Catholic Entity Warns of “a rapidly unfolding humanitarian catastrophe” in Somalia

A baby's arm is measured for malnutrition at Bosley Health Centre, in Somalia. Credit: Joy Obuya/Trócaire.

The leadership of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire, has warned that Somalia is facing a humanitarian catastrophe amid a protracted drought.

In a report published Monday, March 13, Trócaire officials say that the Horn of African country further warned that the current drought situation is “expected to continue well into 2023.”

“The country is currently facing a rapidly unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, driven by the longest and most severe drought seen in at least 40 years,” Trócaire officials say in reference to Somalia.

They add, “The current extreme, widespread, and persistent multi-season drought is unprecedented, and follows the historic failure of three consecutive rainy seasons.”

The officials of the Catholic entity further say that “the current drought has surpassed the 2010/2011 and 2016/2017 droughts in terms of duration and severity, and is driving growing humanitarian needs.”


Trócaire officials say that the famine is likely to spread to Central and Southern Somalia “if the 2023 season rainfall turns out to be poorer than currently predicted and humanitarian assistance is not scaled up to reach the country’s most vulnerable populations.”

In the March 13 report, officials the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops in Ireland say that the drought in the country is behind the conflict among communities who are struggling for “dwindling resources.”

“New and protracted armed conflicts, insecurity, and erratic weather have continued to push Somali civilians away from their homes and into overcrowded towns and cities,” they say.

Due to the conflicts emanating from climate change, Trócaire officials say “that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) has reached more than three million, making it one of the largest IDP populations in the world.”

The officials say that the recent escalation of conflicts in Somalia has significantly led to humanitarian consequences which have contributed to the “increased displacement and implications on humanitarian access.”

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In the report, Trócaire’s Country Director in Somalia reflects on the period of his service in the country and says that the current situation is the worst compared to previous ones.

“It is catastrophic. We’ve just about avoided famine being declared in 2022, but the worst is still to come. There are millions and millions of people on the edge of starvation,” Paul Healy is quoted as saying.  

Mr. Healy further says, “I was in Dolow Hospital in Gedo a number of months ago, and I noticed a child come in who was very distressed. I got the doctor, but I watched that child die and I will never forget it. It is completely unacceptable that a baby would die of starvation, and that’s simply what it was. That day will stay with me for as long as I live.”

He acknowledges with appreciation the humanitarian support that the people of Ireland have continuously given to the country.

Mr. Healy explains, “Your donations to Trócaire have enabled us to scale up our response so that the most vulnerable, especially small children and babies, their lives are saved and they have some sort of a future.”


“It’s deeply appreciated, and we will use every euro to the best of our ability so that lives are saved and dignity is insured,” he said.

On February 21, Trócaire launched its annual Lenten Appeal to reach out to the “millions of people in hunger in Somalia”.

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.