Somalia: USAID Humanitarian Assistance in Review: 1991 - Present


Widespread violence since the collapse of Muhammad Siad Barre's government in 1991, combined with endemic poverty, has led to an ongoing complex emergency in Somalia. The recent intensification of conflict has compounded emergency humanitarian needs for communities affected by repeated shocks of drought, floods, and conflict throughout southern and central Somalia. Population displacement due to fighting in Mogadishu has increased the number of Somalis requiring life-saving assistance and is straining already limited resources of host communities. Humanitarian response priorities include facilitating access to displaced and vulnerable populations, protection of civilians, and provision of basic services.

Over the past decade, the absence of a functioning central government, civil strife, and interclan conflict have exacerbated a bleak humanitarian situation and limited access for relief efforts to affected areas. U.N. estimates indicate that only 35 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, 50 percent of the population has access to adequate sanitation facilities, and 45 percent of the population has access to basic health care. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Security Analysis Unit, approximately 60,000 children in southern and central Somalia suffer from acute malnutrition, with global acute malnutrition rates reaching above 20 percent among the most vulnerable communities.