Somalia

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Response to locust damage 15 times more expensive than prevention
  • Average to above average Gu rains expected in most parts of Somalia
  • Preparedness necessary to minimize AWD/cholera risk in the upcoming Gu rainy season
  • Prospects for humanitarian access remain limited
Desert locusts in the Horn of Africa. Video: FAO                                                                                                        Desert locusts in the Horn of Africa. Video: FAO

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Somalia

Situation Report

Key Figures

4.1M
# of food insecure people
1.3M
# of people in emergency and crisis
2.8M
# of people in stress
1M
# of children projected to be malnourished
2.6M
# of internally displaced persons

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Somalia

Situation Report

Funding

$1.1B
Required
$899M
Received
83%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Justin Brady

Head of office

Yahya Dahiye

Public Information Officer

Yahya Dahiye

Public Information Officer (PIO)

Somalia

Situation Report
Analysis
Areas infested/ likely to be infested by desert locust in Somalia. Photo: FAO

New desert locust swarms predicted

The desert locust infestation in Somalia, like in several Horn of Africa countries, remains alarming. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the locusts are continuing to breed in the northeast of Somalia and new swarms are expected to form in coming weeks as the hoppers become immature adults, start flying and becoming voracious. In northeast Somalia, several generations of hopper bands are already present and will be laying eggs soon as the Gu’ (April-June) rains approach.

While the locust upsurge is rapidly developing, its current impact on food security has been limited and localised so far. In the case of agricultural areas, most crops had already been harvested or were in later stages of maturity when the locust swarms passed through, thereby limiting losses. In pastoral areas, rangeland resources were well above average following abundant October–December seasonal rains, which has helped to offset the effects of locust damages thus far by replenishing pasture.

Average to above average rains expected in April to June

Rainfall forecasts for the Gu’ 2020 period indicate a strong possibility of average to above-average precipitation in most parts of Somalia. These Gu’ rains are expected to maintain rangelands and support planting activities. However, they could enable a new wave of breeding and further spread of the locust pests. Pasture losses are expected in areas where swarms land, although rainfall in coming months is likely to partially continue offsetting the impact. Nonetheless, if the desert locusts continue to multiply, this offsetting effect will be drastically reduced.

Analysis by FAO shows that the most significant food security impact will be felt by households in areas where swarms pass through and cause damage, especially those that are reliant on cropping activities and are already facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2+) due to existing high vulnerability and the effects of expected crop losses. On 27 February, FAO and the Somali Government released the “Desert Locust Crisis - Somalia Action Plan” which requires US$32.2 million to implement through July 2020.

Regional response to locust infestation

FAO has adopted a regional response plan to the locust infestation and urgently needs $138 million to respond in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Like Somalia, these seven countries have experienced widespread infestation. FAO urgently needs this money to help governments to scale up control operations to mitigate the devastating impact of the pests as soon as possible.

The required funding will ensure that activities to control the locusts can take place before new swarms emerge and breed. It will also provide help for people whose crops or pastures are already affected, to protect their families and their livelihoods. As of 25 February, FAO had received commitments totalling $33 million. WFP has estimated the cost of responding to the impact of locusts on food security alone to be at least 15 times higher than the cost of preventing the spread now.

The desert locust is considered the world’s most dangerous migratory pest. A swarm of one square kilometer can consume the equivalent of crops that could feed 35,000 people for a year. The current infestation in Somalia is the worst in 25 years. On 2 February, the Somalia Government declared a national emergency over the locust infestation.

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Somalia

Situation Report
Background
Article 2
Seasonal forecast March to May 2020. Source: IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC)

Average to above average rains expected in April to June

Rainfall forecasts for the Gu’ 2020 period indicate a strong possibility of average to above-average precipitation in most parts of Somalia. These Gu’ rains are expected to maintain rangelands and support planting activities. However, they could enable a new wave of breeding and further spread of the locust pests. Pasture losses are expected in areas where swarms land, although rainfall in coming months is likely to partially continue offsetting the impact. Nonetheless, if the desert locusts continue to multiply, this offsetting effect will be drastically reduced.

