Supporting systems while saving lives

Published 21. Feb 2024
Since the rains failed in 2021, Somalia’s rivers and wells have dried up, more than 3 million livestock have died, and harvests all over the country have repeatedly failed.

As a result of this crisis and other challenges, such as rising inter-clan violence and an intensive campaign against an insurgency, people have fled from their rural homes to urban centres in record-breaking numbers. There are now an estimated 2,400 internally displaced persons (IDP) camps hosting over 1.5 million people in Somalia. A lack of adequate shelter, over-crowded conditions, and limited access to basic services such as water and healthcare make those who have fled one of the most vulnerable groups in the ongoing crisis.

Five seasons of failed rainy seasons created famine-like conditions, leaving 5 million people in acute food insecurity, placing more than 2 million children at risk of malnutrition, and causing the deaths of as many as 43,000 people in 2022 alone.

Having worked closely with rural communities to build resilience and mitigate the potential consequences of shocks in Somalia’s crisis-prone context since 2013, the Building Resilient Communities in Somalia (BRCiS) Consortium was monitoring the drought situation as it emerged in 2021 via its Real-Time Risk Monitoring System. Since part of the BRCiS II mandate was to conduct early action and emergency response activities when disaster strikes, the Consortium began to scale up its activities. As conditions worsened, both USAID and the UK Government stepped in with short-term supplements to support this effort.

BRCiS’ initial drought response focused on the provision of direct, lifesaving humanitarian assistance in the form of multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) and emergency water services. It also expanded BRCiS’ usual target population from rural communities—which BRCiS has been working with for years—to include urban IDP sites, where much of the rural population was moving.

As the crisis worsened, the UK Government, joined by QFFD and then re-joined by USAID, provided additional short-term funding across four total phases, enabling BRCiS’ programming to gradually expand to include basic health and nutrition services, the rehabilitation and construction of water points, and market-based activities. Furthermore, as the response continued, BRCiS increasingly implemented its interventions via approaches designed to strengthen the resilience capacities of local market systems and actors.

Read the report Supporting systems while saving lives here.