The extreme drought has left Somalia on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, destroying crops and livestock and forcing large numbers of people from their homes in search of food and water. Somalia is currently experiencing a third consecutive failed rainy season and in some areas a fourth consecutive failed rainy season, leading to widespread food insecurity across the country.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia was already dire with decades of conflict, recurrent climatic shocks, locust infestation, disease outbreaks and, recently, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the current drought, an estimated 30% of Somalis needed humanitarian assistance and protection. Added to this is a fuel crisis linked to the war in Ukraine – which has been felt across Africa and rising fuel prices are driving up the price of all foodstuffs. Ukraine has also captured much of the world’s attention and resources.
A 2011 famine in Somalia, which killed an estimated 250,000 people (half of them children), was exacerbated by the global food crisis at the time, which caused grain prices to double, more drought and a decrease in local food production. , combined with serious access problems. In 2017, East Africa also suffered extreme drought, but early humanitarian action averted a famine in Somalia.
Severity of humanitarian conditions
1. Impact on the accessibility, availability, quality, use and awareness of goods and services.
The current drought emergency in Somalia has deteriorated to such an extent that the country faces the risk of famine. About 4.5 million people are affected, of whom nearly 700,000 people have been displaced from their homes in search of water, food, pasture and livelihoods.
According to the joint FEWS NET-FSNAU Somalia Food Security Outlook for February-September 2022, the severity of food insecurity has rapidly worsened in Somalia since the onset of the dry season in January. Intensifying drought has caused severe water shortages, the loss of livestock critical to Somalia’s pastoral and agro-pastoralist livelihood systems and escalating staple food prices, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict and global supply shocks. Drought impacts are also compounded by the consequences of COVID-19, conflict and displacement, as well as a severe upsurge in locusts in 2020 and 2021.
Somalia scores very low on most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality and environmental degradation. Somalia’s preparedness for epidemics ranks among the lowest in the world, 194th (out of 195 countries) on the Global Health Security Index. As of December 2021, only 3.5% of Somalis were fully immunized against COVID-19, making the country more vulnerable to future waves of transmission. Other communicable diseases such as cholera and measles continue to pose serious health risks to Somalis. Somalia has one of the lowest primary school enrollment rates in the world – just over 40% of children attend school – and one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Life expectancy is low due to high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of preventable diseases, poor sanitation, chronic malnutrition and inadequate health services. the current drought conflict, coupled with the effects of climate change, has uprooted an estimated 2.9 million people from their homes, making Somalia one of the five worst internal displacement crises in the world.
Somalia’s already vulnerable communities are once again suffering from this persistent drought. The deyr harvest in January was the third lowest in 25 years, livestock losses are rising sharply and grain prices are exceptionally high. Increased migration in search of food, water and pasture increases pressure and resource depletion in areas less affected by drought. Many households are already facing growing food consumption gaps and reduced coping capacity, and cases of acute malnutrition are high. The joint FSNAU-FEWS NET report also warned that the upcoming Gu rains in April-June would also not be enough to break the drought, with a fourth consecutive season of below-average rainfall expected in April-June 2022.
Humanitarian partners and local authorities are also reporting widespread livestock deaths and soaring prices for basic commodities like food, fuel, water and fodder for livestock. Scarcity of pasture and water resources has led to a deterioration in the body condition of livestock across the country, with emaciation and death of livestock occurring in the worst affected areas. As a result, children have less access to milk, which negatively affects their nutrition, and pastoral and agropastoral households face significant reductions in their income potential and many are now unable to meet their minimum water and water needs. food.
2. Impact on physical and mental well-being
According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview, the groups most at risk of being left behind are IDPs due to their status and experience of protracted or multiple displacement, children in adversity, older adolescent girls from 12 to 19 years old, the elderly, people with disabilities, people belonging to minority clans and marginalized communities.
The drought exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and social marginalization of women and caused displacement, with the majority of those displaced being women and children. Drought also places an additional burden on women in terms of household food consumption, water collection and family responsibilities, which puts them at greater risk. The impact of drought is reflected in the extent and nature of vulnerability and poverty and in the increased risk of falling into poverty, losing self-reliance and facing increased discrimination and marginalization. Droughts also negatively affect older people’s traditional roles, and perhaps more specifically their social position, as communities and power and support structures are dismantled, leaving older people with less influence and power. He reported that children from 30% of households have dropped out of school due to the drought. People with disabilities and the elderly are often left at home for long hours while guards go in search of food and water.
3. Risks & vulnerabilities
Increase in food insecurity: The joint FEWS NET-FSNAU Somalia Food Security Outlook report for February-September 2022 warned that Somalia is at risk of famine (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC] Phase 5) in mid-2022 if the next Gu rains from April to June fail, purchasing power drops to record lows and food aid does not reach areas of high concern.
Escalating food prices: The Ukraine crisis has implications for food security across the region, as Russia and Ukraine are key in global food markets (wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil), and Russia occupies a prominent place in global nitrogen fertilizer energy trade and export and the second largest supplier of potassium and phosphorous fertilizers. Somalia depends on imports from Russia and Ukraine for up to 90% of the country’s wheat supply. Rising fuel prices have pushed up the cost of transport and food. With food prices escalating, households are also facing a drop in purchasing power due to the rise. Families have been forced to sell their properties and belongings in exchange for food and other vital items. The cost of a food basket has already risen, especially in Ethiopia (66%) and Somalia (36%) which rely heavily on wheat from countries in the Black Sea Basin, and the disruption of imports further threatens food security. Postage costs on some routes have doubled since January.
Insecure: The constant threats of militant attacks, kidnappings, landmines and violent crimes remain. Security in the capital Mogadishu and other towns remains heavily dependent on support from the African Union (AMISOM). Many parts of southern and central Somalia can be defined as conflict zones, where travel by land is very dangerous. Travel risks to the autonomous region of Puntland and the self-declared independent state of Somaliland – particularly the city of Hargeisa – are lower, largely due to the capacity of local security forces and the lower risk of militancy. However, periodic clashes along Somaliland’s undefined eastern border with the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the presence of militants in the Galgala Mountains highlight the dangers of displacement in this region.
Increase in conflicts over natural resources: Due to the scarcity of natural resources – pasture and water – there is an increased risk of inter-community conflicts.
Increase in displacement: According to OCHA, an estimated 671,000 people have been internally displaced in search of water, food, livelihoods and pasture. This is more than double the number of people displaced during the same period during the 2016/17 drought emergency. According to the IGAD – Climate Predictions and Applications Center update, it is expected that 1-1.4 million people could be displaced in the next 6 months in Somalia.
Internally displaced people left behind: According to UNHCR in 2022, the groups most at risk of being left behind are people displaced due to their status and experience of protracted or multiple displacement, children in adversity, adolescent girls aged 12 at 19, the elderly, the disabled. disabled people, people belonging to minority clans and marginalized communities.
COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE: Across Somalia, the socio-economic and political pressures of COVID-19 remain a risk.
Intense and abundant rains in March April May rainy seasons can still cause cyclical flooding in some parts of the country.
locusts: The 2021-22 season has seen the worst upsurge of locusts in 75 years. These climatic shocks are all drivers of food insecurity across the country. Worse still, weather events are occurring alongside the cumulative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.