Resilience in Somalia as COVID-19 spreads and water lacks

Young Somali kid watering the livestock Young Somali kid watering the livestock UNDP

18 July 2020

On the frontline of a climate crisis Somali people are forced from their home

In Somaliland, on the frontline of climate change, steady rise in temperatures are exacerbating an already catastrophic humanitarian emergency. In 2020, heavy Gu rains in Somali highlands generated floods in the Juba and Shabelle river, endangering 1,1 million people and displacing some 415,000. In March and April, locust swarms have adversely affected a considerable share of the crops. In addition, prolonged drought conditions have driven forced displacement, aggravated the water crisis and threatened widespread famine, given that 70%  of Somalis survive through agriculture and pastoralism. Forced displacement has led many to leave for cities and towns, where water shortages render housing in slums critical in terms of hygiene. Worsening an already compromised situation, the COVID-19’s relentless spread across Africa makes it urgent to find new water sources to improve hygienic conditions.

In this connection, the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) is intensifying its efforts to improve the living conditions of Somali people. Drawing funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project “Least Developed Countries Fund” (LDCF) UNDP is supporting Somaliland government to bolster the resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems to climate change. As implemented activities progress, increasing number of farmers are provided with sufficient water to drink, cook and water livestock.

Moreover, the Enhancing Climate Resilience of the Vulnerable Communities and Ecosystems project, active from 2014 to 2019, constructed 150 water-harvesting facilities, including a 50,000-cubic-meter dam in Baligubadle which provides safe water access for nearly 10,000 people in the region.


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Author: Gianmarco Italia; Editor: Barbara Caltabiano

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