Somalia, The Worst Hunger Crisis 2010-2012, What Assistance is Provided by FAO to Help Them?

Food insecurity in Somalia

Somalia, The Worst Hunger Crisis 2010-2012, What Assistance is Provided by FAO to Help Them?

A mother feeding her child in Somalia

Somalia, a country located in the sub-Saharan part of Africa, is one of the African regions which is famous for its barren soil, causing many countries located in that part to experience drought, poverty and hunger. Food crisis or food insecurity often occur due to environmental conditions and other factors.

The famine in Somalia itself began in 1991-1992 due to the war between Somalia and Ethiopia. However, this war was successfully resolved by the United Nations. A few years later, in 2010-2012 to be exact, another case of famine occurred and was declared the worst case since the last 25 years because it killed nearly 300,000 people, including 133,000 children.

The food insecurity that occurred in this country is one of the food issues that has caught the attention of the international community, one of which is international organizations. This is because the number of people experiencing hunger is increasing and indirectly the people who need help are also increasing. The unstable condition of the country also makes Somalia need other parties to help their country. Therefore, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) as an multinational organization engaged in food and agriculture helps the population of Somalia through several efforts to overcome famine problem in this country.

Before we get into the efforts being taken, let’s look at some information below!


Somali State
Somali State

Somalia, formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a country located in Horn of Africa. This country is bordered by Djibouti in the northwest, Kenya in the southwest, Gulf of Aden and Yemen in the north, Indian Ocean to the east, and Ethiopia in the West. This country also has a nickname in the eyes of the world, namely “Paradise” for African bandits.

Location and Nickname

The nickname was given not without reason, they got the nickname because this country’s ocean area has a large number of pirates and is difficult to eradicate. What is even more horrifying is that these pirates in this country are difficult to negotiate with. They just want to loot and get a lot of money and don’t hesitate to kill their captives.

Climate Condition

Located in the Horn of Africa makes this country has a tropical climate that tends to be dry. Hot weather has become the daily diet of most Somali residents because rainfall is quite rare there (only 350mm per year whereas if the potential for normal rain reaches 400mm-600mm per year) so that it is also quite affecting the recovery of the people’s livelihoods, especially in the agricultural sector. agriculture, and animal husbandry.

The First Food Crisis in 1977-1978

Somalia is one of the countries with the worst poverty and hunger rates in the world. This can be seen from the frequent occurrence of food crises in this country. Besides being influenced by climate, political conditions also caused this country to experience a food crisis in 1977-1978. Where at that time there was a war between Somalia and Ethiopia, which had several impacts such as the Somali government had to make strict savings to control state debt, conflicts in several areas such as militant groups who tried to take over agricultural land so that farmers and residents had no income.

Who is FAO?

Food and Agriculture Organization

FAO ( Food and Agriculture Organization ) is a multinational organization under the auspices of United Nations (UN). Headquartered in Rome, Italy, this organization aims to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living; improve production, process, marketing and product distribution food and agriculture; promote development in rural; and eliminate starving. This organization has 188 member countries and 1 European community.

Which has its main activities concentrated into 4 parts, namely Development Assistance for developing countries; Information on nutrition, food, agriculture,forestry and fishery; Advice to the government; A neutral forum for discussing and drafting policy on the main issues of food and agriculture. In addition, The Food and Agriculture Organization also acts as a neutral forum to discuss and formulate policies related to food and agriculture issues, as well as to help eliminate hunger, food scarcity and malnutrition.

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Food insecurity

Ilustration of Children in a country that having food insecurity
Ilustration of Children in the country in famine


Food insecurity or food crisis is a situation that is created when a person does not have safe access including safe and nutritious amounts of food for normal growth and development in order to have an active and healthy life.

Another definition of food crisis is a concept that refers to social and economic problems such as food shortages caused by economic factors. This problem can also occur when there is uncertainty about the availability of food and access to food in the future and the amount of food available to lead a healthy lifestyle and is limited due to social disability.

Food insecurity can also occur when there is uncertainty about the availability of food and access to food in the future and the amount of food available to lead a healthy lifestyle and is limited due to social disability.

The causes of the food crisis in Somalia in 2010-2012.

In 2011, Somalia was declared to be experiencing a national disaster of drought, along with Yemen and Nigeria, which made 6.2  million Somalis need humanitarian assistance, including 3 million people who are haunted by the shadow of hunger and killed nearly 300,000 people, including 133,000 children.

The drought that occurred in this country was caused by low rainfall (namely the failure of Deyr rain at the end of 2020 and poor Gu rainfall in April-June 2011) which resulted in a number of crop seasons failing, and the community difficulty in growing food so that it implies a lack of food. Between 2010 and 2011, the level of assistance and humanitarian assistance aimed at Somalia also decreased. The drought experienced by this country this time is not an ordinary drought, where the existing pasture has been exhausted which has implications for the increasing number of deaths of livestock such as goats, cows, and camels in large numbers.

This resulted in thousands of animal carcasses littering the side of the road. Condition poor livestock also has implications for decreased milk yields and soaring milk prices. Then the Somali people for the first time got to see the expanse of the river that had dried up in their lives

In addition, Somalia also received the impact of the El Nino event which made the water surface temperature in the Pacific region increase. Although it occurred in the Pacific region, the consequences of this event can be felt in various regions around the world. El Nino also confirms the drought conditions in Somalia.

