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Voices of Resilience: Unveiling the Toll of El Niño Floods

December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023

Somalia Trends and Analysis: November 2023

*This report was written in collaboration with the Center for Peace and Democracy.


El Niño floods have killed 110 persons, displaced a million and affected over 2.4 million across 36 districts in Somalia. These floods worsened the living conditions of the community and increased their needs for aid. This is reflected in the reports coming into Talk to Loop with 55% of all stories in November mentioning the impact of the floods. 

Reports were primarily requests for assistance, including emergency assistance due to the flooding. The feedback covered 5 key areas of need:

1. Infrastructure damage: Urgent reconstruction needed due to extensive flood damage.

2. Displacement and overcrowding: Immediate relocation and better living conditions essential for affected residents.

3. Livelihood impact: Support required for agriculture and livestock recovery.

4. Health risks: Floods increase disease risk, demanding urgent medical assistance.

5. Food insecurity: Immediate food aid needed due to displacement and rising prices.

Calls about the flooding were harder to understand and shorter/ more rushed than the previous month. This could be due to the result of the flooding impacting the mobile network infrastructure and electricity to charge a phone being more scarce. 

People of all ages, from 14 to 60+, use Talk to Loop in Maay and Maxatiri. More men use it, but also women of all ages. Most calls about the flooding came from Middle Shabelle, Hiran, Bay, and Banadir.

We received 30 sensitive reports, including fraud linked to registration on beneficiary lists and cash programs.

Analysis of the Data on the Open Platform

Talk to Loop was integrated into the flood preparedness messaging through the Community Engagement and Accountability Task Force (CEA TF). It was mentioned as one possible reporting mechanism alongside organisation specific ones. As a result we saw a significant increase in the number of contacts directly following the preparedness communication activities and also during the flooding which soon followed.  

Figure 1 below shows the trend over the year: the PSEA Network and UNICEF radio announcement in August and the one by the CEA TF and the flooding.

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Figure 1: feedback trends over time


People from different regions and districts reported their need for help with basic survival. Data on Talk to Loop shows that a high percentage (38%) of callers did not mention their location which could be due to them leaving rushed messages to request support or due to them being displaced from their original areas of residence and having limited access to electricity to charge their phones, as was reported by some callers.

Otherwise we received feedback from across the region affected by floods, specifically Middle Shabelle, Hiran, Bay and Banadir.

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     Figure 2: Feedback by region


Feedback came from a diverse range of people. While the majority of people did not mention their age, which is a consistent pattern we see in Somalia. Of those who did, we see a wide range of age groups: 6% of calls came from children between the ages of 14 and 17 and on the other end 8% were either older persons or from their caregivers. Additionally, 2% of calls came from persons living with a disability or someone taking care of someone living with disability and calling on their behalf.

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Figure 3: age, gender, and abilities

In feedback specifying location, the majority came from the Bay area (14% from males and 5% from females). Among females, Hiran and Middle Shabelle were the most frequently mentioned regions, each representing 7% of the feedback.

Talk to Loop is currently available in Maay and Maxatiri with 80% of feedback being recorded in Maxatiri


55% of feedback was related to the current floods. Figure 6 shows the location of reports about floods.

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Figure 6: location of reports about floods

The community reported a range of effects and hardships they suffered due to the floods. This can be understood in five main areas of need:

Infrastructure and housing damage: people reported the extensive damage caused to infrastructure and housing due to the floods. This includes roads, houses, and essential infrastructure, emphasising the urgent need for reconstruction and shelter.

Displacement, lack of safety and overcrowded living conditions: the widespread displacement of residents has led to overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions. This highlights the immediate need for relocation, temporary shelter, and improved living conditions for the affected population both as emergency response but also prevention of further harm such as the spread of diseases.

Livelihood impact: the impact on livelihoods, particularly in agriculture and livestock. The destruction of farmlands and loss of livestock pose significant challenges to the long-term economic well-being of the affected communities, requiring support for recovery.

Health risks and disease spread: the heightened health risks resulting from the floods. Stagnant water, broken water systems (wells, waste etc) has led to an increase in mosquito populations and poses a risk of diseases. This underscores the urgent need for medical assistance, disease prevention measures, and access to healthcare for entire communities.

Food insecurity: The fifth important theme is food insecurity, which arises from the destruction of farmlands and the loss of livestock. The community is experiencing hunger, emphasising the immediate need for food assistance and nutritional support and the long-term impact that this will have on income for the communities.

As a result of these hardships, the community recorded requests for assistance that can be summarised as requests for:

  1. Immediate aid: Urgent appeals for immediate assistance from humanitarian organisations to address the pressing needs of the affected population.
  2. Financial support: Requests for financial support to enable affected individuals to purchase essential items, including food and clean water.
  3. Medical assistance: The current situation demands medical assistance to address the health risks posed by the floods, including the spread of diseases.
  4. Shelter and infrastructure repair: The community requires support for shelter and the restoration of damaged infrastructure.

