Somalia generates the third highest number of refugees in the world (after Afghanistan and Iraq). As of 19 December 2011 there were 961,079 Somali refugees in the region, mainly hosted in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Tanzania and Uganda and almost 1.5 million Somalis internally displaced within the country, settled mainly in the South-Central region.
297,293 Somalis sought refuge in neighboring countries in 2011 while another 8,000 were internally displaced, mainly in South Central Somalia, in particular from the capital, Mogadishu.
Somalia is the most affected country within the Horn of Africa by the ongoing drought, widely regarded as the worst in 60 years. Consecutive seasonal rain failures have led to sky-rocketing food prices, in a country already devastated by two decades of civil war.
An estimated 3.7 million Somalis are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Increasingly, Somalis are leaving their homes, walking thousands of kilometres in search of food, most of them ending up in IDP settlements within Somalia and refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, in extremely malnourished conditions.
Since the fall of the Siad Barre’s regime in 1991, Somalia fell into the hands of different militias, who divided the country along clan lines. There have been at least 15 attempts to reestablish a national government, the last of which brought to power Sheik Shariif Ahmed, at the end of January 2009.
Although the establishment of the new Transitional Federal Government was perceived with optimism by the Somali population and the International Community, Shariif is facing overwhelming challenges, as armed opposition groups continue deadly attacks on the Government and African Union peacekeeping forces, and still control large parts of Somali territory.
Most of Somalia continues to be in security level 5 (high), with Mogadishu and other areas on level 6 (extreme). Ongoing conflict continues to restrict humanitarian access and hamper delivery of life-saving assistance.