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Crisis in Somalia

Nearly half of Somalia’s estimated population of 14 million are in need of emergency assistance due to the severe and widespread drought.  Millions have no food and water. More than 3 million Somalis are acutely malnourished, including 388,000 children who are in need of critical nutrition support.

And the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. In fact, almost 1 million people were displaced by the drought in 2017. At the same time, a growing number of Somali refugees are returning to Somalia from other countries in the region.

Additionally, there were more than 17,000 cases of measles in the 2017 outbreak (nearly three times the 2016 number) and cholera remains a significant problem.

The food insecurity in Somalia was not caused by drought alone. Decades of armed conflicts and the presence of extremist groups exacerbated the situation, leading to more poverty and fewer economic resources. Violent extremist groups continue to block roads and steal humanitarian aid, making access to food in some areas nearly impossible.


In emergencies, time is key.

That’s why, in addition to 13 standing clinics, IOM runs 5 mobile clinics in the most needed areas to treat patients. Patients like two-year-old Fakra who, like more than 300,000 Somali children, is suffering from severe malnutrition due to the dramatic food and water shortages brought on by drought.

The Baidoa Regional Hospital, where Fakra is being treated, is continuously overwhelmed by cases of child malnutrition, diarrhea, and measles. The majority of children treated there are under five years old. IOM works to provide essential medical supplies, vaccines and equipment at many Somali hospitals and clinics. Additionally, we assist health experts from Somali communities to strengthen the local health authorities.


Ready to respond as soon as crisis strikes, the IOM team has been in Somalia since 2006. In 2016 alone, IOM provided humanitarian assistance to close to 1 million people in 25 districts affected by armed conflict, flooding, drought, cyclones, and cholera outbreaks.

IOM’s response in Somalia includes:

IOM supports 13 standing and 5 mobile clinics across 14 districts. IOM also provides essential medical supplies, vaccines and equipment at many clinics, and assists health experts from the Somali community to strengthen local health authorities.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

IOM provides water trucking and water storage across 7 regions of Somalia. We help with the rehabilitation and maintenance of boreholes and other water supply systems; distribute hygiene kits; and run information campaigns on the importance of hygiene to prevent cholera and measles.


IOM provides emergency shelter kits that include plastic sheets, mats, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, and solar lanterns. The kits may include local timber, nails, rope, iron sheets, doors, windows, locks, and flooring materials according to the needs of the population.


IOM is tracking and forecasting population displacement and disseminating weekly displacement alerts to provide early warning for worsening situations, and to increase data collection coverage in the worst affected areas.

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