Severe drought conditions are rapidly deteriorating food security, nutrition, and health levels across Somalia. A pre-famine warning was declared in January, and there is currently a larger population at risk than in the 2011 famine. Below average gu (April-June) rainfall is predicted in most of the country, with famine conditions likely in localised areas if humanitarian assistance cannot reach all populations in need. Due to continued insecurity, this scenario is a distinct possibility.
Somalia is currently experiencing a drought that started in 2015. The whole country is affected, with northeastern areas of Puntland and Somaliland the worst affected. Humanitarian conditions in the southcentral areas of Bay, Bakool, and Gedo have deteriorated rapidly since November, with poor rainfall affecting crops and livestock. Poor and rural households are atypically market dependent heading into the Jilaal lean season and many require humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs.
More than 173,500 refugees and migrants have reached Italy so far in 2016, around 29,000 more than in the same period last year. While the vast majority still use Libya as the departure point to Europe, more are using Egypt and Algeria. The nationality of arrivals is evolving, with fewer Eritreans and more Egyptians.
Protection is a primary concern. The estimated number of deaths on the Central Mediterranean route has grown to over 4,200 people this year, compared to less than 2,900 at the same point in 2015. Many people die on the journey over land to north Africa, but this number is not known. Migrants and refugees also face detention, sexual exploitation, and forced labour. The number of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy is growing.
On 7 October, armed violence broke out between forces from Galmudug and Puntland, in Gaalkacyo, the capital of the north-central Mudug region, leaving 11 people killed and dozens injured. As of 13 October, an estimated 50,000 – 70,000 people have been displaced, at least 60% of whom are IDPs facing secondary displacement. The violence erupted in the outskirts of Gaalkacyo at a site where the Puntland government is building a livestock market. A ceasefire was initially agreed on 9 October, but failed to hold. A new ceasefire was agreed on 19 October.
Increased rainfall since the beginning of May has led to a sharp rise in the Shabelle River and flooding. Heavy rainfall, river breakages, and flash floods have displaced 1,800 people and affected 16,500 in Beledweyne district, in Hiraan region in south-central Somalia.
The number of acute watery diarrhoea cases continues to rise in south-central Somalia, as the increasing scarcity of water in the central regions combined with flooding in the south leads to use of contaminated water sources (UNICEF 29/02/2016). As of 23 April, at least 12 people have died of cholera, and over 60 others are suffering from diarrhoea in towns of Middle Juba in southern Somalia. 11 people have died in Sakow, and one in Bu'ale in Middle Juba (Xinhuanet 23/04/2016; allAfrica 24/04/2016).
Significant pasture degradation and water shortages have been reported in parts of Somalia due to dry weather and high evaporation rates (FSNAU 18/03/2016). In total, one million people are estimated to be affected by the drought (DRC 11/03/2016). The most affected areas are the northern regions of Puntland and Somaliland Hiraan and Gedo regions in Southcentral Somalia.
In northern regions, two consecutive below-average rain seasons (July–September and October–December) have severely affected pasture and water conditions, and the current dry season (January–March) is worsening the situation. Below-normal rainfall and drought conditions are leading to large-scale food insecurity, abnormal outmigration of livestock, rising water prices, and a sharp increase in debt levels among poor households. Farmers and herders are the most affected (OCHA 09/03/2016). Some relief is expected with the 2016 rainy season in April, which is forecasted to be average (GIEWS 17/03/2016; FEWSNET 29/02/2016).
About 150,000 people are facing Famine in Nigeria and South Sudan. Another 9 million face Emergency food security outcomes (IPC 4) in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, and could face Famine (IPC 5), if no assistance is provided between May and August, when the lean season takes hold.
In all four countries, conflict is resulting in a high level of displacement and limited humanitarian access. Insecurity is preventing food production and driving prices up. All four countries are experiencing economic problems: falling revenue, currency depreciation, and inflation. Somalia is particularly hard hit by drought. The situation is likely to deteriorate with the lean season. Longstanding vulnerabilities, such as poverty and chronic malnutrition, are also contributing to the crisis. Households have exhausted their coping mechanisms.
The Crisis Overview 2016: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2017, outlines the countries where needs are greatest, and growing, as we approach the end of 2016.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and four years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified ten countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2017, as well as four that merit attention, as they face a potential spike in needs. We also consider the humanitarian situation in the northern triangle region of Latin America, where the wide-ranging humanitarian impact of pervasive gang violence is chronically underreported.
The Crisis Overview 2015: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2016, outlines the countries considered to be in greatest humanitarian need as we approach the end of 2015.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and three years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified eleven countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2016, as well as seven that merit attention, as they face a potential spike in needs. A final section considers the potential impact of the current El Niño event across a number of regions.