A large-scale, climate-induced, humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the Horn of Africa, and in Somalia 4.1 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The IFRC is revising its Emergency Appeal, increasing Federation-wide funding requirements to CHF 14 million, and extending the timeframe of the Appeal to 24 months. This Revised Appeal includes emergency humanitarian assistance and early recovery activities for the most vulnerable communities affected by food insecurity, in line with the IFRC’s Pan Africa Zero Hunger Initiative. Funding contributions are very urgently needed to enable Somali Red Crescent Society to scale up its humanitarian assistance to those most affected by the hunger crisis.
HORN OF AFRICA
Across the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia), millions of households now face multiple concurrent shocks to food security. Millions of men, women, and children are facing hunger and malnutrition in the Horn of Africa. People are missing meals, parents are going without food for the sake of their children, and families are struggling to find enough water to keep their livestock alive. There is serious concern that another failed rainy season will bring further devastation to the lives of people who have already endured multiple climate disasters. As of March 2022, 14 million people are severely food insecure in the Horn of Africa, and acute malnutrition rates have increased considerably, affecting 5.5 million children.
Intertwined with the drought, southern and southeastern Ethiopia and the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) regions of Kenya and Somalia, have been affected by three exceptionally wet seasons, bringing widespread floods, displacement, and a locust outbreak that was the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia, and 75 years in Kenya. The exceptional series of consecutive drought and flood shocks is having devastating impacts on agriculture, rangelands, and water resources, leading to a sharp decrease in food availability and access due to concerning food production shortages, an increase in staple food and water prices, and erosion of livelihoods, which in turn are driving an upsurge of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Sustainable livelihoods are rural people’s best asset against hunger and malnutrition. Building more resilient livelihoods is one of the most powerful means to mitigate and prevent food security crises. Food security, nutrition, and livelihoods sustainable interventions can save lives, mitigate gender inequalities, strengthen resilience in disaster and conflict situations, and can contribute to generating peace dividends and sustaining peace.
While the large humanitarian needs are visible and must be addressed through life-saving humanitarian support in the shortest time possible, there is a recognition that its drivers are deeply rooted in a larger climate-induced hunger crisis that requires a holistic and coordinated approach.
In addition to the pre-existing shocks, the crisis in Ukraine will mean disrupted supply chains and even higher prices, which could have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people who are already facing acute hunger.
IN SOMALIA, AN ESTIMATED 4.1 MILLION PEOPLE ARE CURRENTLY IN NEED OF FOOD ASSISTANCE.
Nearly 90% of the country’s districts (66 out of 74) are affected by a historic multi-season drought. Poor Somali households continue to experience significant reductions in food and income. Crisis outcomes for food security (IPC4 Phase 3) are already widespread. Accelerated depletion of livelihood assets indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected through mid-2022 if humanitarian assistance is not scaled up.
Approximately 1.4 million children, or over 44 percent of the population of children under the age of five, are likely to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 329,500 who are likely to be severely malnourished.
The Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) carried out assessments through field visits in OctoberNovember 2021 in the Somaliland Region alongside a multi-agency assessment carried out by the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA) and humanitarian partners in the Puntland region in November 2021. The results showed significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation in communities affected by drought. Across all regions, food and water scarcity have become increasingly critical as a third consecutive rainfall season failed in October-November-December. Data from SRCS health clinics show an increasingly high number of severely- and moderately acute malnourished children, and a rise in health-related needs of affected communities, particularly in hard-to-reach areas. SRCS is reporting increased abnormal migration and drought displacement, causing pressure on host communities, depletion of resources, increased health risks, and driving food insecurity and dependence on humanitarian assistance.
FEWS Net reports food insecurity outcomes are expected to remain critical through at least the next six months, even if the upcoming March-April-May rains perform adequately. Water insecurity is ultimately affecting 3.2 million people with severe water shortages. Extremely arid conditions and water shortages are resulting in deteriorating livestock conditions, and increasing livestock deaths due to starvation and drought-induced diseases.
Cereal output is forecast to be 50-70% below the 10-year average, which would lead to a fourth consecutive season with reduced cereal production.
All the above is contributing to reduced food availability and access, leading to increased food prices and reduced purchasing power of households. Negative coping mechanisms, such as skipping meals and selling productive assets to meet basic needs, are widespread. A critical shortage of water has forced families to migrate to urban and peri-urban centres. It is also reported that the severe drought has resulted in increased clan conflict and displacements, according to the UNHCR Protection and Returns Monitoring Network (PRMN). Overall, it is estimated that the drought has resulted in displacement which has more than doubled from 245,000 in January 2022 to about 554,000 people as of February 2022. If the next rainy season fails, the outcomes may be catastrophic.