Somali Floods Update - Issued 18 May 2020

Flood watch bulletin
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The Gu (April-June) season to date has seen significant rainfall across Somalia with many areas recording more than twice their average rainfall over the period. The rains which intensified since mid-April have been well distributed in terms of space and time. The heavy rains have left many areas water logged for weeks. In particular, the Juba and Shabelle basins have had excessive flows that will keep flood risks high during this week and at moderate risk in the coming week. On the down side still, the wet conditions and ample vegetation have created favorable conditions for the spread of desert locust infestation across Somalia. On the up side of the rains, there has been tremendous improvement of vegetation conditions and overall water availability throughout Somalia. In most parts of Somalia, Gu season rainfall usually start to decline starting in mid to late May. The rainfall forecast for the week ending on 24 May 2020 shows a significant reduction of rains across Somalia, with rainfall of up to 50 mm cumulatively confined mostly to coastal parts of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions. The Juba and Shabelle rivers’ high to moderate flood risk is likely to persist during this week due to continuing high flows from the upper catchments. Shabelle River: There was a reduction of rainfall amounts in the basin during the last week. River levels at Belet Weyne have remained at bank-full since 12 May 2020 to date, leading to extensive flooding of the flood plain riverine areas. More than 230 km2 have been flooded including 11 km2 of urban land and 225 km2 of agricultural land. The levels are expected to start going down at Belet Weyne in the next 2 – 3 days. The river level at Jowhar decreased slightly and is at 5.20 m today. River levels are expected to remain high in the lower reaches of the river as the lagged flood flows stream in from upstream reaches and rivers flow bank full through to Qoryoley. High risk of flooding is foreseen along the Shabelle during this week; and Moderate Risk the following week. Existence of river breakages (50 points identified and reported by SWALIM in February 2020) along the Shabelle will exacerbate the flooding unless emergency repair measures are taken. Juba River: River levels increased significantly beginning of last week at Dollow, Luuq and Bardheere gauging stations, all within Gedo region. Flooding that was reported has reduced although some farm lands are still under water in Dollow and Luuq districts. The river level at Bardheere has remained at 9.00m for the last seven days, but is expected to start going down in the next 2-3 days. Using VHR satellite imagery, SWALIM identified more than 10 km2 of flood-affected areas in Gedo region and approximately 140 km2 of inundated land in Middle and Lower Juba regions. Currently, affected areas include Dollow, Luuq, Saakow, Buaale, Jilib and Jamame districts. Given the current high levels in Bardheere, a High risk of flooding along the entire Juba river channel remains in place this week; with a reduction to Moderate Risk the following week. In Bay and Bakool regions: Little to no rains were recorded during the week. The forecast for this week indicates reduced rainfall prospects in these regions with no flood risk anticipated. Somaliland, Puntland, and Central regions: No rains were reported in the northern regions during the last week. This week will see a reduction of rainfall amounts in both northern and central regions with no risk of flash floods expected.
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Date of publication: 
May, 2020