USAID is providing life-saving humanitarian assistance for people affected by Somalia's severe food insecurity crisis. Photo credit: YASUYOSHI CHIBA / AFP
Five consecutive below-average rainy seasons between 2020 and 2022 have resulted in a historic drought across the Horn of Africa, affecting more than 7.8 million people in Somalia, according to the UN. Drought conditions have led to severe water shortages, driving household water insecurity for an estimated 6.4 million people, resulting in at least 3 million livestock deaths, decimating livelihoods, and reducing access to milk—a critical source of nutrition for pastoral households.
With USAID/BHA support, the UN World Food Program (WFP) continued its emergency food and nutrition operations to respond to severe acute food insecurity and malnutrition outcomes in conflict- and drought-affected areas of the country in 2022.
WFP provided cash transfers for food and in-kind food to nearly 3.5 million Somalis during November. Moreover, WFP provided nutrition services—including treatment for wasting, a life-threatening form of malnutrition—to approximately 483,000 individuals during the same period.
Persistent food insecurity, widespread violence, and protracted population displacement, as well as recurrent droughts and floods, have adversely affected Somalia since 1991. The current conflict—primarily related to al-Shabaab (AS) attacks and resultant military operations, as well as intercommunal violence—continues to restrict trade and market activities while contributing to further population displacement and food insecurity. Attacks against civilians and aid workers also disrupt livelihoods and hinder humanitarian response activities, particularly in areas that lack established local authorities and where AS is present. Sustained life-saving assistance, coupled with interventions aimed at building resilience, is critical to help vulnerable households meet basic needs, reduce acute malnutrition, rebuild assets, and protect livelihoods.
Moreover, a fourth consecutive season of poor rainfall in 2022 has intensified drought conditions across Somalia, generating extensive livestock losses, food insecurity, and severe water shortages. Recurrent drought conditions have amplified conflict-derived humanitarian needs in Somalia, and IDPs and other vulnerable populations remain particularly susceptible to cyclical climatic shocks.