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Somali News

Somalia: Drought Concerns & Response Plan

Nairobi Tuesday 01 February 2011 SMC

Summary Paper Drought Concerns & Response Plan
Updated: 31 January 2011

Somalia is facing a severe and increasingly acute drought which is spreading to regions that received good rains in the past Gu season 2010.  Field reports indicate that shortages of water and pasture for the livestock are the main problems facing the pastoralist communities in the country. Food production (cereals, milk and meat) in the country has also drastically reduced leading to increased food prices, which will subsequently lead to an increase in the number of food insecure populations in Somalia. According to the result of a country-wide assessment carried out by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), released 28 January, some 2.4 million people are currently in the Humanitarian Emergency and Acute Food and Livehoods Crsis in the country, up from the two million people for last year (For more details please see FSNAU website ).

Areas of concern
As the drought situation worsens, and since the last update, new areas of crisis have emerged such as Gedo, the Jubas, and the Agro pastoral areas of Shabelle and Bakool regions. Hiraan, Mudug, Galgaduud, Sool, Sanaag, Bari and Nugaal regions and the coastal areas of central Somalia are still main regions of concern (see website for previous drought update).

According to field reports, the situation in Gedo Region is reportedly critical. Water, food assistance and health are said to be the priority needs for the drought-affected population in the region. Many more areas in Gedo are being hit by severe shortages of water as water pans continue to dry up. The worst affected district is Ceel Waaq where the number of boreholes is limited. Media and field reports indicate that animals have started dying. Many drought-affected families have moved nearer to urban centres including Belet Xaawo – Luuq and Baardheere. Some families have started selling their assets (particularly in Garbahaarey District) to get money for transport to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

In Bay and Bakool regions, Diinsoor, Qansax Dheere, Buur Hakaba and Berdaale are the worst affected areas these regions. According to field reports many people affected by the drought are moving out of these areas in search of livelihoods. The majority of these people have moved towards Doolow, Ethiopia, some with their livestock in search of water.

Drought Effect/Malnutrition
Malnutrition rates in south Somalia are already increasing. A recent survey in the Jubas indicates rates of 30 percent acute malnutrition, which is double the threshold (15 per cent) used to release emergency assistance. FSNAU has also analyzed the results from three nutrition surveys conducted on livelihoods in Gedo region in December 2010. Similar to the survey on the Jubas, all three surveys report levels of acute malnutrition (GAM) above 25 per cent. These results indicate a sustained Very Critical situation in the Agro pastoral population from six months ago but a deterioration to Very Critical in the riverine and pastoral livelihoods from six months ago, when results of less than 20 per cent  were reported.

Displacement Due to Drought
Reports of displacement from several locations affected by the ongoing drought have emerged. UNHCR says that approximately 12,000 people have been displaced countrywide due to the drought, but it is anticipated that the figure could be much higher than this. Pastoralists from south/central Somalia, including Middle and Lower Shabelle, Bay and Bakool regions, have moved to areas in Mogadishu and its outskirts in search of fodder for animals, food aid and casual work. Such movement by pastoralists into urban centres portrays the severity of the drought situation in the country. Pastoralists from some areas of Bay region are also moving into the riverine areas in Lower Shabelle region, while some from Bakool Region have crossed into Ethiopia with their animals through the border town of Doolow. There are no clear estimates available on how many pastoralists have moved. Some pastoralists are said to be migrating away from areas controlled by Al Shabaab following the forced Zakat (Sharia-based alms) collections being implemented. Al Shabaab Administrations in south/central Somalia recently announced the implementation of the Zakat collection to support the drought affected populations in the country.

In Gaalkacyo, Mudug region, at least 10 to 15 people have arrived daily from Mogadishu, Bay and Gedo regions searching for better livelihood opportunities and fleeing insecurity. Field reports also indicate that unconfirmed numbers of people have moved from Bay and Bakool regions to Luuq, Burdhubo and Baardheere districts in Gedo and Juba regions, while others have crossed the Kenyan and Ethiopian borders.The majority of the people displaced due to drought are said to be women, children and the elderly. The influx of displaced are  an additional burden to host communities who are equally affected by the drought.

Drought Response Coordination
Drought response and coordination are ongoing. US $4.5 million was released from the CHF for response to immediate drought needs. The Agriculture and Livelihoods Cluster has selected 18 projects with a budget of $3 million from the dedicated CHF funding for an emergency drought response. Seventeen of these proposals have already been approved for funding and are at implementation stage. The Agriculture and Livelihoods proposals are expected to cover drought-affected communities in Hiraan, Galgaduud, Mudug, Bakool, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba, Gedo, Sool and Sanaag regions. The WASH Cluster has also selected eight projects in the most affected regions with a budget of $1.5 million. Five of those proposals have been approved for funding. UN OCHA is now finalizing any remaining project proposals. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $15 million for Somalia through the under-funded window. Agencies are currently working on their CERF submissions. The CERF grant will include WASH, Nutrition, Health, Agriculture and Livelihoods, NFIs/Shelter and Food clusters.

Local Response Efforts         
Local drought response efforts are currently going on in several locations in Somalia. In Somaliland, the government has planned water-trucking activities to drought affected populations in Togdheer and Sool regions and parts of Sanaag region. In south/central Somalia, Hormud Telecommunication Company has started water trucking activities in some villages.  In Gedo, for example, the water trucking programme is targeting the drought-affected pastoralists, particularly in Garbahaarey, Ceel Waaq and Baardheere Districts. The company also did some cash distributions to IDP beneficiaries, including the newly arrived drought-affected, and also food donations including 25kg of rice, 3 litres of vegetable oil to the IDP beneficiaries in Dharkenley, Medina and Hamarweyn districts of Mogadishu.

Three women organizations including the Somali Womens Agenda, Hinna and Womens Business Association met in Mogadishu to discuss how they could raise funds to help the drought-affected populations in the region. According to field report, the women groups managed to raise $40,000 to be distributed to the most vulnerable households within the displaced populations.

The local money transfer agency (locally known as Xawaala), Dahabshiil, has reportedly donated some $150,000 dollars to cover drought intervention projects in priority areas in Somalia.

Response priorities
The current CHF response priorities covered WASH and Agriculture/Livelihoods. With the $15 million CERF allocation, the priority areas of intervention is expected to include four more areas including Health, Nutrition and NFI/Shelter and Food clusters.


  1. Access: Insecurity and the lack of access will impact the timely deliverance of assistance in many parts of south and central Somalia regions.
  2. WFP has warned of food commodity shortfall. A break in the food pipeline is anticipated from late March or early April through July 2011 with a shortfall of 36 million, and as from April, there should be serious problem if funding will not come.
  3. Pastoralists need to migrate further to access water and pasture for livestock. This could increase resource-based conflicts.
  4. Increased displacement due to food insecurity may occur.

For more information contact OCHA’s Public Information Officer, Dawn Blalock at

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