Severe Droughts in Somalia, North East Kenya, and Somali Region of Ethiopia

Severe Droughts in Somalia, North East Kenya, and Somali Region of Ethiopia

Thank Allah, Somaliland is spared this time but it is sure droughts are coming.

The Somaliland Gov’t should prepare for it, create a Drought insurance scheme where all remittance money are charged some percentage for drought preparedness. This should be invested in creation of fodder farms and water reservoirs that are only released in time of drought.

Driest conditions in Ethiopia and Somalia seen in forty years threaten the wellbeing of millions

Deteriorating drought in Somalia and south east Ethiopia; the driest conditions seen for this season in forty years in some regions, has led to the worsening of a humanitarian crisis, recent assessments by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have found.

More people are going hungry as food and water prices rise, community members are selling their property at lower prices and even being forced to leave their homes, more livestock is dying due to reduced pasture, and more children are dropping out of school. Somalia and Ethiopia both feature on IRC’s Emergency Watchlist 2022 as two of 20 countries most at risk of a deteriorating humanitarian crisis this year.

As the situation continues to deteriorate amidst the spike in COVID-19 Omicron cases in East Africa, despite a weak health system, the IRC urges the international community to support communities in Somalia and Ethiopia by providing food, water and cash assistance urgently.

Kurt Tjossem, Regional Vice President for East Africa at IRC, says, “Water resources are increasingly being strained as a result of the drought conditions. Women and girls are walking long distances to fetch water and this often puts them at risk of violence.
Malnutrition cases doubled in some parts of Ethiopia’s Oromia region during this drought season and diarrheal cases amongst children under the age of five are being reported.

Data shows over 3 million people in Somalia are affected by the historic continued drought, with nearly 170,000 displaced in search of food, water and pasture. We have launched a response in Ethiopia’s Somali region, but more funds are needed for further scale up in other areas. ”

“Farmers have started experiencing loss of livestock due to disease and reduced pastures, straining income, food security and the capacity of households to survive the shock of the drought.

In Ethiopia’s Oromia region, 11 schools have been closed so far. Market prices for basic food commodities have started rising and some households are now unable to meet their food needs.

As people are forced to migrate from their communities in search of food and pasture for feeding their animals, the risk of conflict for resources increases.”

“Both Somalia and Ethiopia are facing deep funding constraints amidst an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the region.

It is imperative that we are able to continue to respond to the situation by providing emergency cash assistance, food, water and sanitation facilities as well as hygiene promotion to combat major health concerns.

With more funding, IRC can continue programming to support those most in need in the region as the drought worsens.”

March to May 2022 forecast shows higher chances of a strong rainy season, but stakeholders should still prepare for worst case scenarios

17 Feb, 2022 Press Release 29

17 February 2022, Mombasa (Kenya) - After almost two years of persistent drought conditions, IGAD’S Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) today announced that heavy rains could fall over East Africa in the next three months.

Southern to central parts of the region have the highest chances of receiving more rain than normally at this time of year, particularly southern, central and northern Tanzania, eastern Uganda, northern Burundi, eastern Rwanda, southern and western Kenya, eastern South Sudan, western Ethiopia, a few localities in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, and southern and northern Somalia. However, western South Sudan, and central and north-eastern Ethiopia are likely to receive less rain than usual. ICPAC also estimates that high temperatures could be recorded in southern Tanzania, most of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and northern Sudan.

ICPAC is a designated Regional Climate Centre by the World Meteorological Organization. Its seasonal forecast is based on an analysis of several global climate model predictions customized for East Africa.

The March to May (MAM) season constitutes an important rainfall season, particularly in the equatorial parts of the region where it contributes up to 70% of the total annual rainfall. Dr Guleid Artan, ICPAC Director, pointed out that “it is very important to note that global climate models have low skill in predicting the MAM season, and stakeholders should prepare for the worst. Given that we have experienced below average rainfall in the past three seasons, a wetter than normal season doesn’t mean that the region will immediately recover from the impacts of drought, especially in the eastern parts of the Horn. This is why I urge all to consult our weekly and monthly forecasts as they have a much higher degree of predictability."

In the regions worst hit by drought, the current trends are comparable to those observed during the 2010-2011 famine and 2016-2017 drought emergency. In this respect, the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, co-chaired by IGAD and FAO, estimates that 12 to 14 million people are currently highly food insecure in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

Looking ahead, it is likely that the situation in the affected areas will intensify through the transition period to 2022 March-May (MAM) rainfall season - this is being closely monitored and reported in ICPAC’s Drought Situation Updates. Beyond this point, the situation will be informed by the season’s performance. However, considering the high livestock offtake and deaths reported so far and that the MAM harvests start around August, it is worth noting that any positive impacts will be realized much later. IGAD’s Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, stated that beyond immediate humanitarian assistance, “there is urgent need for regional and international cooperation to support national efforts to build community resilience through investing in sustainable development as the most effective approach to managing recurrent drought.”

