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Somalia Flood Update and Analysis in BeletWeyne - Issued 16-09-2020

Current ongoing floods affected more than 132,000 ha of agricultural land and 294 villages in Belet Weyne, Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye, a positive trend in flood frequency is observed in Belet Weyne, especially in the last 5 years. The severity of the floods has also gone up with time. Gu season is most vulnerable, as more floods occurred during this time, a positive trend of annual rainfall amounts has also been observed. This can be lined to climate change, but subject to further analysis,a new analysis of the status of Shabelle and Juba river was finalized by SWALIM indicates that there are 154 open river breakages which pose threat to flooding.

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Flood watch bulletin

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Flood Update - Issued 05 August 2020

Unusual Haggai (July—August) seasonal rains persisted in some parts of the southern regions of Somalia during the last week. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands also saw significant amounts of rainfall during the same period. Consequently, observed river levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia continued to rise over the last week. The current Shabelle river levels in Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions are currently above the historical normal range while the levels are at bank full levels in Lower Shabelle. Flooding has been reported in parts of Belet Weyne district within Hawa-Hako and Hilaac sections displacing unconfirmed number of people. Other areas where floods have been reported include Mahadey Weyne and Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts. The situation has been exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks especially in Jowhar and Balcad districts where more than 20, 000Ha of land remains inundated. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (04—10 August 2020) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Observed river levels along the Shabelle River are expected to continue rising further in the coming week following the foreseen rains. Flooding in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle will be sustained in the coming week given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to watch include Jowhar town and its environs; where the river level is near full crest and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. There exists several open river bank points in these areas and this will only worsen the situation.

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Flood Update for Shabelle - Issued 11 August 2020

The Ethiopian highlands have received heavy rainfall since beginning of July 2020, which has caused significant increase in Shabelle river flow in Somalia. The river level at Belet Weyne today is 6.75m surpassing the moderate level of flooding in the area. In Bulo Burti, the levels are increasing steadily and today the river level is ta 5.40m, which is 1.10m meters below the moderate risk level of flooding. Flooding has been reported in Belet Weyne district following the existence of open river bank points and weak river embankments. According to analysis based on remotely sensed data, about 11 villages have been affected by the unusual floods while 6 km2 of agricultural land has been inundated in the district. This follows another flood season (Gu 2020) that saw massive destruction of properties in the area and damage of crops. It is worth noting that the existence of open river breakages and weak river embankments have exacerbated the flooding. Further, there has been massive sedimentation along the Shabelle River bed in the recent past, which has caused a rise in the riverbed with about 0.5 m. There are several ongoing efforts to mitigate the recurrent flooding in the district by the local communities, Hirshabelle authority and foreign aid. However, a long-term solution is needed which includes river basin management.

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Flood Update for Shabelle River - Issued 13 August 2020

During the last week, there was a reduction of rainfall amounts in the southern parts of Somalia. On 11th August, a heavy storm was observed in Somaliland in Salaxley area, about 60km south of Hargeisa. The rainfall station in that area recorded a total of 44mm in less than 24 hours. This led to a significant damage of infrastructure including schools, houses, roads, electricity and interruption of communication network in the area. Moderate to heavy rains persisted in the upper reaches of the Shabelle Basin in Ethiopia during the same period. Consequently, river levels at Belet Weyne and other stations along the Shabelle inside Somalia continued to rise. Todays’ river level at Belet Weyne is 6.85m which means less than half a meter below the high risk level of flooding. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (13-19 August 2020) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. Little or no rains are foreseen in the basin within Somalia. Observed river levels along the Shabelle River are expected to continue rising further in the coming week following the foreseen rains in the upper catchment. Flooding along the Shabelle will be sustained in the coming week given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to be monitored include Belet Weyne, Jalalaqsi, Jowhar town and its environs where the river level is near full crest, and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks.

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Gu 2020 Rainfall Performance (March to June 2020)

The 2020 Gu rainy season was generally good with many areas in Somalia recording normal to above normal rains (Map 1 & 2 and Annex I). There was an early start of the season in late March in some areas and continued to spread spatially with a peak during the last two weeks of April. The season came to an early end during the second half of May. The good rains were beneficial to most water dependent sectors which saw a boost in the growth of pasture and crops in many areas and especially in the north eastern and central parts of the country which had a poor rainfall performance in the previous season. The rains also contributed to significant ground water recharge which had been depleted previously. There was also an improvement in animal body conditions thus more reproduction and availability of milk and meat. On the other hand, the heavy rains experienced in April led to both flash and riverine flooding affecting about 919 0001 people of whom 411, 905 were displaced and 24 killed. Further, along the Juba and Shabelle basins, more than 100,000 km2 of land was inundated as seen in Annex II. Belet Weyne town in Hiraan region was the worst affected by the floods and remained submerged for over two weeks. It is also worth noting that while the overall rainfall amounts for the season are mostly average to above average, there was a prolonged dry period since mid-May that is adversely impacting crop harvest prospects.

