About the Crisis in Somalia
Somalia once more faces severe drought that could put large part of the country and its population at risk of famine in 2022 if the coming rain season fails, following the failure of three consecutive rain seasons of 2021 and late 2020.
On top of this, Somalia is currently facing the triple shocks of COVID-19, desert locust infestation, and the effect of the 2019-2020 floods including the Gati cyclone experienced in Bari-Puntland.
The country has been very unfortunate to suffer from a combination of crises one after the other. As the country was reeling from the 2019-2020 floods that decimated most crops and pasture, it was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic which greatly reduced remittances due to the global lockdowns, most families in Somalia/Somaliland rely on remittances from relatives working in other countries.
As if this was not enough, the country suffered from the desert locust infestation which destroyed the few crops and pasture that had survived the floods and now due to below average rainfall, at least 34 districts are facing alarming water shortages with reports of pre-drought conditions in some places. Over 116,000 Somalis were displaced by water shortages between October 2020 and March 2021. The worst-affected areas are in Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, and Jubaland. Communities in Somalia and Somaliland have told us that they fear a repeat of the 2017 severe drought which left a quarter of a million people dead.
Somalia was already facing a fragile food security situation due to previous drought and famine.
The food crisis in Somalia is the result of rapid shifts from drought to flooding, as well as violence and conflict. Consecutive years of poor rains and harvests have decimated crops across Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Families are dying not only from starvation, but also from diseases such as cholera and measles because they lack clean water and sanitation. More than half of the population live below the poverty line, making them even more vulnerable to climate shifts.
In Somalia, approximately 840,000 children under the age of five are likely to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 143,000 who are likely to be severely malnourished through December 2021.
Famine was last declared in Somalia six years ago, and more than 260,000 people died – more than half of them children. Nearly half of the deaths occurred before the famine was even declared.