10 Facts About Hunger In Somalia

Here are ten facts that shed light on the hunger situation in Somalia. Please help the World Food Programme (WFP) raise awareness by sharing these important facts on Twitter.

1) Over two decades of conflict have left 1.1 million Somalis displaced in their own country, and almost a million as refugees in neighbouring countries. High food prices, combined with frequent droughts and floods have compounded poverty and continue to threaten livelihoods.  

2) Somalia has an estimated population of 12 million. About 82 percent of Somalis are poor across multiple dimensions (health, education, standard of living). Overall, 73 percent of Somalis live on under US$2 per day. 

3)  A famine in part of Southern Somalia in 2011 killed a quarter of a million people. This was the first time a famine had been declared in the Horn of Africa region in nearly thirty years. 

4) Life expectancy in Somalia is 51 years old, up from 47 in 2001.

5) Somalia has chronically high malnutrition rates; one in eight children under five is acutely malnourished. WFP’s nutrition programmes aim to treat and prevent acute malnutrition in young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. 

6) Right now, close to one million people are in need of emergency food assistance. An additional two million people are struggling to meet their basic food needs and risk falling into a food security and nutrition crisis if they don’t receive sustained humanitarian assistance.   

7) Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary school‐aged children – 42 percent of children are in school. Of those, only 36 percent are girls. WFP is providing school meals to relieve hunger and boost enrolment rates, particular of girls by providing take-home family rations for girls attending schools to incentivise parents. 

8) Young people in Somalia (14 to 29-year-olds) make up 42 percent of the population. The unemployment rate for youth is 67 percent – one of the highest rates in the world. WFP’s Food-for-Training programmes provide vocational training for vulnerable people, equipping them with skills needed to enter the job market.

9) Somalia is frequently ranked as one of the worst places to be a woman. In 2014, Somalia came bottom of the global rankings in terms of maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women’s income and political status.

10) WFP started operating in Somalia in 1967, focusing on rural agricultural development and school feeding projects. The onset of conflict escalated humanitarian needs and WFP expanded its programmes. In 2015, WFP plans to provide food assistance for relief, nutrition, and social safety net for 1.9 million of the most vulnerable Somalis, despite the security challenges and risk involved. 



[1] UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e483ad6.html

[2] UNHCR http://data.unhcr.org/horn-of-africa/regional.php

[3] UNFPA Estimated Population Survey 2013 http://countryoffice.unfpa.org/somalia/?publications=8450

[4] UNDP Somalia Human Development Report (UNDP HDR 2012) http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/HDR/Arab%20States/HDR-Somalia-Factsheet-2012-E.pdf

[5] Mortality among populations of southern and central Somalia affected by severe food insecurity and famine during 2010-2012 http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Somalia_Mortality_Estimates_Final_Report_1May2013.pdf

[6] UNDP HDR 2012

[7] FEWSNET report http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/somalia-food-security-outlook-april-september-2015

[8] FSNAU: http://www.fsnau.org/in-focus/fsnau-fews-net-technical-release-january-29-2015  

[9] UNICEF Go-2-School campaign: http://www.unicef.org/somalia/SOM_resources_gotoschool.pdf

[10] UNDP Somalia Human Development Report (UNDP HDR 2012) http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/HDR/Arab%20States/HDR-Somalia-Factsheet-2012-E.pdf

Learn more about hunger and malnutrition from WFP’s comprehensive list of Facts About Hunger and Malnutrition.

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