Puntland  Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment

Between 2002 and 2004, Puntland suffered from one of the worst prolonged droughts in decades, which was then followed by the tsunami of December 2004. The drought weakened and killed livestock, while the tsunami destroyed boats and fishing gear. In two years, two major livelihoods were severely affected with important losses of assets and incomes. Traditional social coping mechanisms were stretched – some households made distress sales of their few remaining livestock, while others separated as family members left to seek income elsewhere or left to decrease household food intake.

Limited government and foreign investment in social sectors, particularly health and education, further compounded the impact of these natural disasters.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) responded to both of these natural disasters, as well as to the many internally displaced persons (IDPs) finding their way to Puntland, and there has been a growing realisation that since 2006 the climate, livelihood mechanisms and food security conditions have improved significantly for most of the population. On the other hand, a number of underlying factors remain present across Puntland, and continue to have a crippling effect on the already rather fragile economy of the region. These factors include the environmental degradation of the land, a lack of alternative incomes, and poor or quasi-absent social services. There is also a growing concern that a certain segment of the population may have been severely impoverished by the drought and become urban destitute, migrating to the urban or semi-urban environments and relying mainly on social support networks for their survival.

This assessment, although limited to rural settlements, is designed to better understand what, who and where the food insecure and vulnerable are. It is limited in that it captures information on those within and around settlements, and is likely not to provide substantial information on true nomadic pastoralists, or on urban food security issues.

However, it provides a strong, statistically sound insight into the types of livelihoods, consumption patterns, access and food security issues, shocks experienced, and coping mechanisms used within rural settlements in Puntland.

Based on the outcomes of this analysis, some guidance as to appropriate interventions is given, along with details on where and to whom such assistance should be targeted.