Responding to the crisis in Somalia

Somalia today is facing the possibility of famine, as a prolonged drought is causing food scarcity, leading to widespread hunger and malnourishment and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the countryside in search of water and food.

In the most affected areas, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while vulnerable communities are being forced to sell assets or borrow money to survive as food prices rise. More than 600,000 people have already fled and are now internally displaced, living in camps or with other communities. Over six million people – half of the country’s population – are in need of humanitarian support, and Somalia’s important recent progress in state-building and development is in jeopardy.

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.

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