Member update from Somalia
Monday, 20 February 2023

Somalia is currently in the midst of its worst drought and hunger crisis in decades after four consecutive failed rainy seasons, and a fifth projected this year. Right now, roughly one-third of the population is food insecure and over1.8 million children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity, for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

In my role with WFP Somalia, I am seeing the impact of the crisis first-hand. WFP is currently providing ~4.5 million Somalis with life-saving food and nutrition assistance every month, even in incredibly hard to reach areas. For example, in December I visited two towns via helicopter that were crippled by drought and under siege from the domestic terrorist group (Al-Shabaab). It is not possible for residents to travel further than 10km outside the town limits by road because of the security risk, so we provided life-saving food vouchers, cash transfers, and in-kind nutrition and food commodities to tens of thousands of households.

However, the situation remains horrific: there are makeshift refugee camps full of families that have been forced from surrounding villages because of the drought and conflict; health services are non-existent or overwhelmed; local government authorities lack the resources to properly support their communities. In more stable regions of Somalia we are supporting the development of climate-smart food systems, providing meals to school children, and supporting Federal and State Governments build their skills and resources to better serve their citizens in current and future crises.

Although the international community has rapidly scaled up its support for the Somalian crisis during 2022, there remains a shortfall of resources for 2023, and some regions are at risk of famine. As such, any support would be much appreciated so that we can continue providing assistance to those who need it.

Members can donate via this link or learn more via WFP’s website. 

Finally a shout out to my colleague Michael Dunford (OR1986) currently Regional Director for East Africa and is based just down the road in Kenya !

Gianni Taranto

Strategic / Special Assistant to the Country Director