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Flood Update for Jowhar District – Issued 16 August 2021

Observed levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia have been rising for the past two weeks. This has been attributed to moderate rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Currently, river levels at the upper reaches inside Somalia (Hiraan Region at Belet Weyne and Bulo Burti), are slightly above the normal range, while the mid and lower reaches (Middle and Lower Shabelle regions) are significantly above the normal levels at this time of the year. This has resulted in over bank spillage leading to riverine floods in parts Middle Shabelle. Further, two open river breakages in Jowhar district located in Bodale and Halgan village which are 22 km and 8 km south of Jowhar town respectively, have led to massive flooding in the area since 14 August 2021. According to field reports, several households have been affected and hundreds of crop destroyed. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (16 to 22 Aug 2021) is pointing towards moderate rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Given the forecast, river levels are expected to continue rising further in the coming week . Therefore, the flooding in Jowhar is high likely to be sustained throughout the week. Other areas to watch include riverine towns in the lower Shabelle region. Preliminary results from analysis of current status of river breakages along the Shabelle River by SWALIM indicate that there are several open and weak points and this could further exacerbate the flood situation. An updated database of the river breakages will be shared within a week.

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Flood watch bulletin

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Somalia Drought Update – Issued 26 August 2021

The failure of Dery 2020 (Oct- Dec) rainy season followed by a by a harsh and warmer than normal Jan-Mar Jilaal season, and a poorly distributed Gu 2021 (Mar/Apr-Jun) rainy season have led to mild to moderate drought conditions in some parts of Somalia. The southern parts of the country including the Middle juba, Gedo and parts of Bay and Bakool have been worst affected and are experiencing moderate drought conditions. River levels along the Juba and Shabelle rivers remained significantly below average since Mid-June and started to rise at the beginning of August following moderate rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Preliminary rainfall forecast for the coming months indicates dry conditions throughout August and September in most parts of the country except Awdal region and southern coastal areas that will continue to receive the Karan rains. According to the seasonal outlook by IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), the Deyr 2021 rainy season is expected to be below average in most parts of the country. Mild to moderate drought conditions are expected to persist in many parts of the country until early 2022 given the current situation and the Deyy 2021 rainfall outlook. Drought Severity Analysis FAO SWALIM’s Combined Drought Index (CDI) has been used to measure the magnitude and severity of drought in Somalia and it is based on remotely-sensed data of vegetation cover, temperature and rainfall. CDI analyses were complemented with field reports, including water prices, livestock and crop conditions to generate a drought severity map for the month of August 2021 (Map 1). Vegetation conditions anomaly as of 10 August are displayed in Map 2 while Figures 1 to 4 show analysis from January to July 2021. Each value in the graphs represents the persistence of dry conditions (average) in the preceding six months. The graphs demonstrate a downward trend of the index in southern regions implying that the situation has deteriorated from the previous months while an upward trend is noted in the northern regions due to improved conditions following heavy rains in May 2021.

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Drought watch

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Somalia River Breakages Update – August 2021

Recurrent flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Southern Somalia has been one of the key challenges for the riverine communities. The last 10 years have seen more than six major flood events including in; 2010, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The last three events had magnitudes larger than the one associated with the historical 50-year return period flood occurrence. Such sequential events have had hazardous impacts, eroding resilience, economic reserves, health and livelihoods. Flooding and the associated effects along the two rivers has damaged vast farmland with crops and infrastructure. Soil erosion as a results of poor watershed management has gradually led to deposition of sediment into the two rivers, causing the infilling of the riverbeds and consequently raising it. For instance, in Jowhar, in Middle Shabelle, the river bed raised by close to 1.0 m since 2015. This leads to reduced capacity of the river channel and over bank spillage in flows much lower than expected. SWALIM has been mapped twice a year the river breakages along the two rivers since 2015. This had been made possible with the use of World View Very High-Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery provided by Digital Globe. Due to lower temporal resolution of images present in Digital Globe archive, Pleiades Images provided by Airbus supplemented the image gaps in some areas. Where possible the preliminary findings from the images were verified with field observations to confirm the status of river breakages. In this case, the field river breakages surveys were carried out in Belet Weyne, Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts all along the Shabelle River. In other cases, breakages which had been verified on VHR in March 2021 and there was either cloudy images or no images at all in the current assessment have been marked as ‘Not verified’. Along the Juba River, 32 open points, 6 overflows and another 123 potential breakages and 75 potential overflows were identified. Further, 103 open points, 106 overflows and 103 potential breakages and 322 potential overflows were identified along the Shabelle River. It has been observed that the number of points either open or overflows has been increasing over the years probably due to the continuous weakening of the river banks following three years of successive heavy floods in 2018, 2019 and 2020. These points need immediate closure or reinforcement before the 2021 Deyr rainy season which is expected to start in Mid-October 2021. SWALIM is pleased to share with you district maps of the status of open river points along the Juba and Shabelle, which can be downloaded from the links below;

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Map

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Rainfall Performance Gu 2021 (March-June)

