The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing more than $151 million in new and urgent assistance to the people of Somalia. $146.5 million is earmarked for food aid, as a catastrophic drought cripples the country and pushes more than 7 million people to the brink of starvation. The remaining approximately $5 million in humanitarian assistance will provide support for disaster resilience, economic recovery and market systems activities. Today’s new funding builds on another recent increase of $476 million in humanitarian assistance in July, bringing the U.S. government’s contribution to more than $870 million for the people of Somalia – representing more half of all humanitarian funding for Somalia in 2022.
USAID’s critical assistance comes in response to a famine expert review panel’s projection that famine is likely to occur in Buur Hakaba and Baidoa districts in southern Somalia this year unless an urgent increase in humanitarian aid reaches those most in need. The United States is gravely concerned by these bleak forecasts and increased humanitarian needs across the country, primarily due to a historically unprecedented drought marked by four consecutive failed rainy seasons. Early projections of a failed fifth rainy season further threaten to condemn Somalis, who already find themselves in dire conditions, to unbearable levels of suffering.
Today’s announcement will allow USAID’s partner, the World Food Program (WFP), to provide an additional two and a half months of emergency food assistance to 3.6 million people. USAID will provide cash and vouchers for Somalis to buy food in local markets, both supporting the local economy and ensuring that families facing famine get what they need . The new assistance will support the most vulnerable families who are at immediate risk of starvation, with a particular focus on people who have been forced to flee their homes due to drought.
Prior to the Famine Review Committee screening, USAID had already rapidly ramped up its relief efforts to provide emergency assistance. This includes providing emergency food aid to at least 3.5 million people per month, providing life-saving treatment for malnutrition, responding to disease outbreaks and other health needs, providing shelter and protective services, and providing communities with clean water, sanitation and improved hygiene.
The United States government urges the international donor community to act immediately to increase humanitarian funding for the people of Somalia to prevent this projection of famine from becoming a reality.