HRI 2011: Focus on Somalia - A Predictable Crisis
Crisis at a Glance:
Somalia has had one of the longest humanitarian crises in the world, with over two decades of conflict and insecurity. It is a highly politicised, complex crisis that brings together extreme vulnerability, a weak and fragile state, complex internal and regional power struggles and the dynamics of the War on Terror.
There are nearly 1.5 million Somali IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and almost 800,000 refugees, mainly in camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
At the time of the HRI mission in February, many parts of the country were suffering from a long-term drought, with over 2 million people requiring assistance.
By June, despite months of warning signs, the situation deteriorated into a full-scale famine, with an estimated 4 million Somalis in need of urgent assistance.
The radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab has killed, threatened and expelled many humanitarian workers, denying vulnerable populations access to assistance in areas they control.
Conflict and insecurity in many parts of the country force humanitarian agencies to manage operations remotely from Nairobi, making it difficult to accurately assess needs and monitor and follow-up on actions.
The UN appealed in June for a record US$1.5 billion to support famine relief efforts, of which 81% has been covered to date. Since then, good rains in October have eased the situation slightly, but needs persist, and a long-term commitment by donors to build resilience, prevent future famines and resolve the political instability in the country is urgently required.