At the end of October, 2014, heavy rains fell in south-central Somalia in the upper parts of the Shabelle basin along the Somali-Ethiopian border. The Shabelle and Juba rivers overflowed their banks, affected an estimated 50,000 people, many of whom were displaced. Initial assessments showed WaSH, shelter and food needs.
Although coordination involved government officials, INGOs, local NGOs and UN agencies (including WFP), only three agencies were able to secure funding, two of which were through the Start Fund. Relief International provided WaSH and health support, and Christian Aid’s partner provided WaSH, food and shelter aid. During project planning, Relief International also coordinated the Danish Refugee Council, who provided NFI support.
While one agency began implementing immediately with prepositioned supplies, the other was severely delayed. Slow transfer of funds to the local partner and waiting for government approval delayed the project starting by almost a week. However, since local markets were still functioning, a voucher system ensured vulnerable households received food quickly once begun, and both projects finished within the 45 day target. Both agencies also conducted education sessions while distributing items, including hygiene and health sessions and community cleaning campaigns. Emergency latrines reduced open defecation by 85% in 8 IDP camps. Support went first to the most vulnerable households. Identification included: female-headed households with no access to food, chronically ill or disabled people, displaced families with children under five and elderly members and pregnant and lactating mothers.
One project capitalised on existing leadership structures through elders, religious leaders and local authorities, mobilising over 50 volunteers from the local communities to help field staff distribute NFIs and raise awareness about good hygiene. Both interventions had to reassess their operations, however, when water levels took longer to subside, leaving people displaced in camps longer than expected and limiting supplies from covering all of the needs. Overall, the Start Fund reached 38% of the affected people (19,240 individuals: 38% under 16, 21% over 50, 53% female) and spent 79% of funds on inputs (47% WaSH, 28% FSL, 13% health, 12% shelter). About 76% of those reached received WaSH support.
These projects also took part in a pilot, along with the Nigeria cholera response, to test online reporting.