1.1 Somalia Humanitarian Background


Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters

Yes / No

Comments / Details



13 Events – 19,673 Killed – 13,183,500 Affected.
In general the entire country is drought prone although there are areas that are worse affected than others as from the centre up to the Kenyan border.
Between July 2011 and mid-2012, a severe drought affected the entire East Africa region. Said to be "the worst in 60 years", the drought caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya that threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people. Many refugees from southern Somalia fled to neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia. Other countries in East Africa, including Sudan, South Sudan and parts of Uganda, were also affected by a food crisis.


Yes 1 Tsunami – 298 Killed – 105,083 Affected


Yes Various = Unspecified, Bacterial Infectious Diseases, Parasitic Infectious Diseases, Viral Infectious Diseases.
27 Events – 6,606 Killed – 108,529 Affected

Extreme Temperatures


Between April and July the average temperature is 40°C and above.


Yes 5 Events – 3024 Killed – 2,543,569 Affected.
There is seasonal flooding throughout the country, however, generally short term only. The areas that get flooded on a more regular basis are the regions (Bakool, Hiraan, Baay) between the two permanent rivers, the Jubba and the Shabelle.

Insect Infestation




No n/a

Volcanic Eruptions

No n/a

High Waves / Surges

No n/a


No n/a

High Winds


Tropical cyclone - 1 Event – 30 Killed.

Somalia is also affected on regular basis by Sand storms.

Other Comments

140 estimated dead in cyclone 03A. 

Man-Made Issues

Civil Strife

Yes Fighting has continued in Somalia for more than a decade and between various warlord-led clan groups, including Al-Shabaab militant group.

International Conflict

Yes In October 2011, a coordinated operation between the Somali military and the Kenyan military began against the Al-Shabaab group of insurgents in southern Somalia.The mission was officially led by the Somali army, with the Kenyan forces providing a support role. In early June 2012, Kenyan forces were formally integrated into AMISOM.Analysts expect the additional AU troop reinforcements to help the Somali authorities gradually expand their territorial control.

Internally Displaced Persons

Yes According to the UNHCR report dated from May 2013, over 1.1 million (1,132,963 peoples) have Somalis internally displaced been identified within the country, settled mainly in the South-Central region.

Refugees Present

Yes Somalia is the country generating the third highest number of refugees in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq. UNHCR leads protection and emergency relief interventions targeting 700,000 IDPs out of a total IDP population estimated at 1.1 million and over 2,300 refugees in Somalia.

Landmines / UXO Present


As a result of conflict with Ethiopia and two decades of civil war, Somalia is littered with landmines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), stockpiles of weapons, and ammunition. According to recent reports, mine lying may still be occurring in the southern and central parts of the country and in the disputed Sool and Sanaag regions. The use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by armed groups has compounded the threats facing communities and aid organisations (Source: UNMAS  -

Other Comments


Most rural livelihoods are expected to see marked improvements in their food security situation as a result of good seasonal performance of the Gu (main rainy season), according to results of the rapid preliminary assessment carried out by FAO.

Some deterioration of the food security situation is however expected in the agro pastoral areas of Hiraan that experienced poor rainfall as well as the flood affected riverine areas in Jowhar (Middle Shabelle). A slight deterioration is also likely in parts of pastoral livelihoods in Mudug and Bari regions. The deterioration in these areas is attributed to poor performance of Gu rains, which affected pasture availability and crop performance.

Source : UNOCHA


For more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters.

Calamities and Seasonal Affects

Seasonal Affects on Transport



From (month) to (month)

Primary Road Transport

Somalia's network of roads is 22,100 km long. As of the year 2000, 2,608 km streets were paved and 19,492 km were unpaved, which almost all the main roads are in a severe and very bad condition due to lack of proper maintenance caused by the prolonged civil war. There are five major roads in the country, which connects the main water corridors to the inland towns. Two are from the port of Mogadishu, one from the northwest port of Berbera, and single routes from both Bossaso and Kismayo. The corridors are entirely served by road since Somalia has no railway line. There are also two routes connecting to Djibouti and Somaliland respectively.
During the dry and rainy seasons most of tarmac roads are accessible.

