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European Union supports families severely hit by drought in Somalia

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Following sustained drought in Somalia, the European Union has provided €125 000 in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected people suffering from food shortages requiring humanitarian assistance. The drought resulted from insufficient seasonal rainfall at the end of last year and ongoing dry weather conditions and high temperatures in Somalia.

This EU funding is supporting the Somali Red Crescent Society in delivering much needed help to vulnerable people who face acute food shortages and who urgently need food assistance. They include farmers and pastoralists who are yet to recover from the loss of crops and livestock during the 2016/2017 drought, families still recovering from the damage and flooding caused by Cyclone Sagar in 2018, and internally displaced people who lost any means of livelihood upon leaving their homes. Other vulnerable groups include female-headed households, children (especially those under five, suffering from acute malnutrition, the most serious form of undernourishment), the elderly, people with disabilities and marginalised communities.

The humanitarian aid directly benefits 5 100 people, representing 850 households in the Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions in Somaliland, in northwestern Somalia, in a project that will run over three months. In these two regions, over 45 000 people are in need of emergency food assistance. Priority is given to villages that have not received any assistance so far by other humanitarian organisations in the region and to the most vulnerable families. The Somali Red Crescent Society is supporting the affected families through emergency cash transfers of USD 80 per household per month. The cash transfers are helping families to buy food and other basic needs.

The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The rainfall season between October and December last year started late and was significantly insufficient across the country, with large parts of central Somalia and some parts of northern Somalia receiving only 25 to 50 per cent of the average rainfall. Water scarcity is a major concern in the northern and central zones dependent on pastoralism for their livelihood. Grazing fields have been depleted, leaving the surviving animals weak and unsaleable, while farmers have no harvests. This comes on top of an already fragile humanitarian situation created by large-scale displacement of people fleeing conflict and hunger, and the destitution that displacement brings with it. Households need immediate humanitarian assistance to prevent further deterioration of the situation.


The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

The European Commission, through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), helps millions of victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.

The European Commission has signed a EUR 3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of EUR 3 million.

For further information, please contact:

Anouk Delafortrie on or at +254 722 791 604