Somalilandsun: This weekly digest of humanitarian information products on Somalia for the period 29 February-7 March 2020 has been complied through information issued by UN Agencies and partners working within the framework of the Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).
- Response to locust damage 15 times more expensive than prevention
- Average to above average Gu rains expected in most parts of Somalia
- Preparedness necessary to minimize AWD/cholera risk in the upcoming Gu rainy season
- Prospects for humanitarian access remain limited
New desert locust swarms predicted
The desert locust infestation in Somalia, like in several Horn of Africa countries, remains alarming. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the locusts are continuing to breed in the northeast of Somalia and new swarms are expected to form in coming weeks as the hoppers become immature adults, start flying and becoming voracious. In northeast Somalia, several generations of hopper bands are already present and will be laying eggs soon as the Gu’ (April-June) rains approach.
Regional response to locust infestation
FAO has adopted a regional response plan to the locust infestation and urgently needs $138 million to respond in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Like Somalia, these seven countries have experienced widespread infestation. FAO urgently needs this money to help governments to scale up control operations to mitigate the devastating impact of the pests as soon as possible.
Average to above average rains expected in April to June
Rainfall forecasts for the Gu’ 2020 period indicate a strong possibility of average to above-average precipitation in most parts of Somalia. These Gu’ rains are expected to maintain rangelands and support planting activities. However, they could enable a new wave of breeding and further spread of the locust pests. Pasture losses are expected in areas where swarms land, although rainfall in coming months is likely to partially continue offsetting the impact. Nonetheless, if the desert locusts continue to multiply, this offsetting effect will be drastically reduced.
Preparedness key to limiting AWD/cholera risk
A total of 6,709 cases of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD/cholera) were reported across Somalia in 2019, according the Early Warning, Alert and Response Network (eWARN) system of WHO. Most of the cases (86 per cent) were reported in the regions of Banadir (3,931), Gedo (1,012), Bay (453) and Karkar (400). The peak periods in 2019 were during February and March, and again in April to July 2019. At least 31 per cent of cases were reported in children under 5 years of age, and 69 per cent in people above the age of 5.