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Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued September 2020

Following three consecutive significant rainy seasons, (Dery 2019, Gu 2020 and Hagaa 2020-traditionally dry) river levels along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers have remained high for a long period with flooding due to overbank spillage and existing river breakages/weak embankments. The high rains and subsequent floods of Gu 2020 saw new open river banks. SWALIM has updated the status of the river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers using available Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM); supported by “limited ground truthing” field observations, where feasible. Four types of breakages have been identified, namely; open, overflow, potential overflows and closed with sandbags. The open breakages are those that are currently open as observed on the latest VHR image available. The open breakages are further categorised into four classes in a chronological order, according to the assessment date and/or their former status as seen in the maps. All the observations reported refers to the latest suitable VHR satellite image available, which is indicated in the online database. 154 Open points have been identified, 109 on the Shabelle River and 45 on the Juba River which require immediate action. It is noted that several new breakages occurred during the Gu 2020 season which was exceptionally good along the two rivers. Belet Weyne district was worst affected along the Shabelle while Bu’aale district was worst affected along the Juba. SWALIM has also embarked on a ground truthing survey along the Shabelle River in Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts. The survey aims to monitor existing open and weak riverbanks while capturing the dimensions of each point. The findings of the survey will be key to planning and interventions on those points. SWALIM is pleased to share with you maps and tables of the status of river breakages along the two rivers in the links below. This information is also available on the SWALIM website. Users are advised that the methodology is biased towards Remote Sensing (RS) interpretation with only limited “ground truthing” due to access constraints. Open breakages might have been omitted in some cases where satellite images may not have been very clear (e.g. heavy cloud cover) or were not available.

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Flood Update for River Shabelle - Issued: 08 September 2020

The upper parts of the Shabelle Basin in the Ethiopian Highlands continued to receive moderate rains during the last week. High river levels along the entire channel of Shabelle River also persisted with an increase of flood extents in Belet Weyne and Jalalaqsi districts. Today, 08 September, the river level at Belet Weyne is bank-full and there has been overbank spillage in parts of the town. Thousands of people have been displaced and have started to evacuate from high-risk areas to low risk areas since yesterday. In Bulo Burti, the river level is at high risk level of 7.00m and is expected to increase further. The river level at Jowhar remains high and is at 4.90m as of today. Flooding is currently reported also in Jalaalaqsi. The rainfall forecast for the week ending on 14 September 2020 indicates moderate rains in the Ethiopian highlands and minimal rains inside Somalia. Therefore, the levels are expected to continue rising along the entire channel of Shabelle as more waters from the eastern Ethiopian highlands are still streaming in. High risk of flooding is foreseen along the Shabelle during this week. It is advisable that riverine communities within low-lying areas of Belet Weyne who have not evacuated yet to do so, while following guidelines by the local authorities. Existence of river breakages (109 points identified and reported by SWALIM in Septemebr 2020) along the Shabelle is likely to exacerbate the flooding.

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Flood watch bulletin

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Somalia Flood Update and Analysis in BeletWeyne - Issued 16-09-2020

Current ongoing floods affected more than 132,000 ha of agricultural land and 294 villages in Belet Weyne, Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye, a positive trend in flood frequency is observed in Belet Weyne, especially in the last 5 years. The severity of the floods has also gone up with time. Gu season is most vulnerable, as more floods occurred during this time, a positive trend of annual rainfall amounts has also been observed. This can be lined to climate change, but subject to further analysis,a new analysis of the status of Shabelle and Juba river was finalized by SWALIM indicates that there are 154 open river breakages which pose threat to flooding.

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Flood watch bulletin

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued: 18 September 2020

The Deyr 2020 rainy season (Sept/Oct—Dec) is expected to start in late September in the northern parts and mid October in the southern areas. However, some parts of the northern regions have been receiving rains since the first week of this month. On 16 and 17 September, heavy rains that led to flash floods and destruction of properties in KarKar district of Puntland were reported. About 300 people were affected by the flash floods in Duudhayo village. There was reduction of rainfall amounts within the Ethiopian highlands over the last week. This subsequently led to a slight reduction of river flow along the Shabelle River. However, river levels are still very high along the entire channel and flooding continue to be reported in parts of the riverine areas. In Belet Weyne and Bulo Burti, the river levels are still above the high flood risk level to date. The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates moderate rains in Bari and Sanaag regions of Puntland and the coastal areas of Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba regions. Heavy rains are foreseen in the Ethiopian highlands during the week in forecast. This may lead to an increase of river levels along the Shabelle river thus increasing the risk of flooding especially in Hiraan region. Given the rainfall forecast and current situation along the two rivers, High Risk of flooding remains along the Shabelle while there is no risk of flooding foreseen along the Juba River.

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Rainfall Forecast

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Somalia Rainfall Outlook for the 2020 Deyr Season Issued: 03 September 2020

Deyr (Sep/Oct-Dec) season rainfall is usually of shorter duration and less amount and intensity compared to Gu (April-June) season rainfall. However, they are beneficial in supporting seasonal agricultural activities and replenishing water and pasture resources. Generally, Deyr season starts in late September and ends in early December, but this varies from place to place across the country, with the northern regions receiving rainfall much earlier than southern regions. According to the recently issued Seasonal Climate Forecast issued by IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the 2020 Deyr rains in Somalia are likely to be below normal to near normal with a 45 percent chance of experiencing below normal rains and a 30 chance of near normal rains in Somaliland, central and southern regions of the country. Similarly, the upper catchments of the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in neighboring Ethiopia are also expected to record below normal to near normal rainfall during the 2020 Deyr season ( Map 1. Most parts of Puntland have equal chances of (35%) of experiencing normal or above normal rains during the season. Further, the outlook predicts a delayed start of the season with warmer than normal temperatures.

