OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS
Humanitarian needs remain high, despite concerted humanitarian assistance.
The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is among the most complex protracted emergencies in the world. Resurgent conflict across the country and endemic environmental hazards render the majority of Somalia’s 12.3 million people chronically or acutely vulnerable. About 4.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance as of September 20151 .
Hereof, 1 million face food security “crisis” or “emergency” and 3.9 million remain highly vulnerable to shocks and will need assistance, including livelihood support to prevent them slipping into “crisis” or “emergency” phases. Malnutrition rates remain high with about 308,000 children under age 5 acutely malnourished and 56,000 children severely malnourished, while the overall burden of acute malnutrition in 2016 is estimated at be more than 800,000 cases. The lack of improvement is mainly due to the early end of 2015 Gu rains (April-July) that led to below average cereal production. As the majority of Somalis depend on subsistence farming and pastoralism for their livelihoods, predictable seasonal shocks like flooding and drought continue to cause a fluctuation in humanitarian needs, as well impact the already weak economy. Health conditions remain worrying, with frequent outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and measles.
More than 5,700 suspected measles cases have been reported this year, while about 4,000 cases of AWD/cholera were recorded— with 85 per cent of the cases among children under age 5.
Vulnerability to shocks remain high
Due to topography and precipitation patterns, the country suffers from cyclical natural disasters. Riverine and flash floods occur in Galgaduud, Mudug and Nugaal regions and in areas around the Juba and Shabelle river valleys every year between March to May and October to December.
Limited infrastructure, including flood-bank retaining walls and water catchment or redirection systems, expose the same communities to the effects of floods annually, often with disastrous results on small-holder farmers and rural economies. Furthermore, the country is also drought-prone.
The FSNAU post-Gu results indicate drought conditions in north western parts of Somaliland and have classified these regions in “crisis” phase. FSNAU estimates that 129,000 people in the Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed and pocket areas of Sanaag will be in “crisis” and “emergency” phase from August to December 2015 due to the under-performance of the 2015 Gu rains. These effects could spill over to the first half of 2016 as the 2015-16 El Niño phenomenon is expected to aggravate drought conditions in these areas. In addition, the phenomenon has aggravated seasonal floods in Puntland and riverine areas in southern and central regions. More than 132,000 people had been affected as of late November 2015, 60,000 of whom were displaced. The humanitarian community continues preparedness and contingency planning, prepositioning, and preventative assistance. Further efforts in disaster risk reduction is required to address the recurrent challenges associated with recurrent environmental hazards.
Large gaps remain in the provision of basic services, demanding a humanitarian response across a range of sectors
The Government continues to struggle to deliver basic public services, implement the rule of law and guarantee internal security. The chronic lack of development and accountability, contributed to access to basic services such as health and education being well below internationally accepted levels. It scores extremely low across a range of human development indicators and is consistently at the bottom of development and humanitarian ranking lists. For example, more than 73 per cent of the population live below the poverty line ($1.25 per day), one out of 18 women dies during childbirth; about 1.7 million children are out of school; 82 per cent of the population does not have access to safe water and basic sanitation; and, Somalia is one of the top ten countries with the highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world3 .
Critical gaps in adequate response and absorptive capacity to the displacement crisis, including facilitating durable solutions
Over 1.1 million remain in a protracted internal displacement situation. Many live in deplorable conditions and do not have adequate access to basic services and livelihood. Further, the country continues to register new displacements as a result of armed conflict and cyclical natural disasters. In July 2015, new military operations led to the displacement of over 42,000 people in Bakool, Bay, and Gedo, Hiraan, Galgaduud and Lower Shabelle regions. In 2015, 76,000 people were displaced as a result of Gu and Deyr (October-January) rains and more are expected to get displaced as the Deyr rains continue. Endemic inter-clan fighting for control of land, pasture or water sources also continues to lead to casualties and displacement of civilians.
Displaced people are particularly vulnerable, unprotected and exposed to exploitation and abuse. Many have gone through multiple displacements from their homes for decades, are marginalized and at risk of human rights violations including forced evictions, discrimination and pervasive gender-based violence (GBV). Family separations, GBV against children, forced recruitment and abductions are among the main violations against displaced children. In addition, GBV is exorbitantly high in IDP settlements. 75 per cent of all GBVsurvivors are IDPs. The development of a comprehensive solutions strategy for Somalia’s IDPs will commence in December 2015. Humanitarian organizations are also working to strengthen collaboration with development partners to address the underlying causes of displacement and pursue options for durable solutions.
Large and protracted refugee crisis
Over 1.2 million Somali refugees are also living in neighbouring countries within the region and in Yemen, and some are increasingly under pressure to repatriate. Refugees and returnees fleeing the Yemen crisis continue to arrive in Somalia. As of late November 2015 close to 30,000 people fleeing the crisis had arrived in Puntland, Somaliland, and southern and central Somalia. About 89 per cent hereof are Somalis.
