Somalia Flood Advisory for Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued 13 November 2023

Flood Alert
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Juba River For more than a week now, run off from moderate to heavy rains have caused the water levels along the entire Juba River to overflow their riverbanks causing devastating floods which have led to damage to crop lands and road infrastructure rendering them impassable and cutting off access in to and out of towns and other human settlements. The rains over Bardheere have been particularly intense with up to 126 mm having been observed in the last two days. The 46-year old steel bridge at Bardheere was overtopped and eventually gave in to the floods and collapsed. The runoff from both ongoing and forecast moderate to heavy rains over the Juba River catchment will sustain the river overflows and flooding at Dollow and Luuq and worsen the flooding at Bardheere and downstream reaches. There is therefore SUSTAINED FLOODING along the entire Juba River with INCREASING MAGNITUDE at both Bardheere and downstream at Saakow and Bualle. The activated evacuation plans should therefore be sustained and along the entire stretch and upscaled at Bardheere and downstream. Shabelle River For about two weeks now, the water levels along the Shabelle River have been steadily increasing. On Saturday 11th Nov, arrival of the earlier projected floodwave from the Ethioipian Higlands led to a sharp rise in the water level at Beletweyne to bankful level (8.30 m). The subsequent riverbank overflow led to massive floods covering up top 90 % of the town only sparing the few elevated areas. The flow over the main bridge cut the town into two parts. Based on timely advisories from SWALIM, SoDMA/MoHADM and other partners, the population had been safely evacuated to designated higher grounds by the time the floods started. Subsequent voluminous inflows have led to further spread of the floodwaters as reported today. Floods have also been observed at Balcad as a result of river breakages. The river level at Bulo Burte is steadily rising, and now only 36 cm below the high flood risk level and 126 cm below bankful. At Jowhar the level is only 65 cm below moderate risk level. The runoff from the ongoing and forecast moderate rains over the Shabelle River catchment upstream in Ethiopia and near the Somalia border will sustain the current bankful water levels at Beletweyne. Additionally, voluminous water measuring up to 9 km can be identified on the current satellite images upstream of Beletweyne in Ethiopia. There is a high likelihood that the arrival of this flood wave will lead to further significant river level rise and flooding at Beletweyne in the coming days. The run off from the forecast very heavy rains over the Shabelle River catchment on the eastern parts of Bulo Burte in the coming week will add to the downstream flow of the flood wave currently at from Beletwyene leading to rise in river levels at Bulo Burte, Jalalaqsi and Jowhar to high flood risk levels then bankful levels. Flash floods are also expected in Bulo Burti and surrounding areas following the very heavy rainfall expected over the next 3 days. There is therefore ONGOING FLOODING WITH INCREASING MAGNITUDE at BeletWeyne and its environs and ONGOING FLOODING WITH MODERATE MAGNITUDE at Balcad and its environs and HIGH RISK OF FLOODING at Bulo Burte and its environs and PROJECTED HIGH RISK at Jowhar and its environs. The activated evacuation plans should therefore be sustained at Beletweyne town and the surrounding areas. The evacuation plans should be activated at Bulo Burte and surrounding areas. The evacuation plans should be placed on standby at Jowhar and surrounding areas.
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Date of publication: 
November, 2023