Food insecurity and malnutrition worsen across Somalia as risk of famine increases amid historic fourth failed rainy season.
MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 6, 2022 – A historic fourth consecutive failed rainy season, skyrocketing prices and an underfunded humanitarian response have resulted in a 160 percent increase in people facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity, starvation and disease in Somalia. With no end in sight for the devastating drought affecting the country, the risk of famine looms larger than ever. An urgent increase in support from the international community is essential to avert famine.
A new report from the Famine Early Warning Network and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, based on a rapid assessment by multiple United Nations agencies, shows that 7.1 million Somalis (close to 50 percent of the population) now face crisis-level food insecurity or worse through at least September 2022. Of those, 213,000 people face catastrophic hunger and starvation, a drastic increase from the 81,000 forecast in April. More areas are at risk of famine, particularly in the south of the country in regions where insecurity and conflict makes humanitarian access more challenging.
These figures reflect a food security situation that is expected to deteriorate rapidly over the coming months. United Nations agencies and partners are now focusing their limited resources on famine prevention to protect the country’s most vulnerable, as meteorological organizations warn that another below-average rainy season could follow later in the year.
“We are staring at a potential calamity; failure to act now will be tragic for scores of families in Somalia,” said Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. “Somalia is in danger of entering an unprecedented fifth consecutive failed rainy season, meaning hundreds of thousands of people face the risk of famine. Famine cost the lives of 260,000 Somalis in 2010-2011.This cannot be allowed to happen again in 2022. It is urgent that more is done to avert this risk and done now,” he said.
Collectively, humanitarian agencies have reached 2.8 million people between January and April 2022 with lifesaving and livelihood assistance through drought assistance and famine prevention programmes, but the new assessment clearly indicates that the scale of assistance currently being delivered and funding from the international community is not yet sufficient to protect those most at risk.
Food prices affecting the most vulnerable
Somali families are increasingly unable to cope with soaring food prices as local food has become scarce due to consecutive seasons of poor or failed domestic production, livestock deaths, and imported food prices reaching record levels – in part because of supply chain impacts due to conflict in Ukraine. In parts of the country, food prices have risen 140 to 160 percent, leaving poor families hungry and destitute.
“We must act immediately to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The lives of the most vulnerable are already at risk from malnutrition and hunger, and we cannot wait for a declaration of famine to act,” said El-Khidir Daloum, WFP’s Country Director in Somalia. “It’s a race against time to prevent famine and WFP is scaling up as much as possible, prioritizing our limited resources to save those most at risk. But as these new figures show, there is an urgent need for more resources to meet this escalating hunger crisis,” he said.
Around 3 million livestock have died due to the drought since mid-2021, and the decline in meat and milk production has also led to worsening malnutrition, particularly among young children in pastoral areas who are dependent on local supply. As of May 2022, an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five years face acute malnutrition through the end of the year, including 386,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished – an increase of 55,000 compared to previous estimates.
The malnutrition crisis is likely to worsen as the nutrition situation deteriorates further in the affected areas, with children and vulnerable people the hardest hit. “This is a child crisis. It’s not only about water or nutrition, but also about children losing education, falling vulnerable to child protection issues and having poor health; all impacting their future,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Somalia Representative. UNICEF has supported the treatment of more than 114,000 children with severe acute malnutrition between January and April 2022. “We are treating children but now we need further funding to prevent a famine and protect the future of every Somali child,” she said.
Grim situation as humanitarian funding falls far short
The grim food security situation is unfolding as humanitarian funding from the international community has so far fallen short of coming close to what actors need to avert a famine in the country. The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan is currently only 18% funded. “The support required has not yet fully materialized, and hundreds of thousands of Somalis are at a very real risk of starvation and death,” said Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO’s Representative in Somalia.
“It’s a tragedy to see the level of distress that rural communities in particular are experiencing, and we are being limited in what we can do to prevent this extraordinary suffering. We’re calling on the international community to act fast while we still have some hope of preventing collapse of livelihoods, further and potentially massive population displacement from rural areas to IDP camps and widespread famine in Somalia,” he said.
The country is experiencing its fourth consecutive failed rainfall season with harrowing impacts for families and children, raising fears of a repeat of the 2011 famine.
MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 6, 2022 – Somalia’s crippling drought, the worst in at least 40 years, has forced more than half a million people to abandon their homes in search of food and water in the last four months, with mothers terrified they will also lose their children, Save the Children said today.
The country is experiencing its fourth consecutive failed rainfall season with harrowing impacts for families and children, raising fears of a repeat of the 2011 famine that killed over a quarter of a million people- half of them children under five. Experts are warning there is now a credible risk the next rainy season in October – December will also fail, which would further deepen the already severe humanitarian emergency.
With the prolonged drought combined with inadequate humanitarian funding, globally disrupted supply chains, and food prices skyrocketing due to the conflict in Ukraine, mothers in the country are telling Save the Children they are unable to feed their children and fear for their lives.
55-year-old Suad, a farmer, lives in a camp in the Sanaag region. She arrived at the camp four week ago with her seven children and disabled mother after the drought killed off her livestock.
Suad told Save the Children that the previous drought in 2017 devastated her livestock. At the time, she had 400 cows and goats and was left with just two, although she was able to recover some of them. Now, the drought has left her with almost nothing, and this time she fears she will not be able to salvage what remains of her pastoralist lifestyle.
She said: “The drought has brought despair. I don’t know what will become of us. I can’t feed my family, I feel helpless. How can you provide a living for your children when you’ve lost your livelihood? It’s a very difficult time, we’re all on the move in search of a better life.”
Sitting from across her mother,12-year-old Samia, said: “If we had rain, life would be so different. I wouldn’t need go out in search of water and I would have more time for my studies.”
The number of new arrivals to camps in Hargeisa from drought affected regions is rising daily, Save the Children said. Saud is among 524,000 people in Somalia who have been forced to abandon their homes in search of food and water in the last four months. Across Somalia, 6 million people are suffering extreme hunger, with over 81,000 living in famine like conditions. The UN estimates that 1.4 million children could be acutely malnourished by the end of this year if the deteriorating situation is not addressed.
As the threat of famine looms, with estimates suggesting as close as next month, the UN warns, an urgent and timely scale up of humanitarian assistance is required to avert death and devastation for families across Somalia.
Mohamud Mohamed, Save the Children’s Country Director in Somalia, said:
“We saw this coming. A two-year drought in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, which has decimated crops and livestock and eroded people’s ability to cope, with mothers having to make the difficult choice of putting their children to sleep hungry. Malnutrition rates among children is on a steady rise and the UN has warned that as many as 350,000 children could die by the summer if we do not act and yet the window of opportunity to act and avert a catastrophe is shrinking with every passing day.
We are calling on governments and the international community to make the right decision and prevent the suffering of millions of people and possible deaths of thousands of people from this climate-induced hunger. A localized response that targets saving lives and livelihoods must be prioritized including supporting local food production, protecting the poorest, and making food affordable.”
Save the Children is working to help affected communities in Somalia to cope with the immediate humanitarian effects of drought. We are providing emergency water supplies, treating children who are malnourished, supporting education systems so that children do not miss vital learning while displaced by drought, running health facilities, and providing cash and livelihood support to the most vulnerable.
The new allocation will focus on underserved, hard-to-reach areas and complements the $14 million Rapid Response grant from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
NEW YORK, United States of America, June 3, 2022 – The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Adam Abdelmoula, launched a new allocation of US$20 million from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) to provide immediate assistance to communities at risk of famine in priority locations.
“A disaster is unfolding in Somalia due to severe drought,” said Mr. Abdelmoula. “In several areas, the risk of famine has increased, and scores of Somalis are on the brink of catastrophe. I am concerned that a huge number of people will starve to death unless we rapidly scale up the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those most affected.”
In February, the SHF allocated $25 million to mitigate the impacts of severe drought. About 836,000 people benefitted through multi-sectoral integrated interventions. The new allocation will focus on underserved, hard-to-reach areas and complements the $14 million Rapid Response grant from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) that aims to address the worsening food crisis and multi-sectoral needs of communities severely affected by the drought.
The CERF grant will target priority locations in South West State, Banadir, Mudug, Lower Shabelle and Togdheer regions with lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, health, nutrition and protection assistance while the SHF will focus on clusters in Hirshabelle State, Galgaduud, Toghdeer and Sool, Banadir and Bay regions.
