Q1: Overall Performance:
The unpredictable and erratic weather and climate shocks including drought, extensive flooding, with the addition of the desert Locust upsurge, and the COVID-19 pandemic – deepened the scale and scope of the humanitarian crisis in 2020, and their consequences will continue to exacerbate humanitarian needs in 2021.
There is wide recognition that Somalia has made modest progress on the political front. However, political instability reached a peak during this period, driven by uncertainty regarding the trajectory of the delayed national elections. Since April, the immediate risk of widespread political violence and/or civil war in Mogadishu has 2 declined following the Federal President`s retraction of plans to extend his term by two more years, and there is steady progress towards elections scheduled to take place in August 2021. Somaliland, the self-declared independent state in the north-west, conducted direct parliamentary and municipality elections in May 2021.The election process was held peacefully without any violence. Nevertheless, conflict and clan violence continue to be prevalent, in the disputed areas of the Sool and Sanaag Regions of Somaliland. Moreover, with increasing insecurity from activities of non-state armed groups, the Federation could not undertake any travel to the clinic communities in the Sool, Sanaag regions of Somaliland and Nugal, Bari regions of Puntland during the reporting period.
In 2021, the relaxation of COVID-19 movements restrictions within Somalia and abroad has assisted in economic recovery, driven by the re-opening of all sectors, partial recovery of livestock exports, and recovery of formal remittances. Available livestock export data from Bossaso port authorities show that cumulative exports from January through May 2021 already exceed exports during the same periods of 2018 and 2019 by 15-30 percent, though this is partly due to the earlier start of Ramadan. However, multiple analyses by the World Bank, the IOM, and FSNAU conclude informal remittances likely remain below pre-pandemic levels. Based on the World Bank’s data, official remittance inflows rose year on year by an estimated 18 percent in 2020 largely due to improvements in the recording of official flows, but it is likely that informal remittances have declined. (FSNAU-FEWS NET, Somalia Food security Outlook-June 2021-October 2021).
Over the last two decades, Somalia has seen a rise in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events (floods and droughts). Two back-to-back seasons of poor or failed rainfall could trigger a major humanitarian crisis as observed in 2010/2011 and 2016/2017. The April to June 2021 Gu rainfall season began late, performed erratically, and concluded early. This is the second consecutive season of poor rainfall performance in Somalia, where the below average 2020 Deyr triggered widespread drought in late 2020. The delayed and irregular rainfall throughout the year, particularly during key agricultural seasons (Gu and Deyr), resulted in poor crop production, inadequate replacement of pasture and water resources and displacement, eroding the livelihood assets and resilience of rural communities. Approximately 2.73 million to 2.83 million people across Somalia are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes between April and September 2021, reflecting the deteriorating food security situation in the country (FSNAU—Quarterly-Brief-May -2021). In Somalia, high levels of acute malnutrition tend to persist across most population groups due to several factors, including high morbidity, low immunization and Vitamin-A supplementation, poor care practices and widespread acute food insecurity. In January 2021, FSNAU and partners estimated that nearly 838 900 children under the age of five years (total acute malnutrition burden) face acute malnutrition between January and December 2021, including 143 200 likely to be severely malnourished. Levels of acute malnutrition could increase through the end of the year in line with seasonal trends and due to the extended combined impacts of drought, floods and insecurity (FSNAU—Quarterly-Brief-May - 2021).
Contributing to the fragile food security situation is the worst desert locust invasion the country has seen in 25 years. Pasture and crop losses due to the upsurge have adversely impacted crop and livestock production, further threatening the livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and pastoralists. The highest level of risk, “Dangerous”, has been extended into early 2021 as new generations are expected to form swarms, with some possibly moving southwards.
Humanitarian needs are likely to continue to increase as the onset of La Niña approaches. Providing large-scale and sustained humanitarian assistance and livelihood support is critical to close the debilitating food consumption gaps that threaten vulnerable Somalis and strengthen their resilience.