January 25, 2023

The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains extremely difficult: Aid must be maintained and improved to continue to prevent hunger

Mahmud Ali in Somalia

Efforts by national and local governments and increased humanitarian aid to cope with the impact of the longest and most severe drought in Somalia’s recent history have prevented starvation thresholds.

However, the situation is still extremely dire and humanitarian aid must be sustained over time and improved, as famine is highly likely to occur from April to June 2023 and beyond if aid is not available.

“The scaling up of collective humanitarian assistance, including Somali capacity, prevented food insecurity and acute malnutrition leading to Famine (IPC Phase 5). By October, humanitarian partners had saved approximately 6.8 million lives,” said Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia.

Previous famine predictions for October-December 2022 for rural agriculturists in Baidoa and Buur Hakaba districts and those displaced from Baidoa township in the Gulf didn’t materialize, but the crisis is unfolding. catastrophic results were only temporarily prevented, according to a December 13 IPC analysis.

These same populations remain extremely vulnerable, with internal migrants from Mogadishu joining their ranks. The extreme and prolonged conditions have resulted in higher-than-normal mortality and excess mortality will continue to accumulate unless aid is further expanded and sustained in critical areas.

“Even without a famine declaration, the situation is extremely alarming,” said Mr. Abdelmoula. “The scale and severity of the emergency are expanding as displacement continues unabated, food and water prices remain high, critical gaps in the response persist and as the current rains have been poor and insufficient for replenishing water sources and sustaining grazing fields for livestock. All indicators point to one conclusion: humanitarian assistance must be sustained and improved to prevent further loss of life and suffering.”

The number of people affected by drought in Somalia has more than doubled this year, from 3.2 million in January to 7.8 million in October, with the severity of the growing needs correspondingly increasing. response. Displacement due to drought increased fivefold to nearly 1.3 million people during the same period.

Although hunger has been averted in the current period, 8.3 million people are expected to face a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse food insecurity over the period. April to June 2023, including more than 700,000 people facing Famine or Disaster (IPC Phase 5) amid plans to cut humanitarian assistance due to limited funding.

As Somalia experiences its fifth-lowest rainy season in a row and below-average rainfall is forecast for the April-June 2023 wet season, demand across Somalia will persist beyond mid-2023. Plan Somalia’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Response (HRP), which targets $2.27 billion to meet the needs of 7.6 million people, has a shortfall of more than $1 billion as of December 13.

“We thank donors for their generosity to date and appeal for immediate additional and flexible funding to enable a further scale-up and improvement of humanitarian operations,” said Mr. Abdelmoula. “Together we have averted famine, albeit temporarily. We can and must make sure that this becomes a sustained reality for the people of Somalia.’’