Humanitarian help for Somalia

Refugees in Somalia

Refugees in Somalia, © dpa/picture alliance

26.03.2015 - Article

As a consequence of the long years of civil war in Somalia as well as frequent natural disasters such as droughts and flooding, the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa is among the most problematic in the world.


Since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has gone from one crisis to the next. The combined effect of the civil war, the absence of state authority in wide swathes of the country, clashes between the clans and warlords competing for supremacy, and the activities of the radical Islamist group Al‑Shabaab (“youth”), above all in southern and central Somalia, was to make the country a failed state.

When the transitional period expired in August 2012, it was possible for political progress to be made through the formation of a new transitional parliament, the adoption of a provisional constitution, the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the formation of a new government. Furthermore, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has assumed control of several important cities in southern and central Somalia since 2011. Humanitarian players, who were previously often prevented from entering these regions of Somalia by Al‑Shabaab, are now once again generally better able to gain access to them.

Humanitarian situation

To compound the politically fragile situation in Somalia, the Horn of Africa is regularly visited by natural disasters such as droughts and flooding. In 2011 the entire Horn of Africa suffered its worst drought in 60 years following a prolonged failure of rains. As a result, basic foodstuffs were in limited supply, prices rose steeply, people lacked access to clean drinking water and were deprived of their livelihoods. For around 250,000 people, all help came too late.

The drought of 2011 sparked huge migrations into neighbouring countries and to the capital Mogadishu. At present some 1.1 million people in Somalia are considered internally displaced persons (IDPs) and a further 1 million Somalis are leading precarious lives as refugees, above all in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as in Yemen. Current figures are available at www.unhcr.org . The host countries cannot provide for the refugees without international aid.

Humanitarian needs and German humanitarian assistance

Somali refugees in Dollo Ado
Somali refugees in Dollo Ado© dpa/picture alliance

OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, estimated that 863 million US dollars of aid would be required in Somalia in 2015 – one of the largest sums for anywhere in the world. In addition, UNHCR has its estimates for assistance required by refugees in the camps in neighbouring countries.

The Federal Foreign Office has for many years provided humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa, with a focus on Somalia and Somali refugees. Between 2010 and 2013, projects in the region received more than 45 million euros of funding. In 2014 the volume of humanitarian assistance from the Federal Foreign Office for people affected by the conflict in Somalia amounted to approximately 10.6 million euros. Of this, almost 5 million euros went to support internally displaced persons within Somalia.

Related content


Top of page