Feb. 2, 2022 (SEATTLE, Wash.) – Seattle-based relief and development organization World Concern is launching a drought response in the Lower Juba region of Somalia, as the nation once again teeters on the brink of famine. Three successive years of extreme drought have resulted in widespread food insecurity and alarming rates of malnutrition. According to UNOCHA, more than 3.2 million people are affected by the worsening drought, and families are migrating to other regions, and some are crossing into Ethiopia in search of humanitarian assistance.
The 2021 Deyr (October to December) rains failed, and the drought is projected to intensify as Somalia faces the risk of a fourth consecutive failed rainy season in early 2022.
Humanitarian agencies are sounding the alarm and calling for global response, as the situation is disconcertingly similar to the prolonged drought conditions that led to the 2011 famine, in which an estimated 258,000 people in the Horn of Africa, mostly women and children, lost their lives.
“The drought in Somalia is worsening, with millions of people facing the threat of famine. The situation is further exacerbated by high levels of poverty, COVID-19, conflict, disease outbreaks, lack of clean water, and poor sanitation. World Concern is supporting the most affected and vulnerable families by helping meet immediate and critical needs,” said World Concern Senior Director of Operations, Peter Macharia.
World Concern is responding in the Lower Juba region of Somalia, one of the hardest hit areas, with food, livelihood, and WASH support to meet the urgent needs of families that are facing severe food insecurity and rising malnutrition levels. Families will receive four rounds of food vouchers, with each voucher enabling families to purchase $64 USD worth of food from local markets. In exchange, those receiving support will participate in community soil/water conservation work and will receive training on climate-smart agriculture and disaster risk reduction.
Families will also receive drought resistant seeds, and some will receive livestock to replenish lost herds. Water trucking and the installation of water tanks will provide access to much-needed water for hard hit communities. Additionally, each household will receive a WASH package, including jerricans, soap, and plastic buckets.
World Concern has worked in Somalia for more than 30 years, beginning with leprosy projects and famine relief in the Lower Juba Valley. In recent years, World Concern’s work has been focused in the Somaliland region and has included disaster risk reduction, nutrition, health, livelihoods, and agriculture.
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World Concern is a Christian global relief and development organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington. At World Concern, the solutions we offer, the work we do, creates lasting, sustainable change. Lasting change that provides lasting hope. Our areas of expertise include disaster response, clean water, education, food security, child protection, microfinance and health.