UNDP Around the world

Responding to the crisis in Somalia

Despite its political progress in recent years, Somalia faces a major risk of famine in 2017. After years of conflict and prolonged drought, an estimated 3.3 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance. Two-thirds of those are in rural areas, where families depend on animals and crops for their livelihoods.

These vulnerable communities have been hardest hit by the drought. Since November 2016 alone, more than 615,000 people across Somalia have been forced to abandon their homes in search of food and water. In rural areas, 8,000 people a day are being displaced by the drought.

Food prices are rising, livestock are dying, and almost one million children under five will be acutely malnourished this year, just six years after a famine in 2011 killed 250,000 people.

Somalia is one of four countries collectively facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, according to the UN Secretary-General. Across Somalia, as well as South Sudan, North-East Nigeria and Yemen, a total of more than 20 million people face starvation and famine without more urgent assistance

UNDP’s response

UNDP is working with the Government and humanitarian partners in Somalia to provide water and other emergency support to the most vulnerable communities.

At the same time, UNDP provides long-term development solutions, which address the root causes of vulnerability and break the cycle of recurrent humanitarian need and emergency response.

UNDP is also supporting national and state disaster response mechanisms, Government and civil society-led drought response initiatives and longer-term solutions to protracted and recurrent crises.

Key results

  • UNDP is helping set up disaster management institutions in four states—Galamduug, South West, HirShabelle, and Jubbaland—to facilitate long-term disaster risk management and resilience to climate shocks. 
  • UNDP supported the Somali Government to immediately deliver water to 6,500 vulnerable households in drought-affected communities. 

  • UNDP helped the regional Ministry of Environment in Puntland build a main water reservoir, which provides to 15,000 pastoralists and their livestock water storage for four months.
  • In partnership with a local humanitarian group, UNDP provided primary environmental and clean-up care for internally displaced people living in camps in Baidoa, South West state, benefitting 984 households.
  • Solar panels previously supplied by UNDP have met 75 percent of energy needs in the main treatment centre for more than 2,000 cholera patients in Baidoa.

  • Cash-for-work programmes employ Somalis to rehabilitate water catchments and storage, in return for much-needed income.

  • UNDP works with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to ensure the crops that are replanted are more resilient to climate change and drought.