IFRC Somalia Program Overview 2019


This document complements the 2019 Country operational plan1 and reflects the IFRC support to the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) in the agreed areas of focus.

Main challenges in the country

The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is among the most complex and longstanding emergencies. For over 3 decades, poverty, marginalization, armed violence, insecurity, political instability, natural hazards and lack of development have affected vulnerable communities in Somalia. By the end of 2017, over 6.2 million people needed humanitarian assistance across the country. The frequency and severity of droughts, floods, conflict and displacement have intensified during the last decade with devastating consequences on the livelihoods of most of the Somali population, and particularly the marginalized pastoral and agro-pastoral communities, women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities. Exclusion and discrimination of socially marginalized groups are contributing to high levels of acute humanitarian need and lack of protection. Malnutrition rates have increased and inter-communal tensions over access to water and grazing lands are on the rise due to drought and uneven rainfall across the region. The situation has continued for most of 2018 with residual impacts of drought, ongoing displacement, conflict and seasonal floods. Disease outbreaks such as acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera and measles continue to lead to preventable deaths across the country. Displacement from rural to urban areas has a significant impact on the demographic make-up of the country, leading to urban overcrowding and putting additional pressure on scarce resources and services in cities and towns. This is also increasing the risk of disease outbreaks due to limited access to safe water and poor sanitation, and overburdened health services. There is relative stability and functioning government machinery and systems in the self-declared independent State of Somaliland in the north-west and the semi-autonomous state of Puntland in the north-east. However, the ongoing conflict in the border of Somaliland and Puntland continues to reduce the resilience of communities, trigger displacement and impede access to basic services and humanitarian access to those in need. The lack of recognition of these states by the international community limits their access to development funds from the World Bank and other international sources. Thus, humanitarian and development partners take a lead role in ensuring vulnerable communities have access to vital services.

Humanitarian interventions largely depend on the country context.
With reference to Somalia, IFRC identifies a number of main risk factors influencing humanitarian access and capabilities to intervene. Insecurity, significant increase in health emergencies and shortage of human resources represent the highest risks. Probability of limited logistics capacities, decreased stakeholder support, high turnover in clinic staff and volunteers and low staff competency represent medium risks. However, all of them have high impact.