International aid agency, World Vision, today warned that a fourth consecutive failed rainy season amidst skyrocketing staple food prices has left over seven million people (nearly half of the population) grappling with hunger in Somalia. Some parts of Somalia are at risk of famine unless significant humanitarian assistance urgently reaches people most in need.
The country’s worst drought in 40 years has led to the death of over three million livestock- a source of not only income for a majority of families but also a main source of nutrition for children. At least 1.5 million under the age of five (representing nearly half of the total population of children) are at risk of acute malnutrition. Of particular concern is the increase in the number of severe malnutrition admissions across nutrition treatment centres.
The drought has also displaced more than 1 million people who have been forced from their homes due to lack of access to water and food. Forecasts indicate that drought conditions are set to worsen in coming months and persist into 2023, especially if the October November rains fail. This combined with the absence of emergency assistance, would result in an increase in people facing famine-like conditions and widespread hunger. Even if the rains fall and replenish depleted water and pasture, there will be no immediate improvement in the drought situation.
World Vision Acting National Director for Somalia, Tobias Oloo, said: “These are the things we are witnessing on the ground, yet invisible to the world: livestock-dying and crops shrivelling from lack of rain – wiping out the livelihoods of millions of farmers; babies too weak to cry because of severe malnutrition, wells drying up; thousands abandoning villages – moving in search of food and water; and children dropping out of school to find work to help their families survive these extremely difficult times.”
In 2011 almost 260,000 people died from a preventable famine, half of whom were children under the age of five. In 2017, strong collective action stopped a preventable famine from happening again. In 2022, despite repeated warnings and calls for immediate action- delayed action has seen a famine warning for Somalia.
“Aid agencies like World Vision are doing everything possible to help alleviate suffering. But the fact is, we urgently need additional funding to match the number of people who require this critical support. “We cannot wait for more people to die, to act.” Said Mr. Oloo.
World Vision is calling on donors and governments to redouble their efforts and mobilise funds immediately to ensure that Somalia's Humanitarian Response Plan is fully funded in 2022 and beyond into 2023, in a manner that equitable and efficiently reaches humanitarian partners on the ground to urgently respond at scale, save lives and prevent another famine declaration.
Call to donors:
- In 2017, strong collective and swift action from the international community averted another famine from happening again. We call on the international community to demonstrate similar commitment and urgency. Repeated early warnings show, people could die in the absence of critical emergency assistance such as in food and water. We therefore call on donors to redouble their efforts and mobilise funds immediately to ensure that Somalia’s Humanitarian Response Plan for the remainder of 2022, and into 2023 is fully funded so that humanitarian partners on the ground respond at scale and save lives.
- It is essential that international assistance for the drought response is aligned with Grand Bargain commitments to quality and equitable funding. Funding must be equitable, efficiently reach frontline actors operational on the ground, multi-year to facilitate investment in best practices to respond to and mitigate drought, and allow flexibility to quickly adapt to evolving needs.
- Support early recovery efforts alongside emergency activities to bolster communities’ efforts to bounce back from shock and gradually reduce dependency on emergency support when conditions improve. There is no time to “wait” for the emergency to pass to fund interventions that strengthen resilience and support sustainable peace and development efforts. These investments must be made in tandem with emergency response.
- Prioritise funding least-funded sectors such as protection and education to ensure children’s specific needs are addressed: Children and women who constitute over 80 per cent of the displaced population present particular concerns as they face a heightened risk of abuse and exploitation. An estimated 2.3 million girls and boys are at imminent risk of violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect, and death from severe acute malnutrition as result of food and nutrition crisis across Somalia yet support for critical child protection systems and services are less than 4 per cent funded within the Somalia HRP 2022.
Notes to the editors:
World Vision in Somalia is reaching approximately 459,000 people (more than half of whom are children) monthly, providing food, cash assistance, nutrition care, water and protection services. This represents the more than 1.3 million people – including approximately 740,000 children – our drought emergency response has reached in the last 12 months to cushion children and their families from the negative effects of the drought.
Globally, World Vision is responding to the hunger crisis in 25 priority countries where people are living with famine-like conditions with in-kind food aid; cash and voucher assistance; emergency health and nutrition services, access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene services; protection and psychosocial support for children, women, and other vulnerable people; livelihoods programmes to address the vulnerabilities created by hunger; and advocacy to mobilise funding, improve access, and strengthen programmes. So far, nearly 16 million people have been reached through World Vision’s Global Hunger Response.
To arrange an interview
For Somalia, contact Lucy Murunga, Senior Communications Manager, World Vision Somalia. Tel: +254 721 484 112
For the global situation, Niamh Cooper, Director of Public Engagement for World Vision International. Tel: +353 87 942 3371 (Ireland