The collective response by national and international humanitarian partners when alarms were raised of a possible famine in January 2017, demonstrated a clear commitment to never again let a famine unfold in Somalia. Humanitarian assistance was scaled-up massively and a famine was averted. The unprecedented drought spanning over four consecutive poor rainy seasons has, however, severely aggravated the crisis. Humanitarian needs persist due to climatic shock, large-scale displacement, lack of access to basic services and, at its root, ongoing conflict.
The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is among the most complex and longstanding emergencies in the world. In 2018, an estimated 5.4 million people require assistance. Of these, some 2.7 million need urgent life-saving assistance. Over 1.2 million children are projected to be malnourished in 2018. More than 1.2 million people, mostly in the rural areas, were driven from their homes last year by drought and conflict. This brings the total number of the internally displaced persons to nearly 2. 2 million and constitute 40 per cent of those in need. Disease outbreaks such as Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)/cholera and measles continue to lead to preventable deaths across the country.
Natural hazards and disasters are endemic in Somalia and affect millions of people every year. Some chronically-impoverished and conflict-ridden communities are so vulnerable that even minor shocks, which continue to increase in frequency and impact, have devastating effects on their lives and livelihoods. Protection violations, including widespread human rights violations, instability and insecurity drive displacement and weaken the resilience of the most vulnerable. Exclusion and discrimination of socially marginalized groups are contributing to high levels of acute humanitarian needs and lack of protection among some of the most vulnerable.
The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia (HRP) calls for US$1.5 billion to reach 4.7 million Somalis with life-saving and protection assistance. The HRP is an extension of 2017 famine prevention efforts. It prioritizes immediate relief operations in areas with significant numbers of people in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4). The HRP also includes a strategy to address protection gaps.