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A crisis in numbers

In the drought-ravaged Gedo region of Somalia, obtaining water can involve treks of 20km or more
In the drought-ravaged Gedo region of Somalia, obtaining water can involve treks of 20km or more (Mohamed Gaarane/IRIN)

One in three people in Somalia needs humanitarian assistance as a severe water crisis, linked to the La Niña weather phenomenon, takes hold across much of the country after failed seasonal Deyr rains and amid continuing armed conflict. Prices of cereals and water in many areas have soared.

Here are some facts and figures about this crisis, culled from a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security and Nutritional Analysis Unit.

The population of Somalia is 7.5 million; of whom 2.4m people require humanitarian assistance, a 20 percent increase over the last six months:

1.46m people in central and southern areas (where humanitarian access is very limited) have been displaced by conflict;

945,000 are in a state of acute food and livelihood crisis;


535,000 are in a state of humanitarian emergency (unable to access 2,100 kcal per day, among other criteria);

45,000 pastoralists are considered destitute, up 7 percent;


241,000 children under five are acutely malnourished (up 7 percent from six months ago). In the south, this equates to 20 percent of all under-fives. Across the country, the acute malnutrition rate is 16 percent;


57,000 of these are severely malnourished – one in 23 children under five in the south, and 4 percent nationally, a rise of 31 percent compared with six months ago;

75 percent of those acutely malnourished live in southern regions;


20 percent of normal cereal crop output was produced in agro-pastoral and riverine areas of southern Somalia, causing the number of people in crisis in these areas to rise by almost 70 percent to 440,000. Deyr crop production was the lowest since 1995;


A 33-47 percent reduction in cattle prices since December 2010 was observed in all southern areas;

Since 2009, the cost of a household’s bare minimum food and non-food items has risen by 32 percent in the south. This cost fell by 12 percent in the northwest thanks to a bumper harvest in 2010.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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