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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

DRC scales up response in Somaliland to avert possible famine

(RW)- The drought situation in Somaliland continues to get worse following consequent poor rainy seasons. There are growing fears that the country could face a famine, which would have devastating impact on the population.


 The Danish Refugee Council is currently scaling up its response in various areas in Somaliland with anticipation to reach more than 16,000 drought-affected households.

More than one million people in Somaliland (or 31 percent of the population) were already in need of some form of humanitarian assistance by end of 2016, according to the most recent seasonal assessment report published by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET).

“We are worried at the scale and pace with which the ongoing drought has left many families without food and at risk of starvation. We are equally concerned that many families are forced to move from their homes in search of water and pasture for their animals hence increasing their protection risks. DRC is scaling up its emergency response in Somaliland in order to reduce the high food insecurity levels and the severe water shortages that we are witnessing in some of the critically affected areas,” says Simon Nzioka, DRC Country Director.

With funding from different donors, DRC is scaling up its interventions to drought-affected populations in Somaliland by providing disaster-affected populations with immediate life-saving services in a timely and dignifying manner while providing adequate protection to vulnerable and at-risk groups.

Emergency support is being provided in the areas of Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) and WASH. Expected results on FSL is immediate food security for vulnerable communities through cash transfers which are increasing the purchasing power for targeted households with limited access to food commodities that are readily available in the local markets.

“We know that at this time cash is king for an effective pre-famine mitigation response. This is why we are prioritizing cash transfers where markets are functioning to affected populations to enable them to make their own choices and to also facilitate where aid agencies cannot be able to access physically and deliver much needed aid,” Simon Nzioka explains.

On WASH the priority assistance provided includes the provision of adequate safe and clean water through vouchers, rehabilitation of existing water sources (boreholes) with adequate yield, provision of culturally appropriate hygiene promotion and treatment of household water through the provision and distribution of water purification tablets prioritizing the most vulnerable households targeting all gender classes.

The FSL and WASH projects being implemented by DRC are complementing each other with their integration actively supporting households to maintain their livelihood strategies while safeguarding key human rights. With this assistance, DRC is seeking to reach out to 16,149 households.

“By covering the emergency gaps in these sectors and increasing the communities’ capacity to respond to associated risks from the pre-famine situation in both Somaliland as well as in other areas of Somalia (South central, Puntland), we are ensuring that the most vulnerable populations are assured of lifesaving access and increasing their self-protection,” Simon Nzioka says.

DRC has been operating in Somalia since 1997 and continues to support the needs of displacement affected communities using an integrated approach of emergency and lifesaving programing that has included WASH, Shelter, Core Relief Items (CRI), Protection, Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL).


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