The situation in Somalia has continued to improve since the crisis of 2011, when four million people experienced extreme food insecurity and famine occurred in some regions of the south. Continued improvements are attributed to successive seasons of average-to-above-average rainfall, increased livestock prices, improved milk availability, low prices of both local and imported staple food commodities, and sustained humanitarian intervention.
Humanitarian Assistance Remains Vital
However, despite consistent improvement in the overall situation, 860,000 Somalis remain in "crisis" or "emergency" conditions, according to the FSNAU data of September 2013. A further 2 million -- one third of Somalia’s population -- are considered to be “stressed,” meaning they are struggling to meet their minimum daily needs. Households belonging to this group remain highly vulnerable to major shocks that could easily push them back into food security crisis.
As a result, lifesaving humanitarian assistance and livelihood support remain vitally important through the end of 2014 to help food insecure populations meet their immediate food needs, protect livelihoods, and build resilience.
Malnutrition Rates Remain High
Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates nationwide have fallen since the height of the crisis, from 30 percent in 2011 to the current level of 14.33 percent. Despite having fallen by half, malnutrition rates in Somalia are high and the nationwide GAM rate still hovers around the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold of 15 percent. Any gains made in food security and nutrition could be lost without continued humanitarian assistance as the situation must be considered fragile, with communities recovering from many seasons of failed rains and subsequent drought. Meanwhile, insecurity and conflict continue to contribute to poor household food security and high malnutrition rates.
WFP’s focus during the past year has been and through 2014 will continue to be on longer-term recovery programmes. These are aimed at providing responses that help to enhance the resilience of an individual or community by increasing household income, providing basic services and establishing predictable "safety nets" to address basic needs.
WFP will continue to focus on nutrition programmes that support the most vulnerable members of the population, namely women and children. Through supplementary feeding programmes and, where possible, through health centres, WFP provides specialised nutritional food products to treat and prevent malnutrition. At times of greater need, during lean or dry seasons, a family ration is included as there is a likelihood of other family members also being malnourished.
Social Safety Nets
To assist communities and strengthen their resilience to shocks, such as drought or floods, there are community asset-building programmes that include the construction of reservoirs, wells and roads.
WFP continues to expand its school meals programme, which provides school-going children with a cooked meal each day during the school term. This has the added benefit of increasing school attendance and promoting the well-being of future generations.
While continuing to provide targeted emergency or relief assistance when needed, WFP’s 2014 programmes aim to help some 1.3 million people cope more effectively with hardships that might affect themselves and their communities.