A UN agency has confirmed that the current funding in response to the humanitarian needs in Somalia is the worst in six years.
In a statement on Wednesday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said humanitarian agencies can barely meet the basic needs of nearly half of Somalia’s total population, reports Xinhua news agency.
It said the funding shortfall is of urgent concern, as past trends show the severity of food insecurity in Somalia can rapidly worsen during multi-season droughts and could lead to extreme food insecurity in the worst-case scenario of rainfall failure, hence the need to scale up food, water and livelihoods support to prevent a crisis.
“While an average of 1.52 million people received food assistance monthly from March to May, the current and anticipated levels of food assistance are inadequate to prevent crisis in many areas,” the OCHA statement said.
According to OCHA, poor 2021 Gu rains are likely to lead to a low crop harvest in July/August and a rapid deterioration of vegetation.
With no rains expected until October, OCHA said, moderate to severe drought conditions may occur from July to September, noting that 2.8 million people are projected to face acute food insecurity by September.
It said this year, an estimated 5.9 million people need humanitarian assistance in Somalia, of whom 2.9 million people are displaced from their homes.
The UN agency said the humanitarian situation has been worsened by a recent double climate disaster – drought in two thirds of the country and flooding in other areas – and the impact of political tensions, Covid-19 and the worst desert locust infestation in years.
With the current funding, OCHA said humanitarian partners can not fully address the high needs across Somalia, especially in underfunded sectors such as education, shelter and coordination for displaced persons’ camps which have received just four percent of the funding needed.
OCHA warned that without additional funding, three million people will not have access to essential health care services, 1.2 million people will face acute water shortage by the end of July in 20 districts, and 250,000 children will face potentially life-threatening malnutrition.
It said the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan is only 26 per cent funded with $281.5 million provided out of the required $1.09 billion.