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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© UNICEF, 2018



For decades, Somalia has suffered from prolonged conflict and extreme weather, including recurrent droughts and floods.

The country has experienced an unprecedented 5th consecutive failed rainy season with forecasts that the following rainy season (April-June 2023) may also fail.

These extreme weather events driven by climate change are compounded by (i) conflict, (ii) political instability, (iii) COVID-19, and (iv) the impact of the war in Ukraine on food, fuel, and fertiliser prices.

EU humanitarian funding is helping aid organisations in Somalia assist those in need.

What are the needs?

Over 8.25 million people need humanitarian aid, with hundreds of thousands at risk of famine.

Acute food insecurity will likely worsen in the first half of 2023. Some 6.5 million people across Somalia are projected to face a food crisis.

The malnutrition rate among children is high, with over 2.4 million children under 5 acutely malnourished. In 2023, an estimated 478,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

In 2022, drought forced over 1.4 million people to leave their homes, more than 5 times the number displaced since January 2021. With limited access to assistance, they live in unsanitary makeshift camps along with millions previously displaced by conflict and extreme weather events.

Since 2022, protracted armed conflict with renewed large-scale fighting has severely impacted civilians and the movement of people and goods in the country. Violations of international humanitarian law occur frequently.

At the same time, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is further stressing global food supply chains and fuel prices, including in Somalia.

Despite increasing the aid support since August 2022, needs still outpace the response. This requires urgent and increased humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought and displacement and prevent deaths.

Major droughts in 2011/12 and 2017 caused massive excess mortality. According to recent analysis, there are already an estimated 43,000 excess deaths due to the ongoing drought crisis.

Map Somalia

How are we helping?

In 2023, the EU allocated €72 million for humanitarian projects in Somalia, mainly responding to the ongoing drought.

EU humanitarian funding supports aid organisations in delivering (i) food assistance, (ii) basic health and nutrition services, (iii) clean water, (iv) protection, (v) shelter, and (vi) education.

Our humanitarian partners work in rural and hard-to-reach areas to ensure no one is left behind. They also work to mitigate further displacement of rural populations while providing essential lifesaving assistance also in already congested urban and peri-urban areas hosting those displaced.

Whenever relevant, EU humanitarian support helps people in need through cash transfers. This enables them to feed and sustain their family while also covering other basic needs. In addition, using cash transfers helps overcome accessibility challenges while supporting local markets.

Somalia has high child and maternal mortality rates, severe malnutrition rates, and frequent disease outbreaks. The country’s health system also faces critical shortages, and only 1/3 of health facilities are functional.

There is currently an increase in disease outbreaks in the country, especially acute watery diarrhoea, cholera, and suspected  measles outbreaks. This is due to the ongoing drought, limited access to clean water and hygiene, and unsanitary living conditions in displacement camps. All these diseases are potentially deadly.

Therefore, the EU focuses on providing quality health care, epidemics prevention and control, and emergency treatment of malnutrition. We support experienced health and nutrition partners in local health centres and hospitals.

In July 2022, the EU launched a Humanitarian Air Bridge to deliver emergency supplies to hard-to-reach areas no longer accessible by road. This operation transported life-saving nutrition and health assistance to underserved and hard-to-reach locations during the most critical dry period.

The EU also funds disaster risk reduction and preparedness activities through community-based early warning, preparedness, and response systems. The aim is to reduce the impact of weather events like floods and droughts.

Still, the country needs more long-term development to prevent vulnerable people, such as pastoral and agricultural communities, from sliding back into crisis. Cooperation between the EU’s humanitarian and development actions is ongoing, especially for cash-based social safety nets and education, to build up the longer-term resilience of fragile Somali communities.

The EU has aimed to increase the visibility of the crisis, such as through the High-Level Roundtable on the Horn of Africa Drought. It was co-hosted by Commissioner Lenarčič and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths on 26 April 2022.

The EU has also supported the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns as part of the EU’s humanitarian initiative in Africa. These actions complement ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Health of Somalia and are implemented in line with the COVID-19 country preparedness and response plan for Somalia.

Last updated: 28/03/2023

Facts & figures

More than 8.25 million people need humanitarian assistance and 6.5 million are facing crisis or worse food insecurity (OCHA)

1 in 7 children dies before turning 5 (UNICEF)

3.6 million internally displaced people (OCHA)

More than 667,000 Somali refugees in neighbouring countries (UNHCR)

EU humanitarian funding:
€72 million in 2023
nearly €537.5 million since 2017