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Map of Somalia
UNICEF photo: a girl looks up at camera as her mother holds en empty cooking pan © UNICEF Somalia/2017/Holt A mother displaced from her home by the continuing drought shows her family has nothing to eat.


In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 with SAM admitted for treatment

4.2 million

children under 5 vaccinated against measles

2 million

people provided with temporary access to safe water (7.5–15 litres per person per day)

2017 Requirements: US$177,325,361

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Total people in need: 6.2 million
Total children (<18) in need: 3.7 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 5.5 million1
Total children to be reached in 2017: 4.2 million2

The humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to deteriorate due to the ongoing drought. Over 6.2 million people need humanitarian assistance through December 2017, of which 3.1 million urgently require sustained, integrated, life-saving assistance and livelihood protection.3 The current projected number of children who are, or who will be acutely malnourished over the next year, increased to 1.2 million, including over 232,000 who have or will suffer life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM) over the next one year.4 The ongoing Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera outbreak has started to subside, yet concerns remain about a possible resurgence during the upcoming Deyr season. The ongoing measles outbreak is the worst in four years, over 17,200 suspected cases reported by September 2017, and could, if not controlled, exacerbate acute malnutrition and mortality, especially among children. Over 4.4 million people still need humanitarian WASH services into 2018. Displacement, due to drought and conflict, continues with 975,000 people displaced in 2017,5 who are amongst the most vulnerable in Somalia. An estimated 80,000 children, who would otherwise have been enrolled, lost their opportunity to go to school due to displacement.6 Increased trends of forced recruitment of children and other violations disproportionately impacting women and children continue to escalate.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 revised programme targets


  • 277,000 children under 5 with SAM admitted for treatment10
  • 75 per cent of children with SAM who received treatment and recovered


  • 4.2 million children under 5 vaccinated against measles
  • 1.1 million people provided with access to emergency health care services
  • 75,500 AWD/cholera cases treated at facility level and treatment centres


  • 2 million people provided with temporary access to safe water (7.5–15 litres per person per day)
  • 2 million people provided with means to access appropriate hygiene practices through hygiene kits
  • 500,000 people provided with access to emergency sanitation and hygiene facilities

Child protection

  • 5,000 separated and unaccompanied children identified, registered and provided with services11
  • 5,000 GBV survivors accessing a package of services12


  • 150,000 children accessing safe and protected learning opportunities in emergency-affected environments
  • 100,000 children accessing safe drinking water in schools

Cash transfers

  • 60,000 emergency-affected households (420,000 people) provided with monthly cash transfers to support access to basic

With growing humanitarian needs, UNICEF is adjusting programme targets and funding requirements accordingly. UNICEF is prioritizing an integrated WASH, health and nutrition response in drought-affected areas focusing on life-saving services to prevent famine and excess mortality. The rapid scale-up strategy prioritizes procurement of life-saving core pipeline supplies, increased partnerships and coverage, as well as expansion of critical services in the most affected areas.7 This is complemented with education interventions and monitoring of family separation as families are on the move. For timely response, UNICEF has pre-positioned essential supplies in affected areas at facility level and with partners. UNICEF is coordinating and scaling up its interventions with relevant ministries, disaster management agencies and clusters8 to cover critical gaps with no duplication. Where possible, UNICEF is responding jointly with the World Food Programme (WFP) through an augmented response package, including unconditional food assistance, preventive and curative nutrition programmes, livelihood activities, health services and support to communities to access safe water and improve sanitation, and hygiene conditions with the overall objective of halting the deteriorating food security and malnutrition situation in drought affected areas. In line with Grand Bargain commitments, cash-based assistance is being prioritised where relevant.9

UNICEF results to date

As of 30 September, UNICEF had US$125.2 million available against its original appeal of US$147.9 million.14 UNICEF currently has 89 partnership agreements covering over 95 percent of the affected areas. UNICEF and partners have focused on preventing and treating acute malnutrition through a strategic partnership with WFP and timely pre-positioning of nutrition supplies. UNICEF has also partnered with WFP in a joint response for cash transfers, designed to benefit 420,000 individuals. UNICEF is supporting 793 Outpatient Therapeutic Centres and 44 Stabilization Centres across Somalia, out of a planned 700 sites. These nutrition sites have supported admission of over 189,000 children with SAM for treatment, representing over 80 per cent of the cluster response. Over one million women and children have benefitted from emergency life-saving health services. In response to the AWD/cholera outbreak, over 43,000 cases have been treated, and 64 cholera treatment centres and units supported. Nearly 1.7 million people have been provided with temporary access to safe water and over 128,000 children and adolescents (44 per cent girls) access to education in emergencies services. In addition, 3,406 separated and unaccompanied children have been identified and registered, and 3,470 survivors of GBV (87 per cent female), have received appropriate support.

