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Somalia Water Shortage Update, 23 April 2022

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Sequential seasons of reduced rainfall, drying up of strategic water sources, and dying livestock exposed millions across Somalia at risk of famine. The current drought conditions have affected about 6.1 million people and displaced 759,000 people from their homes in search of water, food, and pasture. Women and girls continue to bear the brunt of the crisis. The impact of the drought and resulting crisis overwhelmed national response capacities in Somalia. Currently, up to 80 per cent of the water sources across the country are drying up, including the Shabelle and Juba rivers whose water levels are below historic minimum levels. As of 23 April 2022, an estimated 4.2 million people are facing acute water shortages with over 159 strategic communal boreholes are in need of urgent upgrading to restore their functionality.

Despite the onset of Gu rains in late March in some areas of Somalia, large parts of the country are yet to see the 2022 Gu rains. As a result, only minimal improvements are expected during this season and in some areas further deterioration in water access and food security is possible. This sets the stage for a possible famine in 2022, if the humanitarian assistance does not reach the beneficiaries in time. Prevailing La Niña conditions are most likely to result in a historic, fourth consecutive below-average rainfall season in April-June 2022 with potentially catastrophic results.

With available resources, WASH humanitarian partners have delivered water, sanitation and hygiene assistance to over 752K people, and supported communities to operate water supply systems and repair sources. However, it is important to point out that timely provision of resources is critical to prevent a looming famine and further deterioration of the WASH humanitarian situation in Somalia.