ACT Alliance Alert: Drought Emergency Response in Somalia

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original


1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by up to four consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. In the worst affected areas, poor rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow food and money to survive. Since mid-2015, drought conditions have been expanding with impact worsening over time. The drought situation is compounded by protracted conflict which is causing displacements, seasonal climatic shocks as a result of most extreme El Niño phenomenon in 50 years, and disease outbreaks.

The latest food security and nutrition analysis from the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) issued on 2 February 2017, reveals that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 5 million in September 2016 to 6.2 million between February 2017 and June 2017. That is more than half the population. The situation for children is especially grave. Some 363,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of critical nutrition support, including life-saving treatment for more than 71,000 severely malnourished children. Some 1.9 million people may die of preventable diseases due to lack of access to primary health care services. The maternal mortality ratio for Somalia is among the highest in the world at 732 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Preliminary forecasts indicate that below average to near average rainfall is expected to prevail across most parts of Somalia during the forthcoming 2017 Gu (April-June) season. As a result, only minimal improvements are expected during this time and in some areas further deterioration in food security is possible.

2. Why is an ACT response needed?

The eminent lack of water in Somalia and high levels of malnutrition call for life saving interventions to ensure that previous gains made in Somalia are not lost. Following consecutive rain failure and lack of support from the international community despite all early warnings provided throughout 2016, there is need to give serious attention to the current drought situation to avert a crisis as witnessed during the 2011 famine.

3. National and international response

The Federal Government of Somalia issued a drought appeal, declaring a state of emergency while appealing to the Somali diaspora, the UN and international community to take swift lifesaving action in responding to the current drought situation to avert a crisis in the country. This call was echoed by the Puntland and Somaliland governments. Other international organisations and UN agencies have also placed alerts warning of impeding famine if immediate action is not taken.

4. ACT Alliance response

Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) with a combined funding of USD 416,298 from Ministry of foreign affairs Norway and Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as well as Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) have been able to respond to the needs of 22,000 beneficiaries (3,666 households) by enabling access to emergency water, rehabilitation of existing water facilities and through awareness creation on the need to adopt appropriate hygiene and sanitation practices to reduced exposure to disease outbreaks.

Diakonia Sweden through its partner, Kaalo Aid and Development (KAD), has intervened in Alla Amin IDP camp in North Galkayo district in Mudug Region, targeting 4’500 beneficiaries (750 households). The total amount in the intervention was US$100,000 from the Swedish PostCode Lottery. This two-month intervention, which started in December 2016, is providing food and water to the drought and conflict affected Internally Displaced Persons and also rehabilitating two shallow wells in the IDP camp. Finn Church Aid (FCA) is currently carrying out humanitarian activities on enhancing resilience of vulnerable returned IDPs and host community for 4,320 beneficiaries (720 households) in Burao and Odweyne districts, Toghdeer region. In this one-year project that started in April 2016, there are cash for work (CFW) activities which include: rehabilitation of dams, excavation of garbage pits, excavation of communal pit latrines, desilting of water channels and well.

5. Planned activities

ACT Somalia Forum members through NCA, FCA, LWF, Diakonia Sweden and DKH plan to respond by providing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities and services, Education(school-feeding programs) Health and Nutrition, Cash based interventions, Livestock interventions, as well as Early recovery and Livelihoods support to the affected populations in various Districts in Puntland and Somaliland states.

6. Constraints

Current challenges may include limited funding to respond to the increasing needs, access due to insecurity in territorially disputed regions and the influx of IDPS following the current drought conditions and returnees due to the closure of the refugee camps in Kenya.

Forum Contact and Information: Kirsten Engebak NCA Somalia Representative, (ACT Somalia Forum Chair); Email; +254 724 259 849.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to the Head of Finance and Administration, Line Hempel ( and Senior Finance Officer, Lorenzo Correa (

For further information please contact:
ACT Regional Representative – Africa, Gezahegn K. Gebrehana (
ACT website address: