Somalia: Complex Emergency & Tsunami Situation Report #2 (FY 2005)

Situation Report
Originally published


Note: The last situation report was dated June 17, 2005.


Since the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre's government in January 1991, Somalia has existed without a functioning central government and suffered from outbreaks of armed conflict between rival clan groups. Two years of peace talks led to the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in October 2004, including a President, Prime Minister, cabinet, and a 275-member parliament known as the Transitional Federal Assembly. The parliament and government comprise the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI). Efforts are ongoing to establish a permanent government and resolve differences among the various members of the TFG. In 2005, for the fourteenth consecutive year, Somalia faces a complex emergency as ongoing civil strife in the south and central regions and increasing violence in the north have disrupted agricultural and market activity, limited basic health and social services, strained household coping mechanisms, and severely restricted humanitarian access. Years of widespread violence, combined with extreme poverty, have resulted in the migration of approximately 350,000 refugees to Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Yemen. In addition, an estimated 370,000 to 400,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) will require humanitarian assistance in 2005, according to the U.N. Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP). While good Deyr rains from October to December led to above-average cereal production and ended the three-year drought in the north, multiple shocks in this region-freezing rains, flooding, and tsunami-will continue to hinder recovery in pastoral areas. Northern Somalia has also experienced significant environmental degradation, extensive livestock deaths, high levels of indebtedness, and widespread destitution. In a mid-year review of the CAP in June 2005, U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) appealed for $162.3 million in emergency, food, and development assistance for vulnerable Somalis, particularly IDPs, returnees, women, and children.

Exacerbating the already precarious humanitarian situation, on December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, triggered massive tsunamis that traveled as far as the northeastern coast of Somalia. The tsunami killed an estimated 150 people, displaced 5,000, and affected 44,000 others in the northeastern coastal region of Somalia. In many areas, poor road infrastructure and tsunami damage hampered relief efforts, preventing some residents from receiving appropriate emergency assistance. In addition, the tsunami inflicted substantial damage on the Somali fishing industry destroying a large number of fishing boats and equipment.

Total Affected Population
CAP, June 2005
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
370,000 to 400,000
CAP, June 2005
Somali Refugees
CAP, June 2005
Tsunami-Related Deaths
OCHA, January 2005
Tsunami-Related IDPs
OCHA, January 2005
Total Tsunami-Affected Population
CAP, June 2005

Total FY 2005 USAID/OFDA Assistance to Somalia: $5,391,541

Total FY 2005 U.S. Government (USG) Humanitarian Assistance to Somalia: $37,136,241


Humanitarian situation remains precarious. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU), more than 900,000 people are currently in need of urgent assistance through the end of 2005, despite improvements in food security in some areas previously affected by drought. In addition to 370,000 to 400,000 IDPs, approximately 542,000 Somalis face livelihoods and humanitarian crises, an increase of nearly 150,000 people from October 2004. While rangeland and livestock conditions in northern and central Somalia have improved as a result of exceptionally good Gu rains, FSAU anticipates that a full recovery after nearly a decade of drought in the region will require several years of consistent rains. In addition to a series of meteorological shocks, chronic food insecurity, lack of potable water, and poor health conditions continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

Intermittent violence continues. On August 19, 10 people were killed and 15 wounded in inter-clan fighting in the village of Iidale, approximately 175 miles west of Mogadishu. Since mid-July, rival factions have clashed over the village, bringing the death toll to 40 after more than 2 months of violence. Clan violence also continues in Gedo Region, where feuding clans continue to fight for control of the village of El Wak. Despite a Kenyan-led cease fire agreement between the warring clans, more than 15,000 people displaced by the fighting have yet to return to their homes.

According to an August Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) report, in the first 6 months of 2005, doctors treated more than 500 cases of violent trauma in two MSF hospitals in Gaalkacyo, Mudug Region. Of the 397 patients treated in northern Gaalkacyo, 224 injuries were caused by gunshots, 135 were knife-related, and another 38 were due to physical assault. In the first 3 months of 2005, doctors treated 106 patients for gunshot wounds in the MSF hospital in southern Gaalkacyo. MSF reported that many of the victims were women and children.

U.N. ship seized. On June 27, Somali gunmen hijacked a U.N.-chartered vessel carrying 850 metric tons (MT) of food aid for tsunami victims. The vessel and its 10- member crew, hijacked while en route from Mombasa to Bossaso, had been held in the Somali port town of Xaradheere, approximately 185 miles north of Mogadishu. After weeks of changing ransom demands, the gunmen sailed the ship to the port of El-Maan, north of Mogadishu, arriving on September 19. Under a deal negotiated with the TFG, the food was to be handed over to the administration for distribution to drought-stricken areas in southern Somalia, where inter-clan fighting has obstructed the arrival of relief supplies. On September 23, the deal collapsed when the captors issued fresh ransom demands and set sail from El-Maan.

The following day, the same gunmen hijacked another unidentified freighter, which was transporting cement from Egypt to Somalia. Both vessels are currently being held near Xaradheere. On September 20, the International Maritime Bureau reported that at least 21 attacks have been reported off the Somali coast since March 15 and urged ships in the area to stay as far away as possible from the shore.

Disputes continue within new government. Amid growing tension between rival factions of the transitional government, foreign aid workers evacuated Jowhar, the disputed seat of the TFG, in early September. Foreign staff from international aid agencies, including U.N. employees, left Jowhar after receiving threats from armed militiamen on September 8.

