24 Aug Protecting Lives Amid the Triple Humanitarian Threats in Somalia by Anderson Ezie
Protecting Lives Amid the Triple Humanitarian Threats in Somalia
“The good news is you survived. The bad news is you’re hurt, and no one can heal you but yourself.” ― Clementine von Radics
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is dire, and the UN says that the Somalian government predicts an 11% decline in GDP. Data from the World Bank shows a steady decline in employment to population ratio in the country, the aftermath of which is occasioned by the loss of livelihood and dependence of meager remittances from abroad for survival. The situation in Somalia is grave and resembles a double conspiracy by man and nature to frustrate humanity. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) describes the country’s situation as the most complicated and enduring emergency in the world, and there are umpteen reasons why this is true. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, 5 million Somalians were already in need of humanitarian assistance. Also, 2.6 million people were displaced due to continuous conflict between extremist Alshabab and the government.
Only a month after COVID-19 restrictions began, flooding from heavy rains during the GU (April – June) season affected about 1.3 million people of the country’s 32 districts. According to the IOM, the flood provided a breeding ground for bands of the voracious desert that has eaten up hectares of green crops to the disappointment of local farmers. The long history of draught caused by monsoon wind losing its moisture in the Horn of Africa has again cost local pastoralist thousands of livestock. The situation will only worsen as locusts invade farmlands, the only hope for food for farmers and their surviving livestock.
In such an economically and politically unstable atmosphere, those hit hardest are women and children. Months back, only 32% of the requested $1.25 billion for Somalia’s Humanitarian Response Plan has been realized. As the inflow of funds continues to linger below requirements, the living conditions of millions of people, most of them children, worsens daily. The trouble also affects men, but they sometimes become terrorists to female folks in remote areas making already distressed victims their targets. It is easy to label these men, but the situation is understandable considering the psychological effects of such difficult times that indeed try men to their souls. Rising helplessness, confusion, and ruin may be the most appropriate for conditions here. Somalia’s government was already one of the weakest in the world due to decades of political tension and disagreement across parts of the country. Heightened by religious tensions, the worse might be yet to come as the country hopes to hold elections in November. Authorities put the number of deaths from COVID-19 below 100 in Somalia, but the number of graves only matches up with the contrary. Many people have started going about their lives, undermining the consequences. Another issue that calls for much attention is the lack of water in IDP camps, which should be a haven for the distressed.
The triple humanitarian crisis in Somalia is affecting children disproportionately, with 63% of people need being children between 0 – 14 years of age. Since children are vulnerable, they are easy victims of rape, trauma, and their developing coping mechanisms might predispose them to disorders related to stress and hardship. Gender-based violence targeting women increases fear. The consequences of living amid rising uncertainty might grow over the top into problems these people will have to live with for the rest of their lives as efforts are underway mostly to provide food and protect the health of Somali people. It is important to protect people, especially children who have lost their parents and single parents. Psychosocial support services are important for survivors of gender-based violence and sexual abuse. More than ever, Somali people need to be protected from forced eviction and violations of their fundamental human rights. About 1.4 million and 123 thousand persons adding up to 1.5 million people, have been victims of the attacks on the core of their existence, as mentioned earlier. While the basic needs of people are critical in such times, the safety needs are next in line and they cannot be neglected.
With a core focus on food security and gender equality, Hunger Reduction International understand the importance of protecting the people of Somalia. The organization has placed street children under psychosocial support, but much still needs to be done to better the lives of millions of people. HRI is doing its best to cooperate with other organizations and the government of Somalia to see people through the better part of the crisis. You can support the good work right here on our website by donating as little as a dollar.