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

Key Developments

With the arrival of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), humanitarian agencies including USAID partners are coordinating with government authorities in Somalia to implement preparedness and response activities across the country. Humanitarian actors are particularly concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 into camps for people who are displaced from their homes (IDPs). Overcrowding and limited access to health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services could exacerbate the impact of a potential outbreak in camps.

In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to exacerbate emergency food needs in Somalia. Current projections suggest that 3.5 million people in Somalia could face crisis food insecurity from June to September, an increase from the previous estimate that nearly 1.2 million people faced crisis food insecurity in early 2020.

USAID is also responding to the massive regional locust outbreak affecting Somalia and its neighbors. Learn more about our locust response.


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: August 12, 2020

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