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Addressing emergency needs and building resilience in crisis-affected Southern Somalia - Compounding over two decades of violent conflict and recurring climatic shocks, 2011 witnessed a sharp deterioration in food security across Somalia following the failure of the March - June ‘Gu’ rainy season, precipitating the spread of famine throughout much of the South of the country. ACTED sought to address the escalating emergency needs of extremely vulnerable crisis-affected populations in Southern Somalia through emergency food assistance. In addition, ACTED supported livelihoods through the provision of seeds, agricultural tools and machinery, agricultural skills training and targeted destocking of animals. These inputs facilitated early recovery among crisis-affected communities, while building resilience to future shocks.
Saving lives through emergency humanitarian assistance and coordination in famine- and crisis-affected regions
The spread of famine led to high malnutrition and mortality, in addition to widespread displacement within Somalia and into neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia. In these dynamic conditions, ACTED provided vital emergency food assistance to 49,200 people to enable households to access basic food items. In addition, ACTED established a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) unit to improve coordination between humanitarian agencies at this critical time. Food was distributed at the peak of the crisis in July - September 2011 to 690 households who nominated a member to participate in activities such as clearing bush to open up land for agriculture, rehabilitating feeder roads to improve market access and waste management in and around major towns. 200 households benefited from destocking activities through which livestock were purchased to provide cash to households who could not maintain herds, while meat was shared among the community to support access to food. With the deterioration of food security from July onwards, 7,310 households (comprised of approximately 43,860 individuals) received unconditional emergency food. Many of these beneficiaries accessed food through a voucher mechanism, whereby food could be purchased in local stores, facilitating access to food for the most vulnerable while supporting economic recovery in crisis-affected areas.
Supporting livelihoods, early recovery and resilience to future shocks through inputs and training
The crisis negatively affected not only the nutritional status of vulnerable communities, but also their income-generating capacity, in a region where livelihoods are almost entirely dependent on rainfall to support agriculture and provide pasture and water for livestock. ACTED strengthened livelihoods, supported early recovery and enhanced community resilience through the provision of agricultural inputs and training. Inputs were distributed to allow planting for the October - December ‘Deyr’ rains, the harvest of which is expected to be extremely strong, increasing the availability and accessibility of food staples at local markets and contributing to longer-term food security. Agricultural inputs included high-quality seeds, agricultural tools and machinery such as irrigation pumps to improve productivity. In addition, training for vulnerable farming households sought to improve agricultural practices and build resilience to future climatic shocks. Topics included conservation agriculture, irrigation techniques, fodder production, harvest and post-harvest handling and market access and information. Fodder production activities were particularly successful, as they provided a source of feed for livestock, which is otherwise scarce in a region affected by recurrent climatic shocks and depletion of natural resources, while also providing a source of income for producers. In total, approximately 52,896 people benefited from ACTED’s livelihoods support activities.
Responding to crisis and building resilience
In response to the 2011 crisis, ACTED increased its presence in Southern Somalia and focused on providing emergency, life-saving assistance in this acute emergency context. In 2012, should the humanitarian context allow, ACTED will seek to switch from an emergency-based approach to reconstruction and development-oriented interventions with continuous emergency support where required. To ensure that the root causes of vulnerability are addressed, community-driven long-term disaster risk reduction (DRR) programming will be mainstreamed to help reduce the need for emergency interventions, while ACTED will also focus on water, sanitation and hygiene programming to address underlying causes of malnutrition among vulnerable groups. This will contribute to helping vulnerable communities break the poverty cycle and lead the way in sustainable development. ACTED will continue to build on its information management capacity to facilitate vital coordination between humanitarian agencies operating in this complex emergency context. ACTED will also seek to expand its areas of activity to new regions in Somalia to address needs in these areas.
Partners in 2011
Common Humanitarian Fund / UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (CHF/OCHA), French Embassy, European Aid Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).