TOPSHOT - Hawa Mohamed Isack (R), 60, drinks water at a water distribution point at Muuri camp, one of the 500 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in town, in Baidoa, Somalia, on February 13, 2022. Insufficient rainfall since late 2020 has come as a fatal blow to populations already suffering from a locust invasion between 2019 and 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic. For several weeks, humanitarian organizations have multiplied alerts on the situation in the Horn of Africa, which raises fears of a tragedy similar to that of 2011, the last famine that killed 260,000 people in Somalia. - Desperate, hungry and thirsty, more and more people are flocking to Baidoa from rural areas of southern Somalia, one of the regions hardest hit by the drought that is engulfing the Horn of Africa. (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA / AFP) (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

Nov. 18 ( is an abhorrent reality that food insecurity remains an ever-present risk to Somalis and a crippling consequence of the country’s ongoing conflict and severe drought. More than two and a half million people remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the drought-stricken nation, with an estimate of almost a million people at risk of famine.

For the Somali citizens affected by this tragedy, it is the hunger and malnutrition that count and all too often those affected are excluded from receiving any meaningful, life-saving assistance. By and large, the assistance provided is undermined by the presence of corruption at every level of the aid delivery.

Government corruption, mismanagement and fraud are a main contributor to the failures of the distribution system. The Somali government has consistently come under criticism for lack of effort and of basic financial transparency and accountability. Corrupt or politicised officials have been found to embezzle funds or misuse allocated funds elsewhere.

International organisations and foreign donors have played a significant role in providing aid to Somalia, specifically the United Nations. However, due to distrust amongst UN agencies and other organisations, their efforts to set up a harmonised delivery system have come up against obstacles. This has been further compounded due to the influx of scarce funds from multiple sources, applicable to different projects, creating a chaotic and inefficient system.

A major cause of the crisis appears to be related to a lack of meaningful and effective recovery aid, resulting in prolonged food insecurity and displacement. This is a result of chronic underfunding and ineffective government policies, such as providing only limited cash assistance and not investing in aid and infrastructure. This has led to further displacement and more hardship and deprivation.

The crisis has been compounded by political instability, corruption and a weakened economy. This has held back the country’s efforts to build a resilient and prosperous society, compounded by environmental degradation and climate change, all of which prolong the current crisis and limit the delivery of relief and aid. Furthermore, poverty and lack of educational access has weakened optimism for future generations, leading to significant obstacles to achieving positive outcomes in the future.

Wrote: Abdiwahab Hussein Mohamed


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