The longest drought on record drove Somalia to the brink of famine in 2022, averted at the eleventh hour by an unprecedented humanitarian scale-up led by the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners. But the hunger crisis is far from over. Almost three years of drought have given way to rains that have caused devastating floods in some parts of the country.
Nor will a single season of improved rainfall reverse the damage done by the drought. Instead, it will take years to restore ruined farmlands and pastures, and to restock the almost 4 million livestock that were killed.
A total 6.6 million people, over a third of the population, were forecast to face crisis levels of hunger or worse by mid-2023 – requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. A total 1.8 million children face acute malnutrition through the year.
WFP addresses basic needs in Somalia in times of crisis. We also work with the Government and other partners on projects to build longer-term food security and resilience against future disasters. Examples include training for smallholder farmers to strengthen national food systems, and support for the national Baxnaano safety net that provides predictable cash transfers to vulnerable families. We reached 9.8 million people in 2022 across all our programmes.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Somalia
Emergency food and nutrition assistance
As the largest humanitarian agency in Somalia, WFP rapidly responds during disasters to help families meet their basic needs. We deliver life-saving food assistance through in-kind rations or through cash, which gives recipients more choice and creates new markets for local producers and retailers. We also deliver specially fortified nutritious foods to help treat and prevent malnutrition in children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Social protection and safety nets
WFP is committed to ensuring that vulnerable people can access basic social services and social protection, to build human capital (health, skills, knowledge and experience) and resilience. This can in turn ensure that they are less vulnerable to recurrent climate crises and other shocks. WFP supports the Government-owned national safety net, Baxnaano, as well as the provision of locally sourced school meals that can help keep children in school.
Food systems and anticipatory action
To increase resilience against recurrent climate crises and achieve zero hunger, food systems must be inclusive, climate-adaptive and productive. WFP works with food producers, retailers, national institutions and the private sector on programmes including livelihoods training, community assets creation and rehabilitation, and smallholder farmer support. WFP also supports anticipatory action, through pre-emptive cash transfers and community awareness campaigns on coping strategies, to lessen the impact of forecasted climate shocks.
Institutional capacity strengthening
WFP has strong partnerships with both Federal and Federal Member State-level ministries and institutions in Somalia, and provides policy advice, capacity development and knowledge sharing, to enhance Government systems and programmes that address hunger. WFP support includes technical assistance, infrastructure projects and the direct deployment of human resources.
Humanitarian air and logistics support
WFP provides services that enable humanitarian and development actors, including different levels of Government, to respond to emergencies and reach people most in need. The WFP-managed United Nations Humanitarian Air Service transports personnel and cargo across Somalia, while our extensive port and warehouse footprint helps facilitate the storage and movement of supplies into and around the country and the wider Horn of Africa.
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