Rainfall fails to curb Somalia’s food insecurity battle

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – On Tuesday, a United Nations-supported report disclosed that about 6.6 million individuals in Somalia are grappling with humanitarian crises or severe food insecurity, even with an improvement in rainfall forecasts and a drop in food prices.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an analysis conducted jointly by UN agencies and other collaborators, revealed that Somalia will experience high levels of acute food insecurity until at least June.

Despite the reduced risk of famine during the same timeframe, 39% of the nation’s total population urgently needs humanitarian aid.

The IPC report stated, “Since mid-2021, steeply rising food prices have been one of the main drivers of deteriorating acute food insecurity in most Somali regions.”

The report underscored the importance of additional coordinated funding to avert a further decline in food security and nutrition conditions.

It called for increasing and maintaining high-level, multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance—including food security, nutrition, health, and WASH interventions—through at least June 2023 and potentially through late 2023.

Child malnutrition remains a concern

The IPC report confirmed the previously estimated total burden of acute malnutrition among children under five.

Around 1.8 million Somali children are expected to face acute malnutrition between January and December 2023, with 477,700 projected to experience severe malnutrition.

The report emphasized the necessity of enhancing humanitarian access and coverage in regions affected by insecurity and conflict to reach the most vulnerable populations.

The report suggested, “Offering timely support to impoverished farmers to capitalize on the ongoing Gu season rainfall is recommended.”

Furthermore, it mentioned the need for complementary recovery and developmental assistance to tackle the root causes of acute food insecurity and malnutrition and to rebuild livelihoods.

Rainfall forecasts improve

According to the IPC report, an updated forecast for the April to June Gu season indicates relatively better seasonal rainfall across most parts of Somalia compared to earlier predictions.

However, floods triggered by heavy rainfall and overflowing rivers in March have affected areas like Gedo and other southern Somali regions.

These floods have caused casualties, displaced tens of thousands, and destroyed property.

The report cautioned that the risk of flooding could escalate if heavy rainfall continues in Somalia and the upper catchments of the Shabelle and Juba rivers in southeastern Ethiopia.