Somalia: Assessment of Hard-to-Reach Areas (October 2020)



The first case of COVID-19 was officially confirmed in Somalia in March. This co-occurred with a large-scale locust invasion and floods; a situation that is predicted to further exacerbate socioeconomic vulnerabilities of the population. Disruption of supply chains due to pandemic and weather conditions led to depletion of stock and increase of prices of food and non-food items (NFIs), thus putting additional burden on the most vulnerable people. The central and southern regions of Somalia are characterised by relatively high levels of needs, insecurity, and limited humanitarian access. Simultaneously, these regions host the largest proportion of internally displaced persons (IDPs); an estimated 1.4 million of the approximately 2.6 million IDPs in Somalia reside in this part of the country. The majority of IDPs settle in camps located around large urban centres. Security and logistical constraints limit the data available on population needs in these territories.

To help address these critical information gaps and to assist humanitarian planning in Somalia, REACH monitors needs in southern and central Somalia through the assessment of hard-toreach areas. This assessment provides monthly data and analysis on the humanitarian situation in the settlements located in the 7 target regions.


The Hard-to-Reach Areas assessment uses an Area of Knowledge (AoK) methodology, whereby the settlements are assessed by interviewing key informants (KIs) who have recently been displaced from the target settlements to IDP camps around Baidoa and Mogadishu.

The KIs must meet the selection criteria of either being displaced from their previous settlement less than one month prior to data collection, or having visited their previous settlement in the month prior to the data collection. Additionally, KIs are selected if they have stayed in the settlement on which they report for longer than one month. The minimum number of interviews required to report on each settlement is two. Responses of KIs are aggregated to the settlement level. For more details on this see the methodology section on p. 8. For all data presented in this factsheet, the recall period is one month preceding data collection.

Recognizing the risk of COVID-19 for vulnerable populations in Somalia, REACH, following consultations with the cluster partners, introduced indicators to improve humanitarians’ understanding of additional challenges that people from the assessed settlements might face as a result of the pandemic. These indicators, marked with C19, might help to estimate the potential impact of the pandemic, such as its impact on the level of access to information about the virus, potential barriers to services induced by the pandemic, as well as related risk perceptions. Importantly, observed changes of these variables might occur due to the cumulative effect of several co-existing factors that are not limited to or driven by health threats. C19 indicators have to be viewed in consideration of the general limitations of the AoK methodology.

Findings are not representative; rather, they should be considered as indicative of the situation in assessed settlements. For more information on the aggregation of data, please see the dedicated information box on p.6. Unless specified otherwise, the findings in this factsheet are presented as a percentage of aggregated settlement level responses.