Humanitarian Reponse

Somalia drought response
Save the Children Somalia/Somaliland Country Office scaled up their Category 2 drought response (som-dr-16) in February 2017 as part of the Horn of Africa Category One drought response (Som-dr-17). This represents a continuation of a nationwide drought response that started in March 2016.

This ambitious response strategy maximises on Save the Children’s coverage and respectable position, targeting 2.5M people across the current and expanded areas of operation. This represents 40% of the affected population quoted above, however it is widely acknowledged that the IPC ratings are under-representing the situation and so this percentage is likely to be lower in reality, although it will remain a significant proportion of the total response.

Save the Children's response
Somalia is currently experiencing a drought that started in 2015 and the whole country is affected with a pre-famine situation already evident.  The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating and renewed famine is a strong possibility in 2017, only six years after a devastating famine led to the death of more than a quarter million people. The severe drought is a result of two or more consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. In the worst affected areas, poor rainfall has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow food and money to survive.  Similarly, acute malnutrition remains high and widespread across Somalia.  Shops, which traditionally bridge the gaps by providing credits, are shutting their doors to those who cannot afford to pay back.

Goal: To contribute to saving lives, alleviating suffering and improving wellbeing of drought-affected children and their families in Somalia.

What is the impact on children and their families?
Families are no longer able to cope as their livestock die, they face a life threatening lack of water, food prices have more than doubled and their income has disappeared. They will not be able to bounce-back from this crisis without help.

Many families are only eating one meal a day at most, and eating the cheapest food available. Without adequate food, they are weak and vulnerable to illnesses.

Many families are dependent on livestock for both meat and milk and livestock have been dying in their thousands across the region.

Malnutrition is incredibly serious – it can cause stunting, impede mental and physical development, increase the risk of developing other illnesses and ultimately cause death. It remains one of the biggest killers of children under five around the world.

Target Areas and Populations
6.2 million people are currently affected by this drought. It is already resulting to increased internal displacement and in a few areas, movement of people across the border into Ethiopia.  There were about 1.1 million IDPs across the country and recent data from Mogadishu, Baidoa and Kismayo shows between 10-20% increase in new displacement in these locations.

Priority activities (as of March 2017)
Phase 1: Famine prevention / mortality reduction

  • Provide cash grant support and food vouchers to households who are without food and are unable to purchase food.
  • Provide life-saving therapeutic feeding to SAM and MAM children and strengthen the wider humanitarian nutrition programming.
  • Water trucking and rehabilitation of water storage structures and provision of Cash for Work for rehabilitating water structures.
  • Deploy mobile health and nutrition teams to provide essential primary health care, maternal (including Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services) and child health and nutrition services.
  • Develop livestock asset protection mechanisms for pastoralist communities.
  • Support health systems with response to communicable diseases including: early warning, outbreak control measures (preventative) and curative cholera interventions.
  • Provide school vouchers to encourage school attendance and water distribution to schools
  • Provide safe access to education in affected areas through Temporary Learning Spaces and payment of incentives to teachers

Phase 2: Recovery – flexible approach to target appropriate areas.

  • Training on improved asset production techniques
  • Support the regeneration of the Sustainable Livelihoods Model
  • Monitoring of the contextual developments

Phase 3: DRR

  • Implement DRR lessons learnt from 2011
  • Strengthen or establish community based DRR plans and early warning systems.

We need to do much more
Out of the 6.2 million people severely affected by the intensifying drought crisis, Save the Children in Somalia is trying to reach at least 2.5 million people that are in dire need of urgent lifesaving assistance. The 2011/12 famine accounted for 260,000 deaths. We cannot afford to lose another generation to avertable deaths.

Save the Children has worked in Somalia/Somaliland since 1951. For nearly 65 years, we have provided emergency assistance. In 2016, about 1,200,000 people benefited from our longer-term development work in areas of Health; Nutrition; Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH); Food Security & Livelihoods (FSL), Child Protection and Child Rights Governance.