Somalia is experiencing a worsening drought following three consecutive failed rainy seasons, and is at risk of a fourth consecutive underperforming rainy season in 2022.
As of 23 November, about 2.6 million people – close to 22 per cent of the population in 66 out of 74 districts across the country are affected by drought and nearly 113,000 people are displaced by drought across the country.
The lack of access to safe and potable water coupled with poor hygiene and sanitation facilities have heightened the overall risk of water-borne diseases, with an increase in suspected cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea/Cholera and measles.
The Government and humanitarian partners in Somalia are scaling-up responses and reprogramming activities in order to address critical emerging needs but continue to be constrained by funding and access concerns in some of the affected areas.
Drought conditions have worsened significantly across Somalia following three consecutive failed rainy seasons and a poor performance of the 2021 Deyr (October to December) rainy season, according to FAO’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) November update. The current season has been erratic, and the situation is likely to become extreme due to projections of below-average rainfall for the remainder of 2021.
As of 23 November, local authorities and humanitarian actors throughout the country have reported severe water shortages affecting more than 2.6 million people in 66 out of 74 districts of the country. This has led to the reduced availability of food and pasture, triggering significant pastoral migrations.
Nearly 113,000 people have been newly displaced by drought so far in 2021, especially in central and southern areas. This has led to the increased risk of resource-driven conflicts.
The inadequate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities has heightened the risk of disease outbreaks, especially in IDP camps and in areas affected by conflict, including in Galgaduug and Mudug regions. Health Cluster partners have reported an increase in suspected cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/Cholera in Afgoye, Baidoa, Marka, and Qoryoley districts in Lower Shabelle. At least 272 suspected AWD/cholera cases were admitted to health clinics across the four districts in October, compared to 155 suspected cases reported in September. Another 22 AWD/Cholera cases with one death have been reported in four drought-affected villages in Jowhar district, Hirshabelle.
Additionally, health partners reported an increase in measles cases in Galmudug, Middle Shabelle and Banadir regions. Measles is endemic, but the numbers are increasing as the drought conditions intensify and the susceptibility to further outbreaks also increases.
In one hospital in south Gaalkacyo, at least 122 suspected measles cases were reported between 10 October and 14 November. Over 80 per cent of the cases are children under the age of 5 and the majority originating from around south Gaalkacyo, including from IDP settlements. Doctors in the Banadir referral hospital have reported a total of 297 cases since September, with 12 deaths under of the age of 5. The majority of the cases in Banadir are the new IDP arrivals.
Communities in areas affected by drought are reporting an increase in commodity prices, including for water, food and livestock feeds. Livestock deaths due to drought and disease outbreaks have also been reported. For example, on average, the price of a 200-liter barrel of water has increased by more than 300 per cent in Galmudug Region as water pans and other seasonal water sources have dried up in most affected areas.