Somalia Food Insecutiy
USAID is providing life-saving humanitarian assistance for people affected by Somalia's severe food insecurity crisis.

Latest Horn of Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to the complex emergency in the Horn of Africa region, including in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia.

Populations in Somalia continue to face Emergency and Crisis levels of acute food insecurity and require sustained humanitarian assistance through at least December 2017, with the persistent risk of Famine in acutely affected areas, according to the results of the post-gu seasonal assessment, released by the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, and the Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) in late August. In addition, acute malnutrition levels remain high and continue to deteriorate, particularly among displaced populations. Results from more than 30 nutrition surveys conducted by FSNAU and partners between June and July indicate that approximately 388,000 children younger than five years of age are acutely malnourished, including 87,000 children experiencing severe acute malnutrition.

During July, relief organizations treated nearly 512,000 children and pregnant and lactating women experiencing acute malnutrition in Somalia, exceeding the monthly target of more than 450,000 acutely malnourished people, according to the UN. The emergency nutrition response in July supported the highest number of acutely malnourished individuals to date in 2017, which the UN attributes to deteriorating nutrition conditions, due in part to humanitarian access constraints and limited availability of health services. Relief actors in Somalia also provided nutrition supplements to nearly 474,000 children and pregnant and lactating women during July to prevent deterioration of nutrition conditions.

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Since 1991, Somalia has experienced a persistent complex emergency due to chronic food insecurity, widespread violence, and recurrent droughts and floods. The 2011 drought—widely regarded as the country’s worst in 60 years—severely deteriorated food security among pastoralists and populations in marginal farming areas, resulting in famine in areas of Bay, Bakool, and Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, as well as among internally displaced persons in Mogadishu and the nearby Afgooye corridor.

Despite modest improvements in recent years, malnutrition rates in Somalia remain among the highest in the world, and ongoing insecurity in the country—particularly in areas that lack established local authorities and where al-Shabaab is present—contributes to the complex emergency. Sustained life-saving assistance, coupled with interventions aimed at building resilience, is critical to help vulnerable households meet basic needs, reduce malnutrition, and protect livelihoods. An estimated 6.7 million people require humanitarian assistance between January and December 2017.


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Last updated: September 01, 2017

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