This note summarises the directives promulgated (either written or verbal) by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS) aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19; and identifies the impact of the restrictions on the general population and humanitarian operations.
The FGS and the FMS continue to take necessary measures to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 in Somalia. Since 16 March 2020, a total of 42 COVID-19 related directives/statements have been issued, either in writing or verbally.
As of 24 April, 41 out of the 42 directives are in place while one aimed at closure of mosques has been rescinded. Twenty-one relate to social distancing, the closure of academic institutions and restriction of population movement. Five impose suspensions on international and domestic passenger flights and restriction of land movement, and seven relate to border closures. Five impose night-time curfews, one directs tax exemption on basic food items to mitigate the economic impact on the population despite government losing revenue; and two relate to the registration and burial activities for deceased persons.
Application of directives
• Currently, 11 out of 12 airports, one out of eight seaports and 17 out of 21 land borders are closed. Hargeisa airport still allows Ethiopian Airlines flights to and from Addis but with a reduced frequency of one flight per week. However, land borders remain porous and cross-border movement has been observed. Efforts are under way to tighten movement.
• Port fees and taxes on imports represent a significant portion of income for the FGS and FMS. According to the World Bank, trade taxes accounted for an average of 69 per cent of domestic revenue over the past 6 years, representing an average. 8 percent of Somalia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The closure of seaports and land borders for a long period presents significant loss in domestic revenue and contraction of GDP. (See interactive map on https://covid19som-ochasom.hub.arcgis.com/).
• Efforts to scale up and implement prevention measures remain a challenge due to living conditions, social practices and the socio-economic considerations associated with preventive measures.
General across all states
• The Education Cluster estimates that 1 million school children are out of the physical classroom due to closure of schools. However, some states have reported alternative learning through different means such as radio, TV and internet. A NRC survey found 92 per cent of internally displaced Somalis interviewed reported the closure of madrasas and schools as the key issue disrupting their daily activities.
• Jubaland, South West State and Puntland have reported increases in prices of basic commodities in markets due to COVID-19 restrictions.
• The reduction in business activities and closure of markets, hotels and restaurants continues to impact daily-wage workers, casual labourers and low-income populations. Import and export have been negatively affected.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.