Somalia is the most drought-impacted country in the Horn of Africa; at least 6.1 million people have been affected of whom 771,000 have abandoned their homes in search of water, food, and pasture. At least 1.5 million children are facing acute malnutrition, and over 3,170 AWD/cholera and 2,460 measles cases have been confirmed since January.
Despite increasing needs, the 2022 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan, which seeks US$1.5 billion to assist 5.5 million people, has only received 18 per cent of required funding (nearly $260 million) as of 31 May.
“I thank the SHF and CERF for providing desperately needed resources but urge other partners and donors not to forget the people of Somalia,” said Mr. Abdelmoula. “We are running out of time. Unless we act now, we are likely to experience the worst outcomes in coming months.”
Yesterday after many hours the term of incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo ended. He had been staying in Villa Somalia on overtime. The Head of State have used all means to stay in power without an election. After the term ended in February 2021. He tried to have the Parliament to allow him to rule without an election for two years. That was later stopped and he had to reconfigure his stance and way forward as his time was up.
The problems of Farmaajo is that he came with a lot of promises and seems like a likeable guy. However, he was the sort of man that wanted to cling onto power. That’s why his allies even helped to offer and create own military units, which is the likes of Gorgor and Haram’ad. Together with the access of National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA). Farmaajo has used this to sway member states and get his way. That is getting favourable characters in office and ensure he had loyal cadres inn every part of the Republic.
This is why the President has used insecurity and violence to get his way. That’s why he used soldiers and raids to spread fear. Farmaajo used this to get his men appointed and interfere in the Parliament. He took swift force and used all means to get rid of Jawari as speaker in Parliament. That was done by his Prime Minister Khaire, but on the merits of the Presidency. As the head of state wanted a man who served him there.
People calls him a dictator for a reason. He tried to sway it all and fix the elections as well. While he sacked his Prime Minister and appointed another one. The second PM became the viable force and the one that became his end. He followed the mission and ensured the election happened. Even as the President has done everything he could to stifle it and even throw shade at him. Prime Minister Roble was under-fire and was sought after as he held more meetings and collected the needed progression to make it happen. While Farmaajo tried to make it a farce and crack the code of “non-election”.
That is the sort of fella Farmaajo is and the soft messages to the President-Elect isn’t changing it. We know that Farmaajo didn’t want to leave and had no intention of leaving Villa Somalia. If he could fortified it and besieged it. He would… as he never intended to honour the September 17th 2020 agreement. Which he wasn’t concerned about or hadn’t any heart to fulfil. Just like the man never tried or had the will of giving the public universal suffrage, because that could risk his longevity. As it is easier to manipulate a few MPs versus a whole population of eligible voters.
We can surely think this downfall will not be taken kindly in Asmara or Addis Ababa. For President Afewerki and Prime Minister Abiy he has been a useful leader. He has been part of their axis of alliance on the horn. These have been together in it all and found safe-haven from each other. Though in their meetings, the pictures from it… makes it seems like Farmaajo was the servant for the stronger personalities in Abiy and Afewerki. While Farmaajo also have to answer for the soldiers sent for training in Eritrea and their possible participation in the Tigray war. Therefore, there are many unanswered issues, which reflects what sort of government business Farmaajo did.
Just like he favoured the Turkish and was grateful for their training of soldiers. The President also was connected to Qatar. That’s why these sorts of alliance was important for his reasoning and diplomatic missions. He needed them and he served them a purpose on the Horn of Africa.
Farmaajo might be lost for some. His ways and mannerism isn’t favoured by all. Because, he used force and didn’t care if he violated people’s liberties or freedoms. As President he couldn’t care if he used force to get his will. That’s why many will celebrate his downfall. While others has lost their power-base and the one that could save them. It is always like that after an election and change of power.
Farmaajo had it all and had powerful friends. He didn’t have to worry. What is striking is that he had massive potential and could have used the resources for benefits of the public. He could have reformed in a manner, which haven’t seen before. However, he instead resorted into violence and militarism. That just shows what power does and how it can corrupt a man. Peace.
“Reports of heavy fighting in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, heavy exchange of gunfire heard as presidential vote enters 3rd round. It comes hours after explosions from mortar shells landing outside election venue were heard” (Somali Guardian, 15.05.2022).
