Drought-stricken Somalia is at risk of famine (again). How can we help?


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Somalia is on the brink of famine resulting primarily from severe drought. Half of the country’s population – an estimated 6.7 million people – are acutely food insecure and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. This comes only six years after a famine led to the death of more than a quarter of a million people – half of them were children.
The negative impacts of the drought don’t stop at the risk of famine: More than 680,000 people have been displaced from rural areas in the past six months. Approximately 1.4 million children will need treatment for acute malnutrition. The scarcity of safe drinking water has led to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) and cholera in 13 out of 18 regions, resulting in 618 fatalities since January 2017, according to UNOCHA.

[Read report: Forcibly Displaced: Toward a Development Approach Supporting Refugees, the Internally Displaced, and Their Hosts]

So what is being done to help the people in Somalia cope with this crisis? Today, World Bank projects in the poorest countries contain a mechanism to redirect funds for immediate response and recovery. IDA’s “Crisis Response Window” provides additional resources to help countries respond to severe economic stress, major natural disasters, public health emergencies, and epidemics.

In May 2017, the Bank approved a US$50 million emergency project – Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP) –  to scale up the drought response and recovery effort in Somalia. Supported by funding and technical assistance from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the project aims to address, in the immediate term, the drought and food crisis, and also to finance activities that would promote resilient and sustainable drought recovery.

In the video, World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG) and SEDRP’s project leader Ayaz Parvez discuss in detail how the World Bank and its partners are working to help communities in Somalia build up their resilience in the face of the food and drought crisis. 



Ayaz Parvez

Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice

Dr. Narayanan E
July 08, 2017

Appreciate your sharing the blog. I agree with the cash transfer and cash transfer plus approach being recommended to combat Somalia draugt. While cash transfer is key for coping with immediate threats to livelihoods, to enusre sustainability of recovery support systems it would be pertinent if the multisector recovery approach involves besides addressing micro level displacement, livelihood and rehabiliation of farming and health care challenges, macro issues such as farming innovations, water conservation, price stablization and farming risk transfers by promoting community based insurance systems, etc. Perhaps, these are the areas where multilateral interventions would make visible long term impacts in the draught and conflict prone Somalia. Cheers