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Somalia: Drought Situation Report No.4 (As of 20 February 2022)

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This report is produced by OCHA Somalia in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It provides information on the worsening drought situation in Somalia for the period 20 January to 20 February 2022. The next report will be issued on 20 March 2022 or earlier

HIGHLIGHTS

• Humanitarian partners in Somalia are scaling up assistance to meet rapidly growing drought-related needs, but urgently require additional funds to save lives and livelihoods. As of 15 February, about 856,000 people have been reached with assistance.

• The number of people affected by the severe drought has increased from 3.2 million people in December to about 4.3 million people in February, while those displaced internally have more than doubled from 245,000 to 554,000 people.

• Crops have failed in the central regions, with below-season production in the south and northwestern regions, resulting in the third lowest deyr (October to December) seasonal harvest since 1995 in southern Somalia.

• Water levels and river flow along the Juba and Shabelle river have reduced, resulting in new river breakages as riverine communities attempt to extract the limited resource to support livelihood activities.

• Displacement has increased due to lack of food, water and pasture. Livestock losses and disease outbreaks are rising.
In pastoral areas, water and pasture shortages have forced pastoralists to migrate to distant grazing areas.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Humanitarian partners, local communities and authorities in Somalia are scaling up assistance to meet rapidly growing needs due to the deteriorating drought. The number of affected people is steadily rising, and those displaced in search of water, food and pasture are approaching life-threatening levels of need. Water prices in the worst affected areas have risen by as much as 72 per cent. Livestock deaths are reported, decimating livelihoods. In coming weeks, the timeliness of the scale-up humanitarian assistance will be critical to preventing the awful impact witnessed during the 2010/2011 drought emergency.

As of 20 February, an estimated 856,000 people have been reached with different forms of assistance, including 577,000 people reached with unconditional cash transfers to improve access to food, 300,000 people with emergency water supply and 400,000 with hygiene assistance. Since October, Protection Cluster partners have reached 851,000 people with protection and return monitoring services. Local communities and authorities are supporting the most vulnerable in droughtaffected communities to meet basic needs. In Jubaland State, for example, Somali diaspora communities provided water for about 1,000 people for two days during the reporting period.
The drought emergency is grave. In many ways, it is as bad or even worse than the same moment in the 2016/17 drought.

The number of affected people has increased by over a million from 3.2 million in December 2021; of whom those displaced internally have more than doubled from 245,000 in January to about 554,000 people as of February, according to the UNHCR Protection and Returns Monitoring Network (PRMN). In central regions, crops have failed, with below-season production reported in the south and northwestern regions, resulting in the third lowest deyr (October to December) seasonal harvest in southern Somalia since 1995. According to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU)1 , an estimated 4.1 million people, or 25 per cent of the population, could face acute food insecurity at Crisis levels (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes through mid-2022, if humanitarian assistance is not scaled up. More than 1.4 million children, nearly half of Somalia’s under 5 population, are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition due to the ongoing drought. A critical shortage of water has forced families to migrate to urban and peri-urban centres. In some of the worst affected areas, water prices have spiked by up to 72 per cent since November 2021. Some communities are using unsafe water, risking disease outbreaks and infections.

Health authorities in Banadir Region report an increase in suspected measles cases among new arrivals displaced by drought to Daynile and Kahda districts. At least 50 suspected cases of measles and 9 deaths were reported as of 31 January. In Gedo Region, partners have reported 60 cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in Luuq District, with one death between 1 and 13 February, due to other comorbidities in addition to dehydration; compared to six cases in January. The cases included 47 children under the age of 5. In South West State, over 936,000 people are estimated to be affected by severe drought, of whom 295,000 urgently need water assistance.

Along the Shabelle and Juba rivers, water levels and the river flow have reduced, negatively impacting agriculture production, domestic and livestock water use, according to the Somalia Water and Land Information Management Project (SWALIM). In Hirshabelle, according to the WASH Cluster, about 80 per cent of the Shabelle riverbed is drying up and the water is contaminated. In addition, low water levels have resulted in increased river breakages as local communities attempt to extract the limited resource to support livelihood activities. SWALIM has identified at least 101 open points along the Shabelle river2 , of which 24 are new. Along the Juba river, 3 35 open points have been identified, of which five are new. Partners have closed 23 open riverbanks and reinforced about 37 weak river embankments. If the gu’ rains do arrive in April, a rise in river levels could trigger floods due to open riverbank points and weak river embankments, a recurrent problem in low-lying riverine areas of Somalia.

The drought has resulted in increased school dropouts as communities migrate in search of food, water and pasture.
According to the Education Cluster, about 1.4 million school-aged children are affected; of whom 420,000 (45 per cent girls) are reportedly at risk of dropping out of school. In Galmudug State, authorities report that at least 16 schools have been closed, following the migration of people from several rural villages due to drought, disrupting classes for 2,785 children, including 1,350 girls. About 36,000 children affected by drought have received assistance, including about 22,000 that have accessed emergency school feeding.

Furthermore, the severe drought has resulted in increased clan conflict and displacements. Competition for scarce resources has re-awakened previously dormant tensions between two clans in Galmudug State, resulting in the displacement of approximately 14,100 people (2,350 households) earlier this year. According to UNHCR, some 132,400 population movements occurred in Galgaduud between January and February, with 117,770 people displaced because of the drought and over 14,000 due to the clan conflict. On 1 February, a two-day conflict between clans erupted on the outskirts of Balanbale as both clans sought pasture and water for their livestock. Families, mostly women and girls, were reportedly sleeping in open spaces without privacy, dignity, or physical protection. To alleviate present threats and rectify protection gaps, immediate humanitarian response is required, including the referral of vulnerable cases to specialized service providers such as children protection, gender-based violence, psychosocial support, and the need for intervention by local authorities to address tensions between the two clans.

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