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Rainfall Outlook

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Flood Update for River Shabelle - Issued: 03 September 2020

Moderate to heavy rains persisted in the upper parts of the Shabelle Basin within the Ethiopian highlands during the last week. Consequently, observed river levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia continued to rise. Today, the river level at Belet Weyne is 8.00m which only 0.30m away from bank-full level. Overbank spillage within Belet Weyne town could happen any time from now given the high river levels. Currently, Hawa-Hako and Hilaac sections of the district are flooded since mid August and unconfirmed number of people were displaced. Massive flooding has been reported 20km north of Belet Weyne town in the last 24 hours due to overbank spillage. A similar trend of exceptionally above normal river levels is being observed in Bulo Burti, Jalalaqsi, Mahadey weyne, Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts with floods being reported in several points due to overbank flow and lateral flows from broken river banks. The flooding situation has been exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks. As of today, an estimated 132,000 ha of agricultural land and 294 villages along the Shabelle River have been affected by the Hagaa floods. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (03—10 September 2020) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Observed river levels along the Shabelle River are expected to continue rising further in the coming week following the foreseen rains. High risk of flooding is foreseen in Belet Weyne district. Flooding in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle will be sustained in the coming week given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to watch include Jowhar town and its environs; where the river level is near full crest and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. Recent analysis by SWALIM indicates that there are 109 open river bank points along the Shabelle River.

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Flood watch bulletin

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Flood Update - Issued 05 August 2020

Unusual Haggai (July—August) seasonal rains persisted in some parts of the southern regions of Somalia during the last week. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands also saw significant amounts of rainfall during the same period. Consequently, observed river levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia continued to rise over the last week. The current Shabelle river levels in Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions are currently above the historical normal range while the levels are at bank full levels in Lower Shabelle. Flooding has been reported in parts of Belet Weyne district within Hawa-Hako and Hilaac sections displacing unconfirmed number of people. Other areas where floods have been reported include Mahadey Weyne and Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts. The situation has been exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks especially in Jowhar and Balcad districts where more than 20, 000Ha of land remains inundated. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (04—10 August 2020) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Observed river levels along the Shabelle River are expected to continue rising further in the coming week following the foreseen rains. Flooding in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle will be sustained in the coming week given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to watch include Jowhar town and its environs; where the river level is near full crest and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. There exists several open river bank points in these areas and this will only worsen the situation.

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Flood Update for Shabelle - Issued 11 August 2020

The Ethiopian highlands have received heavy rainfall since beginning of July 2020, which has caused significant increase in Shabelle river flow in Somalia. The river level at Belet Weyne today is 6.75m surpassing the moderate level of flooding in the area. In Bulo Burti, the levels are increasing steadily and today the river level is ta 5.40m, which is 1.10m meters below the moderate risk level of flooding. Flooding has been reported in Belet Weyne district following the existence of open river bank points and weak river embankments. According to analysis based on remotely sensed data, about 11 villages have been affected by the unusual floods while 6 km2 of agricultural land has been inundated in the district. This follows another flood season (Gu 2020) that saw massive destruction of properties in the area and damage of crops. It is worth noting that the existence of open river breakages and weak river embankments have exacerbated the flooding. Further, there has been massive sedimentation along the Shabelle River bed in the recent past, which has caused a rise in the riverbed with about 0.5 m. There are several ongoing efforts to mitigate the recurrent flooding in the district by the local communities, Hirshabelle authority and foreign aid. However, a long-term solution is needed which includes river basin management.

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Flood Update for Shabelle River - Issued 13 August 2020

During the last week, there was a reduction of rainfall amounts in the southern parts of Somalia. On 11th August, a heavy storm was observed in Somaliland in Salaxley area, about 60km south of Hargeisa. The rainfall station in that area recorded a total of 44mm in less than 24 hours. This led to a significant damage of infrastructure including schools, houses, roads, electricity and interruption of communication network in the area. Moderate to heavy rains persisted in the upper reaches of the Shabelle Basin in Ethiopia during the same period. Consequently, river levels at Belet Weyne and other stations along the Shabelle inside Somalia continued to rise. Todays’ river level at Belet Weyne is 6.85m which means less than half a meter below the high risk level of flooding. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (13-19 August 2020) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Little or no rains are foreseen in the basin within Somalia. Observed river levels along the Shabelle River are expected to continue rising further in the coming week following the foreseen rains in the upper catchment. Flooding along the Shabelle will be sustained in the coming week given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to be monitored include Belet Weyne, Jalalaqsi, Jowhar town and its environs where the river level is near full crest, and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks.

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Gu 2020 Rainfall Performance (March to June 2020)

The 2020 Gu rainy season was generally good with many areas in Somalia recording normal to above normal rains (Map 1 & 2 and Annex I). There was an early start of the season in late March in some areas and continued to spread spatially with a peak during the last two weeks of April. The season came to an early end during the second half of May. The good rains were beneficial to most water dependent sectors which saw a boost in the growth of pasture and crops in many areas and especially in the north eastern and central parts of the country which had a poor rainfall performance in the previous season. The rains also contributed to significant ground water recharge which had been depleted previously. There was also an improvement in animal body conditions thus more reproduction and availability of milk and meat. On the other hand, the heavy rains experienced in April led to both flash and riverine flooding affecting about 919 0001 people of whom 411, 905 were displaced and 24 killed. Further, along the Juba and Shabelle basins, more than 100,000 km2 of land was inundated as seen in Annex II. Belet Weyne town in Hiraan region was the worst affected by the floods and remained submerged for over two weeks. It is also worth noting that while the overall rainfall amounts for the season are mostly average to above average, there was a prolonged dry period since mid-May that is adversely impacting crop harvest prospects.

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Rainfall Performance

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