© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0205/Ysenburg

Children and women queue outside a hospital in Jowhar. Half the population is estimated to require humanitarian assistance, but escalating conflict has limited aid access.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

With an estimated 3.6 million people in a state of humanitarian emergency and 1.3 million displaced, Somalia is burdened by violence and instability, extreme poverty, food insecurity and child protection violations.  By August 2009, 19 per cent of children under five were acutely malnourished, with acute malnutrition rates in some areas reaching 27 per cent.  Children are also increasingly being denied access to education as a result of school closures due to fighting, especially in Mogadishu. Of those in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, 75 per cent are located in central and southern Somalia, which are largely inaccessible because of escalations in violence.  In the two northern zones, children and women are facing deepening drought, loss of livestock and the risk of malnutrition as the arrival of newly displaced populations into the region continues to place increasing strain on limited available resources. 

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

In 2010, UNICEF will work closely with government partners, United Nations agencies and NGOs to provide immediate emergency relief in line with the Core Commitments for Children in the areas of health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection to reduce the vulnerabilities of over 3 million displaced and conflict-affected people, including 1.5 million children, throughout Somalia.  Following are expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

Health: Together with the World Health Organization and partners, UNICEF will ensure a 90 per cent coverage of children under five (1.5 million) and a 70 per cent coverage of women of child-bearing age (1.2 million) have access to high impact health interventions through Child Health Day campaigns and basic health care by providing essential emergency drugs and other forms of support to maternal and child health facilities. 

Nutrition: The UNICEF-led Nutrition Cluster will improve response capacity and coordination to ensure treatment for 270,000 acutely malnourished children and access to nutritional support programmes for more than 360,000 pregnant and lactating women.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): As lead of the WASH Cluster, UNICEF will ensure sufficient access to safe water and sanitation as per Sphere standards for 1.2 million people through a combination of measures to include rehabilitation of water systems, construction of latrines, water management at the community-level and hygiene education in schools and homes.

Education: Around 100,000 children – including nearly 50,000 girls – will have increased access to a more equitable formal and non-formal quality education through the rehabilitation of learning spaces, provision of teaching and learning materials and training for teachers. Separate and appropriate hand-washing and latrine facilities will accompany this effort. UNICEF will continue to lead the Education Cluster for improved coordination of education in emergencies preparedness and response.

Child Protection: As the lead of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, UNICEF will ensure that up to 150,000 children have access to psychosocial care and support services and basic mechanisms to identify and respond to child protection issues are established in at least 300 vulnerable communities. UNICEF will also advocate against recruitment of children in armed conflict through the mobilization of communities, religious and political leaders and government entities and ensure that grave child rights violations are documented.

Shelter and Non-food Items: UNICEF will maintain emergency preparedness to provide improved access to adequate shelter and survival items for up to 90,000 people (some 15,000 households).

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 12,320,000
Nutrition 18,850,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 18,833,000
Education 8,101,500
Child Protection 6,216,500
Shelter and Non-food Items 1,188,100
Total 65,509,100