Nairobi, 29 March 2023 — As Somalia has experienced five consecutive failed rainy seasons resulting in extreme drought, 8.3 million people – nearly half the population – require today immediate humanitarian aid. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), with funding from the European Union (EU), has provided lifesaving and recovery assistance in the four regions of Nugaal, Mudug, Benadir and Galgaduud. The project focussed on health care and integrated nutrition for under five years old children as well as on assistance to women and girls who are protected from and treated for the consequences of gender-based violence (GBV). The EU has supplemented these activities by making a contribution of 2.5 million euros.
Persistent drought, following three decades of conflict, has devastated the country’s resilience to new shocks. Over 200,000 Somalis are currently experiencing catastrophic food insecurity, where people are starving to death each day, and children’s weakened bodies are particularly at risk from common diseases like malaria and diarrhea. It is estimated, over 43,000 people have already died, half of whom are children.
Through this action, the IRC has been able to reach over 445,000 individuals across host communities and internally displaced persons, providing them with improved access to quality health care and WASH services, including mental health, maternal, neonatal, sexual, and reproductive health, nutrition, and child health services. Children under five were provided improved access to quality integrated nutrition.
Richard Crothers, Country Director of IRC Somalia, said:
“The situation in Somalia is catastrophic. The country is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years; 8.3 million people – nearly half the population – need immediate humanitarian aid. Action is needed now to address the needs of this population and prevent worsening conditions. Thanks to funding from the European Union and the cooperation with our partner organizations, children, as well as women and girls, have access to timely and quality services and a chance to thrive and prosper.”
The IRC has been operational in Somalia since 1981, and has scaled up its emergency response activities since March 2022 to address the current drought and rising food insecurity. With EU funding, the IRC has focused its support on the following sectors: health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and women’s protection and empowerment.