Analysis by FAO shows that the most significant food security impact will be felt by households in areas where swarms pass through and cause damage, especially those that are reliant on cropping activities and are already facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2+) due to existing high vulnerability and the effects of expected crop losses. On 27 February, FAO and the Somali Government released the “Desert Locust Crisis - Somalia Action Plan” which requires US$32.2 million to implement through July 2020

Regional response to locust infestation

FAO has adopted a regional response plan to the locust infestation and urgently needs $138 million to respond in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Like Somalia, these seven countries have experienced widespread infestation. FAO urgently needs this money to help governments to scale up control operations to mitigate the devastating impact of the pests as soon as possible.

The required funding will ensure that activities to control the locusts can take place before new swarms emerge and breed. It will also provide help for people whose crops or pastures are already affected, to protect their families and their livelihoods. As of 25 February, FAO had received commitments totalling $33 million. WFP has estimated the cost of responding to the impact of locusts on food security alone to be at least 15 times higher than the cost of preventing the spread now.

The desert locust is considered the world’s most dangerous migratory pest. A swarm of one square kilometer can consume the equivalent of crops that could feed 35,000 people for a year. The current infestation in Somalia is the worst in 25 years. On 2 February, the Somalia Government declared a national emergency over the locust infestation.

Average to above average Gu’ rains expected in most parts of Somalia

An earlier than usual start of rains is expected across most parts of Somalia, especially the southern regions. Delayed rainfall onset is expected over the northern parts of Somalia. These areas are also likely to have prolonged dry periods a few weeks after the start of the season. According to the January climate outlook for the Greater Horn of Africa issued by FAO, there is a strong possibility of the Gu’ 2020 rainfall being average (35 per cent) and above average (35-40 per cent) in most parts of Somalia with usual temperatures likely to be warmer than usual across the country. This also includes the Ethiopian highlands which contribute significantly to both Juba and Shabelle river flows inside Somalia. Some areas in Somaliland have higher chances of below normal (40 per cent) to normal (35 per cent) rains.

Most annual rain in Somalia is recorded during the Gu’ season

The expected average to above average rains will boost crop production prospects and replenish pasture and water sources in most parts of Somalia. This comes after a largely favorable rainy season during the October-December 2019 Deyr season, which will contribute to continued recovery among pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods that have previously been adversely affected by recurrent drought conditions. According to FAO-managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers is likely to occur, exacerbating the devastation that populations along the two rivers experienced during the 2019 Deyr season.  Currently, there are many open river breakages along the two main rivers, and this could worsen given the expected increase in river levels and consequent flooding during the forthcoming Gu season.

The Gu’ rains start in March/April and end at different times across Somalia, depending on the north-south movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which is the leading factor for the timing of rainfall in most parts of Africa. Most of the annual rainfall in Somalia - 75 per cent - is recorded during the Gu’ season. Therefore, the performance of Gu’ rains is critical both for crop and livestock-dependent livelihoods across Somalia.

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Somalia

Situation Report
Analysis
 An AWD/cholera patient recovering after treatment at Belet Weyne regional hospital. Photo: OCHA/ Ayub
An AWD/cholera patient recovering after treatment at Belet Weyne regional hospital. Photo: OCHA/ Ayub

Preparedness key to limiting AWD/cholera risk

A total of 6,709 cases of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD/cholera) were reported across Somalia in 2019, according the Early Warning, Alert and Response Network (eWARN) system of WHO. Most of the cases (86 per cent) were reported in the regions of Banadir (3,931), Gedo (1,012), Bay (453) and Karkar (400). The peak periods in 2019 were during February and March, and again in April to July 2019. At least 31 per cent of cases were reported in children under 5 years of age, and 69 per cent in people above the age of 5.

