Final Wake-up Call to Prevent Famine in Somalia


Recent food security analyses from Somalia must be the final wake-up call to the international community to act now and stop Somalia from falling into famine.

Hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk unless more aid urgently reaches people on the ground in Somalia. The analyses observe that people are already starving and, with famine likely just weeks away in some parts of the country, waiting until a formal famine declaration would be a shameful delay.

Somalia is already too close to the brink of famine

More than 260,000 people died in the 2011 famine in the region, and about half of them had already died by the time the crisis had been officially declared a famine. In 2022, as four consecutive failed rainy seasons have brought Somalia its worst drought in 40 years, crops and cattle have perished, ruining millions of livelihoods as families are left malnourished and dying from hunger.

Due to the impending famine, more than 1 million Somalis – 66% of whom are children – are forced to flee from their homes in a desperate search for food and water, with thousands more being uprooted every single day.

These displaced families walk long distances in scorching summer heat in hopes of finding aid and are forced to witness their young children, elderly and other vulnerable family members die along the way.

Yet the international response has been, and still is, far too slow.

Now is the time for the international community to take action

Waseem Ahmad, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, says: “There is a clear choice – act now to get more aid on the ground and save lives, or many people will die. Today’s stark figures must galvanise donors into action. Without an urgent scale up of aid, hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk.

“The world must not wait for famine to be declared, we must do everything we can to prevent it. Aid workers and families in Somalia already know that people are starving, with children and the elderly facing particularly acute pain and suffering. In just one camp in Baidoa people say that more than 300 children have died in the last three months. Islamic Relief aid workers have met families walking for days in scorching heat to reach the camps in the hope of receiving life-saving aid – yet when they arrive there is simply not enough food to go round and diseases are rife. Children and elderly people have died from hunger and thirst on the journey, while women and girls are at risk of attack while walking miles alone.

“Right now we are seeing unprecedented climate-related disasters all over the world. From the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan to the worst drought in decades in Somalia, it is often the people who contribute least to climate change who suffer the gravest consequences. We need real global commitment to tackle the climate crisis and we need it urgently.” 

We need your help to save millions of lives from famine

In Somalia, local, national and international humanitarian organisations can and are reaching communities most in need. As it is when livelihoods and livestock are protected people that vulnerable populations are much less likely to fall into famine’s deadly shadow.

Islamic Relief Australia is on the ground in Somalia – and in other drought-affected parts of the Horn of Africa – and providing lifesaving food, water, cash and healthcare. So far Islamic Relief has helped more than 167,000 people in the region but much more funds are needed to scale up the response further.

Countries like Somalia and other regions in the Horn of Africa need sustainable solutions now to deal with the long-term consequences of drought and climate change on people’s livelihoods and way of life. The world must not wait for famine to be declared before providing humanitarian aid to those who are starving and dying from hunger.

Help us prevent famine and mass deaths

Somalia and other Horn of Africa countries are suffering from the worst drought in decades. Livelihoods have been ruined, millions of children are malnourished, and people are dying from hunger. Your donation will help us provide food and water to those who need it most.