Living in a state of ongoing civil unrest, communities in Somalia have had little chance to build institutions and improve living conditions. Human development indicators are low: Life expectancy is 55 years, one-third of children are underweight, and 42% are stunted. One in seven children will die before age 5.
With living conditions already poor and fragile, residents are especially vulnerable to crises such as the severe drought and famine of 2011. Four million people experienced extreme food insecurity during that crisis. Subsequent years have seen steady improvement, due in part to adequate rainfall, lower food costs and humanitarian aid. Still, however, many Somalis continue to live in an emergency situation, and 2 million people struggle to meet their minimum daily needs—and further stress could easily push them back into a food insecurity crisis.
Islamic Relief has carried out seasonal food distribution campaigns since 1996. Islamic Relief Somalia opened in 2006 to implement and oversee programs that would alleviate suffering due to continued violence, and that would help internally displaced populations.