Somalia Food Insecurity Crisis - Famine in Somalia - CARE

Somalia Food Insecurity Crisis

Two girls walk with a donkey to gather water from a shallow well outside of their town. The donkey has two yellow water jugs tied to its side with rope.

CARE / Georgina Goodwin

CARE / Georgina Goodwin


Since October 2019, flooding caused by heavy rainfall has affected 536,000 people and destroyed farmland, agricultural produce, and infrastructure in Somalia.

About the Crisis in Somalia

Somalia is already facing a fragile food security situation due to previous drought and famine.

The 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, 4.8 million people remain food insecure, including more than 180,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five. About 2.6 million people remain displaced as vulnerable families leave their rural homes in search of food in cities like Mogadishu and Galkayo.

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. It’s expected that the current drought will be worse than in 2011. Three-quarters of the country’s livestock have already died. Goats, camels and crops are Somalis’ bank accounts and farmers have seen their farms go dry and their animals die of hunger and disease in front of them. Cereal production has dropped by 70 percent, and prices are skyrocketing.

Malnutrition and drought-related diseases such as acute watery diarrhea (AWD)/cholera are rising. Some 11,000 cases and 269 deaths were reported between January and February 2017.



people are food insecure in Somalia.

How to Help Somalia: What CARE is Doing

CARE is supporting water, sanitation, hygiene and health efforts to prevent acute watery diarrhea and has so far reached over 250,000 people. Together with the Ministry of Health, it is scaling up information to the public on how to prevent acute watery diarrhea through using water from safe sources, treatment of water, keeping good hygiene and clean surroundings. CARE has also rehabilitated five water points, providing 10,000 individuals access to water, and distributed water purification tabs in regions hardest hit by recent drought and internal displacements.

CARE has been providing emergency relief and lifesaving assistance to the Somali people since 1981. Our main program activities have included projects in water and sanitation, sustainable pastoralist activities, civil society and media development, small-scale enterprise development, primary school education, teacher training, adult literacy, and vocational training. We work in partnership with Somali and international aid agencies, civil society leaders and local authorities.