An internally displaced woman with her children stands in front of her temporary shelter in Qaydar-adde IDP camp, Baidoa, Somalia. Credit: Abdulkadir Mohamed/NRC

Famine already present and killing tens of thousands in Somalia

NRC|Published 13. Dec 2022
Statement by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Somalia, Mohamed Abdi, in response to the Famine Review Committee’s report

“Today’s declaration on hunger in Somalia fails to convey the extreme severity of the situation on the ground in many parts of the country. We’re afraid this may lead the international community into further complacency.

Let us be absolutely clear: Famine is already present and killing tens of thousands silently in Somalia. There is not enough data being collected and shared to inform the Famine Review Committee's decision adequately. 

Half of the areas worst affected by the drought in the south are entirely out of our reach because of the fighting. But we can only assume the worst: those who are left behind are the most vulnerable, left with no resources or energy to flee for food and water.

“Between January and October, Somalia has had 1.7 million people displaced by drought and conflict. Lethal hunger has been allowed to spread like wildfire. It is already too late for hundreds of thousands caught in this catastrophe. When Somalia experienced famine in 2011, and more than 250,000 people died, the international community pledged ‘never again’.Yet we find ourselves once again facing catastrophe."

“We are now in a race against time to assist millions more people whose lives have been devastated by the effects of, drought, climate change and rising food prices. We need to reach communities immediately with lifesaving aid. International donors need to step up funding for Somalia to prevent more from dying away from the world’s gaze.”

Notes for editors:

  • NRC has spokespeople available for interviews in Somalia and in the region.
  • In early August, NRC and UNHCR announced that drought had displaced 1 million people in Somalia.
  • Somalia is witnessing an historic dry spell – a situation not seen in more than 40 years – and an expected sixth failed rainy season is bound to displace many more families.
  • Somalia is ranked second highest globally in terms of climate vulnerability, based on 2019 data, according to the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaptation Initiative ranking.

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