What are the needs?
Three years after a famine ravaged parts of Somalia, the country is experiencing another food crisis. The government has declared a drought in six regions of south-central Somalia. Acute malnutrition continues to afflict hundreds of thousands of children, especially in the south of the country. Some 206 000 children under the age of five are malnourished, while the number of children at risk of dying if they do not receive treatment has risen to 51 000. Such persistent emergency levels of malnutrition are not just related to food intake, but also to dietary balance, disease, lack of clean water, poor access to healthcare and hygiene practices.
The delicate gains made since the 2011 drought and famine crisis are under threat. The food security situation across large parts of south-central and north eastern Somalia has deteriorated sharply following consecutive poor rains, shrinking humanitarian assistance, limited access to those in need, surging food prices, disruption of agriculture, and rising displacements as a result of the government-led military offensive and localised conflicts.
Currently, 1.1 million people are uprooted from their homes, inside Somalia and a further 1 million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries. All the major settlements for internally displaced people (IDPs) are considered to be in a food security crisis and over 2.9 million people are in need of assistance; out of which 857 000 are in a crisis or emergency situation.
A military offensive has put on hold the voluntary return of refugees from Kenya, which was expected to increase, following the signing of a Tripartite Agreement for the voluntary repatriation of Somalis. Similarly, the voluntary return of internally displaced people has also been paused due to safety concerns. In the context of continuing conflict, significant humanitarian activities need to be carried out in all areas where needs exist and where safe and unfettered access can be achieved.
How are we helping?
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is supporting life-saving interventions where the needs are the highest, focusing on protection, food security, health, nutrition, shelter, water/sanitation, hygiene promotion, livelihoods support, and the coordination of aid.
ECHO is assisting vulnerable populations, specifically IDPs and their host communities within Mogadishu, in various parts of the centre and south, as well in Puntland and in Somaliland. With such high numbers of IDPs, longer-term solutions are needed for those who wish to either return home or to settle permanently in their new location.
With regards to deadly diseases, ECHO is assisting with both preparation and responses to epidemic outbreaks in order to contain their spread and avoid loss of life as far as possible. It will also continue to focus on actions that save lives during emergencies such as treatment of malnutrition, and emergency preparedness actions including the capacity to respond to new or worsening crises. Where possible, these interventions will also aim to increase the recovery and resilience of communities affected by recurrent crises.
EU humanitarian assistance is needs-based and guided by humanitarian principles, in line with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.