Parts of Somalia hit by the driest season in 40 years as climate-fuelled drought worsens

December 13, 2021
Nearly 90 per cent of the country faces severe water shortages leaving 3.5 million people in extreme hunger

Nearly 90 per cent of Somalia is now in a severe drought, following three consecutive failed rain seasons. Some areas facing their driest season in 40 years. Nearly 3.5 million people are already acutely food insecure and millions more are now at risk of going hungry by the beginning of next year.

With no respite in sight, pastoralists’ chance for planting next season’s crops or finding grazing land for livestock is vanishing.

“People in Jubaland in the South, Gedo, Mudug, Nuugal, Bari, Toghdheer and Sool have been the hardest hit. Some have already experienced intense drought for more than a year and have had to watch their livestock, crops and savings perish in front of their eyes. They urgently need lifesaving water, food and cash,” said Amjad Ali, Oxfam Country Director in Somalia.

Most natural water sources have dried up, pushing up the price of potable water. The price of a 200-litre water drum jumped above the five-year average by 45 per cent in Gaalkacyo, Mudug Region, 70 per cent in Jilib, Middle at Juba Region, and 172 per cent in Garowe, Nugaal Region, last October.

Persistent climate-fuelled drought, compounded by ongoing conflict, locusts and COVID-19, has fueled hunger in Somalia and will leave 7.7 million people – nearly half the population – in urgent need of humanitarian assistance by 2022. This is a 30 per cent rise since 2021. Somalia already ranks highest in the world Global Hunger Index with over half its population suffering from extremely alarming levels of hunger and malnutrition.

Oxfam and partners have already reached nearly 185,000 of the most vulnerable people across the country, with clean water and sanitation, food and rehabilitation programs.

Aydrus Daar, Executive Director of WASDA, one of Oxfam’s local partner organizations, said: “I have been involved in droughts since 1991 and I have never seen a drought that has impacted people as badly as has this one. Many pastoralists have lost 100 per cent of their livestock. This has never occurred in living history. Our biggest concern is an imminent famine.”

To help prevent a worsening catastrophe, Oxfam and partners aim to double the number of people reached, providing the most vulnerable in South Central Somalia, Somaliland, and Puntland, with lifesaving water, food and cash in the next six months. Oxfam also aims to help communities rebuild their lives and adapt to the cyclical expected climate disasters.

“In the 2011 drought crisis an estimated 50,000–100,000 people lost their lives. Despite the warnings, the international humanitarian system did too little too late. We must make sure that history does not repeat itself. We must act now. More than a third of the humanitarian appeal for Somalia this year is unfunded,” said Amjad Ali, Country Director of Oxfam in Somalia.

Oxfam urgently needs $15 million to help boost its humanitarian response in Somalia and save lives.

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Notes to the editor:


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Paula Baker
Media Relations
Oxfam Canada
(613) 240-3047

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