Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia


About the crisis in Somalia

In Somalia, 6.7 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, including more than 350,000 malnourished children under the age of five. The crisis in Somalia is the result of prolonged drought, violence and insecurity. Consecutive years of poor rains and harvests have decimated crops across Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Families are dying not only from starvation, but also from diseases such as cholera and measles because they lack clean water and sanitation.

Famine was last declared in Somalia six years ago, and more than 260,000 people died – more than half of them children. Nearly half of the deaths occurred before the famine was even declared. It’s expected that the current drought will be worse than in 2011. Three-quarters of the country’s livestock have already died. Goats, camels and crops are Somalis’ bank accounts and farmers have seen their farms go dry and their animals die of hunger and disease in front of them. Cereal production has dropped by 75 percent, and prices are skyrocketing. The drought has led to severe water shortages, tripling the price of a barrel of water (200 litres) to $15. 

Malnutrition and drought-related diseases such as acute-watery diarrhea (AWD)/cholera are rising. Some 11,000 cases and 269 deaths were reported between January and February 2017. Displacement is rising at an alarming rate as vulnerable families are leaving their rural homes in search of food in cities like Mogadishu and Galkayo. 

What CARE is doing

CARE is supporting water, sanitation, hygiene and health efforts to prevent acute watery diarrhea and has so far reached over 250,000 people. Together with the Ministry of Health, it is scaling up information to the public on how to prevent acute watery diarrhea through using water from safe sources, treatment of water, keeping good hygiene and clean surroundings. CARE has also rehabilitated five water points, providing 10,000 individuals access to water, and distributed water purification tabs in regions hardest hit by recent drought and internal displacements.

CARE has been providing emergency relief and lifesaving assistance to the Somali people since 1981. Our main program activities have included projects in water and sanitation, sustainable pastoralist activities, civil society and media development, small-scale enterprise development, primary school education, teacher training, adult literacy and vocational training. We work in partnership with Somali and international aid agencies, civil society leaders and local authorities.

Learn more about the Global Hunger Crisis.

*Updated February 2018

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