The 2021 Gu rainy season performance varied across Somalia with many places recording average to below average rainfall (Maps 1 & 2, and Annex I). The seasonal rains which started in late April lasted for three weeks and came to an early end during the first week of May 2021. During the three weeks of rainfall, some places recorded heavy rains that led to flash floods in the northern parts of the country. The southern regions recorded below normal seasonal rains, leaving many places under water stress. This follows another poor rainfall performance during the 2020 Deyr (October-December) season which led to moderate drought conditions this year that lasted till late April. Map 1 shows the cumulative rainfall amounts for March to May, while Map 2 shows a comparison of the seasonal rainfall with the long term mean for the same period both based on satellite rainfall estimates data. Both maps indicate varied rainfall performance during 2021 Gu. Positive cumulative anomalies are observed in a few places within Somaliland and localized areas in Nugaal, Mudug and Gedo regions while widespread negative anomalies are seen in most of the northern, central and southern regions of Somalia. Heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands led to increased river flow along the Juba and Shabelle rivers leading to riverine flooding in some areas. New and unrepaired open breakages on embankments of the Shabelle river also contributed to river flooding especially in Belt Weyne and Jowhar districts. The suppressed rains in the southern parts of the country and a few pockets of Puntland and Somaliland have led to poor vegetation conditions and reduced farmland activities in the agricultural areas. There has been widespread crop moisture stress in most agro pastoral areas in southern regions, resulting in poor seed germination and crop wilting. Driest conditions were reported  in Galgaduud, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba regions. As a result, FSNAU reports indicate a likely below average Gu season harvest in July/August. There is also a concern that there will be rapid deterioration of vegetation conditions in many parts of the country due to short lived Gu rains. With no rains expected until October 2021, moderate to severe drought conditions in Somalia cannot be ruled out during the mostly dry Hagaa (July to September) season.

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Rainfall Performance

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Somalia Flood Update – 13 May 2021.pdf

The coastal areas of Nugaal, Mudug and Galgaduud regions experienced heavy rains in the last 48 hours leading to flash floods in some areas. The Juba and Shabelle basins saw a significant reduction of rainfall amounts within the same period. However, observed levels continued to rise along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers both in Somalia following heavy rains in Ethiopia in the previous weeks. The rainfall forecast for the period between 12—18 May 2021 is pointing towards light to moderate rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and light rains in most parts of Somalia with exception of a few pockets in Mudug that may record moderate rains during the forecast period. Shabelle River: The flood wave from the Ethiopian highlands along the Shabelle River continued to stream into Somalia leading to gradual increase of river levels. The level in Belet Weyne today is 6.60 m which is beyond the moderate flood risk level. The reduced amounts of rainfall in the highlands has subsequently led to a slower rate of flow into Belet Weyne. However, there still remains a high risk level of flooding in Belet Weyne district as the water continue to stream in. The flood wave from Belet Weyne will be transmitted to the middle and lower reaches towards the end of the week and therefore there is a moderate risk of flooding in these areas during this week. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks, which is already causing floods in Jowhar. Juba River: The river levels along the Juba fluctuated in the last two days with a slight reduction in Dollow and Luuq stations and an increase in the mid reaches of Bardheere and Bualle. Given the rainfall forecast in the Ethiopian highlands, and the reducing river levels in upper parts of the river, the high risk of flooding changes to moderate level in the mid and lower parts of the river.

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Flood Alert

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Somalia Flood Update – 02 May 2021.pdf

Due to climate change and its associated impacts Somalia is now recording more wet and dry weather events, often with disastrous consequences for the people facing such extremes. It has become even more difficult to predict such sequential events. Currently, more than 80 percent of the country is facing drought conditions in the mid of the primary Gu rainy season. Yet, flash floods have been reported in the last two days following heavy and sporadic rains in Somaliland. In addition, limited climate change adaptive capacities has led to irresponsible socio-economic practices like cutting of river banks to extract irrigation waters, further exposing the communities to climate hazards. For instance, riverine flooding due to open river banks near Baarey and Moyko villages has been reported in Jowhar within Middle Shabelle region. With current climate models predicting extreme temperatures and rainfall in the future within the region, the country is likely to continue experiencing frequent flood and drought events with likely consequences of affecting untold numbers of people, taxing economies, disrupting food production, creating unrest and prompting migrations.

