MOGADISHU – An estimated 4.2 million people in Somalia will require humanitarian assistance in 2019, the UN agency said on Wednesday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the reduction in needs, compared to 2017, reflects an improvement in the overall humanitarian situation and a more focused approach in defining needs.
“An estimated 2 million people continue to receive food assistance every month,” the OCHA said in its latest humanitarian report.
The UN agency however said humanitarian needs remain above the pre-crisis level from two years ago.
“Contrary to earlier forecasts, the 2018 Deyr rainfall season has so far performed less well than expected and some areas have not received significant rains,” said OCHA.
“It said humanitarian agencies are stepping up investment in recovery and resilience programming, alongside life-saving assistance.
The Horn of Africa nation experienced a prolonged drought from late 2016 through late 2017 that resulted in significant livestock losses and consecutive seasons of below-average production, causing severe and at times extreme acute food insecurity.
According to the FAO-led Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), rainfall in October has been below average across most parts of Somalia.
It said rainfall performance in November and December will determine the impact of the Deyr season on food production.
The UN agency also recorded an overall decline in the major communicable diseases (cholera, measles and malaria) since the beginning of the year.
“Sustained funding for health and water, sanitation, and hygieneclusters will be required in the follow-up to the Deyr rainy season in early 2019 to protect the gains,” said the UN agency.