Also read: The Initial 4 Steps With Huge Impacts to Prevent Poverty 

FAO’s efforts to help Somalia overcome food security

One of the relief assistance that provided to help Somalia

Coordinate and monitor

Forming a Joint Resilience Strategy

FAO together with the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) formed a program called the Joint Resilience Strategy (JRS) to refocus their efforts on increasing resilience in Somalia. There are several programs formed by this JRS collaboration, including Joint Strategy, Common Results Framework, Joint area-based planning of interventions, Improved information, Joint advocacy, and Joint analytical work.

  • Joint Strategy is a strategy that will focus on dealing with existing challenges to increase community and household resilience and to implement a strategy that will later be made based on the principles of these three institutions and will later be presented to donors;
  • Common Results Framework is that the programs owned by these three UN agencies must be in line with the objectives established by JRS and agree on whatever has been mutually agreed upon, such as, objectives, impacts, results and activities carried out to increase resilience in the future;
  • Joint area-based planning of interventions is a program related to identifying and coordinating in building resilience in the Somali community, which considers the needs according to local needs and according to certain geographical areas;
  • Improved information or increasing information through monitoring and evaluation related to the resilience and vulnerability of the Somali community and carried out by these three institutions in accordance with their respective programs;
  • Joint advocacy is the three UN agencies must work together to expand the network of cooperation through coordination with partners and authorities in Somalia. In addition, FAO, WFP and UNICEF will also conduct advocacy with the donor community if an increase in funding is more predictable to support an increase in the scale of humanitarian assistance;
  • Joint analytical work, The three UN agencies will promote lessons learned from the joint resilience-building process in Somalia to address other and future crises.

Country Programming Framework (CPF)

Country Programming Framework (CPF) is a collaboration or collaboration carried out by FAO with member countries that have a goal and priorities for long-term national and regional development but do not rule out providing emergency assistance if needed. The purpose of the CFP in Somalia is to anticipate problems that will impact the resilience of the household or family and to recover quickly after shocks or stresses come.

Providing Emergency Assistance with the aim of Prevention, Mitigation and Response to Natural Disasters and Conflict Impacts

Delivery of Quality Seeds

As it is known that one of the sources of Somalia’s economy is agriculture, therefore high quality seeds are quite important for Somali farmers in order to increase their agricultural production.Therefore, in 2011 through fundraising amounting to USD 70 million, USD 10 million was allocated to restore farmers’ crop production through the distribution of agricultural inputs, namely quality seeds and in accordance with the upcoming planting season so that it will benefit approximately 750,000 peasant people.

Several other activities that have been carried out by FAO to respond to the famine are helping farmers by distributing agricultural inputs such as cereal seeds and fertilizers. FAO has shipped 135 tons of corn kernels, 935 tons of sorghum seeds and 120 tons of sesame seeds as well as 3750 tons of urea fertilizer and DAP (diamonium phosphate) fertilizer for corn.

Cash Giving

In 2011, a severe famine hit Somalia and caused many casualties. It is undeniable that this number will increase if no response or assistance is taken and this has also been confirmed by the FSNAU (Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia) which was formed by FAO. Therefore, the Food and Agriculture Organization provided funds of USD $ 70 million as emergency assistance to meet the needs of 900,000 Somali residents. The Somali people who were the main target by Food and Agriculture Organization at that time were farmers and herders because as we know that one of the causes of this bad famine was due to the drought that occurred in Somalia.

So that, the FAO invites various partners and member countries to work together in providing assistance to this country. Through the cash raised by FAO from several partners who were invited to collaborate, as much as USD 25 million was collected for 870,000 Somalis and allocated for several purposes, one of which was to meet food needs while seeking temporary sources of income and also aimed at increasing resilience by rehabilitating productive infrastructure.

Improvement of Agricultural Infrastructure and Livestock Care

Due to low rainfall, the land becomes dry so that it cannot be productive as usual so that the livelihoods of the Somali population are becoming increasingly depleted and the spread of disease due to lack of clean water is also worsening the hunger that occurs in Somalia.

Therefore, Food and Agriculture Organization raised a fund that generated USD 70 million and as much as USD 35 million was allocated to protect the livelihoods and remaining assets of herders through timely provision of animal feed to avoid starvation so as to sell quality livestock. In addition, emergency treatment of farm animals and vaccination of 42 million animals to prevent diseases caused by drought.

Collecting, Analyzing and Disseminating Information related to Food Security, Nutrition and Natural Resources

The cause of drought in Somalia is due to the influence of climate change. Climate change here including changes in rainfall patterns, droughts, floods and redistribution of pests and diseases. Therefore, to overcome this, Food and Agriculture Organization conducts early detection, data collection and capacity to conduct analysis in collaboration with SWALIM (Somalia Water and Land Information Management) and uses satellite-based technology to capture various data related to weather conditions, altitude and water quality, flood risk and others to provide early warning.

SWALIM’s main role is to collect and compile data on a regular basis which will later be used as a national source of information, such as information related to water sources in rural and urban areas that will be used for crop irrigation, river measurement networks, rainfall monitoring networks and flood early warnings. . In addition to water sources, land is also the main focus of the project carried out by SWALIM, namely collecting information related to the management of land resources so that they can be used effectively for the production process.

That’s all the assistance that given by FAO to help Somalia from food insecurity that happened in 2010-2012. It’s also hope that all the help that offered can benefit and help everyone that affected. Let’s us pray for our neighbour there so that they can continue to lead a good and peaceful life.

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