European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Somalia by Sebastien Rich Unicef
© UNICEF/Sebastien Rich

Somalia has suffered extreme weather conditions (such as drought and floods) and conflict for decades. As a result, 2.6 million Somalis are internally displaced and 5 million are in need of food. In 2018, the EU has allocated €89 million to help those most in need. The delivery of cash assistance has proved to be an effective and dignified way of providing assistance to vulnerable people.

What are the needs?

Above average rainfall from April to June 2018 and large scale humanitarian assistance have helped many vulnerable Somalis overcome the immediate impact of the drought. However, humanitarian needs remain very high: over 5 million people need food assistance; almost 295 000 children will suffer from acute malnutrition between September and December 2018; and 2.6 million people have been internally displaced. A second season of flooding is likely across Somalia due to above average rainfall forecast between October and December 2018.

For almost three decades, conflict has been the main driver of Somalia’s humanitarian crisis. Widespread insecurity hampers not only access for humanitarian organisations but also restricts the ability of Somalis to support themselves economically. There are above 1 million Somali refugees in neighbouring countries, mostly in Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Yemen. Repatriation from Kenya and Yemen has continued with more than 82 000 and 37 000 returns since 2014 respectively. The EU position is that any repatriation should be voluntary, informed, safe, and dignified.

Map Somalia
How are we helping?

After committing €119 million in 2017, the European Union has allocated €89 million in humanitarian aid for 2018. These funds have enabled partners to provide life-saving aid in the regions hardest hit by water and food shortages, and disease outbreaks. The international aid effort, which reached 3 million people each month in 2017, helped to avert famine and curtail food price increases. Together, the EU and its Member States provide approximately 60% of all humanitarian aid in Somalia.

The delivery of cash assistance continues to be a priority. Giving people money to buy essential goods is an effective and dignified way of providing assistance. In 2017, the EU helped more than 600 000 people in need with cash assistance. Other forms of assistance include health and nutrition care, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection, education, and emergency preparedness and response (EPR).

With malnutrition exceeding emergency thresholds in many areas, the EU supports the treatment of severely malnourished children. More than 310 000 children benefitted from therapeutic feeding and care in 2017 thanks to the support of humanitarian donors and the efforts of local staff. Healthcare is another priority for the EU given Somalia’s high child and maternal mortality, and frequent disease outbreaks. EU humanitarian aid supports hospitals in Mogadishu and other major urban centres; health facilities catering to the displaced, and emergency teams responding to disease outbreaks.

Despite the access challenges, EU humanitarian partners try to assist people in some of the hardest hit regions but many parts of the country remain inaccessible for aid workers. EU humanitarian partners in Somalia operate in a complex, dangerous and challenging environment. Access to populations remains a constant struggle and violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law are common. The EU is committed to preserving the humanitarian space and independence of humanitarian aid in order to reach all people in need.

The EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) have provided humanitarian assistance in Somalia since 1994. From 2016, internally displaced families have been, and continue to be, assisted to return home or resettle as part of the Durable Solution Initiative in Somalia. More long-term development is needed to prevent people from sliding back into crisis, and coordination between the EU humanitarian and development branches is ongoing to that effect.

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