Families displaced from Mogadishu.
Somalia continues to suffer the aftereffects of last year’s famine

Food crisis and conflict in Somalia

“Aid agencies are able to provide only a fraction of the assistance needed.”

Somalia continues to be at the center of one of the world’s biggest humanitarian emergencies, with severe drought exacerbated by years of conflict and restrictions on aid access by all parties. Insecurity makes Somalia one of the most difficult places to deliver aid.


Please consider helping fund our emergency work in East Africa. These Oxfam affiliates are running direct appeals for this food crisis:

You can also make a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as Somalia.

Oxfam is there

Working with local Somali partner organizations, Oxfam has so far reached around 1.3 million people affected by the crisis, and support continues – despite access difficulties.

Our work in Somalia includes:

  • Water systems benefiting 900,000 people;
  • Cash transfers benefiting nearly 200,000 people.
  • Support for farmers;
  • Public health communications via mobile phone to mitigate the spread of cholera, reaching 100,000 people in IDP camps.

Since 2009, the Community-based Therapeutic Care (CTC) program in Mogadishu, has treated more than 150,000 malnourished children and mothers. This is the largest nutrition program in south – central Somalia. The program is implemented in partnership between Oxfam and SAACID, a local NGO partner.

Like in other emergencies, we're also actively engaged in regional and international lobbying on issues related to the crisis in Somalia, including calling for ordinary Somalis to be able to access the aid they desperately need.

A precarious situation

Good rains in many areas in late 2011, combined with the enormous global aid response, have brought signs of improvement for the future. Heavy rains can bring their own challenges – cutting off access to markets and food supplies, and increased threat of disease – but they also provide hope for harvests, water for people and pasture for their livestock.

Some of the worst affected areas of Somalia were downgraded from famine zones in February 2012. While this is very good news, the areas remain at emergency levels – Phase 4 out of 5 in the system used to classify food insecurity – and around 2.3 million Somalis are still in crisis.

Read the briefing: You Have Been Warned: One year on from UN declaration of famine, Somalia faces worsening food crisis (July 2012, pdf 63kb)

Most rural Somalis are pastoralists, herding camels, cattle, goats and sheep. The lack of pasture and water led to deaths of livestock on a large scale, leaving families unable to cope with the crisis. Forecasts for the current rainy season predict that the rains will be poorly distributed and 25-40% lower than normal.


In addition, the two decade long conflict in Somalia has left the country divided. Insecurity also poses a significant challenge and could jeopardize progress. In Somalia, while aid is getting through, heavy fighting, military offensives and restrictions on humanitarian access mean many people are still not getting as much support as they need.

Over the last few years, more than a million people have been forced to flee their homes due to extreme violence across the country.

Parties to the conflict have been accused of committing war crimes in Somalia – and it is ordinary civilians who continue to bear the brunt of these atrocities. All parties to the conflict must respect international humanitarian law and stop the killing of innocent civilians immediately.

The international community must urgently focus on policies that work to address the humanitarian crisis engulfing the country and show a commitment to enforcing existing international laws within Somalia.

July 2012

Read more

Read the briefing: You Have Been Warned: One year on from UN declaration of famine, Somalia faces worsening food crisis (July 2012, pdf 63kb)

More about Oxfam's work in Somalia

How Oxfam is responding to the famine and food crisis across East Africa

Famine in Somalia: causes and solutions

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