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Flood watch bulletin

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Somalia Flood Update – 19 May 2021.pdf

There was a significant reduction of rainfall amounts in most parts of Somalia as well as within the Ethiopian highlands over the last week. Inside Somalia, only a few pockets of coastline areas of Nuugal and Mudug recorded moderate to heavy rains in the last three days. The rainfall forecast for the coming week is calling for further reduction of rains in Somalia and within the Ethiopian highlands. Shabelle River: The flood wave from the Ethiopian highlands along the Shabelle River continued to stream into Somalia leading to gradual increase of river levels but with less speed compared to the previous week. The level in Belet Weyne today is 7.60 m which is beyond the high flood risk level and less than one meter below the bank-full level. Flooding has been reported this morning, in Hiraan region, upstream of Belet Weyne town specifically in Bacaad, Qooqane, Laffole, Grash, Nimcan, Leboow and Shinile villages due to a river breakage which was not fixed. Evacuation of residents from these villages is on-going. There still remains a high risk level of flooding in Belet Weyne district as the water continue to stream in. The flood wave from Belet Weyne will be transmitted to the middle and lower reaches in the course of the week and therefore there is a moderate risk of flooding in these areas during this week. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks, which is already causing floods in Jowhar. Juba River: The river levels along the Juba fluctuated over the last week with the last two days seeing a sharp reduction. The levels are currently slightly above normal. Given the rainfall forecast in the Ethiopian highlands, and the reducing trend of river levels in upper parts of the river, the moderate risk of flooding changes to minimal level in the entire channel. Users are advised that this is a forecast and at times there may be discrepancies between estimates and actual amounts of rainfall received. Information on the forecast and observed river levels is updated daily and can be found on this link: http://frrims.faoswalim.org.

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Flood Alert

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 04 May 2021

The last one week has seen a significant increase of rainfall amounts across many parts of Somalia as the Gu rainy season continues to spread.  The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates significant spread of the rains to Somaliland and the southern regions. Heavy rains are foreseen on 07 May 2021 in parts of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions. This is likely to lead to flash floods in the area. Moderate to heavy rains are expected in the Ethiopian highlands during the week in forecast.   River levels along the Shabelle have increased sharply over the last few days following heavy rains within the Ethiopian highlands. At Belet Weyne, the level is at 5.15 m while at Jowhar the level is at 3.80 m as of today. Given the rainfall forecast, the levels are expected to continue rising along the Shabelle River with moderate risk of flooding due to existing open river banks. Along Juba River, the levels are within normal in most of the stations. However, heavy rains within Bardheere district has led to a sharp increase of river levels by about 1.74 m within 24 hours. Today, the river level at Bardheere is at 6.98 m which 0.42 m below the moderate flood risk level. Given the foreseen rains in the area, this may lead to flooding in the next few days.

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Somalia Flood Update – 25 May 2021.pdf

During the last two weeks there has been minimal or no rains in most parts of Somalia, marking an early cessation of the Gu 2021 rains which also had a late onset. The rainfall forecast for the next week till end of May, shows no rains in the country. Further, no rains are expected in the month of June according to most forecast models. With a late start, short growing period and an early end of the season, drought conditions which were detected in February, may continue to impact some areas especially in the southern regions where the total rainfall recorded so far is less than the long term average. There is also a great concern in the northern regions which recorded good rains in a period of two weeks before the cessation. SWALIM will carry out an in-depth analysis of the situation in the coming days. Shabelle River: Following a reduction of rainfall amounts in the Ethiopian highlands, there was a subsequent decrease in runoff from the upper reaches of the basin to Somalia. However, flood waters from previous two weeks rainfall are still streaming into Somalia side of the basin. Today, the level in Belet Weyne is 8.25 m and is likely to reach the bank-full level any time from now, with a high risk of flooding in the town. During the last week, a few villages in the upstream parts of Belet Weyne town were affected by flooding with evacuation having taken place. The flood wave from Belet Weyne will be transmitted to the middle and lower reaches in the course of the week and therefore there is a moderate risk of flooding in these areas during this week. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks, which is already causing floods in Jowhar. Juba River: The river levels along the Juba continued to decrease over the last week. The levels are currently slightly above normal and expected to stabilize as the week progresses. Given the rainfall forecast and decreasing trend of river levels there is no risk of flooding along Juba in the coming week.

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Flood Alert

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued: 06 May 2021

The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next seven days indicates moderate to heavy rains in Somaliland and the southern regions. Most of the rainfall in Somaliland is expected to fall on 07 May 2021 and thereafter there will be a significant reduction during the week. This is likely to lead to flash floods in parts of Togdheer and Woqooyi Galbeed west of Sanaag regions. In the southern parts, the foreseen rains will be concentrated between 07 and 09 May 2021 followed by a reduction of rainfall activities. Light rains are foreseen in Puntland and central areas of the country. Moderate to heavy rains are expected in the Ethiopian highlands during the week in forecast. River levels along the Shabelle continued to increase over the last few days following heavy rains within the Ethiopian highlands and inside Somalia. At Belet Weyne, the level is at 5.38 m while at Jowhar the level is at 3.95 m as of today. Given the rainfall forecast, the levels are expected to continue rising along the Shabelle River with moderate to high risk of flooding in the coming week. According to analysis by SWALIM with support from UNOSAT on satellite images, the flooding in Jowhar reported since 04 May 2021 due to open river banks has so far inundated about 1,984 Ha of farmland. Further, eight villages have been severely affected by the flooding. Along Juba River, the levels have increased sharply over the last two days following heavy rains in the upper catchments. Given the foreseen rains in the area, this may lead to flooding in the mid section of the River especially where open river banks exist.

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Rainfall Forecast

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