Fighting famine in East and Central Africa


Millions of children, women and men face starvation and disease. Without urgent action, the crisis will continue to spiral out of control. Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers – who live in the communities under threat – are working to break this preventable cycle of drought, food shortage, disease and death.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are racing to help stop the crisis.

Recent news from Somalia

By Osman Mohamed Osman IFRC Across the world, Red Cross continuous to meet humanitarian needs affecting vulnerable people. Volunteers in Africa play a vital role in meeting these needs. In Somalia, Samira Mohammed sleeps in dangerous areas with her Red …

15 April 2018

By Osman Mohamed Osman Today, the world is painted red. February 14, the 45th day of the Gregorian calendar, is Valentine’s Day where love is shared around the globe. As the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, we witness this every day. In the harrowi …

14 February 2018
A dark-skinned woman in a green headscarf is looking at the camera. She is accompanied by two children under the age of six.

The IFRC is working with the Somalia Red Crescent Society and global partners to bring support and relief to communities affected by drought and hunger in Somaliland.

19 January 2018



Our three key priorities are to:

  • Reach remote and underserviced areas.
  • Respond through our volunteer network to help communities prevent and treat malnutrition and disease.
  • Build community resilience through programmes that restore dignity and strengthen food security and reduce need in the future.


Somalia is on the cusp of a humanitarian catastrophe. Drought has driven food insecurity to crisis levels across the country. People are being forced to sell or abandon the livestock they depend on for their livelihoods. Respiratory and acute diarrhoeal diseases are increasing alongside rising malnutrition levels among children. Famine is imminent. In addition to drought, Somalia’s crisis is also driven by long-standing conflict, further hampering relief efforts. In 2011, a famine in Somalia killed nearly 260,000 people – half of them children. 2017 could be even worse. Action is needed to prevent terrible loss of life and to build strong communities that can resist disasters in the future.

Download Snapshot PDF

IFRC appeal

IFRC is supporting the Somali Red Crescent Society – which is present throughout the country – to respond to the many and growing challenges that communities face. An emergency appeal has been revised to expand an emergency operation that focuses on health; water, sanitation and hygiene; livelihood; nutrition; food security and shelter (including household items). It also reflects a substantial increase in the number of people being helped, timeframe for implementation, number of activities, and an enlarged geographic scope.

3,308,035 Swiss francs

 for urgent humanitarian support

An increase of 1,291,576 Swiss francs to help support 150,000 of the most vulnerable people in Somaliland and Puntland for ten months.

Our impact

Since the launch of the initial emergency appeal in March 2016:

  • 133,000 people received regular medical treatment through Somali Red Crescent clinics, supported by IFRC
  • 39,000 people given nutritional treatment and supplements through mobile clinics
  • 15,000 people given access to safe water through rehabilitation of water points, water treatment and storage items
  • 2,800 families received emergency shelter items, such as tarps, mats, blankets and kitchen sets, many of which are internally displaced people or nomads.

Download Somalia response highlights PDF

Date: 31/10/2017

Urgent actions

Food security and nutrition

Cash transfers, nutritional screening and supplementary feeding for children under five.


Mobile clinics and primary health care for acute water diarrhoea, immunization, vitamin A, zinc and deworming for children under five years, antenatal services for women, micronutrients for pregnant and lactating women, post-natal services, procurement of medical supplies and nutritional supplements, nutrition counselling to new mothers.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Fuel for borehole generators, rehabilitation of water points, water quality monitoring, distribution of water purification tablets, jerrycans and ceramic water filters, cash grants for water purchase.

National capacity

Training for community-based psychosocial support, water management, hygiene promotion.

Community engagement

Health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation awareness raising and promotion activities in schools and households, information education and communication materials.


Distribution of blankets, plastic sheets, sleeping mats to people in need.

Key figures

5.4 million

people are food insecure – more than half the population

3 million

people cannot meet their daily food requirements


children under five are acutely malnourished