The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is among the most complex and long-standing in the world. Armed conflict and widespread violence, as well as recurrent climatic shocks, perpetuate high levels of humanitarian needs and protection concerns. While above-average rains in the first part of 2018 improved food security, the humanitarian situation remains fragile and prone to future climatic shocks. In total, an estimated 4.2 million people, one third of the total population in Somalia, require humanitarian assistance and protection.
Today. the Federal Government of Somalia and aid agencies operating in the country have launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), calling on donors to provide sufficient and early funding to sustain aid operations in Somalia in 2019. The response plan seeks $1.08 billion to provide life-saving assistance and livelihood support to 3.4 million Somalis affected by conflict, climatic shocks and displacement across the country.
“Unless aid agencies can sustain the aid operation or immediately scale it up in some worst drought-hit areas early in the year, the progress made thus far is under severe threat, as Somalia remains in the grip of one of the most complex and long-standing crises in the world. Climatic shocks such as the recent poor Deyr rains coupled with the cumulative effects of years of the ongoing conflict and the resultant displacements continue to cause suffering and destroy people’s livelihoods,” said Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. “I urge the international community to continue providing early and sufficient humanitarian funding. Alongside life-saving support, a substantial investment in resilience-building and development solutions will be critical to ultimately end need and allow people to fend for themselves with dignity.”
Looking back at 2018's achievements
The fight against the looming famine during the 2016-2017 season was successful, but the evolution of the humanitarian situation in the last six months demonstrates the continued unpredictable and volatile context in Somalia. The unexpectedly plentiful Gu rainy season (April-June) led to an overall improvement in the food security outlook country-wide, but it also brought severe flooding across vast areas of southern and central Somalia.
In May, cyclone Sagar devastated parts of Somaliland and Puntland, compounding humanitarian needs generated by the dispute in Sool and Sanaag. Moreover, contrary to initially positive projections, the Deyr rainy season (October-December 2018) did not perform as expected, especially in Puntland and Somaliland. New and protracted armed conflicts, insecurity and erratic weather have continued to push Somali civilians away from their homes and into already overfull towns and cities. Consequently, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has reached a record 2.6 million, one of the largest IDP populations in the world.
However, timely and generous support from donors allowed humanitarian partners to effectively deliver humanitarian aid, currently reaching almost 3 million of the most vulnerable people, with interventions totalling $840.3 million against the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Due to sustained humanitarian assistance and favourable rains in the first half of 2018, the number of severely food-insecure people decreased by 54 per cent between 2017 and 2018, from 3.3 to 1.5 million.
2019: A new approach
While this year’s HRP remains focused on the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people (IDPs, host communities, returnees and refugees from neighbouring countries), the new approach enhances opportunities for development actors to strengthen the resilience of Somalis by implementing programmes that offer long-lasting, durable solutions. This approach has been warmly welcomed by the Government and is fully consistent with the Resilience and Recovery Framework as well as the National Development Plan.
"With the reduction in the number of people targeted and overall budget, the complementarity between humanitarian and development assistance becomes more important than ever", said the Humanitarian Coordinator. "Development actors must prioritise programmes to tackle structural and chronic development challenges in Somalia. Once again, the principles underlying the Centrality of Protection Strategy to target the most left behind will guide us here. The Government-led Recovery and Resilience Framework creates the synergies needed to reduce needs and attain the Collective Outcomes."
"This Humanitarian Response Plan reflects this two-track approach and does justice to the still significant humanitarian live-saving needs in Somalia. I sincerely thank our partners for all the good work done so far: donors for their continued support, and humanitarian actors for their determined effort to always improve their effectiveness. We must continue working to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable communities in Somalia, while laying the foundation for a more peaceful and sustainable country", he said.