Somalia is in a state of pre-famine. The country is experiencing both severe drought and violent conflict from armed groups, both of which are driving a widespread, dangerous food crisis. In 2011, when famine was officially declared under similar conditions, the world was too slow to respond and more than 250,000 people died.
"All the signs in recent months have warned us of imminent catastrophe. We need to act now. There is still time to prevent the worst for these families by deploying a large-scale response immediately," said Regional Director of Operations for Action Against Hunger, Hajir Maalim.
Today, 3 million people, one quarter of Somalia’s population, are experiencing acute food shortages at crisis or emergency levels, and malnutrition rates among children are high.
Nearly half of the population, 6.2 million people, require humanitarian assistance. The central government is struggling to guarantee a safety net and food assistance for vulnerable families. Newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has declared the drought a national disaster.
People and livestock are dependent on rain for survival
If the rains fail season after season, crops die, animals die, and people die. Communities dependent on farming and livestock have been left with no food and no income. Rising prices for food and other essentials continue to impoverish families and jeopardize their ability to meet their daily survival needs.
Families have seen their livestock weaken and die. The surviving animals are weak and thin, making it difficult to sell them at a decent price, if at all. A few months ago, a goat could be sold at the market for about 40 dollars: today, they sell for just 15 dollars.
Water is scarce and increasingly expensive and conditions are worsening
As water sources dry up and hygiene conditions worsen, the risk of deadly water-borne diseases such as severe diarrhea or cholera increases. Our teams have already reported 40 deaths in one village. In some areas, villagers