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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article6 July 2022Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)2 min read

Somalia: EU sends Humanitarian Air Bridge to deliver life-saving aid

© European Union

Due to the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Somalia, the EU is launching a Humanitarian Air Bridge to deliver emergency supplies to hard-to-reach areas which are no longer accessible by road. This will be a major logistics operation, with an estimated 50 to 70 flights needed.

The first flight, carrying 6.5 tonnes of therapeutic nutrition and medical supplies for the EU's humanitarian partner Action Against Hunger is expected to depart to Somalia's south-western district of Elbarde on 6 July. It is expected that between 6-11 July, more flights will reach the regions of Baidoa, Luuq and Wajid, with supplies for humanitarian partners.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “Somalia is facing an increased risk of famine. The historic drought affecting the Horn of Africa, compounded by the repercussions of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, is resulting in massive suffering and displacement. Already more than 805,000 people have been newly displaced by the drought, a situation expected only to deteriorate further. We are organising a series of flights that will deliver essential supplies, mainly food and medicines, to our humanitarian partners in far-flung regions of Somalia, where air transport is the only way to deliver this assistance.”

The EU has allocated up to €800,000 to this special operation, which will support the delivery of EU-funded medical and nutritional supplies during the dry season. The funding for the flights and the supplies comes from the humanitarian budget of the EU.


Somalia has suffered from prolonged conflict and extreme weather for decades, including recurrent droughts and floods. The country is now facing an unprecedented forecast of a 4th consecutive failed rainy season. This is compounded by protracted conflict, political instability, and a desert locust infestation.

In addition, the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring global food and fuel prices due to Russia's war in Ukraine affect large parts of Somalia.

As a result, over 7.7 million people require humanitarian assistance, including thousands at risk of famine. EU humanitarian funding is helping aid organisations in Somalia provide assistance to those in need.

In 2022, the EU allocated €61 million for humanitarian projects in Somalia, mainly responding to the ongoing drought. The EU and its Member States provide over 35% of all humanitarian aid in Somalia.

In April 2022, Commissioner Lenarčič co-hosted, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) a roundtable on the drought in the Horn of Africa, where additional funding for boosting food security was announced, including €348 million from the Commission and €285 million from EU Member States in a ‘Team Europe' approach.

This funding includes humanitarian assistance and longer-term support to tackle root causes of food insecurity including climate adaptation and mitigation measures.

The EU had previously organised 3 Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Somalia in 2020, transporting much-needed health equipment to humanitarian partners. These operations occurred when global transport and freight halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March 2022, the Humanitarian Air Bridge operations are part of the European Humanitarian Response Capacity, a set of operational and logistical tools managed by the European Commission that supports humanitarian partners in delivering humanitarian aid.