Somalia has been experiencing recurring droughts in recent history. The 2011 drought was the last that hit the country hard and caused the death of more than 250,000 people around the country. Somalia experiences these cyclic droughts and the major driver that leads to this repeated calamity includes anthropogenic activities that pressure the environment and resources.
Since the onset of El Nino in the last quarter of 2015, the impact has been severe in the northern parts of Somalia. Most parts of Puntland particularly Bari, Nugaal, Sanaag and Sool regions received below average rains since 2015 GU. In November 2015, cyclones Chapala and Megh caused significant damage which affected more than 70,000 people according to FAO-SWALIM. Agro-pastoral and pastoral communities were the worst affected. Most of rural and pastoral settlements continue to face severe water shortage especially those settlements that depend on Berkads. According to HADMA and local authorities, the price of water in most of the settlements has risen from USD 12 to USD 15 per barrel and this is likely to increase if the rains continue to delay.
Malnutrition rates in hard hit areas have doubled to 18% GAM and caseloads of malnourished children admitted into nutrition centres in Puntland have steadily increased since July 2015. The Nutrition Cluster estimates that 23,000 children under the age of five in Puntland are acutely malnourished.
Following reports from local authorities and aid organizations about the severity of the droughts in Puntland, HADMA issued an appeal on 21 January 2016, seeking assistance for 213,000 people affected by drought in Puntland. In addition, on 5 February, the Puntland President convened an emergency meeting of humanitarian and development partners at his office to express his concern about the seriousness of the drought situation in Puntland and to elicit from partners what they have done and what they are planning to do in response to the drought. He urged partners to respond as soon as possible with whatever resources they have to alleviate the situation.
In order to get additional information, humanitarian partners in Bossaso convened an urgent RICCG meeting and agreed to undertake a rapid inter-agency assessment in critically drought affected areas in Bari, Karkaar and Sanaag regions.
From 13-18 February, assessment teams coordinated by OCHA visited 96 locations in Bari, Karkaar and Sanaag regions. It is estimated that more than 90,000 households (540,000 people) reside in the areas affected by the drought. An estimated 39,392 households (236,352 people) have been affected by the drought and they are mostly farmers, fishing communities, livestock producers and traders in the three regions. The population in these areas had already been suffering from prolonged drought due to the poor performance of rains in the past two years. Additionally, the impact of the drought further aggravated the situation by destroying the meager livelihood assets of the communities.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.