Key facts

Hazards covered by anticipation    

Drought | Epidemics (cholera)

No. of people reached by anticipation (activiation)

Start Network's cholera activation: 48,914

Anticipation partners in country    

Start Network | Trócaire | Relief International | Concern Worldwide | FAO

Inform Risk Index (2022)   

Hazard and exposure: 8.9

Vulnerability: 8.8

Lack of coping capacity: 8.8

Total: 8.8 (very high)

Rank: 1


Photo: Corrie Butler / IFRC

Country profile

Somalia is one of the poorest, most fragile countries in the world. It is ranked as the most at-risk country on the INFORM risk index and one of the lowest on the human development index. The ongoing conflict in southern and central Somalia has resulted in large numbers of internally displaced people.

In addition, Somalia is confronted by a number of natural hazards, of which drought and floods pose the most severe risk to the population. Together with cyclones, heat waves, wildfires and water scarcity, these hazards have enormous impacts on people’s livelihoods and reduce their coping mechanisms.

Drought has the highest impact in terms of human fatalities and economic losses. Somalia’s economy is based primarily on rain-fed agriculture and is therefore particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in water availability and climate. Drought causes crop losses, which contribute to food insecurity and exacerbate conflict over resources. Erratic rainfall and declining groundwater levels also often contribute to an increase in conflict over water. 

Floods frequently coincide with the seasonal cultivation periods and typically originate from heavy rainfall along cyclone pathways. Floods are exacerbated by human factors, such as environmental and land degradation. The impacts associated with floods include damage to housing and transport infrastructure, disruptions to social services, loss of livelihoods, and increases in animal and human diseases. The inundation of low-lying areas sometimes lasts for months, leading to total crop losses and significant livestock losses.


In 2019, the Start Network funded Relief International and Trócaire to take action in anticipation of a cholera outbreak, reaching nearly 49,000 people (alert 308).

FAO is working to support early action for drought in Somalia.

SPARC - Supporting pastoralism and agriculture in recurrent and protracted crises - is undertaking a learning exercise on the windows of opportunity for anticipatory action in Somalia in 2021 and 2022. The project is conducting regular in-depth conversations with (agro-)pastoralists. By returning to speak with the same households four to five times over the course of a year, it will be possible to track when and how households are anticipating and responding to specific events, as well as the constraints they may experience to doing so. This in turn will allow SPARC to identify opportunities for anticipatory action programmes, as well as windows of opportunity for anticipatory action within the 'livelihood crisis' calendar.

Read more in the first and second SPARC issue brief.