Large Parts of Somalia on the Brink of Famine


  • Population: 16.8 million
  • People in Need: 7.7 million

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  • People Helped Last Year: 490,238
  • Our Team: 85 employees
  • Program Start: 1992

Action Against Hunger Calls for Urgent Funding to Save Lives as 7.1 Million People Across Somalia Face Drought & Severe Food Crisis

Approximately 7.1 million people in Somalia are dealing with crisis levels of hunger and an official declaration of famine is predicted as soon as October without significant additional humanitarian response. This is according to a new report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee, a panel of independent international food security and nutrition experts, including Action Against Hunger, a global nonprofit leader in the movement to end hunger.

The worst drought in 40 years, conflict, and skyrocketing food and fuel prices have left 20.5 million people across the Horn of Africa in urgent need of food assistance. Somalia is particularly hard-hit.

According to Action Against Hunger and the new IPC report, in Somalia alone:

  • The drought has killed an estimated three million livestock and more than one million people have been forced to flee their homes in search of food and water.
  • Compared to 2021, in the first half of 2022, Action Against Hunger treated 253% more children suffering from the most severe and deadly form of malnutrition.
  • Without current levels of humanitarian assistance, famine already would have been declared in the Bay regions of Somalia.
  • Malnutrition in the Baidoa and Burhakaba districts has doubled over the past year, and people there will face famine (IPC Phase 5) between October and December 2022 without significant additional humanitarian assistance.

“The climate crisis is a food crisis. Across the Horn of Africa, four rainy seasons have failed and people are dying of hunger every day. If the rains don’t come next month, then famine almost certainly will,” said Ahmed Khalif, Country Director for Action Against Hunger in Somalia.

“With food increasingly hard to find and impossible to afford, more parents face the impossible choice of which child gets to eat and which might die. The world has enough food for everyone. Now, we need the will to act.”

Across Somalia, 6.4 million people lack access to clean water and safe sanitation, which is leading to outbreaks of waterborne diseases and gastrointestinal illness that make hunger worse — and which can be deadly for malnourished children.

A girl, 16, makes breakfast for her family. Because of the drought and increase in food prices, nomadic communities like hers have struggled to survive.
Said Musse
Action Against Hunger, Somalia
A girl, 16, makes breakfast for her family. Because of the drought and increase in food prices, nomadic communities like hers have struggled to survive.

“By the time a child with severe malnutrition reaches our stabilization centers, they already face the imminent threat of death from hunger. One mother in the Burhakaba district left home in search of food and help for her child only to discover that her baby died on her back. The tragedy is so widespread, many deaths are never reported,” said Khalif.

“Malnutrition is treatable. Yet, our centers are overwhelmed with patients and often do not have enough supplies, beds, staff, or medicines. We need more resources to save lives and reach more families sooner to prevent these senseless deaths.”

A regional challenge

Across the Horn of Africa – the region that includes Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia – 7.1 million children suffer from acute malnutrition as a result of the drought, which has been compounded by local conflict and rising prices resulting from the war in Ukraine. The United Nations has called for $1.8 billion to provide assistance to nearly 22 million people in crisis, but so far, only a portion of the needed funding has been received.

Action Against Hunger today urged world leaders to scale up aid, immediately, to save lives and prevent more communities from edging closer to famine. There is still time to revert the situation.

Action Against Hunger in Somalia

Action Against Hunger has been working in Somalia since 1992 and in 2020 served nearly 9% of the country’s total population. Our teams are:

  • Promoting health: Action Against Hunger works to strengthen health systems and runs 68 health and nutrition facilities and mobile teams, including five hospitals and 30 health centers
  • Treating and preventing hunger: So far this year, we have treated nearly 100,000 children and adults for malnutrition and other illnesses. We are also giving 185,000 families emergency cash assistance so they can buy the food they need, and helping farmers with solar irrigation kits, seeds and fertilizer to once again become self-sufficient in the face of the climate crisis.
  • Providing clean water: Our teams are giving people the supplies and knowledge they need to prevent cholera, working to restore wells where possible, and trucking water to thousands of people, an expensive emergency measure that is not intended to be long-term.


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