Somalia: World Food Programme (WFP) Reaches Record Numbers with Food and Nutrition Support in Somalia amid Ongoing Famine Risk (20.10.2022)

The scale-up has helped keep the worst outcomes of Somalia’s hunger crisis at bay so far.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 20, 2022 – The United Nations World Food Programme is delivering life-saving food and nutrition assistance to record numbers of people in Somalia, with over 4 million people a month receiving urgent humanitarian support to prevent famine in the face of the region’s worst drought in over 40 years.

The scale-up has helped keep the worst outcomes of Somalia’s hunger crisis at bay so far. But the situation on the ground remains dire, with lives and livelihoods being lost. WFP is racing against time to avert a projected famine and a death toll that could reach the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

Additional information for journalists:

– Over the last six months, WFP has more than doubled the number of people reached with life-saving food and cash assistance from 1.7 million in April to 4.4 million people in August. A further 450,000 children and mothers received nutrition support from WFP in August, as the agency expands both the caseload and number of treatment sites.

– In September, WFP reached almost 4.1 million people with emergency food and cash relief and half a million malnourished children and mothers with malnutrition treatment services.

– WFP is working to continue this expansion, including in hard-to-reach areas, and increase investment in longer-term programming such as malnutrition prevention, which will help to reduce the number of people who need treatment.

Nutrition prevention activities were almost entirely suspended from the second quarter of 2022 as – – WFP was forced to prioritize treatment services due to limited funds. The agency has resumed some prevention activities for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women and is working to do more.

– WFP is reaching new rural areas, including in the famine risk districts of Baidoa and Burhakaba, with food assistance and cash transfers. WFP’s mobile money transfers are an efficient way to getting assistance rapidly to people in hard-to-reach areas.

– WFP deployed a new helicopter in Somalia in September to deliver food assistance to hard-to-reach areas and get aid workers to the places they are needed most. The WFP-led Logistics Cluster is also using the helicopter to deliver humanitarian relief on behalf of other UN agencies and NGOs. The helicopter has so far conducted over 30 flights in September and October.

– WFP is the largest humanitarian agency in Somalia, with 12 offices across the country providing coverage in every state.

– WFP’s massive scale-up has largely been made possible thanks to timely support from key donors, particularly in recent months. It is essential that this is maintained. WFP has a funding gap of US$ 412 million across all activities for the next six months to March 2023, including a shortfall of US$ 315 million for life-saving food relief and nutrition assistance.

Somalia: OCHA – More humanitarian assistance is urgently needed in Somalia (21.10.2022)

Millions are at risk unless humanitarian assistance is scaled up and sustained.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 21, 2022 – Humanitarian organizations need an additional US$1 billion in funding to reach 7.6 million people targeted for humanitarian assistance in Somalia. The increased requirement for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) comes against the backdrop of rapidly mounting needs and a corresponding scale-up in humanitarian action.

We are facing a major emergency. We declared the drought an emergency last year and have been scaling up to reach the most vulnerable people, but we need the international community’s support to prevent further deterioration,” said Somalia Deputy Prime Minister, Salah Ahmed Jama.

Somalia is currently facing its worst drought in at least 40 years. The historic failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, persistent conflict, displacement, and high food prices have left millions of people at risk and are pushing people in Somalia to the brink of famine. In response to the alarming situation, the Federal Government of Somalia has appointed a Special Envoy for Drought and reconstituted the Somali Disaster Management Agency, tasked with facilitating efforts of relief and rescuing people in distress.

In January, when the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan was launched, about 3.2 million people were affected by the cumulative effects of three consecutive failed rainy seasons. Now, because of yet more failed rains, more than 7.8 million Somalis, nearly half of the population, are affected by drought. More than 1.1 million people have left their homes in search of food, water, and livelihoods, a threefold increase since the beginning of the year. Three million livestock have died, and water sources have run dry.

