Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued Aug 2019

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The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) Project, has finalised the analysis and mapping of the river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle rivers using very high resolution satellite imagery. Breakages identified in the map have been classified into six different categories; Open, Overflow, Potential Overflows, Potential breakages, Closed with sandbags and Closed. A legend/Key for further explanation of the different types of breakages is provided here A total of 84 Open points have been identified, 39 on the Shabelle River and 45 on the Juba River which require immediate attention. Due to the low Gu rainfall, no new overflow points were identified as the river levels did not reach overflow threshold. However some overflows could be expected when river level rises above the normal rate. Several other points, which are either potential or temporarily closed with sandbags, have also been identified. The ongoing rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands have resulted to increased river levels in the lower reaches of the Shabelle River, causing floods in some areas of Jowhar and Balcad districts. With the rainfall outlook indicating above normal rains during the October - December Dery rain season, river levels are expected to increase with a likelihood of flooding especially where open and potential points have been identified. There is therefore an immediate need to close the open points and reinforce areas where there are weak river embankments. Temporary measures can be taken before the season begins. SWALIM is pleased to share with you maps and tables of the status of river breakages along the two rivers. Hardcopies can be obtained from FAO SWALIM offices. It is worth noting that the methodology is biased towards Remote Sensing (RS) interpretation with only limited “ground truthing” due to access constraints. Open breakages and overflows might have been omitted or classified as potential in some cases where satellite images were not available or may not have been very clear due to heavy cloud cover and dense vegetation cover.
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Date of publication: 
July, 2019