Located on the east coast of Africa in a region of the continent known as “the Horn of Africa”, Somalia is one of the least developed nations of the world. An estimated 80% of the people live below the poverty line, struggling to survive on about two dollars a day.
Since 1991 the country has been plagued with civil conflicts. The lack of security has made it difficult for humanitarian agencies to offer their assistance to people in need, making it all the more difficult for children suffering from malnutrition.
Large portions of Somalia are considered semi-arid and are well suited for a primarily nomadic culture that raises camels, sheep and goats. However, in recent decades forces of global climate change, deforestation, overgrazing and periods of drought have combined to cause rapid desertification. A shortage of water and vegetation have caused a huge loss of animal and human life.
In 2011-12 a severe drought caused over a million people to abandon their life of herding and seek shelter in refugee camps in Kenya or in the towns and villages of their clan members. The UN estimates that 260,000 people died in the resulting famine, half of them young children.
In 2013 to 2015 some rains returned to Somalia, but times are still difficult, especially during the dry season. When the ponds and reservoirs dry up many villages have no choice but to buy water, delivered by water trucks. The further the trucks have to drive, the higher the cost of the water. In many cases, the cost of water alone takes up a great percentage of a family’s income. When communities are providing refuge for hundreds of internally displaced people because of drought or conflict, the financial pressure on a community, simply to provide water, can be very great!
ADRA has been working in Somalia since 1992, providing relief operations as well as water and food security. As a response to the hunger crisis of 2012, ADRA Canada became actively involved in providing food for hungry and displaced people in a joint program with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in 2013.
ADRA is continuing these relief efforts, in some of the most difficult regions of the country.