Spotlight on Somalia: In our continuing series on Somalia this month, we report on the latest rain forecasts and how this could impact prospects for recovering from last year’s famine.
In recent weeks, the international community has received some dire news related to Somalia. Poor rain forecasts in the region threaten to reverse gains made since last year’s famine and raise the likelihood of drought conditions returning to a country already dealing with violence and insecurity.
March through May – also known as the Gu season – is the major rainfall period for pastoral and agricultural areas for most of Somalia. This period accounts for 50-60% of the annual rainfall and determines how productive the growing season will be.
(Click to View Larger. Map Source: USAID)
With the Gu season expected to perform poorly, the number of people in need of food aid is likely to increase. If the rains fail again, the situation may become devastating because Somalis continue to experience the after-effects of last year’s drought, the worst in decades.
Last year, the world did not listen to early warnings of the approaching crisis and the response to the disaster was too late, leading to thousands of deaths that could have been prevented.
(Dagahaley Refugee Camp, Dadaab, Kenya [near Somalia]. 2011. Photo: Juliett Otieno/CARE)
Click here to view more pictures of last year's crisis in Somalia.
This year, CARE is partnering with other organizations operating in the region to sound the alarm about the poor forecasts and what it could mean in the coming months. They are calling on governments and private donors to allocate funding now to prevent the situation from deteriorating further, allow for contingency planning and build community resilience. This includes support for building infrastructure, like roads and schools, and developing long-term solutions to poverty such vocational and skills training.
If the world waits until they are certain that the region is once again in crisis it may be too late. The best way to save lives this year is to remain vigilant and prepared to respond early when needed. We must build local capacity for response, recovery and longer-term resilience and continue to make aid to the Somali people the highest priority.
Students Rebuild is doing its part to make a difference in Somalia by raising funds to support CARE’s long-term development programs focused on empowering youth to support themselves and their families. You can join in this effort by signing up here!