Humanitarian organizations have adapted the response to target areas where the needs are highest, focusing on the most vulnerable people. But we know we urgently need to do more, and we require more money to do so,” said Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

The updated 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan requires $2.26 billion to respond to the most life-threatening needs of 7.6 million people across Somalia, an increase of $800 million on the initial HRP target in January of $1.46 billion for about 5.5 million people. More than 80 per cent of the funding requirement is related to drought. Donors have made generous contributions totalling $1.05 billion so far this year (46 per cent of the $2.26 billion appeal), enabling partners to reach about 6.5 million people across Somalia with some form of humanitarian assistance, but more funds are urgently needed to keep pace with the increasing scale, scope, and severity of the situation.

More than 300 humanitarian organizations, including international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN agencies and international organizations have projects in the HRP. More funding should be channelled to national NGOs, who are on the frontline responding to needs in some of the hardesthit and hardest-to-reach areas of Somalia. Immediate life-saving assistance must also be accompanied by investment in livelihoods, resilience, infrastructure development, climate adaptation and durable solutions.

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Somalia: NGOs Call for Urgent Funding Surge as Somalia is Expected to Face Famine (05.09.2022)

Somalia’s latest food security analysis shows that parts of the country will face famine by October 2022 if significant funding is not urgently mobilised. This projection reflects a catastrophic humanitarian situation in Somalia where at least 1.5 million children (nearly half the total population of children) are already facing acute malnutrition, farmers can no longer feed their families due to the loss of livestock and crops, women and girls face increased gender-based violence, and over 1 million people have already been forced to flee their homes due to the drought.

Further suffering and loss of life must urgently be prevented, not only in Somalia, but in neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya, where interconnected factors including drought, inflation, and conflict are pushing millions of people towards catastrophic levels of hunger. Just over a decade since more than 250,000 Somalis died from preventable famine — half of whom died before the famine was officially declared — the international community must immediately disperse funding that enables humanitarian organisations to deliver cash, food, safe water and other lifesaving services to people whose lives now depend on it.

While important funding contributions by the U.S. government and other donors have been made in recent months, substantially more is needed from more corners of the globe to match the current scale of needs in the Horn of Africa. The quality of funding is also crucial. As it currently stands, the funding supplied is insufficiently flexible or predictable, and does not flow directly to the actors best placed to respond quickly and cost-effectively: international, national, and local non-government organisations (NGOs). The majority of resources mobilised for the Horn of Africa has been received by UN agencies so far, and I/NGOs face serious barriers in accessing and operationalising the funds on the ground. In Somalia, only 20% of funding was received by INGOs, and a mere 2% was directed to local NGOs. It is time for other donors to share responsibility, ensuring that funding is predictable, flexible and delivered directly to NGOs working in the region.

Humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa will continue to grow into 2023. Forecasts indicate a fifth consecutive failed rainy season in the coming months, and recovery from drought will take time. In order to effectively avert famine in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya and prevent a protracted hunger crisis in the region, we, the undersigned organisations, call on global donors to:

  1. Fully fund the Humanitarian Response Plans for Somalia and Ethiopia without delay, and ensure that all sectors and areas are adequately covered. This includes in Kenya, where even though the Drought Flash Appeal currently appears to be well supported, some sectors such as protection suffer from funding gaps.
  2. Prioritise funding to local, national and international NGOs and consortia of NGOs who have a demonstrated capacity to respond when supported with direct, fast and flexible funding. This includes funding to women-led organisations, who are especially well placed to respond to and mitigate the gender-based violence risks magnified by the hunger crisis.
  3. Urgently convene and engage all relevant stakeholders – including relevant authorities, as well as local, national and international NGOs – to better coordinate funding streams. Together, we must find ways to ensure that predictable, multi-year nexus funding can expedite life-saving assistance, and enable communities to adapt to climate change and become more resilient to future shocks.

