8.3 million people face acute hunger in Somalia by June 2023

14 December 2022


The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report published today has projected parts of Somalia will face famine by June 2023 as the number of people facing catastrophic levels of hunger (IPC Phase 5) is expected to double to 727 000.

Approximately 8.3 million people across Somalia are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity outcomes by June 2023. That is about half the country’s population and an increase from the current 5.6 million.

The situation in Somalia is grim and only a concerted effort can help avert a catastrophe that the country will struggle to recover from.

The worsening drought in Somalia has resulted in women having to walk farther to access water and basic services leaving them vulnerable to sexual violence. More girls are dropping out of school putting them at risk of early marriages. Parents who can no longer afford to pay for schools are resorting to prioritizing boys over girls.

The key protection concern is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was noted that there was an increase in FGM as girls were away from school. FGM opens the avenue of early marriages. As the drought exacerbates, many girls are dropping out of school to support their parents in the food search.

CARE Somalia Deputy Country Director for Programs Ummy Dubow said:

“The report highlights the urgent need to scale up flexible funding for the Somalia Humanitarian Plan which is currently only 55% funded. CARE is greatly concerned by the increase in the number of people who are going hungry, and we are witnessing a spike in the numbers of emaciated women and children visiting the health centers we support.

“It is unacceptable that more than half the population of Somalia will face acute food insecurity by June 2023 unless funding is provided now. As the needs outpace the humanitarian support available, the situation will become more dire. The response must be scaled up immediately as lives are being lost, children are missing school and livelihoods are being wiped out. The situation in Somalia is grim and only a concerted effort can help avert a catastrophe that the country will struggle to recover from.”

Millions of people have been displaced resulting in high levels of family separation that is, inadvertently, exposing women and girls to Gender-Based Violence (GBV). As families struggle to cope with the current drought situation, women are taking on more responsibilities as female-headed households increase. Women are responsible for 90% of preparing and buying food. With the onset of the drought, women’s businesses have been adversely affected forcing many to lose their sources of income.

Susan, a 12 year old girl, who had to drop out of school, said:

“I used to cook for the family, sometimes I would take care of the animals and collect firewood. While we were there, life became even harder as we lost all our livestock.”

Habiba, a Somali woman displaced by the drought, said:

"The clan fights and destruction of my life left me very scared. I lost all my belongings, and even though I settled at this camp finding food and providing for my family remained very difficult. I was forced to go out and beg for food.”

Notes to editors

  • Spokespeople are available for interviews.
  • For more information and interview requests, please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK at moore@careinternational.org
  • Since June 2022, CARE supported health facilities have supported more than 100,000 women and children.
  • Since January 2022, CARE has supported more than 700,000 people with cash assistance and emergency water trucking, we are also supporting 57 camps for internally displaced people across the country.