This report is produced by OCHA Somalia in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It provides information on the worsening drought situation in Somalia for the period 1 to 31 July 2022. The next report will be issued on 31 August 2022 or earlier.
• Humanitarians are rapidly stepping up drought response activities in Somalia and have reached more than 4 million people with lifesaving assistance since January.
• Severe drought continues as Somalia reels from a fourth consecutive failed rainy season. Malnutrition and disease outbreaks have surged, and more people are facing difficulties accessing safe water, proper sanitation, and adequate food.
• At least 7 million people have been affected by the severe drought as of July, of whom 918,000 are displaced from their homes.
• A historic fifth poor rainy season is forecasted, which will keep needs high well into 2023, and worsen food insecurity as well as water scarcity. More than 90 per cent of Somalia is already experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions.
• Donors have significantly boosted the funding needed to scale up humanitarian responses. As a result, partners will expand humanitarian assistance to reach more droughtaffected people, including marginalized groups in areas of greatest need.
Humanitarian partners are rapidly stepping up response activities in Somalia, giving priority to the most vulnerable people in areas of highest need, as catastrophic hunger looms due to devastating drought. The scale-up is centered around five key pillars under the Drought Response and Famine Prevention Plan 2022, namely, prioritization, coordination, integrated response, rapid response and response monitoring.
Operational areas have been categorized under a three-tiered classification with an increased focus on priority one districts. A rapid response mechanism to provide a multi-sectoral response to newly displaced people is being piloted through a Minimum Response Package Project, targeting 100,000 people in Baidoa and Banadir. The response activities are being implemented by 317 humanitarian actors, including 247 national NGOs, in all districts. At least 4.1 million people have received lifesaving assistance between January and June, representing 65 per cent of the 6.4 million people targeted. In June, 60 per cent of those assisted were from the priority one districts, an increase from 52 per cent in May. With donors providing more resources, partners are expanding assistance to reach many more of the 6.4 million people targeted for drought response, including the 918,000 that are displaced from their homes in search of water, food, pasture, and livelihoods.
As of June, Food Security Cluster partners have assisted at least 4 million people out of the 5.7 million targeted (70 per cent) in 67 districts, with plans to scale up to 4.5 million by end of July. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster partners have since January, assisted about 1.3 million people out of the 3.2 million targeted. While sustained humanitarian assistance has prevented the worst outcomes so far, the situation remains dire as Somalia reels from a fourth consecutive failed rainy season.
Malnutrition and disease outbreaks have spiked although ongoing responses have mollified the situation. According to UNICEF, 95 per cent of over 186,500 children under the age of 5 years (101,927 girls and 84,654 boys) who were admitted for treatment due to severe wasting between January and June, survived. Compared to the same period in 2021, admissions of cases with severe wasting have increased by 48 per cent, especially in Bay agropastoral and Gedo riverine regions and humanitarian partners are scaling up response to deal with the situation.
Due to improved implementation of WASH interventions in June, and the vaccination of at least 934,500 people in nine high-risk districts, Health Cluster partners have reported a slight decline in new suspected cholera cases in some areas. In Banadir, partners have reported an18 per cent decline from 191 cases to 156 and in Jowhar, by 42 per cent from 50 to 29 in the first two weeks of June. Since January, at least 14,300 suspected acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera cases with 62 associated deaths have been reported from districts affected by drought.
However, measles cases (11,725 as of mid-July) have almost doubled compared to those reported during the same time in 2021 (7,494 cases). Health Cluster partners attribute the surge to decreased/lack of vaccination coverage of children below 5 in drought-affected districts. Partners led by the World Health Organization (WHO) have deployed more than 2,160 community health workers to 66 districts to sensitize 1.2 million people on the prevention of epidemics.
As humanitarian partners ramp up assistance, they remain cognizant that about 900,000 vulnerable people live in hard-to-reach areas. To access hard-to reach operational priority districts, partners are using dedicated UN Humanitarian Air Service caravan flights, thereby increasing field presence, and facilitating more regular cluster engagement with operational partners on the ground. In a boost to ongoing efforts to reach all people in need, the European Union on 6 July, flew 6.5 tons of nutrition and medical supplies for an international partner to Ceel Barde District in Bakool Region, with more deliveries planned to Luuq in Jubaland State and Wajid and Baidoa in Southwest State. Should the current forecasts of a historic fifth poor rainy season from October to December materialize, humanitarian needs will remain high well into 2023. Food insecurity and water scarcity will worsen.
Currently, more than 90 per cent of the country is experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions, according to FAO’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management Project. Recent localized rains in coastal areas were inadequate to ease the drought and water levels along the Shabelle and Juba rivers remain below the average for this period of the year. To alleviate the drought, the rains need to be well distributed and sustained over a long period. Already, there is a reasonable chance of famine in 17 districts by September if crop and livestock production fail, key commodity prices continue rising, and humanitarian assistance does not reach the most vulnerable people.
The drought continues to displace people. According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network, 115,000 new displacements were recorded in June, a 230 per cent monthly increase, among which 113,000 were triggered by drought.
The humanitarian community is focusing on three key areas to ensure the response is scaled to the required level, namely funding for priority lifesaving sectors, improved access, and strengthened capacity at the subnational level.
In the long run, it will also be necessary for development partners and donors to increase investment in livelihoods, resilience, infrastructure development, climate adaptation and durable solutions to sustainably address the plight of Somalis impacted by recurrent climate shocks. Many of them are people whose coping mechanisms were already eroded by decades of conflict, disease outbreaks and widespread poverty; or who have experienced repeated displacement.