Humanitarian Bulletin Somalia, February 2017 | Issued on 7 March 2017

Situation Report
Originally published
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  • Somalia declares drought a national disaster
  • Partners scale up response to avert a famine
  • Funding contributions and commitments boost drought response
  • Access challenges hamper effective reasons

Somalia declares drought a national disaster

Situation could degenerate into a famine
The President of the Federal Government of Somalia declared a national disaster as drought conditions continue to deepen affecting millions of Somalis across the country. Addressing a High Level Roundtable on Drought Response on 28 February in Mogadishu, the President called on the international and national stakeholders to redouble their efforts to avert the worst.

The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating and famine is possible in 2017. Half of the population - 6.2 million people – are now facing acute food insecurity, up from five million people in September 2016. Of these, nearly 3 million need urgent life-saving assistance, another drastic increase from 1.1 million six months ago.

Worsening drought conditions have led to widespread water and pasture shortages forcing people to migrate in search of food and water for domestic and livestock use. Some are already selling their assets, and borrowing food and money to survive. Displacement, malnutrition and drought-related diseases are all on the rise. School children are dropping out due to the drought.

Prices of key staples such as maize and sorghum continued to surge in January and at very high levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In Mogadishu, the prices of coarse grains increased up to 35 per cent in January and February. In most markets in the key maize producing region of Lower Shabelle, maize prices surged in January by between 32 and 41 per cent, according to FAO. Overall, prices of coarse grains in January in key markets of central and southern Somalia more than doubled their levels when compared to 12 months ago. Food prices are likely to spike further in the coming months, as an earlier than usual stock depletion will be compounded by poor Gu 2017 forecast. Pasture shortages have led to a deterioration of livestock body conditions. Livestock prices declined by up to 60 per cent compared to one year ago. Declining livestock prices and increasing cereal prices have sharply depleted the terms of trade for pastoralists over the past 12 months. The severe drought has also caused a sharp decline in milk production and a surge in milk prices.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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