Somalia is facing one of its worst droughts in decades following four consecutive failed rainy seasons that are leading to mass displacement, widespread death of livestock and deepening a food crisis. The drought is projected to intensify as Somalia faces the risk of a fifth consecutive failed rainy season from October to December 2022 that can bring catastrophic consequences if urgent action is not taken. Populations are at risk of famine as acute food insecurity, malnutrition and mortality worsen (source: IPC). In addition, persistent conflict, unresolved political tensions and global supply and price shocks are further exacerbating the water and food crises.
The number of people affected by severe drought has increased from 3.2 million in December 2021 to 7 million in June 2022 (source: OCHA). Nearly 918,200 people have been displaced from their homes in search of water, food, and pasture. Of those, 112,448 people were displaced in June alone, a 231 per cent increase compared to May 2022 according to the latest IOM report.
Most displaced people have settled in major Somali cities and towns as they seek humanitarian assistance, while others are crossing into neighbouring Ethiopia. Displaced populations live in congested settlements with poor access to critical services, and are often at risk of eviction by landowners. A total of 6.4 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation, and 6.5 million people lack access to adequate healthcare. Poor sanitation and communicable diseases, including cholera and measles outbreaks, have resulted in 16 confirmed deaths and left thousands of people sick this year. Drought conditions also threatens to increase the risk of violent conflict over resources and grazing land in rural areas where populations are less prepared to deal with extreme weather events.