Somalia is at risk to several natural hazards, including drought, floods, cyclones, and climate-related diseases and epidemics. Somalia suffers from vast numbers of malnourished children and a huge population which needs humanitarian aid as conflict is ongoing. Roughly 3 million people require food assistance in Somalia. This situation is exacerbated by recurring severe droughts.

This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.

Natural Hazard Statistics

The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.


Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.



Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals. 

This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.

Key Vulnerabilities
  • The country has endured multiple, severe drought episodes since 1965 and the country is still recovering from the drought event in 2011, which resulted in 258,000 deaths in Somalia and affected 13 million people in the Horn of Africa between October 2010 and April 2012.
  • Somalia’s long coastline facing the Indian Ocean places the country in the path of increasingly more intense cyclones.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reported over 17,000 cholera cases and 388 deaths from the beginning of 2017 to the end of March across Somalia, making it a grade 2 emergency situation. As a consequence of climate change, the area of Sub-Saharan Africa will be increasingly at risk of vector- and water-borne diseases (malaria, Rift Valley fever, cholera, etc.).

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • Vulnerability and Exposure Assessment: The first step to disaster risk reduction should involve a quantitative analysis of exposures and vulnerabilities of the population or assets (e.g., infrastructure, agricultural land and livestock, etc.) to specific natural hazards. Lacking detailed vulnerability assessment could potentially result in aggregated economic loss and the loss of life. The assessment should take historical and forecasting data into account. 
  • Early warning systems: Achieving disaster risk reduction can be approached by the construction of a standardized disaster risk assessment system. For future severe drought events, it is imperative to strengthen early warning systems, drought management and emergency preparedness plans in particular for the dry Xagaa season.
  • Short-term, national and international-level disaster risk management agencies responsible for the coordination of disaster risk management and relief should be strengthened. 
  • On a longer term planning horizon, policy makers may consider increasing the management capacity of farmers under high-risk situations, as well as enhancing climate and early warning systems in the agricultural sector. 
  • Effective Damage Assessment: In order to effectively assess damages caused by the 2017 drought, remote survey technology could be introduced nation-wide. 
  • Capacity Building: Improving institutional capacity to address climate and disaster risks and respond to natural disasters; raise awareness to better understand natural hazard and climate change risk; and, explore options to strengthen fiscal resilience to natural hazard events. Overall, strengthen disaster preparedness and climate resilience efforts.
  • Social Safety Nets: An increase in climate variability, together with a reduction in the length of the rainy season and uncertain projections of increasing extreme rainfall events could lead to insufficient crop yields. Safety nets could help absorb economic shocks, by providing support needed for the implementation of cost-effective risk transfer and reduction measures.
  • Land Use Planning: In the long term, enhanced urban and rural land-use planning remain critical for Somalia. In this context, dams and drainage systems should be strengthened so that intense rainfall does not easily overwhelm and break the system.