Flood Update for River Shabelle - Issued: 03 September 2020

Flood watch bulletin
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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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Date of publication: 
September, 2020