It is unacceptable for the international community to delay action until a famine is officially declared.
Famine is not a natural disaster, but the result of lack of political will, a consequence of inaction. Any chance at preventing further deaths, widespread illness, protection concerns and displacement depends on the immediate disbursement of funding, directly to NGOs, to ensure quick, life-saving assistance for millions across the Horn of Africa.

Signed by:

Action Against Hunger

Care International

Christian Aid

Concern Worldwide

Danish Refugee Council East Africa & Great Lakes

International Rescue Committee

Mercy Corps

Norwegian Refugee Council Somalia

NEXUS Platform Somalia

Plan International

Save Somali Women and Children

Save the Children

Social-life and Agricultural Development Organization (SADO)

Wajir South Development Association (WASDA)

World Vision Somalia

Somalia: World Food Programme (WFP) Assistance in Somalia Reaches Unprecedented Levels in Race Against Time to Avert Projected Famine (05.09.2022)

Famine is now projected in several districts of the Bay region of Somalia from October to December, unless resources can be secured to sustain and expand the scale-up of humanitarian assistance.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, September 5, 2022 – In Somalia, the United Nation World Food Programme is delivering life-saving assistance to more people than ever before, reaching 3.7 million people with relief and over 300,000 with nutrition support – but famine is now an imminent reality unless immediate and drastic action is taken.

With the country gripped by a devastating drought and forecasts of an unprecedented fifth consecutive failed rainy season, famine is now projected in several districts of the Bay region of Somalia from October to December, unless resources can be secured to sustain and expand the scale-up of humanitarian assistance.

We know from experience that we cannot wait for a formal declaration of famine to act. Even before we first warned of the risk of famine, we were working to scale up our life-saving support in Somalia as far as resources have allowed. Since April, we have more than doubled the number of people we are supporting with humanitarian assistance, reaching record numbers in Somalia,” said Margot van der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies, speaking from Mogadishu.”But the drought crisis is still deteriorating and famine is closer than ever. The world must respond now, while we still have a chance to prevent catastrophe.”

Additional information for journalists:

Famine is now projected between October and December in the Baidoa and Burkhaba districts and displaced populations in Baidoa town of Somalia’s Bay region, unless humanitarian aid is scaled up. The last famine in Somalia, in 2011-12, killed over a quarter of a million people – and while the scale of humanitarian assistance is much larger now than it was then, the scale of need is also much greater.

According to the last official national update, close to half the population of Somalia were facing acute food insecurity in June. The situation has worsened since then, and updated figures are expected in coming days.

The hunger crisis in Somalia is primarily the result of a drought of historic severity. Four consecutive rainy seasons have failed and forecasts for the fifth are poor. This is compounding the impact of other recurrent climate shocks, coupled with conflict and instability that exacerbates hunger and restricts humanitarian access.

Food prices in Somalia were already rising sharply due to drought-induced livestock deaths and poor harvests. They soared even higher following the crisis in Ukraine. In June, the average cost for a household to meet its basic food needs was at its highest in five years.

Without waiting for a declaration of famine, WFP has scaled up humanitarian assistance to unprecedented levels in Somalia, despite the very limited resources available – especially in the early stages of the drought crisis.

In July 2022, WFP reached 3.7 million people in Somalia with life-saving relief assistance – more than double the number in April, when WFP and the UN first warned of the risk of famine, and the most ever reached by WFP in Somalia in a single month. We also reached over 300,000 people with treatment for malnutrition.

We are working to increase this still further in coming months, to reach 4.5 million people with relief and 470,000 with nutrition treatment.

WFP is the largest humanitarian agency in Somalia, with 12 offices across the country providing coverage in every state. We are in ongoing collaboration with United Nations agencies, all levels of government, partners and donors to push assistance still further into the most challenging areas.

WFP’s massive scale-up has largely been made possible thanks to timely support from the United States. But the broader international community must act now to enable us to sustain and expand this scale-up, including in hard-to-reach areas – such as the Bay region, where famine is now projected.

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