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Funding requirements

UNICEF has revised its 2017 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) requirements from US$147.9 million to US$177.3 million. The requirements have been increased to continue to scale-up life-saving assistance with a focus on averting famine. With increased displacement, a specific focus of the additional funding requirement is to scale-up targeted interventions for IDPs given the elevated vulnerabilities resulting from displacement. UNICEF has a current funding gap of 29.4 per cent against the revised appeal. Without additional funding, UNICEF and partners will not be able to sustain the provision of life-saving treatment for up to 277,000 severely malnourished children, and two million people will not have access to safe water. Funding is also required to support prevention and response to disease outbreaks and continue education services for nearly 114,000 children and adolescents as well as address the needs of populations displaced by conflict, including specific child protection activities to support separated and unaccompanied children. UNICEF wishes to express its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received. Continued and timely donor support is critical to scaling up the response and averting a famine.

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1 Total people in need: This reflects the population all partners will reach in Somalia as part of the Operational Famine Prevention Plan. UNICEF aims to reach 4.2 million children.
2 4.2 million is based on the highest sector target which is currently the number of children from 6 month to 10 years of age to be vaccinated against measles during a national campaign scheduled for the end of 2017, which UNICEF will be supporting with vaccines, consumables, and general operations support, as well as post campaign impact evaluation.
3 The FSNAU-FEWSNET Post-Gu Technical Release, August 2017, estimates that 6.2 million people are acutely food insecure, including 3.1 million in Crisis (IPC 3) and Emergency (IPC 4) levels. Particularly worrying is the number of people in Emergency (IPC 4), which has experienced a nearly three-fold increase on one year, reaching close to 800,000.
4 For the period from Sept 2017 to Sept 2018, the Nutrition Cluster projection is 1.2 million acutely malnourished children (of which 232,000 is estimated to be SAM). The current prevalence is based on the FSNAU post-Gu assessment, which stands at 388,000 acutely malnourished children.
5 Cumulative displacements monitored by the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN) in the period from November 2016 to August 2017 are approximately 975,000 people. Over 893,000 of these are drought-related displacements during the same period.
6 Per 2012-2016 Education Sector Analysis carried by Federal Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education, with support from UNICEF, 80,000 children have lost the opportunity to be in school due to displacement.
7 Priority regions for response are Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Galgaduud, Mudug, Sanaag, Sool, Bari and Nugaal given the high malnutrition rates.
8 UNICEF continues to lead the WASH and Nutrition Clusters and the Child Protection Working Group, and co-leads the Education Cluster. The operational capacity of the UNICEF-led Clusters is significant, with a network of over 140 partners, including sub-regional coordinators in over 15 regions.
9 UNICEF Somalia is increasing its use of the SCOPE platform, which allows for registration of beneficiaries at the household level biometrically. This will allow UNICEF and WFP to support the same households with a range of services that beneficiaries can access using one single card (e.g. food and water, food and cash). For the pre-famine response, this approach will be used for the provision of safe water through water vouchers, cash grants to support affected schools, as well as monthly cash transfers to support affected households in accessing services in the most affected regions.
10 UNICEF has based its target for treating children with SAM on the worst-case scenario, which is estimated at 370,000 (UNICEF will target 75 per cent of the estimated worst case scenario), as per the Somalia Operational Plan for Pre-Famine Scale-Up in 2017.
11 The target number of separated and unaccompanied children identified, registered and provided with services has been revised from 6,885 to 5,000 based on current need trends and response capacity.
12 The increase in target number of GBV survivors accessing a package of services is based on the increased IDP population in country, representing more women and children at risk.
13 Education targets adjusted based on increased numbers of IDPs and severe impacts on facilities, including recovery and transitional needs.
14 Available funds include US$ 106.9 million received in 2017 and US$18.3 million carried forward from the previous year. Carry forward was due to multiyear funding planned for 2016/2017 implementation and generous contributions received in late December 2016.