Somalia is teetering on the brink of famine, with nearly 8 million people facing extreme hunger and food insecurity after four years of severe drought. This means that half of Somalia's population is facing hunger right now.
The coming rainy season is projected to fail yet again, which will push Somalia's most vulnerable communities even further into hunger and even starvation.
The 2011 famine in Somalia led to over 260,000 deaths, many of children under the age of five. The current situation is even more volatile than in 2011, as vulnerable communities are also facing the aftershocks of COVID-19 and the global cost of living crisis.
Unless urgent action is taken now, millions in Somalia will be at risk of another devastating famine.
According to the World Food Programme:
7.1 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance with food
1.5 million children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition
The impact of climate change on the food crisis in Somalia
Somalia has long experienced droughts, but the droughts are becoming increasingly severe and frequent. Before, communities would have times of plenty to recover between droughts, but now they are facing years on end of drought only a few years after another severe drought.
Most communities in Somalia are pastoralist, and they rely on consistent and predictable rainfall. Four years into a drought, with predictions that it may last another two years, means that most communities have no options left. Their crops have already failed, they have no seeds to replant, no livestock, and no money to buy more.
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Impact of drought on communities in Somalia
Communities in the epicentre of the food crisis in south-central Somalia, particularly in Baidoa and Burkhakaba, are leaving their homes in droves, searching for food and water.
Over 1.1 million people have been forced from their homes due to drought since January 2021.
This puts even more pressure on neighbouring regions like Gedo, where food and resources were already in short supply. There are currently over 250,000 people, mostly women and children, living in informal camps in Gedo.
Marian's livelihood has been decimated after four years of drought caused by climate change.
“We had no food or water because of the drought,” she says. “Our crops failed and our goats died. Our livelihoods are gone. We were hungry and desperate.”
Like so many others, she left her home because she had no other options. She walked across Somalia with her eight-month-old daughter to get to Gedo in southern Somalia, hoping to find more food and water, or at least humanitarian aid.
“We walked for five days and nights with little food or water to get here,” she says. “We have been here for several weeks, maybe even a month, and still have not been properly registered with the authorities.”
We had no food or water because of the drought. Our crops failed and our goats died. Our livelihoods are gone. We were hungry and desperate.
You can help fight hunger in Somalia
Caritas Australia is working with our partner, Trócaire, to provide urgent food and health services in Geedo, where Trócaire has been working for over 30 years. With no sign of the drought ending, and hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced People living in camps around the region, many communities will be heavily reliant on humanitarian aid for survival in coming months.
Our partner on the ground is working to support vulnerable communities in Somalia through:
Emergency food baskets
Urgent support for children with malnutrition
Water and sanitation support
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The funds raised through this appeal will be used to provide immediate and longer-term humanitarian assistance to communities affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea, through Caritas Australia’s local partners.
Where this is not possible, the funds will be used to provide immediate and longer-term development and humanitarian assistance to communities affected by crises in Africa. If any excess funds remain after a crisis, or if there are changes in circumstances beyond our control that limit our ability to use the funds, they are kept in the Africa Regional Appeal so that we can respond to ongoing development needs and future crises across all our regions.