More than 60 per cent (3.5 million) of the 5.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, are experiencing acute food insecurity. Humanitarian workers project that the number of people in need of assistance and protection will rise to 7.7 million people in 2022.
The current drought conditions are expected to deteriorate as the October-December deyr rainy season is forecast to be below average in most parts of the country, amid a La Niña phenomena expected to last until April 2022, according to FAO/SWALIM.
At least 520,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes between January and October; 100,000 of whom were displaced temporarily due to conflict in Galmudug State in October. In total, 2.9 million people remain displaced across Somalia.
Amid critical funding shortfalls across all sectors, humanitarian workers have scaled-up operations and managed to reach over 1.15 million people with WASH assistance since the beginning of 2021, and 35 IDP sites in the Dalxaska area, hosting 19,168 people have been supported with flood mitigation and response activities.
CUMULATIVE SHOCKS TO EXERCEBATE VULNERABILITY INTO 2022
The number of people in need of assistance and protection will increase to 7.7 million
Conflict, insecurity and climatic shocks continue to aggravate vulnerabilities and trigger population displacements across Somalia. The country is experiencing its third consecutive below-average rainfall season since late 2020, which is worsening the current drought conditions, particularly in the southern, central, and northeastern parts. These areas have received little to no rainfall since June due to delayed October to December 2021 deyr rains, according to FAO/SWALIM1. The widespread dry conditions have resulted in increased human suffering and livestock deaths, with severe drought impacts reported in Jubaland, Southwest and Galmudug states (central regions) and parts of Puntland. In October, the Prime Minister appealed for increased humanitarian assistance to people in Jubaland, and a federal ministerial committee visited Kismayo response to assess the situation. On 27 October, an interagency assessment mission visited Dhobley town in Afmadow, which is one of the most affected districts in Jubaland and found that over 41,000 drought-affected people need urgent water, food and shelter assistance. More than half of the affected people have moved from their villages due to severe drought conditions to urban areas.
Food insecurity and acute humanitarian needs have been reported across all sectors, with more than 5.9 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
Humanitarian agencies project that 7.7 million people in Somalia will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022 due to conflict in various parts of the country, recurrent climatic shocks particularly drought and floods, disease outbreaks including COVID-19 and increasing poverty, according to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO).
Food insecurity is likely to worsen significantly through May 2022, with many households experiencing widening food consumption gaps and erosion of their coping capacity. According to the Somalia 2021 Post Gu Seasonal Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (FAO/FSNAU), an estimated 3.5 million people will face acute food insecurity through December, of whom nearly 640,730 will face an emergency. The delay of the October-December deyr rains has also significantly affected supplementary food and income from livestock production.
Food Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to become widespread, and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to emerge in Juba Pastoral, Bay Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones between November 2021 and March 2022. Humanitarian partners estimate that more than 250,000 people are facing severe water shortages, half of them in Jubaland State. If the deyr rains perform more poorly than forecast, then Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes would be possible in additional areas, especially during January-March jilaal dry season, according to the FAO/SNAU analysis.
Rising acute malnutrition continues to be of concern in Bay, Hiiraan, and Bakool regions; riverine areas; Juba Pastoral livelihood zone; and IDP settlements in Baidoa, Mogadishu, and Gaalkacyo, where Critical (GAM 15 to 29.9 per cent) levels are already expected. According to a SMART survey conducted in June/July 2021 by the FSNAU and partners, 1.2 million children under the age of five are projected to be acutely malnourished by the end of 2021, including nearly 213,400 who will be severely malnourished.
Desert locust infestations remain a threat as the deyr rains in northern Somalia are creating a conducive environment for their breeding, according to FAO’s Desert Locust Watch. However, dry conditions in northeastern Ethiopia and ongoing aerial control operations in northern Somalia will likely lower the scale of damage. Since February, more than 406,400 hectares have been sprayed in ongoing aerial and ground control operations.
Access to health remains a major challenge as the current health response system is under-resourced and ill-equipped to provide adequate lifesaving and preventative services. Cholera/acute watery diarrhea outbreaks are endemic in multiple locations, with 3,858 probable cholera cases and 27 related deaths reported from January to August, according to authorities and health partners. Oral cholera vaccinations have not been carried out in affected and at-risk areas since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020. COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to people across the country with less than 2 per cent of the population vaccinated. The actual number of cases of epidemic-prone disease and deaths are likely to be higher due to limited surveillance capacity in Somalia.
The combined impact of recurring stress factors and recurring shocks has deepened and widened poverty. In addition to the more than 2.9 million IDPs in Somalia, at least 5.5 million people are reportedly vulnerable due to pre-existing shocks and recurring disasters and are among those who are likely to need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, according to the HNO. In 2022, 71 per cent of Somalis will continue to live below the poverty line, especially in areas where humanitarian access remains a challenge.
Food Security partners observe that a return to normal rainfall patterns and in good amounts is necessary for drought conditions to be reversed, as opposed to the short intensive rains, which often trigger floods and do not give enough time for the water to infiltrate in the ground and improve crop germination. Most of the affected people need urgent water, food, and health assistance. So far, humanitarian partners on the ground are trucking water, providing cash vouchers and delivering nutrition supplies to those affected, but more needs to be done.
Sustained support is required through December 2020 to address the urgent needs of the people in need of immediate assistance, who are likely to slide into Crisis or Emergency when they are unable to cope with shocks.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.