We, the undersigned humanitarian agencies working in Somalia, are appealing to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to come to the rescue of Somali brothers and sisters who are facing the worsening drought conditions and need urgent humanitarian assistance. This humanitarian support is critical to prevent deaths similar to 2011, when more than a quarter of a million people died - including 133,000 under the age of five.
Over six million people (40 percent of the population) in Somalia are at the risk of famine due to worsening drought conditions. The severe drought is unleashing hunger, thirst, displacement, and death in the country.
Many in Somalia could not even secure iftar meals during the Holy month of Ramadan. More than 1.4 million children, under the age of five, are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition if no emergency aid is delivered.
The drought conditions have forced 745,000 persons from their homes since 2021, including 500,000 in the first quarter of 2022,2 the majority who are moving to urban areas with hope of receiving food, water and shelter. The Ukrainian crisis has impacted food availability and prices, with the cost of a food basket in Somalia rising 36 percent.3 In 2017, when a similar situation prompted warnings of a potential famine, raising alarm bells in world capitals, funds and support were mobilized earlier and4 a catastrophe was averted. Substantial support was provided by OIC members – including more than USD28.5m via OCHA’s financial tracking and additional support – and the OIC itself – including OIC’s Assistant Secretary General, Hesham Youssef, and humanitarian partners, coming together in Mogadishu on 11 April 2017 for a humanitarian roundtable, and an earlier appeal from the OIC to prevent the same crisis Somalia now faces.
This year, however, humanitarian organizations are extremely concerned that the international community is slow to respond, which could lead to the deaths of many if no immediate action is taken. Despite months of warnings and heart-wrenching images of emaciated children, the funds raised to assist more than 6 million people is so far less than 20 percent of the amounts requested by humanitarian organizations.
We are running short of funds needed to keep pace with ever-growing humanitarian needs in Somalia. We therefore request the OIC General Secretariat to:
● Share the deep concern of humanitarian partners with Members states, foundations and philanthropic individuals in the OIC on the looming famine in Somalia
● Consider launching an appeal as in 2017 to increase support from Member States, including muchneeded humanitarian funds
● Mobilizing increased support via the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) to provide urgent live-saving support in Somalia
● Consider hosting a humanitarian roundtable or similar forum on the crisis as in 2017, to intensify efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Somali people affected by drought
● Provide leadership and raise the level of OIC Members’ urgent relief interventions to avoid the current humanitarian situation deteriorating to more wide-spread famine and coordinate closely with other members of the international community and partners, to avert famine similar to that of 2011.
We are optimistic that the OIC will once again support the Somali people as it did in 2017.