Drought and Famine in Horn of Africa

Somalia: ADRA Calls on International Community for Continued Support in Wake of Uncertain Future

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Horn of Africa is no stranger to drought, which was most recently demonstrated in 2011 as the region grappled through a deadly famine, and according to the World Food Program affected 13 million people to date. Somalia in particular experienced devastating levels of malnutrition, leaving millions of people and their livestock in dire need of aid. Following an influx of humanitarian assistance, and an improvement in the critical rainy season, Somalia began to regain momentum towards recovery. However, a coalition of aid agencies working in the region say Somalia is not out of harms way yet, and that prioritized attention is still needed to ensure Somalia’s full recovery.

ADRA Somalia is one of 19 agencies that collectively called on the international community for continued attention and financial support for relief programs to assist Somalia. This call for sustained help is in part related to the unfavorable forecast of insufficient rains that the region greatly depends on, which will result in an increased number of people in need of humanitarian assistance.

A statement made by the coalition of aid agencies states that, “According to FEWSNET (the Famine Early Warning Systems Network), the rains in the Eastern Horn of Africa are expected to begin late, to be poorly distributed over space and time, and to total only 60‐85 percent of average. This is a significant deterioration compared to earlier forecasts, and would have significant impacts on crop production, pasture regeneration, and the replenishment of water resources. In the worst‐case scenario of 60 percent of average rainfall, this would result in a major failure of the Eastern Horn’s main growing season, similar to seasonal performance last year. That season’s failure contributed to the 2011 food crisis.”

Many communities in Somalia affected by last year’s drought have yet to fully recover and remain in a fragile state. With the threatening future of inadequate rains, advances made towards recovery will be reversed, thrusting Somalia back into the fatal cycle of famine.

The coalition outlined the following to address the pending emergency, “The agencies ask all donors to change their funding strategies to adapt to the Somalia context and help Somali communities build their resilience to future shocks. To do so, flexible multi-annual funding for livelihood support, disaster risk reduction and basic services are required, that can adapt to fluid access conditions and rapidly changing needs. Donors must support a forward-looking, fully funded donor strategy by building the capacity of both Somali communities and civil society to prevent, mitigate, prepare and respond to the kinds of crises to which Somalia is prone.” Click here to read the full version of the coalition’s call for continued support.

ADRA remains committed to the full recovery of Somalia and is calling on the international community to take heed of these early warning signs. Action is essential in order to prevent the unnecessary suffering and loss of human and livestock life.

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