More details on Tarmac Roads in Somalia:


Secondary Road Transport

Roads have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and intentional damage during civil unrest; some roads remain mined. Transportation therefore relies on impromptu diversions which cause delays and often a reason for increased transport charges during the rainy seasons by claiming roads are impassable and having to detour certain routes.

During those rainy seasons, regional roads (non-tarmac) are subject to slow-go and no-go status. Many of these roads have lorries waiting for the road to dry up in which case waiting time increases and in the case of traffic can cause up to as much as 10 days delays. This is particularly the case also in areas inland bordering with Kenya and Ethiopia where rainfall tends to be higher and roads are often black cotton.

The main rainy season, referred to as the Gu, lasts from April to June.

The Dayr, which is the shortest rainy season, lasts from October to December.

Rail Transport

Railway transport in Somalia consisted of the erstwhile Mogadishu-Villabruzzi Railway. The system was built by the authorities in Italian Somaliland during 1910s.
The railway was dismantled in the 1940s by the British during their military occupation of Italian Somaliland, and subsequently never restored.


Air Transport

As of 2012, Somalia has 62 airports. 7 of these have paved runways.
Airports are generally taken care of by local authorities and hence very few strips are currently in use. There have been instances where local authorities have been assisted by donor projects in the area to facilitate access for the programme undertaken. During the dry season most strips are accessible although 90%+ of the strips have not been checked, calibrated or cleared by the civil aviation authorities.
It should be noted that in the event of air cargo droppings, should airstrips be necessary to use, roads to the airstrips are subject to seasonal changes, which would cause delays in distribution.


Waterway Transport

The four major ports Berbera, Bossaso, Mogadishu, Kismayu are generally not affected during seasonal changes.
Beach Ports such as Merka and El Ma’an though become almost unusable during the monsoon. Merka the most exposed beach port generally closes during June to September and El Ma’an remains open although discharge slows down.


For information on Somalia Climate additional details, please see the following document: Climate in Somalia


Seasonal Affects on Storage and Handling (economic, social, climate...)



From <month> to <month>


No particular Seasonal Effects on Storage.



No particular Seasonal Effects on Storage.





Pre-positioning of food quantities is generally the order of the day, however in view of insecurity in the country large stocking levels are not advisable. Stocking levels vary although 2 to 3 months is generally kept in storage although this is also dependent of commodity availability. The main commodities kept in stock are: sorghum, corn soya blend (CSB), pulses, plumpy nut and -sup, rice, sugar and vegetable oil. The rainy season has a minor effect, which is mostly short term due to low annual rainfall.

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response


A National Disaster Management Authorities are responsible for developing and maintaining a strategic and legal framework on disaster management and emergency response. These are:

  •  Somali Disaster Management Agency (DMA) in Mogadishu.

The Somali Disaster Management Agency (SDMA) is the national emergency management agency of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
On May 30, 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia announced that the Cabinet had approved draft legislation on a new Somali Disaster Management Agency (SDMA), which had originally been proposed by the Ministry of Interior. According to the Prime Minister's Media Office, the SDMA will lead and coordinate the government's response to various natural disasters. It is part of a broader effort by the federal authorities to re-establish national institutions. The Federal Parliament is now expected to deliberate on the proposed bill for endorsement after any amendments.

  • National Environment Preparedness and Management Authority (NERAD) in Somaliland.

NERAD is an autonomous public institution of the Government of Somaliland, empowered by legislation as the official lead government institution with respect to disaster management and coordination in Somaliland.

NERAD Website

  • Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA) in Puntland.

The agencies may have limited capacity in early warning and response and rely mostly on external support from the international community.

For information on Somalia Government contact details, please see the following link: 

4.1 Somalia Government Contact List

Humanitarian Community

For information on Somalia Humanitarian contact details, please see the following link: 

4.2 Somalia Humanitarian Agency Contact List

Jump to top