Somalia Medical Supplies
USAID is providing emergency medical supplies to help treat people affected by the recent explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia.
AFP / Mohamed Abdiwahab

Latest Horn of Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

On October 14, a truck containing explosives detonated near a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, causing the hotel to collapse and trapping many people under the debris. To date, more than 300 have been killed.

In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance is providing $100,000 to a partner organization to deliver emergency medical supplies to help treat the more than 300 injured in this attack.

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.

Between January and August, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded approximately 975,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia, of whom 804,000 people—or 82 percent—cited drought as the primary cause of displacement; 151,000 people—or 15 percent—cited conflict and insecurity; and 20,000 people cited other reasons, including floods. The approximately 58,000 IDPs recorded in August represent a 55 percent decrease from the more than 130,000 IDPs recorded in July, and included nearly 34,000 IDPs displaced by drought—the lowest monthly drought-displaced population to date in 2017. Bay Region is the area of origin for more than 237,600 drought-related IDPs, while Lower Shabelle Region is the area of origin for more than 113,200 conflict-related IDPs, according to UNHCR. Countrywide, food and livelihoods assistance are priority needs among new IDPs. From September 1–19, relief agencies recorded an additional 26,000 IDPs in Somalia, including 16,000 people displaced by drought, according to provisional UNHCR data.

Insecurity and violent attacks targeting aid workers continue to negatively impact humanitarian operations across Somalia. The UN reported in August that the number of humanitarian workers abducted by armed actors has increased, with the majority of recent abductions occurring along main access roads. In south-central Somalia, informal roadblocks and checkpoints have rendered many routes unsafe for relief personnel. On September 12, al-Shabaab released three hostage aid workers after receiving payment from the abductees’ families, according to local media. Al-Shabaab militants seized the relief workers during a humanitarian intervention in Hiran Region in July.

The number of new suspected cholera cases and related deaths in Somalia has significantly declined since the beginning of June, according to the UN. Relief organizations attribute the decline to increased community awareness; improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services; additional treatment facilities and trained health workers; enhanced quality of health care services; and a cholera vaccination campaign from March–May that reached more than 1 million people. Between January 1 and September 26, heath workers recorded more than 77,100 cases and approximately 1,160 related deaths in 16 of Somalia’s 18 regions; nearly 60 percent of all suspected cases occurred in children younger than five years of age. Despite the reduced cholera caseload in Somalia, health actors note that suspected cases could increase during the October-to-December deyr rainy season due to an anticipated cyclical deterioration in WASH 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: October 18, 2017

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