Somalia Situation Report, 12 January 2020
HIGHLIGHTS (12 Jan 2020)
HNO shows most families with severe or extreme needs live in southern, central and southwest regions
Donors are encouraged to build on 2019 gains, sustain life-saving response and support livelihoods early in 2020
HC highlights need to focus on triple nexus - humanitarian/development/peace - to achieve sustainable progress
FAO reports that an estimated 70,000 hectares of land have been infested by hoppers and breeding adult locusts
4.8M # of food insecure people
1.2M # of people in emergency and crisis
3.6M # of people in stress
1M # of children projected to be malnourished 2.6M # of internally displaced persons
ANALYSIS (1 month ago)
Humanitarian agencies ramp up assistance to flood-affected people
Some displaced people have gone back home but need assistance to rebuild lives Moderate to heavy Deyr (October-December) rainfall continued across Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands in November. As a result, water levels in the Shabelle and Juba rivers have remained above normal. The FAO-managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) project forecasts that the northern, central and coastal regions of Somalia will again receive heavy rains in early December. There is a high risk of further flooding along the Shabelle River. In Belet Weyne district, flood water levels have reduced in certain areas enabling some of the 231,000 displaced people to return home. Partners report that the returnees will need livelihoods support to rebuild their lives because their houses are destroyed, farm produce washed away and irrigation infrastructure damaged.
Since October, floods have affected just over half a million people mainly in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states. Several roads are damaged including Kismayo to Kenya, Mogadishu to Jowhar, Sabiid to Mareerey and Caluula, Bossaso to Garoowe; hindering the delivery of foodstuffs and other commodities.
In Banadir region, where flash floods have affected about 3,600 people, shelters have been destroyed in Siigaale neighborhood in Hodan district. Prices of basic commodities have increased in Bay and Bakool regions in South West State due to access constraints caused by heavy rains. Traditional underground grain storage facilities have been damaged.
Interview with Mr. Adam Abdelmoula, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia
Q. Since you arrived in Somalia in September 2019, what is your assessment of the humanitarian situation and the aid operation?
A. It is an undeniable fact that Somalia is making strides in building a peaceful, prosperous and resilient nation. Still, many challenges, including climatic shocks continue to affect large parts of the population, particularly vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons, many of whom become displaced several times due to man-made and natural disasters.
Q. What is your main priority this year?
A. Many families are still recovering from the 2016/17 drought and 2.6 million Somalis remain displaced. Recurring climatic shocks and ongoing conflict require comprehensive, sustainable solutions that build resilience in communities to ensure they are able to deal with crises. We must find ways to address these challenges in a manner that will break the cycle of humanitarian emergencies and enable people to bounce back from shocks.
Q. What do you think needs to be done to achieve this?
A. We as international partners must continue supporting recovery and resilience initiatives. The recent Somalia Partnership Forum held in October gave us an opportunity to agree on a number of tangible commitments between the Government and the international community through the Mutual Accountability Framework. Together, we can build on our successes and produce lasting results.
Q. How important is the humanitarian-development nexus to ending humanitarian needs and reducing poverty in Somalia?
A. The importance of the nexus cannot be overstated. It is a triple nexus comprising humanitarian/development/peace elements, all of which are crucial in achieving sustainable progress. I applaud the Government's efforts in prioritising these components and we will continue to support Federal, State and local authorities in these initiatives as we strengthen our partnership in this worthy endeavour.
Somalia faces the worst locust outbreak in over 25 years
Somalia faces the worst desert locust outbreak in over 25 years, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug are the worst affected with an estimated 70,000 hectares of land infested by hoppers and breeding adult locusts, which have already damaged crop and pastures in Somalia and Ethiopia. The infestation is affecting pasture and threatening staple food crops of agro-pastoral and pastoral families in rural areas.
According to FAO, given the exceptionally high rainfall and cyclone Pawan, another generation of the desert locust will likely affect the region in 2020. In order to avert this situation, the UN agency is closely working with the Federal Government of Somalia and partner organizations to embark on major interventions including ground spraying. We are talking about a medium to long-term intervention, said Mr. Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia. The impact of our actions in the short term is going to be very limited, but we can make a difference to support livelihoods and avoid further disastrous consequences for the next Gu season in 2020 if we act now. FAO warned that the locust outbreak is making the bad food security situation worse.
As the weather seems favorable for the locust breading, there is a high probability that the locusts will continue to breed until March-April 2020, with a high probability of spreading to other Eastern African nations, said Mr. David Phiri, FAO Sub Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa.
Locust can cause massive damage to vegetation
FAO has developed a three-pronged approach to deal with the current situation in Somalia: provide support with ground control operations where possible in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug in coordination with Federal Government of Somalia, prepare a recovery package for communities that will be affected by the invading swarms across Somalia (discussions are ongoing with some donors including ECHO, OFDA and FAO will also be using its own resources through emergency funds available from headquarters), and to continue to build capacity in Somalia to better deal with future outbreaks.
Desert locusts are transboundary pests with the ability to spread over large areas causing massive damage to vegetation. A typical Desert Locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer. Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100-150 km a day. An average swarm will destroy enough to feed 2,500 people for one year.
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs