Somalia is an African country and is the easternmost country in the Horn of Africa. To the north is the Gulf of Aden, the East and South is the Indian Ocean, and Ethiopia and Kenya to the West. A fun fact is that colonial powers determined Somalia’s border; hence Somali communities live in bordering countries (Lewis, 2022). The country is mostly desert but has mountains in the north. Due to its seasons, it has irregular rains, and there are often droughts.
Typically, Somalia has four seasons, consisting of two rainy and dry seasons. The Gu is the primary rainy season which happens from April to June. The Xagaa is a dry season from June to September. The second rainy season is the Dayr, from October to December, and the dry season is Jilaal, from December to March (Lewis, 2022).
Currently, Somalia is suffering from a severe drought. It suffered significant droughts in 2011-2012, 2016-2017, and now in 2021-2022. The current drought is due to the Gu season ending early in 2022. The northern areas had 30%-36% of the average rainfall, while central and southern Somalia recorded 45% - 75% of the average rainfall (OCHA). Additionally, it is the “fourth consecutive failed rainy season since late 2020”, meaning the country is already in a fragile state, and the 2022 Gu only worsened it (OCHA). The decreased rainfall in their recent seasons, attributed to climate change, sent the country into a severe drought. Furthermore, rain is not predicted until Dayr, the next rainy season in October 2022, meaning the country has to live on already very little water.
Countries at Risk
Other countries at risk of extreme droughts are Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Mauritania, and South Africa (Statista, 2020). These countries are all in Africa, and many have a similar climate to Somalia, as they all have seasons where there is abundant precipitation and seasons where it is very little. There is major dependence on these rainy seasons to supply the water needed for the dry season, meaning if the rainy season is sparse, it can send the country into severe droughts.
How Has Somalia Suffered From the Drought?
The situation in Somalia is grave but has struggled to gain attention. Only three percent of the $1.46 billion required to meet the needs of Somalis has been secured by the UN so far ("UN worried about lack of funds to tackle Somalia drought," 2022). Additionally, the time people have to save Somalia is running out. The UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, warned that acting late can place Somalia in an extreme situation as early as June ("UN worried about lack of funds to tackle Somalia drought," 2022). As the drought continues, acute malnutrition is spotted in many children. In Baidoa, 1,000 children sent to an outpatient therapeutic feeding program within a week discovered that 30% percent of the children were acutely malnourished (MSF, 2022). Some families even had to leave one of their children to die to save others (MSF, 2022). The longer this crisis continues without help, the more these situations will occur.
Contributing to this severe crisis is possible without directly communicating with the people in need. There are organizations people can donate to, such as the UN World Food Programmer (WFP), and with the funds received, they can help more citizens in Somalia. Luckily, for those who cannot donate, there are other ways to help. Raising awareness about the situation can inform others and catch the attention of those who can donate.
Somalia is an African country in the Horn of Africa. It has four seasons, consisting of two rainy and dry seasons. Due to its seasons, it has irregular rains, and there are often droughts. The drought is due to the Gu season ending early in 2022. Only three percent of the $1.46 billion required to meet the needs of Somalis has been secured by the UN so far. The longer this crisis continues without help, the more these situations will occur. Contributing to this severe crisis is possible without directly communicating with the people in need.