Food Insecurity and its Impact in Somalia

4 min read

October 6, 2022


“An alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diet and a food system that is failing them.” UNICEF Report on Food and Nutrition

This shameful statement is especially true in Somalia. In a country of 12.3 million, 7.1 million people (almost 60%!) face acute food insecurity and as many as a quarter of a million people face catastrophic hunger. An estimated 1.5 million under the age of 5 suffer from acute malnutrition, of which 386,000 face a high risk of disease and death.

This has severe implications for the health and future of affected people. But children are especially vulnerable because of the importance of adequate nutrition in their growing years.

The Health Implications of Food Insecurity

Children whose diets are inadequate – both in terms of the quantity and quality of food are at risk of below-par brain development, weak immunity, increased susceptibility to infections and even death.

Poor nutrition also makes children more vulnerable to chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma and anaemia as well as behavioural problems like hyperactivity, anxiety and aggression. Even if they do attend school, their education is compromised because a hungry or ill child is unable to make the best of learning. All these factors negatively impact their future prospects.

Hunger and food insecurity also affect adults, causing them to become stressed and anxious about where the next meal will come from. They often skip meals to ensure their children can eat. This compromises their health and their ability to earn an income and obtain food to feed their families. This vicious cycle of poverty and hunger continues. People are unable to help themselves out of the crisis they find themselves in, a crisis that is not of their making.

Causes of the Food Crisis

The global economic collapse of the past decade has had an impact all over the world but has affected poorer nations the worst. The economic downturn has been worsened by the pandemic in the last two-three years, and Somalia hasn’t escaped the fallout.

On top of this, Somalia has been severely affected by internal conflict, the collapse of the government and climate change. The consecutive failed rainy seasons over the last couple of years are set to be repeated this year, with predictions of another dry October-December period. So, the food crisis is only going to get worse, and the negative effects on the younger generation will be felt for years to come.

Millions of IDPs (Internally Displaced People)

All these factors have contributed to mass movements of people as they are forced to leave disaster areas or areas that have become unsafe due to conflict. Subsistence farmers who rely on the land to survive are forced to relocate to escape life-threatening danger or to find better pastures. They undertake perilous and difficult journeys to resettle in camps, villages or urban areas where they have no access to the means of their livelihoods. Without income, they are unable to afford food, especially as inflation rises whenever events like these occur.

ARF Interventions

At African Relief Fund (ARF), we’ve been working in Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa for more than two decades. In that time, we’ve witnessed the horrors of food poverty. With support from donors, we’ve been addressing the challenges people face through food distributions, largely supporting poor villages and displaced communities in the camps.

We have teams on the ground in several regions in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Where necessary, we also work in partnership with other local and government and non-governmental organisations.

To learn more about our Food Projects and to support displaced communities, families and the children who bear the brunt of the food crisis, read here. With your help, we can make a difference in the lives and futures of desperate families and their children.

Join Us on Our Journey to Make a Difference in the World

African Relief Fund is looking for ways to expand its ways to gather donations for aid projects in African communities. But we need your Help. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of unprivileged people in Africa and give them the chance they deserve.

Donate Now and Make a World a Better Place!

Your donation will reach people who are in dire need of it through our several emergency aid projects.

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