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:
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.
Action Against Hunger
Danish Refugee Council East Africa & Great Lakes
International Rescue Committee
Norwegian Refugee Council Somalia
NEXUS Platform Somalia
Save Somali Women and Children
Save the Children
Social-life and Agricultural Development Organization (SADO)
Wajir South Development Association (WASDA)
World Vision Somalia
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.
Needs are escalating much faster than we are currently able to respond – this in an immensely complex and volatile operational environment.
DAKAR, Senegal, April 8, 2022 – The number of women, men and children affected by a food and nutrition crisis in West and Central Africa is expected to reach a new record high in June 2022 – quadrupling in just three years from 10.7 million in 2019 to 41 million in 2022 – unless appropriate measures are urgently taken, reveals the Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis released in March 2022.
Following the high-level conference in Paris on food security and nutrition situation in West Africa, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for longer-term political and financial commitments to address the worst food security and nutrition crisis to strike the region in ten years.
“The situation is spiralling out of control. Needs are escalating much faster than we are currently able to respond – this in an immensely complex and volatile operational environment,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa.
“Both governments and partners need a step-change in tackling the underlying drivers of hunger and malnutrition. Bold and rigorous political actions are needed now, including lifting barriers to the regional trade and ensuring the most acute needs are met during a lean season that is projected to be extremely challenging in the region” Nikoi added.
There is a high risk that the food and nutrition crisis will be further aggravated due to persistent insecurity that continues to trigger massive population displacement, the impact of the climate crisis, disrupted food systems, limited food production, barriers to regional trade and the socioeconomic fallout from the pandemic which has devastated national economies. Furthermore, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is violently disrupting the global trade of food, fertilisers and oil products, with the already high prices of agricultural products reaching record highs not seen in the region since 2011.
While the increase in staple food prices has been steady in all countries in the region, a staggering 40 percent jump from the 5-year average has been witnessed in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Mali and Mauritania – pushing basic meals out of reach for millions of women, men and children.
“This unprecedented food crisis the region is facing offers an opportunity for us to address the root causes of food insecurity in the sub-region by developing food and agricultural systems that are less dependent on external shocks, and a more productive and efficient local agriculture with a particular emphasis on the consumption of local food products” said Dr Gouantoueu Robert Guei, Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa and FAO representative in Senegal.
The nutritional situation also remains a grave concern in the region, particularly in the Sahelian countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad where an estimated six million children under five are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022. Nutritional analyses conducted across the Sahel and in Nigeria point to a crisis or emergency situation in several locations in Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria.
“Africa has the largest untapped potential of arable land, yet most of these countries import food. Governments need to support long-term agriculture plans for the next generation, including investments in developing agriculture, livestock and fisheries to achieve food security”, said Benoit Thierry, IFAD Regional representative in West Africa.
The March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé projections suggest that in coastal countries, the number of food insecure people has doubled since 2020, rising from 3 million people in the June-August 2020 period to over 6 million in June-August 2022. This includes nearly 110,000 people facing Emergency (Phase 4) levels of food insecurity. The coastal region is likely to experience further increases in food prices and disruptions in the supply of agricultural products (especially fertilizers), due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“Acute food insecurity is no longer restricted to the Sahel; it is expanding into Costal countries. We need to respond in a way that is sustainable, at the right scale, and that tackles the multifaceted socio-political and socio-economic elements of the crises the region faces. This will only be achieved through enhanced collaboration, coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels, and leadership at all levels, including from governments, donors, and UN agencies” Nikoi added.
World Food Programme (WFP) intends to assist a total of 1.7 million people requiring urgent food and nutrition support in the four most affected provinces (Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia).
BEIRA, Mozambique, April 16, 2019 – One month on since Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique on March 14, the United Nations World Food Programme has reached one million people with food assistance and continues to expand its emergency response while launching recovery and reconstruction interventions.
‘’In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, people were so very desperate.’’ said Lola Castro, WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa. ‘’Thanks to the hard work and resourcefulness of the many involved, the speed and scale of the response has transformed that desperation into hope.’’
