Drought Crisis Fact SheeT

Among the many pressing priorities for my administration, responding effectively to the current humanitarian crisis tops the agenda”
— Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed "Farmaajo", Somalia's President



  • Several consecutive seasons of poor rainfall has led to a severe drought, causing acute shortage of water. The country is witnessing a near total crop failure, rising livestock deaths, epidemic outbreaks and reduced rural employment opportunities.


  • A total of US$825 million is requested for the first half of 2017 to reach 6.2 million people, more than half of the population, with life-saving assistance and livelihood support.


  • In Mogadishu, prices of coarse grains increased up to 35 percent. In most markets of key maize producing region of lower Shabelle, maize prices surged in January by 32-41 percent. Overall, prices of coarse grains in January in key markets of central and southern Somalia were up to twice their levels of 12 months earlier (FAO).


  •  If the 2017 (April-June) rainy season performs very poorly, if purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/2011, and if humanitarian assistance is not scaled up at a massive scale in the coming weeks and months, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected.




  •  In the first three weeks of 2017 alone, more than 33,000 people were displaced due to drought in southern and central alone, including more than 3,000 individuals who crossed the border to Ethiopia. In Borama, Somaliland, approximately 8,000 households. (40,000 individuals) are reported as being newly displaced in January 2017 (National Environment Research and Disaster-preparedness, NERAD). Puntland and Somaliland has experienced huge losses of livestock, resulting in pastoral dropouts and displacement. The little rain in December 2016 in some areas of Puntland resulted in a huge migration of pastoralists to benefit from the rains.


  • The majority of drought-related displacement takes place from rural to urban areas. In Baidoa, more than 7,000 people arrived in the first three weeks of January in search of water and food, having traveled by foot, in donkey carts and trucks.


Outbreak of Disease:

  • Just as in 2011, drought-related diseases such as AWD/Cholera and measles are also on the rise. Somalia experienced a major AWD/Cholera outbreak in 2016, which was brought under control, but again started spreading in November 2016, with more than 3,100 cases and 42 deaths recorded in the first four weeks of 2017 alone. The outbreak is currently spreading to new villages and districts, in particular along the Shabelle River, with the drought and subsequent water shortage and malnutrition exacerbating the spread of the outbreak.


Gender Disparities:

  • The effects of drought and famine have distinct gender dimensions affecting the most vulnerable in our society, women. Family separation associated with displacement places an enormous burden on women to find food and other essentials for their families and forces them to migrate with their small children without their husbands. This places them in a vulnerable position where they become exposed to gender based violence.


Humanitarian Security Concerns:

  • Humanitarian organizations continue to experience a volatile and challenging operating environment due to high levels of insecurity and violence, particularly in areas in southern and central Somalia. More than 165 violent incidents in 2016 led to the deaths of 14 humanitarian staff, injury of 16, arrests and detention of 25, abduction of three and physical assault of five humanitarian personnel impacted humanitarian organizations. This is an 18 per cent increase in the overall number of incidents compared to 140 incidents in 2015.


Hardest Hit Areas:

  • By number of people per region: Sool- 36,000 , Sanaag- 54,000,  Bakool- 58,000, and  Bay- 160,000  

Sources: OCHA February 2017