The triple threat of COVID-19, floods, locusts
Somalia is facing a triple threat of a COVID-19 pandemic, flash and riverine flooding and a desert locusts infestation. Within two and a half months, COVID-19 cases surged to 2,023, with 79 deaths and 364 recoveries as of 2 June, largely due to community transmission. At the same time, flash and riverine floods resulting from heavy Gu’ (April-June) rains have affected close to a million people, with 29 people killed and 418,000 displaced across the country. In addition, new swarms of desert locusts have been reported in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug. The confluence of multiple shocks has augmented the level of vulnerability among populations in Somalia. Already, remittances from the diaspora on which nearly half of Somali families depend have declined. Prices of basic commodities are rising following disruptions in supply chains due to COVID-19 restrictions and flood-damaged roads. A majority of humanitarians are working remotely, in restricted environments or at home. On 15 May, the World Bank1 warned that without a massive and urgent response to help absorb the blow as well as aid in recovery, millions of people in Somalia could face acute food insecurity and increased humanitiarian needs in the coming months.
The Food Security Cluster analysis indicates that overall food security is deteriorating as a direct consequence of the ‘triple threat’, compounding the existing protracted crisis. Without sustained humanitarian assistance, the Cluster projects that 2.7 million people will become food insecure by mid year. That number could surge to 3.4 million during the third quarter of this year.
The Federal Government, member states and partners are working to mitigate the humanitarian and socio-economic impact of the triple threat, but face challenges especially regarding funding. As of 31 May, the 2020 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan is less than 25 per cent funded.