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Figure 6: Type of feedback

The feedback in Somalia has always been primarily requests for support. This trend was exacerbated in the month of November due to the high scale of needs. Requests for support were primarily Food security, WASH, Shelter and cash (in cross cutting).

Assistance requests

We continued to get feedback from other individuals who do not mention the floods. Instead, they expressed their need for assistance as they are responsible for large families.

Others shared how little food they’ve had and requested money to support their families.

Lack of services

Some people reported that there are no organisations or hospitals serving their areas.


Some people recorded their gratitude for the aid organisations provide and some requested that it continues or requested to learn more information. Some examples include UNICEF, FAO, WFP, and Save the Children.

Replies on the open platform

Moderators use available, updated 4 and 5W matrices and other referral and response sheets to tag organisations on the open platform in the areas that they work. We continue to reach out to organisations and invite them on to the platform and to reply to feedback. As a result we had more organisations sign up and register to be notified. Loop aims at engaging more organisations and hopes that the community will receive more replies to their voices. However, only 14% of feedback on the open platform in November was responded to. 

Feedback about Loop

Around 20% of stories came from individuals who addressed Loop to share their experiences and seek clarification on the services provided by Loop. 

Some of them requested more information on Loop including its purpose, how to use it, and associated costs. Others expressed concern that their messages were not going through or requested feedback to earlier messages they have sent. This is due to the low level of responses to feedback from organisations. Some also requested assistance from Loop including cash or phone credit top-ups. Some users expressed gratitude for Loop. All stories addressed to Loop were responded to. 

When time allows, we will spend some time testing and improving communications and the introductory message to try to answer these questions as much as possible in advance of people using Loop. This will make the feedback more relevant.

Analysis of the new Sensitive Reports in November

During this time, Talk to Loop received 30 sensitive reports. These were primarily about general protection (15) and fraud or corruption (7) while there was only 1 GBV report. 


18 of the 30 reports came from males, and the majority of reporting persons did not mention their ages. Most reports are from Banaadir, Lower Shabelle and Gedo.

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Figure 7: Gender

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Figure 8: age distribution
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Figure 9: location at region level

Many of the authors can not be contacted back. This might be due to the difficulty with the Network connectivity, access to electricity etc as a result of the floods.  Also, a new trend is people calling to follow up on feedback about previously reported cases. This is positive engagement and enables contact to be reinstated.

A consistent trend is reporting of allegations or questions about when assistance will be provided. Specifically being registered on a beneficiary list and not receiving anything. Questions or potential allegations about the process, middle men and their access to support.  For example:

  • I have a complaint about an organisation that added us to the beneficiary list last month and we don't know why it registered our names. I request you assist us get the food and money that the organisation intended to give. Greetings
  • I was listed for a project which will give me money, but I haven't received anything. I'm a poor woman taking care of my children and I don't know who to report this to..

15 people called Talk to Loop to report general protection issues, such as requests for emergency aid as a result of the floods, or other requests such as health and education. One person said they felt like they were prisoners in an IDP camp that was flooded and they had no rights and no assistance.

7 community members contacted Talk Loop to report fraud or corruption including discrimination

2 reported fraud in the form of people impersonating NGO staff:

Someone took money from me and said I will get a lot more. I have still not received anything. Is this true?

1 person reported discrimination and nepotism, including minority clans.

4 other people reported aid diversion, with comments such as: 

We were registered several times, our photos collected and we still keep the cards given to us without receiving support. So, there are a lot of problems here.

The information presented in these examples is based on reports submitted by community members via the short code number. The details are fictional examples which represent the types of feedback Talk to Loop is actually receiving. We do this to ensure confidentiality and not to disclose or put at risk any individuals.

Type of Organisation Receiving Sensitive Reports

Talk to Loop received reports about INGOs, NGOs and the UN.

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Figure 10: type of organisation

Programmatic update 

Talk to Loop’s new short code (2023) has now become available across all of Somalia, including Puntland and Somaliand. 

Loop is taking part in the CEA working group on Collective Feedback Mechanisms to better align all mechanisms as much as possible. This includes some standardisation of reporting indicators each month. This will be integrated once the framework is received based on feedback from our last coordination working group.

The PSEA Coordinator has submitted a proposal for collective funding of Loop as a collective SEA reporting mechanism. We await further news on the funding for 2024. Loop has been working with the PSEA network on new radio messaging to raise awareness about peoples right to get Aid for free and about the ability to report SEA through Loop. We await the SEA network to confirm the approach to the roll out. 

Loop, in partnership with UNICEF, under the Community Voices Project, trained 60 Ministry of Health and other NGO and INGO staff on Loop in three different regions in Somalia during November. The team met with several Minority led local organisations and some were onboarded. Loop received a few requests from minority organisations to learn more about Loop’s services and are setting up online training and onboarding.

Loop and CPD hired two new moderators and are in the process of hiring at least two more to manage the 1000s of stories coming in. In line with Loop’s language strategy for Somali, CPD and Loop have successfully identified new possible moderators who speak minority languages (Bujuni and Benadiri Merca). Soon these two languages will become available on Loop’s IVRR.

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