Somalia in Need of “drastic action” Following Drought, Leadership of Catholic Entity Says

Mother of two, Fatuma Ganun Mohamed, cradles her infant son Abdikan who was recently admitted to a Trócaire supported stabilisaiton centre suffering from severe malnutrition. Credit: Trócaire

The leadership of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire in Somalia, is calling for “drastic action” to provide reprieve to the people of God in drought-stricken Horn of Africa nation. 

In a February 11 report, the Country Director of Trócaire in Somalia says the effects of the drought “are truly devastating.” 

"Following three consecutive failed rainfall seasons, and a projected below average rainy season between April and June 2022, millions of people in Somalia face severe hunger unless drastic action is taken," Mr. Paul Healy says in the report.

Mr. Healy explains, “Severe water shortages have heightened the risk of disease outbreaks, with people and animals now competing for untreated water from hand-dug shallow wells and dwindling rivers.  Cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea/Cholera, and outbreaks of measles, are on the rise in multiple drought-affected locations.” 

The Trócaire official says that there are witness accounts of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) feeding on animal carcasses at night, a practice that is creating a further severe risk of disease.


In the February 11 Trócaire report, Mr. Healy says the District Commissioner (DC) of Luuq District in the Southwestern Gedo Province of Somalia witnessed a father and his two starving children living under a tree in an IDP camp with no food and shelter.  

“These are times of great hunger. Children are the most vulnerable. There is limited access to food, and food prices are rising, predisposing families and their children to severe malnutrition,” the DC has been quoted as saying. 

In the report, Fatuma Ganun Mohamed, an IDP, says the drought “took our livestock; we had to leave behind our rural house and the little we had to get something to eat for our children.”

“Living in the camp is very difficult, especially for the children, who are very thin and sick most of the time,” Ms. Mohamed says in the February 11 report. 

Approximately 4.3 million people in Somalia have been affected by the severe drought, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said February 7. 

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The UN Agency added that over 271,000 Somalians have fled from their homes in search of food, water, and pasture.

The latest food security report states that 4.6 million people will face emergency-level food insecurity between now and May. According to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNA) in Somalia, approximately 1.2 million children under the age of five are likely to be acutely malnourished. 

Last December, humanitarian partners released the 2022 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), seeking US$1.46 billion to assist 5.5 million of the most vulnerable people.  Less than 2% of the needed funds have come from donors to date.  

In the February 11 report, Mr. Healy says the international community “needs to listen – and to act now.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.