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Somalia: Hunger Crisis 2022

While the whole world is focused on the Ukraine- Russia conflict, there’s something disastrous unfolding in the ‘Horn of Africa’(Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia). A large scale, a climate-induced humanitarian crisis is slowly unfolding in the ‘Horn of Africa’ and especially in Somalia.

Situation Overview:

Millions of men, women, and children are facing hunger and malnutrition in the Horn of Africa. People are missing meals, parents are going without food for the sake of their children, and families are struggling to find enough water to keep their livestock alive. There is serious concern that another failed rainy season will bring further devastation to the lives of people who have already endured multiple climate disasters. As of March 2022, 14 million people are severely food insecure in the Horn of Africa, and acute malnutrition rates have increased considerably, affecting 5.5 million children.

Coming back to Somalia: Nearly 5.9 million Somalians are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. One in 4 people faces high levels of acute food insecurity and more than 800,000 children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition unless they receive treatment and food assistance immediately.

To make the situation even worse, outbreaks of diseases such as Acute Watery Diarrhoea, Measles, Malaria and COVID-19 have affected the population at mass.

Nearly 90% of the country’s districts (66 out of 74) are affected by a historic multi-season drought. Poor Somali households continue to experience significant reductions in food and income. Crisis outcomes for food security are already widespread. Accelerated depletion of livelihood assets as a result of crisis outcomes is expected through mid-2022 if humanitarian assistance is not scaled up. Approximately 1.4 million children, or over 44 per cent of the population of children under the age of five, are likely to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 329,500 who are likely to be severely malnourished.

How did it happen?

Somalia is once more facing a severe drought that has put a large part of the country and its population at risk of famine in 2022 if the coming rain season fails, following the failure of three consecutive rain seasons in 2021 and late 2020. The country is vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions, including repeated cycles of drought, seasonal floods, and tropical cyclones. People regularly experience loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, malnutrition, and a scarcity of clean water.

Somalians have been very unfortunate to suffer from a combination of crises one after the other. As the country was reeling from the 2019-2020 floods that decimated most crops and pasture, it was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic which greatly reduced remittances due to the global lockdowns, most families in Somalia/Somaliland rely on remittances from relatives working in other countries.

As if this was not enough, the country suffered from the desert locust infestation which destroyed the few crops and pasture that had survived the floods and now due to below-average rainfall, at least 34 districts are facing alarming water shortages.

Seventy per cent of the country’s population lives in poverty, and 40 per cent is estimated to be living in extreme poverty. The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are likely to lead to worsening nutrition outcomes among vulnerable groups—including poor households in urban areas and internally displaced people, many of whom live in crowded, unhygienic conditions and makeshift shelters in the context of increasing food prices and reduced employment and income-earning opportunities.


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