Food Coalition

Revised humanitarian response Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Somalia

Somalia faces the triple threat of COVID-19, desert locusts and ongoing severe floods, with the number of people in severe acute insecurity expected to triple by September since the start of 2020. Against a population of 12.3 million, this amounts to one in every four Somalis facing acute food insecurity at crisis levels or worse and in need of humanitarian assistance due to the combined impact of these newly emerging and past shocks.

The COVID-19 pandemic was first reported in Somalia in March 2020, at a time when the country was dealing with two other shocks: the desert locust invasion in mid-2019 and flooding (riverine and flash floods). This builds on a high vulnerability context, with seven in ten Somalis living in poverty, experiencing wide gender disparities and facing multiple recurrent shocks as follows:

Severe drought in 2016–2017 resulted in the loss of livestock by 40–60 percent among pastoralists in northern and central Somalia, exacerbating rural poverty, which is currently at 72 percent.

Conflict and insecurity has led to further displacement and disruption of the main agricultural production season, Gu, in 2020. Since 2018, millions of people have been displaced, with the majority living in poverty.

Recurrent flooding since 2018 has resulted in extensive damage and loss as well as widespread displacements. Severe floods during the current main cropping season has affected 918 667 people and close to 50 000 ha of land, over one third of the annual crop production area.

An upsurge in the desert locust infestation in northern and central regions has led to damage and loss of pasture and crop harvests. Further, there is a high risk that the infestation will expand into southern Somalia by July 2020. According to the latest figures, the pest has infested 247 000 ha of pasture and cropland in Somaliland.

Overall, the 2020 Gu season harvest is already expected to be 20–30 percent lower compared with the long-term average due to the combined impacts of desert locust and other pest infestations, flooding and extended dry spells.

Cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise in Somalia with 2 696 infected as of 18 June 2020. Physical distancing measures have been enforced and health-related restrictions in movement and gatherings are currently in place. Market availability and income opportunities are reducing as a result, leading to increasing food prices. Further, prices of locally produced maize and sorghum increased by 15-35 percent in several southern markets in April, as seasonal patterns were compounded by trade disruptions due to floods and by panic buying in response to the pandemic. Imported rice prices have also increased by 2-34 percent.

Due to the combined impacts of floods, desert locusts, and COVID-19, a recent analysis conducted by FSNAU and FEWS NET shows that an estimated 2.7 million people across Somalia are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse levels of acute food insecurity, between April and June 2020.

Priority Areas of work: Global Humanitarian Response Plan
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Level: Country
Country: Somalia
Budget: USD 138.4 million

Action Sheet:  Som_CB0198EN.pdf

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