Somalia Humanitarian Bulletin, February 2021



  • At least 34 districts are facing alarming water shortages with reports of pre-drought conditions in some places.
    The worst-affected areas are in Somaliland, Puntland,
    Galmudug, Hirshabelle and Jubaland.

  • To mitigate the impact of water shortages, the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) is launching a US$13.3 million allocation that will be complemented by a $7 million grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). A CERF Anticipatory Action grant of $20 million has also been approved.

  • COVID-19 cases have drastically increased in recent weeks, pushing total reported cases since the outbreak started nearly a year ago, to over 10,000 with over 400 related deaths.

  • Violence against humanitarian personnel and facilities continues to create major access challenges, hampering efforts by humanitarian workers to reach some communities in need of assistance.


5.9M People in need of humanitarian assistance

2.9M People displaced by conflict and natural disasters across the country

83K People displaced by water shortages since November 2020.

1.6M People currently experiencing acute food insecurity.

10K Cases of COVID-19 reported since March 2020.


Urgent action needed to prevent catastrophic impact of extreme dry conditions

More than 34 districts across Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle and Jubaland are facing alarming water scarcity. Over 83,000 have been displaced in Somalia due to water shortages since November 2020. According to FEWS NET’s food security outlook, most of Somalia has been experiencing drier and hotter than normal conditions since January. The dry conditions follow a generally below-average Deyr rainfall season in late 2020. Cumulative rainfall during the October to December 2020 Deyr was lower than the historical average in the north and most of the south, with the biggest deficits occurring in parts of Togdheer, Gedo and Lower Juba regions.

Erratic weather patterns are expected to continue, including an anticipated La Niña. At least 3.4 million people are projected to be affected by drought-like conditions in 2021, of whom about 380,000 are expected to be displaced due to extreme dry conditions. The situation is also challenging for women and children, especially girls, because scarcity increases the care burden required to collect water as well as risk of abuse and violence. Consuming contaminated water also increases diseases and puts children at high risk of becoming malnourished. In addition, water scarcity will decimate pasture for livestock and exacerbate food insecurity.

Already, an estimated 1.6 million Somalis are experiencing acute food insecurity. Without sustained humanitarian assistance, the number of people facing acute food insecurity is likely to increase to 2.7 million through June, including 839,000 children under 5 years who are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition.

In response, the Federal Government of Somalia has constituted a National Drought Committee co-chaired by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. Drought Committees which include government and humanitarian partners have also been set up in Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug and Jubaland, and appeals for assistance issued. OCHA is working with humanitarian partners and authorities to scale up and prioritize immediate life-saving responses to people living in the most affected areas with the limited resources available. So far, partners are trucking water to about 300,000 people across the country.

Furthermore, the Somalia Humanitarian Fund(SHF) is launching a $13.3 million allocation that will be complemented by a $7 million Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) Rapid Response grant. In addition, a CERF Anticipatory Action grant of $20 million has also been approved as the triggers for drought conditions have been met, as shown in the latest report by FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU).

With over 83,300 people already displaced by extreme dry conditions across Somalia since November 2020, the humanitarian partners are warning that the international community must act now to prevent a catastrophe. Long-term sustainable development solutions are also needed to complement humanitarian action and address root causes of recurrent climatic shocks. Operationalizing the humanitarian, development, peacebuilding nexus is central to long-term solutions in Somalia.

Over the last 10 years, access to and use of safe drinking water and sanitation has significantly increased in Somalia. Over half of the Somali population had basic access to safe drinking water in 2019, compared to 20 per cent coverage in 2010. Despite progress, much more needs to be done. Somalia did not achieve the Millennium Development Goals on water and is behind on its progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. About 23 per cent of rural Somalis drink unimproved or unprotected water and 5 per cent drink purely surface water. Somalia is the only country in the world with a gap exceeding 50 points between urban and rural use of water services.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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