Somalia: Drought Response - Situation Report No. 1 (as of 24 March 2017)

Highlights

• Depletion of water sources and lack of sanitation facilities have led to a sharp increase in cases of AWD/cholera in 12 of 18 regions, in particular in Bay and Bakool regions. Case fatality rates at 2.3 per cent are of serious concern.

• Humanitarian partners are scaling up response and reached nearly 1.1 million people with improved access to food in February, doubling its response from January. Further scale-up is urgently required across all clusters. Priorities include treatment and prevention of AWD/Cholera, improved access to food and safe water, nutritional treatment for malnourished children, protection, shelter and non-food support to newly displaced.

• Drought Operations Coordination Centres (DOCC) were opened in Mogadishu on 27 February and in Baidoa on 19 March. A DOCC will be opened in Garowe on 30 March.

• Donors have moved quickly to support scale-up of response and a total of US$369 has been made available for humanitarian assistance since January. Additional resources are urgently required to enable further scale-up.

Situation Overview

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.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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