Humanitarian Bulletin Somalia, February 2018
Localized drought conditions worsen as hotspot areas bear the brunt.
Over 1.2 million children will be malnourished in 2018.
London conference draws attention to Somalia crisis.
Somalia Humanitarian Fund supports early action, but more is urgently needed.
Areas in the north face high levels of food insecurity
Severe drought conditions continue to compound the humanitarian situation in several parts of Somalia. While the risk of famine has reduced, humanitarian needs are worryingly high and the fragile gains which have been made in 2017 could easily be reversed. Areas in northern and central pastoral parts of the country are experiencing a deterioration in the humanitarian situation as they face high levels of food insecurity.
Somaliland authorities, through the National Disaster Preparedness and Food Authority, declared a drought emergency on 31 January calling for urgent humanitarian assistance in areas facing acute food crisis. In Puntland, on 27 February, the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA) issued an appeal for urgent humanitarian assistance for over 600,000 drought-affected people. This appeal follows an earlier warning by HADMA on 15 February, regarding the worsening impact of the drought conditions. Priority needs include food, water, health and nutrition assistance.
In these areas, with the majority of people (62 per cent) in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), the need for assistance remains high and urgent, particularly among internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those in rural livelihoods zones. Pastoralists in northern and central regions lost a large percentage of livestock in 2017, and the recovery of herds to pre-crisis levels will require several consecutive favourable seasons.
The post-Deyr analysis by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), projects that the expected deterioration of the current poor pasture and water shortages during the dry Jilaal (January – March) season will almost certainly adversely affect livestock reproduction, access to agricultural employment, and water and food prices. Several areas face acute humanitarian needs, mainly those with numerous population groups classified as Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4). In particular, Galmudug and regions of Sool and Sanaag in the north face large basic food gaps. The situation in Sool and Sanaag has been compounded by renewed military tension between Somaliland and Puntland.
The drought, spanning four consecutive below-average rainy seasons, has eroded households’ livelihoods and coping mechanisms, caused mass displacement, and exhausted the resilience of many families across the country. Recovery for the most vulnerable populations will be extremely challenging and slow. Due to these underlying vulnerabilities, seasonal improvements are fragile, with a likely rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in many areas, unless the assistance levels seen in 2017 are sustained.
Nearly half a million people in Somalia are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and a further 2.2 million are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and are in urgent need of life-saving assistance as their situation will deteriorate by June 2018. Pastoralists are amongst the hardest hit by drought, but crop-dependent areas will feel the impact much earlier than livestock zones. Hotspots, especially where crop failure and livestock deaths are being reported, need to be prioritized for assistance.
The current forecast is for an average to below-average rainfall during the Gu (April – June) rainy season, when most of Somalia’s staple food is grown. According to the latest Climate Outlook, the 2018 Gu season will result in depressed rains in many parts of the country.
This might further exacerbate the existing drought conditions in some areas, as well as aggravate the situation of people in Crisis and Emergency.