9.5 million (UN, 2011)




637, 657sq km (246,201 sq miles)

Major Languages

Somali, Arabic, Italian, English

Life expectancy

Total population: 51.42 years
Male: 47 years
Female: 49 years


Major Diseases

Degree of risk: high.

  • Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever.
  • Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever.
  • Water contact disease: schistosomiasis.
  • Animal contact disease: rabies (2009).

Political Climate

  • Somalia is currently facing 18 years of ongoing civil war with no centralized government.
  • The situation in Somalia encompasses the world’s second largest humanitarian crisis (UNHCR).
  • Piracy is making it difficult for food aid to be delivered to Somalia.


  • According to World Food Program (WFP) Malnutrition is widespread, with acute malnutrition afflicting 17 percent of the children. Additionally, UNICEF states that 20 percent of children under the age five are underweight.
  • In August of this year, the Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) estimates that the number of people in need of humanitarian aid increased from 2.6 million people to 3.25 million at the beginning of 2008.
  • More than 1.3 million individuals are internally displaced people and the figures are predicated to be increasing (FSAU).


  • Without a central government, the Somali education system does not exist. The majority of the people rely on private education and in order to enroll in school, therefore, only families that can afford to pay school fees send their kids to school.
  • Literacy
    • Defination: age 15 and over can read and write
    • Male: 37.8%
    • Female: 25.8% (2001 est)


Due to the ongoing civil war, the statistics for per capita GDP and the percentage of the population living below the national poverty line are unavailable, even though Somalia has been classified as a low-income country by the World Bank. Furthermore, Somalia is considered a low-income country with an estimated 45 percent of the population living on less than $1 a day(The UK’s Department of International Development (DFID).

Somalia factsheet: 2017 – Quarter 4

“Humanitarian response [in Somalia] in 2016 and 2017 focused on saving lives and preventing famine, and humanitarian action was not designed nor able to provide sustainable solutions to the underlying drivers of growing humanitarian needs.”

UNOCHA 2018 Humanitarian needs overview


  • Number in need of food/humanitarian aid: 6.2 million.
  • Malnourished children: 1.2 million.
  • Internally displaced people: 2.1 million.
  • Number of refugees: N/A

News Highlights

Fortunately, major famine in Somalia was avoided in 2017 due to fast-acting responses by many humanitarian organizations. However, the drought that has lasted for several seasons is still ongoing, and the La Nina weather pattern that is partially to blame for the extremely dry conditions is forecasted to extend into 2018. Half of Somalia’s population is still in need of humanitarian aid after the difficult year of drought in 2017.

Violence in the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions have pushed more refugees into Mogadishu. An estimated 10,000 are joining drought-related refugees and creating over-cramped refugee camp

conditions. The death toll from two October 14 the truck bombings in Mogadishu has risen to 512. The original number was estimated to be around 360. Meanwhile, 70 people remain missing and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Food security

Measures of food security in Somalia continue to be poor. Northern Somalia is experiencing food security situations that are crisis-level, while southern Somalia (from Hiraan and Middle Shabelle southward) is in slightly better condition but still heavily stressed by the drought. No part of Somalia is currently experiencing full-scale famine. Due to these conditions, an estimated 1.2 million children are malnourished, as well as many thousands of adults.

Internally displaced persons

Currently, 2.1 million people in Somalia are considered IDPs. This number has grown very rapidly, with over 1 million displacements between January and October of 2017. Again, this is largely due to the drought, as the dry conditions pushed pastoralists and others out of their normal homes to seek food and water for themselves and for their livestock. IDPs—especially women and children—are more vulnerable to crime and poor treatment, so there is an urgent need for improved conditions that will allow the displaced to return to their homes.