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Somalia: Humanitarian response to assist 3 million people in 2020

22 Jan 2020


The 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia will support health-care projects for children and other vulnerable groups. Credit: IOM Somalia 

The Federal Government of Somalia, alongside the United Nations and humanitarian partners, today launched the country’s 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in the capital, Mogadishu.  

The HRP seeks US$1.03 billion to provide food, water, health care, protection and livelihood support to 3 million people – among them 1.4 million internally displaced people.

Through the HRP, humanitarians will support the physical well-being of 1.8 million people, including children under age 5, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and internally displaced and other vulnerable people, including those living with disabilities.

“The HRP this year is linked very closely with solution-based approaches that are also built into the Government plans,” said Justin Brady, the Head of OCHA in Somalia. “As in previous years, food security remains the biggest component.”

Hunger and malnutrition

Food insecurity and nutrition concerns remain widespread across Somalia.

There are huge food and nutrition gaps among poor farming and livestock-keeping communities, as well as among the marginalized and displaced.

Severe acute malnutrition rates among children are high. Without a collective response, it is estimated that 1 million children will be acutely malnourished this year.

At the same time, lack of access to clean water in many areas has heightened the risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases, adding to pre-existing vulnerabilities. 

The delivery of food, nutrition, health, and water and sanitation hygiene assistance is a priority in the HRP.

Tackling persistent need

In Somalia, the effects of climate change, coupled with widespread poverty, conflicts, crop pest infestations and livestock disease outbreaks, among other factors, have entrenched a vicious cycle of vulnerability and need.

“While Somalia remains a protection crisis, climatic shocks – mainly drought and flooding – have become a major driver of humanitarian need,” said Adam Abdelmoula, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. “We would be foolish not to expect that this cycle of hazards will continue in the coming years.”

Back-to-back droughts and floods have ravaged Somalia over the years.

In 2019, for example, early Deyr (October–December) rains caused widespread flooding that affected more than half a million people. Of these people, 370,000 were displaced from their homes.

The flood-displaced people, combined with more than 300,000 others who had been displaced by drought and conflict in 2019, added to the 2.6 million internally displaced people living in around 2,000 overcrowded settlements across Somalia.

While humanitarian partners are pushing for long-term solutions for the internally displaced and other vulnerable people in Somalia, more resources are needed to sustain the current aid operation.

Through funding to the 2020 HRP, life-saving assistance and support to livelihoods, including livestock treatment and vaccination campaigns, improved water management and the control of plant and animal pest and disease outbreaks, will be given to save and transform lives.

Flood-affected families receive humanitarian assistance in Ceel Jaalle, outside Belet Weyne town, on 4 November 2019. Credit: OCHA/Warsame

Longer-term focus

The need for longer-term solutions has also been identified.

“The humanitarian crises in Somalia have persisted and it is for this reason that we will channel more resources towards efforts to eliminate the underlying causes,” said Hamza S. Hamza, Somalia’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. 

The 2020 HRP, which is highly prioritized and targeted, also recognizes that many people in need in Somalia, would benefit from development, recovery and resilience programmes.

Despite the complexity of the humanitarian situation in Somalia, the humanitarian community, with donor support, continues to reach millions of people across the country with critical assistance.

Donors generously provided 81.7 per cent of the $1.08 billion requested in the 2019 HRP, which enabled humanitarian partners to provide life-saving assistance and livelihoods support to more than 2 million people every month.

In 2020, early funding is required for a timely response.