A dire humanitarian situation is developing in Somalia. Largely due to warm La Niña weather patterns, much of the country is experiencing drought conditions which will continue throughout 2021. According to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, the lead organization in the field of prediction and response to famines, cereal harvests in the drought-affected regions of Somalia will be 30 to 40 percent below average levels.
At the same time, localized flooding in some areas of Somalia is contributing to the problem, as has the activity of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. The combined impacts of drought, floods, which are more frequent and more severe due to the climate crisis, along with violence, the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent waves of locust infestation have made matters worse, resulting in a humanitarian crisis. Today, out of a population of 12.3 million, some 5.9 million Somalis need humanitarian assistance and one fifth of the population, 2.8 million people, are facing acute food insecurity through September.
To help alleviate the crisis, the United States, working through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State, is providing nearly 199 million dollars in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Somalia.
“This assistance will help many of the nearly six million people of Somalia in need of humanitarian aid, including some of the almost three million displaced people inside Somalia as well as nearly 500,000 Somali refugees in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price in a written statement. “This new funding will provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, shelter, protection, education, and health care, as well as logistics and other support, in the face of worsening environmental, humanitarian, and conflict related challenges.
“The United States is the largest single donor of humanitarian aid in Somalia and for Somali refugees in the region, and we welcome efforts by the UN to draw attention to the plight of the people of Somalia. We remain concerned about the continuing increase in humanitarian needs, and we urge other donors to contribute to the international response and provide the support needed to save lives.”