The humanitarian situation in Somalia is on the verge of catastrophe, and concern is growing that the trajectory is worryingly similar to Somalia’s 2011 famine disaster, when an estimated 260,000 people died. Today an estimated 6.2 million, more than half the country’s population, face acute food shortage and the number of severely malnourished children is on the rise. This desperate situation comes against a backdrop of protracted conflict that has disrupted livelihoods and vital services such as health and water, sinking the country deeper into crisis.

The drought conditions exacerbated by failed rains has destroyed crops and wiped out livestock. Pastoralists are forced to walk increasingly long distances in search of pasture and water. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) jointly with the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and its vast network of volunteers continue to help drought-affected communities across Somalia in areas prone to conflict that are difficult to access.

Below is an overview of the emergency assistance given during the drought response.

Relief Activities

These are implemented quickly and efficiently with a view to save lives during the drought and protect livelihoods at immediate risk. They include distributing food, cash and essential household items.

  • 111,792persons received food rations of 50kg of rice, 25kg of beans and 10 litres of oil per household
  • 65,652persons received financial support in the form of cash
  • 32,718persons received essential household items (EHI) consisting of a kitchen set, three mosquito nets, two 10-litre jerrycans, a tarpaulin, two sleeping mats, a hygiene parcel for mother and baby, 6.25kgs of corn soya blend and two shawls

Health Care Activities

The ICRC ensures people affected by drought and conflict have access to basic medical services that meet universally recognized standards. In Somalia, the ICRC supports four hospitals, two stabilization centres and 25 clinics in central and southern Somalia.

  • 54,538 patients received medical care at ICRC-supported hospitals and 25 SRCS clinics
  • 2,355 people were admitted in cholera treatment centres in Kismayo and Baidoa hospitals
  • 7,436 malnourished children under age five were admitted to stabilization centers in Kismayo and Baidoa hospitals. Of these, 977 were acutely severe cases admitted in the ICU. 3,675 pregnant and lactating women received nutritional support

Water and Sanitation Response

The ICRC provides water in drought-hit areas and ensures access to clean and safe water for both humans and animals.

  • 15,500 persons have access to water through construction of 3 wells and rehabilitation of 9 boreholes. Five 5,000-litre open-top storage tanks have been distributed to increase storage capacity for communities and along with temporary troughs for animals to drink water
  • In 2016, 72 boreholes and well projects that delivered clean water to 152,920people in Somalia were completed
  • 236,696 persons benefited from access to safe and clean water through the distribution of aqua tabs and chlorination of water points