Key Humanitarian Messages on Somalia, 14 February 2013
The humanitarian situation in Somalia has continued to improve since the famine, but 1 million people are still in crisis. Continued humanitarian assistance is required to help these most vulnerable people and consolidate the gains to prevent future crises.
According to data released at the end of the harvest in January, the number of people who can not meet their basic needs without assistance has reduced by half to 1 million. This shows that our innovative approaches to aid delivery, coupled with relatively favorable rains, has made a profound difference in the lives of people. However, the situation remains fragile. A further 1.7 million people who emerged from crisis in the past year could fall back without continued support to build up their livelihoods.
Malnutrition rates remain among the highest in the world. An estimated 215,000 children under five years of age are acutely malnourished (14 per cent of all children under 5) of which 45,000 are severely malnourished. In southern Somalia and parts of the North and Central regions, the nutrition situation is likely to remain critical in the first half of the year due to the lack of health infrastructure, poor feeding practices and outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea and measles during the April to June rainy season.
An estimated 1.1 million Somalis are internally displaced, often living in deplorable conditions. Another one million Somalis are refugees in neighbouring countries.
The progress made in the food security situation over the past year and the changing security and political landscape present opportunities to break the cycle of recurring crises brought on by drought and conflict.
While the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains critical, we now have the best opportunity in the past 20 years to break the cycle of repeated crises.
Access continues to gradually improve, although Somalia remains one of the most challenging and dangerous environments in the world for humanitarians. Nine aid workers were killed in Somalia in 2012.
Humanitarian efforts have been given a boost by the good harvest in January and we expect the number of people in crisis to rise only marginally between now and June, a period when food stocks begin to run low and rains increase the risk of disease. By building up Somalis’ ability to cope with drought and other shocks, we can prevent future shocks from developing into humanitarian catastrophe.
Humanitarians have an innovative three-year strategy that addresses the protracted nature of crisis in Somalia
The Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) strategy, which was launched in Somalia for the first time in December and is also the first multi-year CAP, allows for far greater continuity in programming, which enhances resilience that ultimately addresses the protracted nature of the crisis.
The $1.33 billion required in the first year of the three-year CAP will fund projects that address the needs of 3.8 million Somalis. The funding appeal will allow humanitarian organizations to scale up their presence in Somalia to increase programming and enhance monitoring to ensure donor funds are properly spent. The CAP in 2013 also includes multi-sector projects for 60,000 Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in Somalia, as well as increased programming to ensure returns are durable.
Famine conditions developed in 2011 and tens of thousands of lives were lost because impoverished people were unable to withstand the drought and massive rise in food prices. Without the generous support of donors, many more lives would have been lost. Support for the resilience programming in the CAP is an investment that will help Somalis move from crisis towards a sustainable situation.
We remain deeply concerned about the effects of ongoing conflict on civilians
For decades, civilians, especially women and children, have borne the brunt of conflict in Somalia. This is unacceptable. All parties to the conflict should make every effort to protect civilians and allow full humanitarian access to people in need. When put in place, measures to minimize civilian casualties have proven to be successful in the past year.
Humanitarian actors remain strictly neutral and independent of the political and military processes. Our aim is always to help those most in need.
We call on all parties to the conflict to cease the illegal recruitment or use of children in armed conflict.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.