FOREWORD BY THE HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR
Over the past four years, notable progress has been made in Somalia on the political front. Th e political progress has not, however, yielded similar gains in terms of socio-economic development or reducing vulnerability. Recurring humanitarian crises — whatever their nature — further strain the fragile political dispensation. Th e Federal Government and the international community have re-affi rmed their commitment to addressing humanitarian needs through collaboration and partnership in the three-year Humanitarian Strategy (2016-18) launched at the Somalia side event at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. Th is strategy articulates our vision to reduce humanitarian needs and link humanitarian action with development programming as part of our commitment to end need.
In the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), we made a strong eff ort to prioritize rigorously the most urgent humanitarian needs under three key objectives: (1) providing life-saving and life-sustaining assistance; (2) restoring and strengthening livelihoods and basic service delivery to build resilience; and (3) strengthening the protection of vulnerable people and catalysing durable solutions. Our efforts to effectively implement these objectives were undermined by the lack of adequate resources, ongoing confl ict and irregular weather patterns. Drought in the wake of the El Niño phenomenon is the main driver of vulnerability in Somalia as we enter 2017, with the lack of access to basic services, conflict, persistent protection challenges and disease outbreaks contributing to the crisis.
Drought conditions in Puntland and Somaliland have threatened lives, stripped hundreds of thousands of people of their means of survival and increased vulnerability levels. We launched a ‘Call for Aid’ in March 2016, for US$127 million to respond to drought conditions in the north of the country. President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and various state and regional administrations have issued appeals for support based on coordinated assessments done in tandem with humanitarian partners. By end of 2016, drought conditions continued to deepen — especially in the north, spreading to southern and central regions of Somalia, and unlikely to abate. Unlike the north, where our access is relatively unfettered, we have far less access in the south, a principal contributor to the catastrophic 2011-12 famine.
Overall, some five million people are already in need of humanitarian assistance. More than one million of these are in ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’, and this fi gure is now projected to increase to over 1.3 million by May 2017. More than 320,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of urgent nutrition support, including life-saving treatment for more than 50,000 who are severely malnourished.
Widespread human rights violations, political instability and insecurity are increasing protection risks, driving displacement and weakening the already depleted resilience of the most vulnerable. Some 3.3 million people lack access to emergency health services and require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Around 3 million school-age children are still out of school. Protection concerns remain at the centre of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. At least 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people are exposed to protection risks. Th is underscores the need to centralize protection throughout our response.
In developing the 2017 HRP, the Somalia Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) took these factors into account by focusing on the centrality of protection. Th e 2017 HRP requires $864 million to reach 3.9 million people with life-saving assistance, while at the same time strengthening linkages between humanitarian action and durable solutions to end need. We will strive to strengthen emergency response preparedness measures, in collaboration with federal and local authorities, to mitigate the impact of predictable shocks and continue to build stronger linkages between life-saving and development-based durable solutions.
Timely international support is required immediately to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Given the early warning provided by the humanitarian community and the Federal Government on the drought situation, early action is the only way to demonstrate that we have learnt the lessons from the past to avert another catastrophe.
I therefore call on the international community to step up their support. Th rough the non-governmental organizations and UN agencies taking part in this response plan, the resources provided will continue to save lives and livelihoods, provide much-needed basic services, protect vulnerable people and foster the resilience of the Somali people.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.