Joint Rapid Needs Assessment: Belet Xaawo District, Gedo Region, Somalia (March 2021)



Somalia’s prolonged humanitarian crisis is characterized by ongoing conflicts, climate-related shocks, communicable disease outbreaks and weak social protection mechanisms. Since the beginning of 2020, three additional shocks have contributed to a deterioration of humanitarian conditions: Extensive floods,
Desert Locust infestations, and the COVID-19 pandemic. These compounding shocks have exacerbated humanitarian needs among a population already living under the strain of widespread poverty and decades of armed conflict and insecurity. (Humanitarian Needs Overview -2021).

These compounding shocks that have contributed to the increase of the humanitarian needs in Somalia varies from region to region and from one district to the other. They have also led to a reduction of the resilience of communities, triggered displacements and impeded civilians’ access to basic services and humanitarians’ access to those in need.

To understand and get firsthand information on the humanitarian needs in Belet Xaawa district in the Gedo region, Horn of Africa Peace Network (HAPPEN) and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) did a joint rapid needs assessment between the 6th and 10th of March 2021. The assessment was conducted to gain an understanding of the multisectoral needs, availability of resources, sources of problems and their impact on the affected population. It assessment was also meant to provide the two partners primary information regarding the gaps in the district to inform program interventions and response activities that are complementary with positive community coping mechanisms.

The joint rapid needs assessment (JRNA) focused on four thematic areas which included WASH, Shelter,
Protection and CCM. A total of 280 households (HH) and seven key informants from seven camps/villages were sampled and interviewed. This report, therefore, provides highlights of the key findings of this assessment categorized into the four sectors.


Displacement in Bele Xaawo.

Displacements continue to impact the humanitarian situation in Belet Xaawo district. The crisis in the Gedo region, the continued drought, floods, desert locust invasion, insecurity (including a high rate of taxation by the militia groups) and lack of resources continues to force people to move and compromises their access to basic needs and assistance. The assessment noted that from January to March 2021, a total of 1,530 HH have been displaced in the district which translates to an estimated 9,180 individuals who include the vulnerable group of women, children, PWD and the elderly among others.

Food security and livelihoods

There is an immediate need to support the internally displaced people in the district particularly the newly displaced, to improve access to adequate and adequately diverse food sources. Nearly all (95%) assessed households reported inadequate access to food, reflecting the impact of drought conditions and limited humanitarian interventions, due to insecurity.

The majority (84%) of assessed households reported losing access to one or more income sources in the year before this assessment, suggesting declining economic resilience of households. The majority of the assessed population used to be small scale farmers back in their homes but with the recent combination of the compounding shocks such as Extensive floods, Desert Locust infestations, drought and insecurity issues in their home area, they were forced to flee and seek refuge in the camps. They consequently left behind what used to be their livelihood opportunities.


Access to quality and safe water is an immediate need for the population living in the assessed IDP camps, as a significant proportion of households do not have access to sufficient water to meet emergency standards. 78% of households in these camps do not have access to at least 7.5 litres of water per person per day, 65% do not have access to the ideal Sphere emergency standard of 15 litres per person per day.
A significant number of people from CAMPJARON and ODAA camps, practice open defecation, a reflection of the limited coverage of latrines. In the long term, change in this practice will require both provisions of facilities in key areas, and information campaigns to support the sustainability of latrine usage.


The survey noted that there are significant protection concerns relating to safety and security of the IDPs that require immediate assistance support. CAMP AJUARAN and IDAN camps reported particularly high safety concerns, with over 60% of the respondents reporting the presence of unsafe areas for men and boys. Significantly, over 70% of women and girls in the two camps reported feeling unsafe in the crowded camps. Referral pathways system is not well in place in the camps, most of the community members do not have adequate information on available services relating to medical care, legal aid as well as housing land and property issues. Access to these services is also hindered by other barriers such as presence of armed actors, frequent road blocks poor infrastructure and ineffective local administration.


Limited access to healthcare in the 7 camps assessed is leaving a high number of people in need of health support. High reporting of health concerns in these camps appeared to be related to the poor access to health services, leading to self-diagnosis. Women and children are particularly exposed to elevated health risks as reported by a majority (over 70%) in all the camps.


The survey noted that many households living in the 7 IDP camps assessed have substandard access to adequate shelter, particularly for the newly arrived group. The most common shelter type in most of the camps was buuls, reported by over 65% of households in all the 7 camps. Poor shelter condition was more highly reported in CAMP AJUARAN (90%) and CAMPJARON 92%) camps which were reported to having 42% and 30% respectively of newly arrived HH between January to March 2021.

Only less than 20% of all the households assessed in all the 7 camps surveyed reported access to all key NFIs, in either good or poor but useable condition. The limited use of plastic sheeting as a floor cover in most of the shelters in all the camps reflects the limited accessibility of plastic sheeting and other NFIs.