Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued September 2020

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Following three consecutive significant rainy seasons, (Dery 2019, Gu 2020 and Hagaa 2020-traditionally dry) river levels along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers have remained high for a long period with flooding due to overbank spillage and existing river breakages/weak embankments. The high rains and subsequent floods of Gu 2020 saw new open river banks. SWALIM has updated the status of the river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers using available Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM); supported by “limited ground truthing” field observations, where feasible. Four types of breakages have been identified, namely; open, overflow, potential overflows and closed with sandbags. The open breakages are those that are currently open as observed on the latest VHR image available. The open breakages are further categorised into four classes in a chronological order, according to the assessment date and/or their former status as seen in the maps. All the observations reported refers to the latest suitable VHR satellite image available, which is indicated in the online database. 154 Open points have been identified, 109 on the Shabelle River and 45 on the Juba River which require immediate action. It is noted that several new breakages occurred during the Gu 2020 season which was exceptionally good along the two rivers. Belet Weyne district was worst affected along the Shabelle while Bu’aale district was worst affected along the Juba. SWALIM has also embarked on a ground truthing survey along the Shabelle River in Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts. The survey aims to monitor existing open and weak riverbanks while capturing the dimensions of each point. The findings of the survey will be key to planning and interventions on those points. SWALIM is pleased to share with you maps and tables of the status of river breakages along the two rivers in the links below. This information is also available on the SWALIM website. Users are advised that the methodology is biased towards Remote Sensing (RS) interpretation with only limited “ground truthing” due to access constraints. 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.
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Date of publication: 
September, 2020