East Africa was struck by the worst drought in more than half a century in 2011, affecting an estimated 13 million people across the Horn of Africa. Somalia, which has struggled with ongoing conflicts and insecurity during the last two decades, was thrown further into crisis by a famine that engulfed 3.7 million people, almost half the population. Areas in the south of the country were the worst-affected, with vulnerability heightened due to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian partners being unable to reach communities in need. Access to food by poor households in the south was a major concern as cereal prices increased by up to 80 per cent, and crop failure and livestock depletion reduced labour activities throughout the country. The lack of clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene practices, limited access to milk for the youngest children and the long absences of mothers searching for food contributed to high acute severe malnutrition rates among children.
In response to the severe drought, in March 2011, CERF allocated some $15 million to five UN agencies in Somalia. With the crisis deepening during the summer, and the declaration of famine in July, CERF released some $38 million to humanitarian partners in July and August.
- An estimated 3.5 million people benefited from CERF funding in Somalia in 2011, including 1.1 million children under age 5.
CERF funds helped UNHCR distribute non-food items for the newly displaced throughout Puntland and Central Somalia, benefiting some 117,000 people.
- CERF funds helped WFP provide safe, reliable, and affordable UNHAS passenger and small cargo air transport within Somalia, benefiting more than 5,400 people.
CERF-supported UNICEF projects for children under age of 5 ensured that 16,000 who were severely malnourished received supplies for the management of acute malnutrition, and more than 11,000 who were severely malnourished were successfully treated. Another 62,000 moderately malnourished children younger than 5 years were also successfully treated. A further 126,000 households received supplementary food and nutritional supplements.
- CERF-supported WHO and UNICEF projects ensured that 1 million children under age 15 received emergency vaccination against polio and measles, were given Vitamin A, and were de-wormed. Almost 400,000 women of child-bearing age received a dose of tetanus toxoid vaccine.
CERF-supported FAO projects helped supply and distribute quality seeds and fertilizer to 36,000 people in 6,000 households and rehabilitate essential infrastructure through cash-for-work projects, benefiting 17,000 agro-pastoralist households, or 102,000 people.
- CERF funds helped UNDP support 3,000 agro-pastoral households in the Bakool and Gedo regions through cash-for-work projects to rehabilitate productive assets such as water catchments, wells, water points and other social and physical infrastructure, which also increased cultivated areas. The project aimed to inject cash into the local economy, giving 3,000 vulnerable households increased purchasing power to meet the high cost of food. The project rehabilitated 59 water catchments and 79 rural access roads, and employed more than 4,000 workers for more than 140,000 workdays.
UNICEF-supported water, sanitation and hygiene projects ensured that 234,000 women, men and children accessed safe water from 10 rehabilitated boreholes, 25 newly constructed wells, 65 rehabilitated wells, and four new high-yielding boreholes with distribution systems. CERF funding allowed an additional 156,000 people to gain access to improved sanitation and/or hygiene awareness and information.
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Somalia, Galkayo, Docol, October 2011 © Susannah Nicol/WFP
"The life-saving clusters are traditionally underfunded at the beginning of every year and 2011 was no exception. Receipt of CERF funds was timely, as it enabled/strengthened immediate response to the drought. CERF funds were among the first received in late July and early August and helped kick-start the massive response. By mid-August, the Somalia operation had received $300 million from donors, with CERF being the third largest donor at this time. The Somalia operation eventually received $1.16 billion in funding by the end of the year, making it the best funded CAP globally at 87 per cent. Somalia also received the highest amount ($52 million) of CERF funding globally."
- UN Resident Coordinator in Somalia, Mark Bowden