© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0008/Kamber

Women with small children walk among tents in a camp for the displaced in Kismayo. More than 3.2 million Somalis are in need of humanitarian assistance, the consequence of ongoing conflict, poverty and drought.


Following the worst violence in 17 years, the failure of another season of the ‘Gu’ rains, the economic crisis, high food prices and decreased humanitarian access, more than 3.2 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance, including an estimated 650,000 children under age five. This represents a major deterioration during 2008 – with a 77 per cent increase in the number of people in need of emergency response since January 2008 and a 300 per cent increase since early 2007. The combination of violence, drought and extreme poverty coupled with very low basic social service coverage – 29 per cent access to safe drinking water in 2006 and 37 per cent access to improved sanitation facilities – has greatly increased children’s vulnerability to protection abuses, disease and malnutrition. Malnutrition rates are above the emergency threshold levels in the South as well as the North. The influx of internally displaced persons from the South to the relatively more stable northern zones has also begun to strain already limited social services, coupled with a deteriorating livelihood situation in the northern zones.


UNICEF is the cluster lead for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and nutrition. UNICEF-supported multisectoral response in 2009 is expected to reach over 1.5 million children and 1 million women with high-impact child survival interventions, in addition to ensuring access to basic primary health care for some 3 million vulnerable people. More than 1.2 million people will be reached WASH services.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will provide a lifesaving package of interventions for 90 per cent of Somali children and 60 per cent of women of childbearing age; support 280 feeding programmes targeting 90,000 acutely malnourished children – 60 per cent of children under age five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 40 per cent of children under age five with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) – and an additional 138,000 children under age five with ready-to-use food supplements; procure and distribute essential emergency drugs and equipment to 250 maternal and child health facilities and 540 health posts in all Somalia to ensure basic primary health for 3 million people.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will provide 1.2 million displaced or vulnerable persons, focusing particularly on children and women, with safe water and sanitation facilities by constructing and rehabilitating wells; training local water authority management teams and promoting improved hygiene and sanitation practices at household and school levels through health, nutrition and education interventions.

Education: UNICEF will rehabilitate up to 20 damaged schools and construct 200 traditional learning spaces for the benefit of about 214,000 displaced and war-affected children, especially girls, 3,000 teachers and 500 community education committees; install WASH facilities; provide basic educational and recreational materials; and train teachers with emphasis on psychosocial care and support.

Child Protection, HIV and AIDS, Empowerment and Participation: UNICEF will mobilize community, religious and political leaders to advocate for improved child protection against rights’ violations, HIV prevention, treatment, care and psychosocial support for 30,000 vulnerable girls and women most at risk.

Shelter and Non-food Items: UNICEF will ensure that 90,000 displaced persons (some 15,000 households) have improved access to adequate shelter and survival items.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 38,950,183
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 17,153,000
Education 13,388,500
Child protection, HIV and AIDS, Empowerment and Participation 8,935,200
Shelter and Non-Food Items 1,033,000
Total** 79,459,883

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.