Somalia Humanitarian Bulletin, 1 - 31 July 2019 [EN/SO]

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 31 Jul 2019
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Drought Impact Response Plan in place

  • Desert Locust outbreak alert in the Horn of Africa

  • Livestock Sector Development Strategy adopted

  • IDP influx into Baidoa, South West

  • Cholera vaccination campaign launched

  • Pooled funds scale up response

Drought Impact Response Plan in place

The 2019 Gu’ season (April-June) rainfall performance was highly erratic and poorly distributed with the rains starting late in most areas. This comes two years after the severe 2016/2017 drought destroyed livelihoods and displaced almost one million Somalis - but also triggered a massive and successful scale up in humanitarian response to avert famine. Adverse climatic conditions, combined with other persistent drivers of humanitarian crisis, such as armed conflict, displacement and a spike in evictions of internally displaced persons, are again pushing Somalia into a more severe humanitarian situation.

The delayed start and poor performance of the 2019 Gu’ rains resulted in severe drought conditions across Somalia through early May, pushing millions of people into acute food insecurity, with dire consequences especially for marginalized and displaced communities. In response, the Federal Government of Somalia and the aid community are together implementing a Drought Impact Response Plan (DRIP) to provide critical life-saving assistance to 4.5 million Somalis between now and December at a cost of $686 million.

“The food insecurity situation is now extremely concerning with potentially disastrous consequences for the 2.2 million people facing crisis levels of food insecurity. The seasonal harvest is projected to be 50 per cent below average and even lower in some areas, while malnutrition, drought-related diseases and displacement as well as protection risks are exacerbating existing vulnerability,” said George Conway, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. “I applaud the Federal Government of Somalia for demonstrating leadership and prioritizing scale up of response to the impact of the erratic and underperforming rains. I call on donors to fully resource the Plan and avoid a major crisis.” The recurrent climatic shocks are a clear sign that Somalia is persistently vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “While it is critical to respond to today’s urgent life-saving needs, it is equally important that we build community resilience, invest in long-term development and strengthen the capacity of Somalia to withstand future shocks. Not every drought needs to lead to catastrophe,” said Mr. Hamza Said Hamza, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. “We remain committed to move ahead with durable solutions under the Resilience and Recovery Framework and count on our international partners for support.” The negative impact of erratic and abnormally performing Gu’ rains followed a poor 2018 Deyr season (Oct-Dec), and unusually dry conditions during the 2019 Jilaal season (JanMar), impacting communities that are still recovering from the severe drought of 2016/17. Amid this concerning situation, the humanitarian operation in Somalia remains underfunded with the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan having received only $450 of its requirements by end of July, forcing aid agencies to limit or reduce relief efforts at a time when scale up is critical.

Desert Locust outbreak alert in the Horn of Africa

Authorities and food security partners are monitoring the Desert Locust situation, in particular in Somaliland where mature swarms were seen at several places during the first week of July, causing substantial crop damage. Hopper bands are forming along the northwest coast and probably in the northeast from eggs laid by the swarms. This could give rise to new swarms by about late August, according the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Somaliland and Puntland have functional Desert Locust Units since 2016/17 and trained locust officers. Regular monitoring and early control efforts on the breeding grounds are critical to prevent a buildup of locust numbers and an eventual disastrous plague. Desert Locusts pose a potentially significant risk for the Gu’ harvest prospects and for the next cropping seasons across Somalia. A single locust plague can lead to a loss of 170,000 tonnes of grain, enough to feed one million people for a year. After becoming airborne, swarms of tens of millions of locusts can fly up to 150km a day with the wind. Desert Locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) live for about three months, and a female locust lays about 300 eggs. An adult Desert Locust can consume an equivalent of its body weight in fresh food per day - about two grams every day. A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. Read more: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1203003/icode/

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