Somalia experienced a devastating drought in 2022, affecting nearly half of its entire population, or approximately 7.8 million people. Currently, around 7.1 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity, with over 214,000 individuals experiencing emergency and catastrophic levels of hunger and famine-like conditions. By March 2023, eight areas of the country are at risk of famine, with the Bay and Banadir regions being of particular concern. These areas are already experiencing high rates of malnutrition and mortality.
Across Somalia, approximately 2 million women of reproductive age have been affected, including more than 380,000 who are currently pregnant and in need of life-saving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and information.
Women and girls face increased risks of gender-based violence (GBV) due to multiple displacements, overcrowded and poorly-lit shelters and toilets in camps, and the need to travel long distances for necessities such as water, food, and animal feed. Child marriage has become a harmful coping mechanism for families struggling with poverty, exposing the girl child to the dangers of physical and sexual abuse, malnutrition, and an elevated risk of maternal and neonatal mortality. This increase in child marriages and sexual violence against women and girls has led to an increase in unwanted and high-risk pregnancies. Pregnant women who are displaced or forced to relocate are at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, including the risk of haemorrhaging after giving birth which can be fatal if not treated promptly in a hospital. Improved access and availability of health services, including rights-based family planning services, can help women and girls with timely treatment, referrals, and birth-spacing options.
UNFPA Somalia has remained committed to providing essential and life-saving SRH and GBV services during these times of crisis, particularly for vulnerable women and girls, displaced populations, and people with disabilities. Health facilities and mobile outreach services are providing services to support maternal and newborn health, and birth-spacing options. They are also working to address complications caused by GBV e.g., by providing clinical management of rape. Additionally, to help survivors of GBV heal and rebuild their lives, psycho-social counselling services are made available in safe spaces and one-stop centres.
In order to meet the increasing demand for these services, UNFPA continues to collaborate with partners, the Government of Somalia, and other organizations to enhance their capacity for delivering effective SRH and GBV services.
UNFPA Somalia is grateful to its generous donors who have provided support and funding for its Drought Response Operational Plan. However, the crisis is still ongoing, and urgent and sustainable investments in reducing risk and vulnerability are needed to prevent the humanitarian crisis from worsening further. To continue providing vital services and addressing the increasing needs of women and girls in Somalia in 2023, UNFPA requires a minimum of USD 63.1 million.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNFPA Somalia.