After a gradual recovery from the food insecurity and famine of 2011, Somalia’s food security is once again under threat. The situation is worsening in rural areas following consecutive seasons of poor rainfall and low river water levels. These have resulted in near total crop failures, reduced rural employment opportunities, widespread shortage of water and pasture – with consequent increases in livestock deaths. As local staple food prices continue to rise sharply and livestock prices decrease significantly, access to food is rapidly diminishing among poor families.
As of January 2017, close to 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements today and require urgent humanitarian assistance, while another 3.3 million Somalis need livelihood support to keep from sliding into crisis. An estimated 363,000 children under age 5 are acutely malnourished, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished and face a high risk of disease and death.
WFP works in Somalia to address basic food needs, strengthen coping mechanisms and support efforts to achieve food security. We reached 1.8 million vulnerable people in 2016, via programmes ranging from emergency relief to activities designed to build resilience to future disasters, such as floods and drought. WFP provides assistance using a combination of cash-based transfers and food rations, as well as supporting communities to create assets that will strengthen their livelihoods and ability to withstand crises.
Supporting longer-term resilience in Somalia, WFP also works with other UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNICEF – on a joint strategy designed to enhance families’ access to income, improve health, nutrition, education, safety and skills, and provide assistance during times of need.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Somalia
To prevent acute and chronic malnutrition in children and their mothers, WFP distributes specially fortified foods. In the north and central regions, WFP provides seasonal nutritional assistance – including nutrient-rich supplementary food for all children under three – during lean periods. Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS patients and their families receive monthly food baskets to enhance their nutritional intake and the efficiency of medication.
School meals are a vital safety net for vulnerable families, particularly in times of crisis. WFP provides nutritious cooked meals to school children to relieve hunger and encourage primary school attendance. In some regions, we concentrate particularly on providing girls with take-home rations to promote gender equality in school enrollment.
WFP supports self-help initiatives in Somalia, providing food rations in return for business training or work on projects that strengthen community livelihoods, infrastructure and the environment. This includes building new assets such as water catchments, dams and shallow wells, and fighting soil erosion and restoring degraded land. This helps communities recover from crises such as drought and improves resilience to future disasters.
Rapid Emergency Response
WFP helps vulnerable communities strengthen their resilience to the effects of conflict and natural disasters, which can push people deeper into hunger and poverty. WFP has an early warning system that enables us to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate the impact of disasters. When necessary, we also provide special food, such as high energy biscuits, to communities in transit or affected by a crisis.
WFP has supported the rehabilitation of the maritime infrastructure to improve the delivery of humanitarian goods. Rehabilitation of Mogadishu port and dredging of Bossaso port enhanced efficiency by enabling access for larger vessels, and brought economic benefits as trade volumes have increased. Efforts are now focused on raising funds to rehabilitate the strategically-important southern port of Kismayo.
United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
WFP manages UNHAS on behalf of the humanitarian community, providing critical and safe air services to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and move aid workers to and within Somalia. UNHAS also provides medical and security evacuations, and can airlift essential cargo, such as medical supplies, to areas inaccessible by road.