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Somalia: State-by-State Drought Analysis (February 2018)

Humanitarian assistance was scaled up from the second quarter of 2017 to avert famine and was maintained through late 2017. With this robust response, famine was successfully averted in 2017. But the response needs to be sustain into 2018, in order to prevent another downward spiral, otherwise the famine will have been postponed rather than averted. The extended drought severely aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the country, and needs remain high and critical due to poor performance of rains over the past four consecutive seasons and likely below average Gu rains between April to June 2018, displacement, lack of access to basic services and continuing conflict. The end to drought conditions may not be in sight following the recent outcome of climate outlook by IGAD ICPAC1 that predicts a normal to below normal rainfall season between March and May 2018 in much of Somalia. In the absence of sustained humanitarian assistance, many households are likely to face large food consumption gaps.

The latest FSNAU/FEWS NET post- seasonal assessment conducted across Somalia in November and December 2017 indicate food security has improved from conditions that prevailed at the peak of the drought earlier in 2017 notably due to large-scale humanitarian assistance and seasonal improvements to food and income sources during the  (October-December) season2. According to FSNAU/FEWS NET, over 2.7 million people face Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4)3 between February and June 2018. This represents a relative improvement in the overall food security situation in Somalia compared to the 3.2 million people projected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse between April and December 2017. Through June 2018, an additional 2.7 million people are classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In total, 5.4 million people across Somalia currently face acute food insecurity.
Results from 30 separate nutrition surveys conducted by FSNAU and partners between November and December 2017 indicate that the overall nutrition situation in Somalia has shown some improvement with only 8 out of 30 nutrition surveys showing Critical levels of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM 15-30%) compared to 20 out of 31 nutrition surveys conducted in June-July 2017. At national level, median prevalence of acute malnutrition has improved from Critical (17.4% GAM) in June-July 2017 to Serious (13.8%GAM) in November-December. Accordingly, the number of children under the age of five that are acutely malnourished is estimated at 301 000, including 48 000 who are severely malnourished and face an increased risk of disease and death. Mortality rates have declined compared to previous seasons. However, Crude Death Rate (CDR) is still serious (0.5 to <1 per 10 000 per day) in 14 out of 30 population groups surveyed. Under-Five Death Rate (U5DR) is also Serious (1-<2 per 10 000 per day) in 5 out of 30 population groups surveyed.

Data from UNHCR indicates that drought-related displacement, which reached its peak in the first half of 2017, declined significantly from a monthly average of 117 000 between January to June 2017 to 29 100 between July and December 2017; but the cumulative totals kept increasing unabated. Humanitarian stakeholders have to sustain an increasing number of new drought IDPs in excess of one million in 2017 alone, bringing the total IDP caseload to over 2.1 million. Food security and nutrition outcomes across most of the 13 main settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs) have also shown some improvement. Accordingly, most of the IDP.

settlements are classified as Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Declining food prices and increased employment opportunities have improved food security situation in most urban areas. However, some urban areas in southern Somalia that continue to experience localized trade disruptions and other urban areas in northern and central regions affected by drought and depreciation of the local currency are classified as Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Urgent treatment and nutrition support is needed for approximately 301 000 acutely malnourished children, including 48 000 who are severely malnourished. It is expected that over 2.2 million people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 496 000 people will be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between February and June 2018 and they need life-saving humanitarian assistance and livelihood protection support in order to prevent further deterioration of their food security situation. An additional 2.7 million who are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) also need livelihood protection support, as they are highly vulnerable to shocks that could push them to Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phases 3 or 4).

It however suffices to note that the modest improvements in food security and nutrition are extremely fragile and far from adequate. In 2010, similar improvements in the humanitarian situation were witnessed, but a year later famine was declared. More than 60 percent of Somalis facing Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3&4) and 86 percent of those in Emergency (IPC 4) are in rural areas. The food security status of rural people can deteriorate very quickly, as seen in the first half of 2017 when the rural population in IPC 4 soared from 44 000 to 674 000 between January and May.

A key attribute that will ensure that the situation does not deteriorate is a sustenance of funding of humanitarian funding. The population of Baidoa for example has increased by over 80 per cent due to new IDPs in 2017 alone, a large proportion of them depending on humanitarian aid. As this population begins to find livelihood activities, humanitarian aid would have to be sustained. Baidoa hosts over 270,000 IDPs in over 305 sites (CCCM). There is need to keep underlining that improvements in in the drought situation, particularly in Bay and Bakool which host the largest number drought IDPs was mostly due to humanitarian interventions.
Below please find a graph showing HRP and Non-HRP funding trend from 2014-2017

It is pertinent to highlight that going forward, humanitarian and development actors need to work closer together to ensure collective outcomes.
There is need to consider that significantly reducing funding at this time threatens to throw Somalia back into humanitarian crisis. This is because after several failed rainy seasons, Somali people are unable to withstand another shock. The 2017 crisis left them with few assets and no livelihood support. While there is slight decline in the overall number of people in IPC 2, 3, 4, there is no significant improvement in food security. Whereas in pre-crisis, the food security cluster (FSC) provided assistance to 500,000 people per month in 2017, the FSC reached 2.7 million people each month representing a five-fold increase. Some 75 per cent of the 2017 response was cash based. A reduction in the requirements and response at this time has potential to cause already vulnerable people to slip into further vulnerability.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
05 Mar 2018
Document type: 
Analysis Report