For two decades Somalia has experienced violence, conflict and lawlessness which have exacerbated poverty and hardship, undermined social and economic development and made it challenging for the international community to address humanitarian and development priorities.
Consecutive years of harsh droughts and ongoing conflict have resulted in repeated crop failure, depleted livestock, rising food prices and deteriorating purchasing power.
These have eroded coping mechanisms and triggered a long running state of emergency in Somalia. By July 2011 the situation deteriorated into one of the worst famines experienced in decades.
The overall nutritional situation has improved since the famine officially ended in February 2012 as a result of significant humanitarian efforts and a good harvest.
The Quarterly Food Security and Nutrition brief (Dec 2012) says the food security and nutrition situation in Somalia will continue improving in the first half of 2013 and the population in food security crisis will reduce. Most livelihoods in Somalia are likely to be classified as Stressed requiring programmes for disaster risk reduction, protecting livelihoods and building resilience.
Internally Displaced Persons in settlements in the North and Central with limited access to food will remain in food security crisis and will require humanitarian assistance. The nutrition situation in the South, in a few areas in the North and in the central regions is likely to remain Critical to Very Critical mostly due to underlying causes of malnutrition such as lack of health infrastructure, poor feeding practices and expected seasonal outbreaks of Acute Watery Diarrhea.
Currently, a third of the population (2.12 million people) is still in crisis and needs emergency assistance – over 70 percent are in the South. A further 1.7 million have only emerged from crisis in the past year, and could easily fall back without support to maintain their livelihoods. Some 236,000 of the total population of 1.5 million under the age of five are acutely malnourished, of these 54,000 are severely malnourished. And more than 1.1 million Somalis are internally displaced, often living in deplorable conditions.