Catholic Entity Warns Malnutrition in Somalia to “get much worse in coming months”

Habso’s family walked for 20 days from Wajid Region to Luuq town in Gedo Region, southern Somalia (approx. 70 kms) when the last of their goats died and they had no food to sustain the family. Left to right back row: Anab (7); Father Ibrahim Yarow (49); Habiba (8); Habso (3); mother Abshiro Adn Mohammad, (35), baby Nasra (8 months); Hassan (9). Front row: Abdi Nassir (5); Abdifatah (4) and Fartun (6) Pic: Miriam Donohoe. Credit: Trócaire

There is “severe malnutrition” in parts of Somalia’s Gedo region and the situation is to “get much worse” if action is not taken urgently, an official of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire, has said.

In a Monday, July 11 report, Trócaire Somalia Country Director, Paul Healy, says that despite the world focusing on the “dreadful crisis in Ukraine”, what is happening “in Somalia and the Horn of Africa” need not be overlooked.

“Severe malnutrition has taken hold in Somalia and it will get much worse in the coming months unless urgent action is taken,” Mr. Healy is quoted as saying in the report.

The report makes reference to the United Nations warning that about 350,000 children could perish this year from malnutrition if livelihood initiatives do not reach them. 

“Since January, at least 448 children have died from severe acute malnutrition,” the Country Director with Trócaire in Somalia says.


Currently, Mr. Healy continues in the July 11 report, “the world is focused on the dreadful crisis in Ukraine, but we must not forget what is happening here in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. Thousands of people are at risk of dying.”

The Trócaire official says that the situation in Somalia that is as a result of food shortage is aggravated by climate change and that children are the most affected. He says, “Children are the most vulnerable. There is limited access to food, and prices are rising due to the war in Ukraine.”

Mr. Healy further says, “Climate change is wreaking havoc. 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.”

He makes reference to Luug Hospital in Somalia’s Gedo region and says that the team at the health facility has been “feeling the impact of drought in recent months”.

The Country Director with Trocaire in Somalia says, “In January we admitted 66 patients to our stabilization unit in Luug Hospital. In May this figure had jumped to over 200, a three-fold increase. The pressure on our services is increasing all the time.”

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Speaking further on the crisis in Ukraine, the native of Dublin, Ireland, says that the crisis has escalated the situation in Somalia as prices of most commodities have skyrocketed.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is exacerbating the crisis, cutting off most of the wheat imports that Somalia depends on, and sharply increasing the prices of fuel, food and fertilizer,” Mr. Healy says in the July 11 report.

The Trocaire official who has been serving the Irish Catholic entity for at least two decades says that what is happening on the ground in the Horn of African country is distressing. 

The report indicates that in Somalia, Trócaire is reaching over 215,000 people with lifesaving services every year through its health facilities in Luug, Dollow, Garbaharey, Belet Hawa and Burdhubo.

“Key aspects of the work are supported by the Irish government through Irish Aid, and recently Trócaire has implemented a new EU-funded programme targeting vulnerable, hard-to-reach populations,” the July 11 report indicates, adding that approximately 7.7 million people are experiencing hunger in Somalia and are in need of serious humanitarian intervention.


Somalia, the report says, “is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years with four seasons of failed rains and temperatures unbearably high. 90% of the country is now experiencing extreme drought.”

In the report, the leadership of Trócaire expresses gratitude to "the people of Ireland and the Irish Aid agency" for facilitating humanitarian assistance through which “hundreds of thousands” of needy are reached, adding that much is still needed as the need of the vulnerable is still huge.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.