In view of these grim realities, IGAD renews its call for an immediate scaling-up of humanitarian and risk reduction efforts, primarily by the respective national governments, humanitarian actors, and development partners. Humanitarian actors are also called to advocate for no-regret interventions. Lastly, IGAD urges governments of Member States to step-up investments in drought resilience-enhancing interventions especially IDDRSI, and adopt innovative drought risk management approaches including activation of a forecast based anticipatory actions.

  • End -

Note to editors: The 60th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (#GHACOF60) was convened online on the 17th of February by ICPAC (IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre) in collaboration with the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the region and other partners to issue the March - May 2022 seasonal forecast. The hybrid forum brought together climate services providers and users from key socio-economic sectors, governmental and non-governmental organizations, decision-makers, climate scientists, and civil society stakeholders, among others, to discuss impacts and mitigation measures for the upcoming season.

Rainfall Forecast for March - May 2022

Somalia is facing famine conditions as a perfect storm of poor rain, skyrocketing food prices and huge funding shortfalls leaves almost 40% of Somalis on the brink.|

Mogadishu - Millions of Somalis are at risk of sliding into famine as the impact of a prolonged drought continues to destroy lives and livelihoods, and growing needs outpace available resources for humanitarian assistance, United Nations agencies warned today

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for an immediate injection of funds to enable a scale up of life-saving assistance in Somalia. This follows the release of a new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report that found six million Somalis, or almost 40 per cent of the population, are now facing extreme levels of food insecurity, with pockets of famine conditions likely in six areas of the country.

This is nearly a two-fold increase in the number of people facing extreme levels of acute food insecurity due to the drought and related shocks since the beginning of the year. It reflects a rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation, as millions of Somalis have exhausted their ability to cope with the crisis and funding shortfalls mean humanitarians will be unable to meet the needs of the growing number of people facing emergency.

“The projection for the risk of famine in six locations is extremely worrisome and should serve as a very serious warning if we really meant ‘never again’ after 2011. The reality is that time is not on our side and many more lives and livelihoods are bound to be lost in case of further funding delays,” said Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. “I therefore continue to call on the authorities and our development partners to act decisively and help scale up resources to match the rapidly increasing needs, save more lives and rescue more livelihoods for the people of Somalia, “added Mr. Abdelmoula.

Collectively, humanitarian agencies have reached almost two million people with humanitarian assistance as of February 2022, but a critical gap in donor funding means they cannot sustain and scale up their support to meet the growing needs. If this gap is not urgently addressed, it will contribute to worse outcomes with a real risk of widespread famine. The last time such a humanitarian tragedy struck Somalia was in 2011, when famine conditions killed a quarter of a million people.

“The funding we need to respond to a crisis of this magnitude has simply not come. We are all watching this tragedy unfold and our hands are tied,” said Etienne Peterschmitt, the FAO Representative in Somalia. “I want to stress that it is not too late. Funding received today can still prevent the worst, but it has to come at scale and it has to come very soon,” he said.

Children under five are among the most vulnerable as the drought worsens, and access to food and milk is very scarce due to rising commodity prices and livestock losses. Around 1.4 million children face acute malnutrition through the end of this year, with around a quarter of them, or 330,000 children, facing severe acute malnutrition.

"The lives of children are at risk. If the funding gap is not met, malnutrition rates will continue to soar, and children may face severe malnutrition and preventable diseases. Losing children to starvation would be a loss for humanity,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “Addressing drought related indicators now will also greatly increase a child’s future opportunities.”

Gaps In The Funding Pipeline

The response to the drought is severely underfunded, leaving many Somalis without assistance. The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan that seeks US$1.5 billion is only 4.4% funded, as Somalia competes with other global emergencies for funding.

As the hunger and nutrition crisis rapidly worsens, the gap between food insecurity and available resources is widening. The inability of UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes to meet rising needs means prioritizing humanitarian needs and making the difficult decision of who gets help and who doesn’t.

“We are literally about to start taking food from the hungry to feed the starving,” said WFP Somalia Representative and Country Director El-Khidir Daloum. “Being forced to prioritize our limited resources couldn’t come at a worse time as we’re on the cusp of a humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia. This is a year of unprecedented humanitarian needs and hunger but I implore the world not to turn its back on Somalia or wait until it’s too late. Millions of lives are at stake.”

A Perfect Storm For Famine

According to a recent analysisconducted by FAO’s Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and its technical partners, three factors will contribute to famine taking hold in the country in the next three months– failure of the April to June 2022 rainy season, absence of adequate humanitarian assistance and a continued trend of rising food prices. With the below average rainfall outlook, inadequate funding, and globally disrupted supply chains and spikes in commodity prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, Somalia is facing a perfect storm that could very quickly lead to famine.

For famine to be declared in an area, at least 20% of the population need to be experiencing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) conditions. FSNAU and partners have identified potential famine hotspots across six different regions where 5-10% of the population or about 81,000 people are already facing famine conditions. In this scenario, affected areas face extreme food shortages, high malnutrition and excess mortality as a result of starvation.

FAO, OCHA, UNICEF and WFP are gravely concerned about the worsening drought and the possibility of famine in the coming three months. With current funding shortfalls, bleak rainfall forecasts, and rising food prices globally, the agencies are calling for immediate funding to scale up humanitarian assistance across the hardest hit parts of the country.