Food assistance still required on long road to recovery
2011 witnessed a dramatic deterioration in food security across Southern Somalia, as two successive failed rains contributed to the spread of a food crisis throughout the region. While recent news that famine conditions have abated is welcome, ACTED remains adamant that sustained humanitarian assistance is required to support the fragile recovery of extremely vulnerable populations. Emergency food assistance is therefore still being carried out, as communities embark on the long road to recovery.
To meet the acute needs of those who have suffered from the crisis, ACTED is providing emergency food assistance to over 56,000 individuals in Southern Somalia. Assistance is being delivered through a voucher mechanism, which allows beneficiaries to redeem vouchers in local stores in order to access a basic food package sufficient for the household. The voucher mechanism is a particularly critical element in recovery, as it encourages vendors to source food locally, and supports the recovery of the local economy, thereby contributing to a positive multiplier effect among vulnerable communities.
“Over 95% of ACTED’s beneficiaries are women.”
ACTED targets the most vulnerable community members, in order to ensure the most effective use of humanitarian assistance. In order to mitigate any potential conflict between host populations and those who have been Internally Displaced People (IDP) as a result of the crisis, ACTED provides targeted assistance to both communities. In addition, ACTED has prioritised vulnerable women for assistance in Southern Somalia, as they are often denied opportunities to earn a living outside the home in order to support their families. For this reason, over 95% of ACTED’s voucher beneficiaries to date have been female.
These beneficiaries include women like Fatuma, a mother-of-three who was internally displaced by the drought with her children and husband. The family has been living in an IDP settlement since August 2011, and relies entirely on relief assistance and local charity since they lost all their livestock to the drought last summer. Other beneficiaries include women like Habiba, a 45-year-old mother-of-six, who supports not only her children, but also her elderly mother and brother who lives with a disability, with only a small income earned from casual labour in her village. Although food availability and pasture conditions to support livestock have improved since the most recent rainy season, families like those of Fatuma and Habiba still have a long way to go towards recovery and food security.
ACTED continues to provide vital assistance to vulnerable affected communities during this critical period of recovery and stabilisation. In conjunction, ACTED provides much-needed support to the re-building of livelihoods through the provision of seeds and agricultural training in famine and emergency-affected areas, which contribute to building the longer-term resilience of populations to crisis.
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