Earlier this year, Somalia was facing the sort of serious famine it experienced in 2011. The situation is still difficult, but thanks to rapid action from the international community, a major disaster has been averted.
More than a quarter of a million people starved to death in Somalia in the 2011 famine – partly because the international community did not act fast enough. When indicators in early 2017 showed that more than six million people were facing an acute food shortage, the UN warned of the risk of a new famine developing.
Somalia is still in a very fragile situation, but it is nonetheless important to highlight that the famine that was feared this year has been averted. This is a major humanitarian achievement,” says Susanne Mikhail, Director of Humanitarian Assistance at Sida.
Sweden and Sida are among the donors that reacted the fastest. The annual humanitarian contribution of SEK 94 million to Somalia that was agreed in January was increased as early as February, with a further SEK 100 million to UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the humanitarian country fund administered by the UN.
In addition to Sweden’s support to the World Food Programme’s food distribution in Somalia, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations received more long-term agricultural support. This paid for the distribution of seed and agricultural equipment, and measures to save livestock, which are an important source of income for many people in rural Somalia.
Unlike aid from many other donors, the distribution of Swedish aid is not linked to any special interests or influenced by media coverage. It is entirely needs-based and builds on humanitarian principles such as neutrality and independence.
This case relates to Global Goal 2: Zero hunger.