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Crises in the Horn of Africa - Somalia in Famine

Somalia, a country of an estimated 10 million people, has been at the forefront of some of the most challenging tragedies in the last decades. The country, making up the point of the Horn of Africa, was plunged into a civil war in 1991 and collapsed from the pressure of various armed opposition movements, resulting in various clans and warlords vying for power inside the vacuum left by the deposed strongman. Due to conflict, poor governance, and a lack of development, Somalia’s inhabitants are left in a constant state of vulnerability.

 An alarming situation has started to root itself in the form of a life-threatening drought that has begun late last year is taking hold of Somalia and surrounding countries. The drought stems from a significant 40% decrease in rainfall during the October-December “Deyr” season. As a result of this, water sources began to dry up, crops could no longer be effectively sustained, and entire villages’ livestock fell victim and died. Currently, 6.2 million people are faced with food insecurity (more than half of the population of the country), 3.2 million people are in desperate need of water, about 200,000 children under the age of five are suffering from severe malnutrition, and nearly 1 million children under five are suffering from moderate malnutrition in Somalia. If there is a lack of response to this crisis, Somalia’s condition will continue to worsen, resulting in a notable increase of those in need of water from 3.2 million to 4.5 million, accompanied with an even greater share of people affected across the other noted areas.

 Fortunately for the people of Somalia, UNICEF and their global partners are moving to assist as many people as they can, providing necessary aid to those affected. In response to the drought, efforts are being made to target 2.2 million people in drought affected areas, compromising of 770,000 malnourished children, 200,000 severely malnourished children, and 1.43 million children and pregnant and lactating women for treatment and prevention. Of these, UNICEF is targeting 1.7 million children under-five with both preventive and curative nutrition services. Healthcare and water initiatives have also been launched. UNICEF is targeting 1.7 million people with emergency lifesaving primary healthcare and immunization services. This includes the vaccination of 340,000 children under-five against measles. In Puntland, UNICEF is providing 11,000 households (66,000 people) with access to safe water through vouchers, while in Somaliland a similar response is ongoing with the World Food Project, reaching 7,000 households (42,000 people). With this response, UNICEF and other partner organizations dedicating their time to aiding Somalia can start to halt this unfolding humanitarian disaster.

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