For more than 20 years, Somalia has been beset by conflict and drought, chronic food insecurity and displacement. OCHA began assisting humanitarian efforts in Somalia in 1999. Since then, the organization’s role in coordinating an effective and principled inter-agency humanitarian response has continued to grow as the humanitarian crisis in Somalia remains one of the world’s largest. By providing a coherent approach to the humanitarian response in Somalia, OCHA helps to avoid duplication of aid response and maximizes resources.
Famine reversed in 2011 and 2012
After famine was declared in parts of Somalia in July 2011, OCHA worked with the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia and the Humanitarian Country Team (comprising UN agencies and non-governmental organizations) to mobilize donor support and coordinate the response. Within 90 days, the number of people receiving food each month more than tripled to 2.6 million. More than 450,000 acutely malnourished children received nutrition supplements. Mass vaccination campaigns reduced measles cases by almost 50 per cent.
At the start of the crisis, experts predicted that the entire south would deteriorate into famine. Instead, the rapid and massive scale-up in humanitarian assistance and an exceptional harvest at the end of the year drastically improved the humanitarian situation. By February 2012, famine conditions were no longer present. Nonetheless, at midyear the humanitarian situation in Somalia remained critical, with 2.5 million people still in crisis and an additional 1.3 million at risk of falling back into crisis.
OCHA Somalia field presence continues to grow despite security challenges
Access to parts of Somalia remains a key challenge due to insecurity, but OCHA Somalia is steadily expanding its field presence across the country. Since the first half of 2012, the OCHA Somalia Head of Office has been based in Mogadishu with the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator. OCHA also has offices in Doolow, near the Ethiopian border, Hargeisa in Somaliland, and Gaalkacyo, Garowe and Bossaso in Puntland. Of OCHA Somalia’s 75 staff, 31 are based in Somalia, including nine international staff. The remaining staff are located in the support office in Nairobi, Kenya.
OCHA Somalia structure
OCHA Somalia comprises five substantive units: coordination, information management, public information. funding coordination as well as the administration and finance unit.
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