After a three rounds of Presidential Elections after beating 31 Presidential Candidates. After two nail-biting rounds. The former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of 2012-2017 has again been voted into office. This means the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo lost after prolonging his reign for a year and three months. His term ended on the 8th February 2021, but the final election and end was today on the 15th May 2022. Farmaajo’s term ended with three rounds of votes and it couldn’t have happened sooner.
There is a dark past following HSM reign, as there was several of Members of Parliament (MPs) who lost their lives in the previous term. Between September 2012 to June 2016, there is recorded that 19 MPs was killed. These were Mustaf Haji Mohamed, Mohamed Warsame Mohamed, Hussain Abdisalan, Isaiah Rino, Abdi Aziz Mursal, Mahamud Hayd, Sado Ali Warsame, Adan Madeer, Abdullahi Qayad Barre, Omar Farduq, Mohamed Muse “Haji Coffee”, Yusuf Dirir, Abduallahi Bantu, Abduallahi Hussain Mohamed, Abdi Abtidon, Cabdi Mohamed Abtidon, Mohamed Gurhan, Abdullahi Jama Hussain “Kaboweyne” and Mohamed Mohamud Guure. All of these MPs, these people lost their lives for political gains in the previous term of HSM. Therefore, we should be cautious to celebrate his victory early.
We know that the incumbent has used the military and insecurity to gain political capital as well. He has used foreign interference in building militias fighting for him. The “Gorgor” unit is one of htem that Farmaajo has built up and hopefully the next inside Villa Somalia get it directly included into the Somali National Army (SNA).
While HSM also should answer for these things from his previous term:
“4. The President’s self-denial of the legacy of the Civil War and enormous pain suffered by the masses, ignoring calls for national healing and nationwide reconciliation.
5. Junta-style approach to governance in coalition with secret and underground clique members of dubious religious and political background with suspicious national and international connections, notably the Infamous Damul Jadiid.
6. Suspicious relationships with foreign entities, persons and states at the expense of Somali sovereignty and vital national interests.
7. Naked violation of the Constitution by acting both as the Head of State and Head of Government. There were no government job descriptions for President Hassan Sh. Mohamud. The three branches of government had lost meaning and significance in the Republic. The abysmal situation had finally ended up in the arbitrary creation of an illegal super-body called “Madasha Qaran”, an outlaw that had taken away for itself all powers of government
8. Most importantly, President Hassan failed to listen to the concerns of the people in his leadership” (Ismail Warsame – ‘LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE PRESIDENCY OF HASSAN SHEIKH MOHAMUD OF SOMALIA’ 02.03.2017, Wardheer News).
With the knowledge of all this and from the past term of HSM. He has to show maturity and growth. HSM cannot run the Federal Government and Villa Somalia like he did last time. That should be out of the picture. We know how the Villa Somalia has raided, blocked and sealed of the Parliament when they have acted in defiance or wanted to appoint people who isn’t aligned with the Office of the President. Hopefully, these sorts of tactics will not happen in this term, but we would never know.
What will be striking and prove the future of the Republic. Would be what sort of person he appoints to be his Prime Minister. As we have seen the importance of that with Hassan Ali Khaire and Mohamed Hussein Roble. They have both in various parts of the last term shown the value of a proper PM and the way that person is governing. Therefore, one of the vital acts of HSM is to pick the right PM… and time will tell about that.
We know this victory means a lot, as there been reports of gunfire and celebrations in Karaan and Abdiaziz districts of Mogadishu, as the supporters of HSM is celebrating his victory. What we know from the inside, is that two of the candidates that lost in the earlier rounds, Said Deni and Hassan Ali Khaire have both endorsed HSM. While Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have endorsed Farmaajo.
That’s why there is uncertainty of HSM winning. Farmaajo should know that he has lost out on promises made in the past. He had 6 years in office and couldn’t even fix enough electoral reforms to give give the public universal suffrage. Instead, his final hours in power was sealed by the MPs and not by the popular vote. This is the end he decided, since he didn’t try or wanted to fix the way election are done in Somalia. So, it is not like Farmaajo had a clean record into the elections today either.
I am just writing this while it is happening and that it was projected to happen. That HSM was to become the President for the second term. That he would defeat Farmaajo. Many would blame Said Deni for that, but he should blame himself. He has had the time and could structure everything to benefit himself. However, he couldn’t even manage that and he lost the rights to live in Villa Somalia. Peace.