Gu 2023 Rainfall Performance Review, Hagaa Outlook and Implications on Livelihoods
Review of the 2023 March-April-May (MAM) seasonal rainfall has demonstrated three key points: First, there was an early transition into the Gu (April-May-June) long rains season in Somalia this year. Secondly, above Long Term Mean (LTM) rainfall was received over Puntland and Somaliland and below LTM over South and Central Somalia. Thirdly, the observed rainfall was more in agreement with the forecast over South and Central Somalia and less over Somaliland. The early onset of the generally above-LTAM MAM rainfall led to substantial recharge of water sources, replenished water catchment levels, improved soil moisture conditions, creating favorable conditions for pasture regeneration, offering first line fodder for the livestock. It also favored land preparation and timely crop and fodder planting across the agro-pastoral livelihoods. However, the exceptionally heavy rains over both Shabelle and Juba River catchments in Ethiopian Highlands and the already-soaked soil conditions over the catchments within Somalia led to excessive overbank spillage resulting to devastating floods at Belet Weyne from 9th May, at Bulo Burti from 25th May and at Jalalaqsi from 26th May 2023. Flash floods occassioned by localised rains also occured in several places within Somalia like Bardheere from 23rd March 2023. The floods led to extensive damage to farmlands with earlier-grown crop and fodder and the grassland plains with devastating implications. Nonetheless, the MAM rains generally led to improved food security situation across the country particularly in the case of Somaliland where the observed rains were above LTM. The wetter than average projected rainfall conditions are likely to at least slow the loss of soil moisture and support agricultural and livestock productivity over South and Central Somalia over which below LTM Gu rains were observed. This bulletin presents both qualitative and quantitative review of the temporal and spatial variation of observed-, and verification of the forecast Gu rainfall season.
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