help them get back on their feet.
More than a million children in Somalia are at risk of increased violence, child labour and of being separated from their families due to the devastating drought ravaging the country, new research from Save the Children has revealed.
The study of more than 600 people found the impact of the drought has gone far beyond life threatening shortages of essentials like food and water, and identified high levels of psychological distress faced by children who are exhibiting unusual symptoms like bouts of crying and screaming.
NIGERIA, SOUTH SUDAN, SOMALIA, AND YEMEN ARE FACING FAMINE OR A CREDIBLE RISK OF FAMINE
CLUSTER SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
SO1: Contribute to the protection of newly displaced people and those affected by natural hazards. (NFIs, ESKs)
SO2: Improve the living conditions of the protracted internally displaced persons (Transitional shelters, NFIs)
SO3: Facilitate access to durable solutions for IDPs that are willing to locally integrate or return (Permanent shelters)
OXFAM MEDIA BRIEFING
27 April 2017
Nearly eleven million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are dangerously hungry and in need of humanitarian assistance. The worst drought-affected areas in Somalia are on the brink of famine.
This weekly bulletin focuses on selected public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African region. WHO AFRO is currently monitoring 41 events: two Grade 3, six Grade 2, two Grade 1, and 31 ungraded events.
This week, one new event has been reported: an outbreak of hepatitis E in Niger.
by Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations, ICRC
We are on the brink of a humanitarian mega-crisis unprecedented in recent history. The spectre of famine looms large over parts of Africa and the Middle East.
We must act now. What is needed is a broad and massive scaling up of support from the international community. If we treat this as "business as usual", the long-term cost in human lives will only rise.
The consequences of not dedicating the resources to avert these disasters and address their root causes could affect us all.
Fear of prosecution under UK and US counter-terror laws hinders those trying to provide humanitarian assistance in areas held by Islamic militants
Strict British and US counter-terrorism laws are discouraging humanitarian organisations from delivering vital emergency assistance to millions of people facing starvation and fatal diseases in drought-hit Somalia.
Read more on the Guardian