Since January 2020, at least 1,505 AWD/cholera cases have been reported across Somalia. This is similar to the situation at the same time in 2019. The most affected regions currently are Hiran, Banadir, Bay and Lower Shabelle. Belet Weyne district of Hiran region has recorded most cases- 247 cases and four deaths, accounting for a case fatality rate (CFR) of 1.6 per cent which exceeds the emergency threshold of >1 per cent. Since the second week of February, ta downward trend is reported with no additional cases.

Belet Weyne was inundated by floods during the Deyr rains in November 2019, displacing most of the town residents. According to the WASH Cluster, 80 per cent of latrines in the town and surrounding villages either collapsed or were damaged. The floods also contaminated water sources. Partners believe advance preparedness is necessary because there could be another AWD/cholera outbreak during the upcoming Gu’ rains.

Response activities scaled up in Belet Weyne

Activities to control the further spread of AWD/cholera have been scaled up. The state Ministry of Health has established a new Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) in the Ceel Jaale neighborhood of Belet Weyne to provide case management. Active surveillance measures are in-place along with the collection and transportation of stool samples to the Federal Reference Laboratory in Mogadishu for testing and case confirmation.

In addition, rapid response teams from the federal health ministry, local health authorities, WHO and partners remain vigilant; closely monitoring the situation, strengthening surveillance, verification and providing decentralized treatment. Health and WASH Cluster partners are working in close coordination on contact tracing, scale-up of community awareness on hygiene and sanitation in affected areas. Health workers have been updated on detection and reporting standards, case management protocols including early-treatment and use of oral rehydration salts for home and clinic-based care, infection prevention control in health care facilities. Actions to increase community and clinical care are being backed-up by the provision of medical supplies.

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Somalia

Situation Report
Analysis
Humanitarian partners in Somalia face enormous challenges reaching people in need. Photo: OCHA
Humanitarian partners in Somalia face enormous challenges reaching people in need. Photo: OCHA

Humanitarian access still constrained

Somalia’s unpredictable security context creates a challenging operational environment for humanitarian partners, hampering their ability to deliver assistance and restricting the ability of affected people to access services and assistance. In 2019, OCHA documented 151 violent incidents against humanitarian operations.

The incidents varied in nature, including directly targeted and incidental events ranging from physical violence leading to killings, kidnap for ransom, hijacks and ambush, looting and deliberate destruction of assets and facilities, arrest and detentions; and occupation of humanitarian facilities. The violent incidents resulted in the death of 12 staff, injury of 24, abduction of 21, arrest or temporary detention of 18, and the expulsion of two by authorities for alleged infractions.

In 2020, over 10 violent incidents against humanitarian operations were recorded in January and February. One third of the country is hard-to-reach by humanitarians, including 23 districts and 16 district capitals where around 1.3 million people in need reside. The indicators used to measure humanitarian access include road movements of humanitarian organisations, access by air, security incidents affecting aid agencies, stability of an area, bureaucratic or administrative impediments, checkpoints hindering movement of aid or personnel, security risk assessments and presence of international staff.

Humanitarian organizations have to deal with multiple requests

Reaching populations in areas controlled by armed non-state actors is extremely hard due to concerns for the safety of staff, opposition from other parties to the conflict and reported unwillingness of non-state actors to accept principled humanitarian operations in areas under their control, such as in areas of Jubaland, South West, Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. Interference in the implementation of humanitarian activities is the second most important access constraints. Humanitarian organisations have to deal with multiple requests such as arbitrary taxation, involvement of authorities in contracting suppliers and service providers and interference in staff recruitment. 

In 2020, restriction of movements for organizations, personnel or goods and violence have been reported. Three different directives addressed to humanitarian NGOs in Hirshabelle demanding registration of NGOs and projects were issued by three different state ministries. In January 2020, violence incidents against humanitarian staff were reported in Hirshabelle and Jubaland. On 17 February and 1 March, mortars landed in the UN premises in Mogadishu, interrupting work for UN staff and contractors for some hours.

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