Somali Floods Update - Issued 26 May 2020

Flood watch bulletin
Title Language: 
The week ending on 24 May 2020 saw a significant reduction of rainfall amounts across the country. A few pockets in the southern and northeastern regions however recorded light rains. In general, the seasonal rain performance was remarkable and beneficial to all the water dependent sectors. The heavy rains within Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands since the start of the season resulted into excessive flows and flooding along the Juba and Shabelle basins. Analysis using very high-resolution (VHR) satellite images of flood extent along the Juba and Shabelle basins shows that the Gu 2020 flood extent along the Shabelle river is less as compared to the one detected during Gu 2018 and Deyr 2019. Along Juba River, the Gu 2020 flood is larger than the one detected during Gu 2018 but less than the one of Deyr 2019. According to UNOCHA, 836,128 people have been affected during this season within the Juba and Shabelle Rivers which is a larger number compared to that of 2018 and 2019. Further analysis of river flow at Belet Weyne shows that for the third year in a row a flood extent that would normally have a recurrence of 50 years has been surpassed. The rainfall forecast for the week ending on 31 May 2020 is calling for rainfall amounts of up to 50 mm cumulatively in coastal parts of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions. Bari, Nugal, Sanaag and parts of Sool will also receive some light to moderate rains until the end of the week. Moderate rains are also expected in the Juba and Shabelle headwaters in Ethiopia during the forecast week. A moderate flood risk along the two rivers is likely to persist during this week due to continuing high flows from the upper catchments. The situation is expected to improve in the following week with water logging abating due to high daily evaporation. 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. Flood waters that had inundated the town started to draw back to the river in the last two days and the situation will to improve in the coming days. The river level at Jowhar decreased slightly and today it is at 5.10 m. Using VHR satellite imagery, SWALIM identified a total of 445 km2 of flood-affected areas in the basin during this flood season. River levels will start to decrease towards the end of this week in the lower reaches of the river as the lagged flood flows stream in from upstream reaches. Moderate Risk of flooding is foreseen along the Shabelle during this week; and No flood risk the following week. Juba River: There has been a drastic reduction of river levels along the entire channel. Flooding that was recently reported has reduced in the upper reaches but some farm lands are still under water in Middle and Lower reaches. The river level at Bardheere today is at 6.18 m, which a 3.0 m drop from the last four days. Using VHR satellite imagery, SWALIM identified a total of 564 km2 of flood-affected areas along the Juba River during this flood season. Given the current situation, a Moderate Risk of flooding along the lower reaches remains in place this week; with a reduction to No flood 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 Somaliland while light rains were reported in Puntland on 25 May 2020.
Date of publication: 
May, 2020