Take Action Now Lest Somalia Falls “into widespread famine”: Caritas Internationalis

Credit: Caritas Internationalis

Action to help the drought-stricken people of God in Somalia needs to be urgently taken before the Horn of Africa nation falls “into widespread family”, the leadership of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis (CI), has said.

In a September 30 report, CI officials say, “Nearly 7.8 million people in Somalia have been affected by the worst drought experienced by the country in over 40 years.”

“Currently, over 1.1 million people are displaced and, by the end of this year, approximately 6.7 million people across Somalia are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity,” they further say, and appeal for urgent intervention saying, “Action must be taken now to stop Somalia falling into widespread famine.”

CI officially officials describe the situation in Somalia as a “crisis” that requires immediate attention to members of the “international community”. 

“The international community cannot turn a blind eye to this crisis unfolding in the Sahel and Horn of Africa and must engage with all actors who can make a difference in this region,” they say, and add, “In northern Africa, drought has forced millions to leave their homes following the destruction of crops and the death of livestock.”


The CI leadership make reference to some of the initiatives that the development and humanitarian arm of the Horn of Africa nation, Caritas Somalia, is undertaking in partnership with their counterparts abroad.

“Caritas Somalia, in collaboration with other Caritas member organizations, is working to provide immediate support for those most in need throughout the country,” officials of the entity that shares the Catholic Church mission to serve the poor and to promote charity and justice across the globe say.

They add, “In Mogadishu, where there is a high concentration of internally displaced people, Caritas Somalia has distributed food baskets for 1,800 displaced families, delivered 250 cartons of food to be used in emergency nutrition cases to Banadir Hospital, and built 40 latrines.” 

CI officials further say, “Caritas Somalia also plans to extend their food delivery to Maternal and Child Health service centers in the near future.”

In an interview with ACI Africa in August, the Director of Caritas Somalia, Sara Ben Rached, said that various organizations that received Pope Francis’ August 14 appeal concerning Somalia’s “serious humanitarian crisis” owing to drought and famine had started expressing their interest to help.

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Ms. Rached said that Caritas Somalia had started engaging with organizations that have come forward to offer support to the people who are facing starvation.

“Caritas Somalia is presenting several projects to the various organizations that came forward after the Pope’s appeal,” the Director of the Catholic humanitarian agency that responds to catastrophes in the Horn of Africa country since its establishment in 1980 told ACI Africa during the August 19 interview.

In their September 30 report, officials of CI say that in the Hiiraan and Bakool regions of the Horn of Africa nation, plans are underway to implement the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program.

“Caritas Somalia plans to roll out WASH activities which include the distribution of dignity kits, the construction of 180 latrines, and the distribution of water to around 6,000 families for three months,” they say.

Officials of the Catholic entity guided by the vision to be a sign of God’s love for humanity in Jesus Christ say that Caritas member organizations in Somalia’s Gedo region “are providing integrated health and nutrition services to vulnerable and displaced populations in Luuq, Dollow, Belet Hawa, Garbaharey and Buurdhubo.”


“With a focus on community-based health and nutrition, services are provided through three main hospitals, 6 health centers, 11 primary health units, 7 mobile outreach posts, and 3 TB centers,” they say, and add, “Approximately 250 trained and highly qualified health and nutrition workers are reaching nearly 23,800 beneficiaries every month.”

They further say, “Caritas is also supporting emergency WASH services through the construction of solar-powered shallow wells, and the provision of emergency water trucking services, hygiene promotion activities, hygiene kits, and fuel subsidies to ensure uninterrupted operation of high-volume shallow wells.” 

“Caritas is responding to growing IDP rates by distributing Non-Food Item (NFI) kits to newly displaced households,” CI officials say in the September 30 report.

“Caritas Somalia, with the support of Caritas Confederation, will soon launch an emergency appeal to better respond to the growing humanitarian and food crisis in the country,” they further say, and continue, “Caritas is also in the process of developing a TV and media campaign together to raise awareness about the severity of the situation.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.