After relocating from Nairobi in June, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi, and their supporters established headquarters in Jawhar, approximately 60 miles north of Mogadishu. The TFG has been sharply divided over the location of the Somali government, as more than 100 members of the 275-strong Transitional Federal Parliament refuse to recognize any capital outside of Mogadishu. Supporters of the president and prime minister maintain that Mogadishu must be secured before they can transfer the government there. At a gathering of representatives of the international community in Nairobi on September 14, Gedi called for a meeting of the interim Somali cabinet in Mogadishu to resolve differences within the TFIs. No timetable has been for the proposed meeting.

Poor harvest increases food insecurity in southern Somalia. According to USAID's Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), a recent assessment confirmed that while Gu rains were above normal in northern and central Somalia, poor rains in Bay Region, Shabeele, and Juba Valley seriously affected crop production. FSAU and FEWS NET estimated that the total cereal harvest for the 2005 Gu season stands at only 44 percent of the annual production average and is the lowest in the last decade. The erratic rainfall, punctuated by a long dry spell during crop development, combined with devastating floods severely limit this season's Gu harvest.

Tsunami recovery efforts continue. The December 26 tsunami exacerbated the dire humanitarian situation in northeastern Somalia, a region already struggling from a series of severe shocks. The tsunami, which killed 150 people in Somalia, and affected approximately 44,000 others, decimated local infrastructure, damaged water sources, and destroyed livelihoods options in affected areas. In March, the Tsunami Interagency Assessment Mission concluded that the existing humanitarian response largely met shelter, water, health, and food needs for the affected population and that no major gaps in commodities exist.

At the October onset of the annual fishing season, however, the status of the local fishing industry remains uncertain. While the tsunami destroyed a large number of boats and supplies, many fishermen have acquired new equipment with the help of international donors.

Pockets of malnutrition persist. Recent assessments indicate that the nutrition situation in northeast and northwest Somalia continues to improve. From August 8 to 15, representatives from FSAU and the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) conducted nutrition surveys in Eyl and Goldogoob districts, Nugaal Region to assess the impact of multiple shocks, including freezing temperatures, drought, and the tsunami. Among 909 children, the survey registered global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates at 8.9 percent and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at 0.8 percent. The relatively low levels of acute malnutrition and mortality rates are attributed to improved access to food assistance in the area.

In contrast to the improving conditions in the north, the nutrition situation in southern Somalia remains critical in many areas. Chronic emergencies continue in Gedo and the Juba Valley, where consecutive crop failures have been followed by severe flooding. In July, FSAU conducted a rapid nutrition assessment in villages in Bualle, Sacco, and Hagar Districts. In the agro-pastoral villages of Sacco and Hagar, FSAU recorded GAM rates of 15 percent, while in the riverine village of Sukele, GAM rates registered at 27.4 percent. In general, the Juba riverine area continues to experience high levels of chronic malnutrition due to challenges presented by food access, dietary diversity, flooding, access to potable water, poor access to health, and civil unrest.


On October 19, 2004, Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie V. Rowe of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi redeclared a disaster in response to the continuing complex emergency in Somalia. To date in FY 2005, USAID/OFDA has committed more than $4.5 million to support a range of emergency water and sanitation, health and nutrition, logistics support, and capacity-building initiatives in affected areas of Somalia.

USAID/OFDA has committed more than $400,000 to Action Contre la Faim (ACF) to continue water and sanitation programs in Bay and Bakool regions, repairing water sources and conducting education on human hygiene for an estimated 20,000 residents. USAID/OFDA provided more than $1 million to UNICEF for emergency rehabilitation of water facilities, provision of potable water, and health and nutrition interventions for 170,000 beneficiaries countrywide and more than $1.2 million to support the United Nations Consolidated Air Service (UNCAS). To support FSAU's nutrition surveillance program, USAID/OFDA provided $850,000 to FAO. USAID/OFDA also committed approximately $90,000 to FEWS Somalia for Information Management.

In FY 2005, USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) contributed more than 42,100 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance, valued at $29.9 million, through the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and CARE. USAID/FFP's food assistance is provided to beneficiaries in Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Lower and Middle Juba, Hiraan, Benadir, Bari, Nugal, Mudug, Awdal, Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool regions.

In FY 2005, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) contributed $1 million to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for refugee assistance countrywide.

On December 31, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya William M. Bellamy issued a disaster declaration for Somalia due to the damage caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami. In response, USAID/OFDA provided more than $833,000 to support emergency relief, health, shelter, and coordination activities in affected areas of Somalia. USAID/OFDA contributed nearly $400,000 to World Concern to support emergency relief activities for 13,500 beneficiaries near and south of the town of Kismayo along the southern Somali coast. USAID/OFDA provided $300,000 to support health activities for 25,000 beneficiaries through UNICEF. In addition, USAID/OFDA contributed more than $140,000 to OCHA for coordination activities countrywide.

USAID/FFP provided more than 50 percent of WFP commodities for the tsunami response in Somalia. WFP immediately re-directed food aid to tsunami-hit communities when the disaster struck and dispatched three teams to affected areas. On March 14, after two rounds of emergency food distributions, WFP had distributed 785 MT of emergency food assistance to approximately 30,000 beneficiaries in an estimated 39 towns and villages along the coast in the Bari, Nugaal, and Mudug regions. WFP began a third round of emergency food distributions on March 16, consisting of an additional 450 MT of assorted food commodities. In FY 2005, USAID/FFP contributed 1,235 MT in emergency food assistance to those affected by the tsunami in Somalia.

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