Somalia faces multi-layered crisis both natural and man-made: floods and cholera outbreaks compounded with conflict that usually trigger displacement. The already vulnerable communities face a daily struggle on how to remain prepared and quickly respond to these multiple emergencies. In 2013, the WASH cluster with the support of UNICEF Somalia WASH section coined the idea of pre-positioning of essential WASH supplies in each region of Somalia as part of WASH cluster contingency plans to quickly respond to major crisis in Somalia. Nine (9) strategic warehouses (Regional Supply Hubs (RSH)) located in 9 urban centers across Somalia were established to pre-stock hygiene supplies. These warehouses are strategically placed in floods and cholera prone areas and have the storage capacity to stock over 120k supplies to support about 720k people in 3 months period.
While the RSH are technically administrated by the WASH cluster in terms of releasing the supplies and monitoring the stock levels, they are managed by 9 WASH partners (competitively selected) across South and Central Somalia. At the end of every month, the RSH mangers share stock level updates with the WASH cluster. The WASH cluster compiles all the reports and shares with UNICEF for replenishment purposes as restocking is done by UNICEF WASH section.
Partners also share with the WASH cluster post distribution reports, list of beneficiaries (with fingerprints) received the supplies and photos taken from distribution sites to make sure the affected population have received the supplies. RSH has proven a very successful approach in preparedness and ensuring quick response to urgent supply needs of affected population. This is because stocks are preposition closest to the communities, management of supplies is under cluster and stocks are quickly replenished and closely monitored enhancing accountability and transparency. Since January 2021, over 540,438 people affected by droughts, floods, cholera, conflicts and Covid—19 pandemics have been reached with essential lifesaving hygiene items through RSH as part of WASH cluster response package.