Working in close coordination with the government and the INGC, the national disaster management agency, WFP intends to assist a total of 1.7 million people requiring urgent food and nutrition support in the four most affected provinces (Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia).
The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), will from the month of September 2018, undertake a once-off maize distribution exercise targeting acute food-insecure households in 26 districts of the country, pending the final Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report and development of the 2018/2019 Food Insecurity Response Plan.
Speaking in Blantyre when he presided over the launch of the once-off distribution, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said a total of 432,729 bags of maize [21,636.5 tonnes] will be distributed to 432,729 food-insecure households in 26 districts of the country.
“Each food-insecure household will receive a 50kg bag of maize and this will be followed by the MVAC response,” said Mwanamvekha.
The once-off distribution comes after the country experienced prolonged dry spells and a severe outbreak of Fall Army Worms, which rendered many households food-insecure.
The relief maize will be distributed to households in Blantyre, Neno, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Mwanza, Machinga, Mangochi, Balaka, Zomba, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Karonga, Mzimba, Rumphi, Chitipa, Dowa, Mchinji, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dedza, Ntcheu, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota and Salima.
In South Sudan the prolonged civil war is continuing and with the fresh dialogue between the parties didn’t help. Some had hope that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Government (SPLM-IG) or the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. He has been ruling and with an iron fist. While the main opposition leader and rebel Dr. Riek Machar are running the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). There is also a coalition of other rebels and opposition, who is the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) of 8 political parties/militias, some of them are run by big men like Dr. Lam Akol (National Democratic Movement – NDM) and Gen. Thomas C. Swaka (National Salvation Front – NAS).
Therefore, the knowledge of delegations from SSOA, TGoNU and SPLM/A-IO in the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) that has failed as even the house-arrested Machar couldn’t mend the fences or the idea of peaceful progress. That means the army and militias will continue to fight until they got supremacy.
Some people had hope as Ethiopian Government hosted this 32nd Extra-Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa and the shared arrangement to work on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” for all the stakeholders in the conflict as IGAD prepared for the dialogue this week. Still, that did not make it easier. They have the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) &Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM). All of these are interfering and monitoring the Republic. This combined with all the NGOs and Bilateral Organizations who support as well. Therefore, the international community is involved in the process. They are bookkeeping and securing needed services in the midst of the civil war, even footing the bills for it all. So the TGoNU can continue their fighting against their opposition.
This combined with various agreements that has not been kept, cease fire violations and such. These War-Lords really has no plan of quitting. They are preoccupied with the continued conflict and the looting of the Republic. There major resources being squandered away, not only seen by the Sentry in their reports, but the Kenyan bloggers are looking into the money laundering and estates owned by the War-Lords from South Sudan. Clearly, they are preoccupied with earning money on the toils and tears created by the conflict. That is why they are afraid of their future if the conflict ends. The guns are speaking their language. Even as the people are still lingering in refugee camps abroad and the Republic has no solution. The leadership isn’t hungry for peace, it is hungry to overcome its advisory.
At this point as the years lingers and the leaders continue to eat of the poverty, the famine and civil-wars, even as the state is bankrupt, creating higher bank-notes and the international community is footing the bills for development and needed supplies in refugee camps. This is clearly not the intention. But that is the sad reality as the innocent are dying and is afraid. The own leadership are holding this on. They are violating agreements or stifling it. If they are not getting their way, they are picking up guns or sending tanks to their yards. That is what happen in 2016, when the 2015 Agreement was starting to be established. However, that only lasted months before the new fresh conflict we are seeing today. Since then, there has been more deflections and more creations of new outfits who wants both Machar and Kiir to step down. However, none of them seems to fit the bill.
The state of affairs is sad. The people deserve peace, but War-Lords are busy finding ways to outsmart the enemies. Instead of dialogue and building real bridges, they are instead blowing them up hoping no-one finds out.
The people of South Sudan deserves better, but the leadership is busy killing each other and trying only to use ammunition to do so. They are not interested in talking. They know the trigger and is ready to aim. Peace.