Understanding The Somali Famine: What You Can Do To Help

by Garsoor | Monday, May 1, 2017 | 563 views
In the lands of the Somali, it had barely rained for two and a half years. From the dagger point of cape Guardafui, the very horn of Africa aimed at the belly of Yemen, to the hills of Ethiopia in the west and the plains of Kenya in the south, the year was dry. The nomads and the farmers saw the clouds scudding east from the Indian ocean over the red plains and the yellow hills, but no rain fell. They saw their animals weaken and their crops struggle to stand with the weight of the dust, and they began to worry.


As many know, and even more don’t know, Somalia is on the brink of declaring its third famine in a single generation, the last of which, just six years ago, killed nearly 300,000 people. To bring to attention the magnitude of affairs in the country, I thought it absolutely crucial to map out what’s going on and what part we can take to alleviate this disaster. In this article, I’ll try to describe the causes behind the continued food and water crisis, the depth of its effects on the people of Somalia (as well as major regions in Kenya and Ethiopia), and which aid projects we as a collective can put our weight behind to ensure optimized relief for as many people as possible. Please read on.


Why Is There A Drought?

In one of his first official statements, Somalia’s newest prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire declared that the famine in the country had taken 110 lives in a single region in just 48 hours. This set into account flashbacks of a horrid drought which ripped through the already dusty plains of the country just six years before. A beast which malevolently took 260,000 lives.

The major cause of this food and water shortage has been a natural weather phenomenon known as La Niña. Whilst one can get into great detail about the scope of its geographical influence in all regions across the world, the core concept here is that it’s a major pre-requisite for drought in the East African region, especially during the months of December – March. This natural disaster, coupled with our country’s insecurity in regions where the federal government’s control is second to groups such as Alshabaab – an organization which is single handedly responsible for denying the safe passage of life saving amenities to countless people from isolated parts of the country – as well as clan and ethnic clashes, have put a major dent in an already scarce level of aid effort from the international community.


  • In the last 25 years, Somalia has experienced two droughts. The first, in 1992, took 220,000 lives. The second, from 2010 – 2012 killed 260,000.


  • On Tuesday 28th February 2017, the president declared the on-going food shortage a national disaster. 6.2 Million Somalis are affected (the entire country’s population is 10.5 Million).


  • 3 million people are in urgent need of relief supplies.


  • 3 million children have dropped out of school as families fight to keep their crops and livestock.


  • Food Prices are up 200%.


Can you imagine? Crossing a river on foot, when before you needed a motor boat?


Solutions to mitigate the disaster ; What you need to know:

As of now, the precedence lies in the short-term mitigation of the lethal hunger experienced by people in the worst hit areas of this disaster. This means urgent food and water relief. The role of health experts in dealing with this matter cannot be overlooked. As people strive harder and harder to locate incumbent water sources, water-borne diseases like Cholera ,Typhoid and Hepatitis A are growing in likelihood. A big percentage of the knock-on effect caused by famine comes from the lack of access to clean, useable water. It’s not enough that residents get access to water, it must also be safe for their consumption.

While there’s several western-based charities and NGOs working to control this situation, it’s crucial to understand that a lot of these organizations have seen disasters of this magnitude before and are unwilling  to extend the compassion required to get in front of this with diligence and transparency. The concept of donor funds misuse is nothing new in the world of Non-Governmental Organizations. To many, these projects are ways to rally the international community into raising millions of dollars in capital, an overwhelming majority of which will never reach its intended target. For that sake, accountability and results become a prominent factor when choosing which relief efforts to donate your hard earned money toward. As it turns out, in the beautiful age of the internet, even NGOs cannot escape the sobering scope of online reviews. Please find below links to programs, charities and organizations in the front lines of this crisis. If you feel the need, please do personal research on each project until you decide for yourself where your donations are best suited:

  • Banks and Other Financial Institutions :
    1. Salama Bank Account Number : 31326654
    2. Dahabshiil Bank Account Number : MUQD0036051
    3. Amal Bank Account Number : 1011990298
    4. Premier Bank Account Number : 0207000160




It requires a great deal of compassion to see tragedy so often yet sympathize with it. Somalia is one of the world’s poorest countries; some of the people, including (for the first nine years of my life) myself, never had a functional and responsible governing body to cushion the extremities of man-made and natural calamity. This drought is affecting several countries across Africa, but nowhere does its ability to escalate into a case of widespread destruction take impact more than it does in war-torn Somalia. I implore every single one of you to decide to help. No amount is too small; with the lackluster living standards, a single U.S dollar could feed an entire family for a day. Take a few minutes of your time to donate, or maybe spread the word. It’s a thing of wonder; what we can do as a collective.

Mankind must be positively and constructively wary of mankind, of their fellow man, of their families, of the members of their faith community, of their fellow citizens.
by Ismail Sabriye
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