Organized returns from Kenya are taking place within the framework of the Kenya/Somalia/UNHCR Tripartite Agreement. As of 31 October, just over 5,000 individuals returned to Somalia in 2015. This trend of voluntary returns, supported or spontaneous, is an encouraging sign that refugees regard voluntary repatriation as a viable option for them and their families. Starting in July and as part of the post pilot expanded operation, the Tripartite Commission including UNHCR decided to support voluntary repatriation to all parts of Somalia so long as the individual decisions of refugees to return to Somalia were informed and voluntary. However, due to practical considerations related to humanitarian access, concrete reintegration support and assistance can only be provided in areas of the country with relative stability and where UNHCR and partners are currently present, and/or can establish operations. For this reason, reintegration programmes will be undertaken in Somaliland, Puntland and in selected districts of southern and central regions including Afgooye, Afmadow, Baidoa, Balcad,
Baardheere, Belet Weyne, Jowhar, Kismayo, Luuq, Mogadishu and Wanla Weyn. The extent of operational interventions will depend on the security situation which remains volatile in many parts of the country.
The Pledging Conference held in Brussels on 21 October 2015 jointly hosted by UNHCR and the European Union demonstrated the strong linkages between humanitarian and development action that must exist to achieve sustainable return and reintegration. The process which saw strong engagement from a broad range of humanitarian and development actors resulted in an “Integrated Action Plan for Sustainable Return and Reintegration of Somali Refugees from Kenya to Somalia”. This Action Plan is the instrument which will guide humanitarian and development actors for the next two to three years. A total of 50,000 refugee returnees are expected to return from Kenya in 2016, as well as 1,000 from Ethiopia. An additional 18,000 Somali refugee returnees (refugees and migrants) are expected to arrive from Yemen in 2016. The priority needs of refugee returnees include family and community based humanitarian assistance aimed at addressing multi-sector humanitarian needs upon arrival and initial reintegration in areas of return, from the time of their arrival until medium and longer term interventions are in place.
Land issues, inter-connected with political developments, are at the root of inter-communal conflict, marginalization of minorities and the most vulnerable, and cyclical displacement While recent military and political trends have exacerbated land issues, many of the tensions are rooted in more historical competition over land and water between neighbouring communities. Displacement as a result of violence and forced evictions due to land tenure insecurity are on the rise. The scale of forced evictions of IDPs and the urban poor from public and private land and buildings in Mogadishu and other urban areas is alarming and profoundly worrying. In 2015 alone, over 116,000 people were forcibly evicted. Land tenure insecurity remains one of the key obstacles to local integration and other solution processes for displaced people and cause further rights violations, such as destruction of property and family separation as well as destruction of humanitarian investments, such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) installations.
Historically, possession of individual title deeds was largely confined to urbanized and politically-connected elites and such deeds probably cover less than ten per cent of the land currently in dispute, therefore many marginalised communities have no access to land and property rights, as well as involvement in the current state formation process.
Secure land tenure and property rights are vital to ensure that solutions to cyclical displacement are provided in the short, medium and long-term. It is important that state-led partnership with relevant international partners to address protracted internal displacement in a more sustainable manner is promoted.
Federal state-building continues, but significant institutional capacity to respond to emergencies remains weak
The establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia has allowed for significant progress on the political front, unparalleled since the collapse of the state in 1991. In 2014, the Government developed ‘Vision 2016’, establishing a roadmap for achieving a national political settlement. Within this framework, the Government has, with the support of international partners, been reviewing a revised Federal Constitution and preparing for national elections scheduled for 2016.
In 2015, the Government initiated the process for a national development plan building upon the work under Peace and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) 4 and 5 of the New Deal Compact, laying the foundation for sustainable economic recovery and development.
Due to a number of challenges, including insufficient funding and slower than expected engagement by important stakeholders, a roll-out of a coordinated strategic and broad-based development programme has been slow. These processes are expected to induce durable solutions for the vulnerable groups, reducing the need for humanitarian delivery as a substitute for lack of access to basic services.
In June, the IMF completed its first consultation mission to Somalia in 25 years and noted that the current GDP growth, driven by the agriculture, construction and telecommunications sectors, would be insufficient to address poverty and gender disparities. Government and development partners need to prioritize strengthening of institutional capacities and measures to foster infrastructural development in support of basic service delivery. Drought and chronic flooding can only be effectively managed through disaster risk reduction and large-scale development interventions, including infrastructure repair and riverbank reconstruction.
The country therefore needs an effective and functional disaster management system at all levels.
Adequate and timely funding is necessary to ensure humanitarian needs are met The combined support of donors to the Somalia humanitarian response has been generous, and donors have remained engaged and supportive of humanitarian efforts for years.
Humanitarian needs nevertheless continue to outpace funding. Out of a total US$863 million required in 2015, as at end November, $534 million was received, including $324 million for the 2015 HRP as well as $210 million reported as outside of the HRP. The impact of the funding shortfall is being felt across all clusters. Robust resource mobilization efforts to ensure timely and adequate funds are received to be able to assist people in need are being stepped up.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.