Status of Juba and Shabelle River Breakages - March 2017

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The Gu 2017 (March/April to June) rainfall forecast points towards near-normal to below-normal rains within the Juba and Shabelle River basins. However, flooding along the two rivers may still occur, especially in areas with open river banks/weak river embankments, in the event of increased river flow. SWALIM has updated the status of the river breakages by mapping them using available Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM); as well as verifications based on field observations where feasible. All the observations reported refers to the latest suitable VHR satellite image available, which is indicated in the online database. Four types of breakages have been identified, namely; open, potential, closed with sandbags and closed. The open breakages are those that are still open as observed on the latest VHR image available, therefore a field verification is needed before planning any repair. The potential breakages represent points that have weak river embankments. The closed with sandbags points are defined here as those that been temporarily closed with sandbags making them still vulnerable for further breakages. The closed points are those that were previously open but have since been closed using heavy machinery, which prevents further flooding in the short to medium term. The attached maps show the open, potential and closed with sandbags points along the two rivers. In summary, eighteen (18) open points along the Shabelle and nineteen (19) along the Juba were identified. Several other points, which are either potential or temporarily closed with sandbags, have been identified. It is worth noting that the methodology relies heavily on satellite images with limited field verification. Open breakages might have been omitted in some cases where satellite images may not have been very clear (e.g. heavy cloud cover) or were not available at all. Maps of the status of river breakages, with detailed information, have been produced at large scale and can be obtained from SWALIM offices.
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Date of publication: 
March, 2017