Somalia Humanitarian Aid

Somalia: Supporting drought-affected families with cash assistance

Somalia has experienced below-average rainfall for five consecutive rainy seasons. As a result, 6.6 million Somalis face food insecurity across the country. Reports by various humanitarian agencies indicate that many seasonal water sources have dried up, and that a severe drought is imminently expected to affect more people.

The recurring droughts have particularly affected rural communities who have lost their livestock due to a lack of pasture and water. So far, most children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly are among the most affected groups suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

By the end of 2022, the Sool region in Somaliland was classified at IPC phase 3 (crisis phase) as the severity of the drought continued to take its toll on many people. The lack of food and shortage of water pushed most families to move to neighbouring regions in search of lifesaving humanitarian assistance, rendering them Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
With the withstanding drought conditions and projection of failed rains, the region was forecasted to enter the emergency phase (IPC phase 4), a critical stage that requires immediate relief assistance.

Pastoral communities were also on the receiving end with the aftershocks of drought interfering with their livelihoods. They lost most of their livestock putting them in the front line with those, requiring immediate humanitarian assistance.

Addressing the basic needs of drought-affected communities

With the European Union (EU) support, Acted, through the Somali Cash Consortium, has provided cash assistance to 1,539 families from Laascanood and Caynaba districts, in Sool region. This was done in the period of May to October 2022 allowing beneficiaries to meet their basic needs after being affected by the aftershocks of the worst drought ever experienced in the region.

The project focused of the most vulnerable areas, particularly IDP sites and remote rural areas.

The vulnerability criteria prioritized persons with disabilities, female-headed families, the elderly, malnourished, minority clan groups, newly displaced families, and those with poor housing conditions.

Beneficiaries received cash transfers which with they were able to buy food for their families, pay for services such as medical care and school fees for their children.

Maimuna Abdul*, a 50-year-old blind woman, is a mother of six. The drought led to the loss of most of her livestock, forcing her and her children to move from the remote countryside of Geedcaso to Karinkorfood villages in Sool region. Her husband stayed behind to care of the few animals that survived the harsh weather condition.

Before receiving the cash assistance, her family relied on donations from relatives and neighbours, which proved insufficient to meet their basic needs. She sometimes took out small loans from her relatives, but could not pay them back, which created debts and prevented her from getting help from them.

Humanitarian assistance at the right time

As newly displaced, Maimuna is receiving USD 100 a month for over three months. With this money, she can now buy food for her family. They can eat three meals a day, whereas they used to do only one meal.

I’m glad my children and I now have access to good-quality food and eat three times a day

Maimuna

Thanks to this cash transfer support, Maimuna is free of debts since she used some of the money to pay back to her family.

The drought has affected the livelihoods of thousands of people in Somalia. Maimuna’s story is an example of how Acted and the Somali Cash Consortium partners, with the funding support from the EU, have been involved in mitigating the consequences of the drought. Providing life-saving assistance and durable solutions to displaced families remains our priority.

This project funded by the European Union, led by Somali Cash Consortium, and implemented in partnership with Acted, aims to improve the ability of vulnerable drought-affected Somali households to meet their basic needs and improve access to basic services through unconditional cash transfers.

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