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Rainfall Performance

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Flood advisory for Lower Shabelle - Issued 24 July 2020

Observed river levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia have been rising for the past two weeks. This has been attributed to heavy rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and localized rains in Lower Shabelle. The current Shabelle river levels at the upper reaches in Somalia are slightly above the historical normal range, while the lower reaches are at bank full levels. This has resulted in over bank spillage leading to riverine floods in parts of Jowhar, Balcad, Genaale and Afgooye. About 24,000Ha land is currently inundated along the Shabelle affecting over 150 villages. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (24—30 July 2020) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and within Lower Shabelle inside Somalia. Observed river levels along the Shabelle River are expected to continue rising further in the coming week following the foreseen rains. Flooding in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle will be sustained in the coming week given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to watch include Jowhar town and its environs; where the river level is near full crest and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks. Along the Juba river levels are within normal for this period of the year.

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Flood Alert

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Somali Floods Update - Issued 02 June 2020

There was further reduction of rainfall during the week ending on 31 May 2020 as we approach the end of the Gu rainy season which usually ends in late May in some places and early June in others. A few pockets in the southern and northeastern regions however recorded light to moderate rains. In Somaliland, a heavy storm on 29 May led to flash floods in Hargeisa causing three human deaths and destruction of properties. The rainfall forecast for the week ending on 07 June 2020 is calling for rainfall amounts less than 50 mm cumulatively in coastal parts of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions. A few pockets of Bari, Sanaag and Sool will receive some light to moderate rains until the end of the week. Moderate rains are also expected in the Juba and Shabelle headwaters in Ethiopia during the forecast week. The rest of the country will remain dry. With the significant reduction of rains and subsequent decrease of river levels along the two rivers, there is no is foreseen risk of flooding this week and the coming one. Shabelle River: River levels at Belet Weyne, which remained at bank-full for 17 days since 12 May 2020, started to drop on 29 May 2020. Today, the river level is at 5.50m. The flood situation in the district improved greatly during the week with most water having drawn back to the river and residents who had earlier evacuated to higher grounds started to go back to their homes. However, some areas are still water logged with standing water posing a threat of waterborne diseases. In Bulo Burti the river remained high over the past week, with a section of the Indha Ceel village affected by floods. The river level at Jowhar slightly decreased and today it is at 5.05m, which is 0.50m below the high flood risk level. River levels have also started to decrease in the lower reaches and this trend is expected to continue before stabilizing in the coming week. No risk of flooding is foreseen this week. Juba River: There has been a drastic reduction of river levels along the entire channel. Flooding that was recently reported has reduced in middle and lower reaches. The river level at Bardheere today is at 5.32m which is about 3.0m below the high risk flood level. With no foreseen rains, the river levels will continue to drop this week and stabilize in the coming week. No risk of flooding is foreseen along the entire channel of Juba. In Bay and Bakool regions: Little to no rains were recorded during the week. The forecast for this week indicates reduced rainfall prospects in these regions with no flood risk anticipated. Somaliland, Puntland, and Central regions: One day of heavy storm that lasted less than an hour was observed in Somaliland leading to flash floods. In Puntland, there were light to moderate rains between 26 and 30 May in a few areas. The forecast for the coming week indicates light to moderate rains in few places of Bari, Sanaag and Sool regions. The rest of the area will remain dry.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued 07 May 2020

The ongoing Gu seasonal rains in the country have led to disruption of road networks in some areas which have experienced flash floods and riverine flooding. The most recent affected area was Badhan district in Sanaag region that received heavy rains on 05 and 06 May leading to flash floods that left tens of households displaced. Unconfirmed acreage of cropland has also been destroyed. Flash floods were also reported in the wadis of Bay and Bakool regions which have been experiencing heavy rains since the beginning of the season. The rainfall forecast for the coming week is for increased rainfall in the southern regions as well as the Ethiopian highlands. In the next three days, moderate to heavy rains are expected in these regions. This is likely to lead to flash floods especially in Bay, Bakool and Lower Juba where the rains will be intensified. A reduction of rainfall amounts is expected in the northern regions which will record light to moderate rains during the week. The river levels in Gedo, along the Juba reduced slightly in the last three days while an increasing trend was observed in Middle Juba and Lower Juba. Flooding is expected to continue during the week along the lower reaches of the river. The River levels along the Shabelle River at Belet Weyne today is at 7.74m which about half a meter away from the bank full level (8.30m). Since last night flooding has been reported in parts of the district specifically in two sections of Hawo Tako settlement (Dhagax Jebis and Shaah Macaan) where residents have began evacuating. In Jowhar, the river level has remained at the high flood risk level of 5.30m for the last one week. Given the forecast and existing high river levels, flooding alert remains in place for Belet Weyne until further notice.

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Somali Floods Update - Issued 11 May 2020

The current Gu (April-June 2020) season rains continued with moderate to high intensity in many places across Somalia during the week that ended on 10 May 2020. The eastern Ethiopian highlands, which are responsible for most of the river flow along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers, also recorded significant amounts of rainfall during the same period. Heavy rains led to flash floods in northern regions and riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in the south. The rainfall forecast for the week ending on 17 May 2020 shows a significant reduction of rains across Somalia, with rainfall confined mostly to southern and coastal parts of southern Somalia. However, along the Juba and Shabelle rivers high to moderate flood risk is likely to persist in the next two weeks because of incoming river flow from the upper catchments. The high Shabelle and Juba river levels are expected to continue to threaten urban and riverine populations along the two rivers. Shabelle River: River levels continued to rise following heavy rains within the Shabelle River basin in both Ethiopia and inside Somalia. Mataban, Belet Weyne, Bulo Burti, Jowhar and Balcad rainfall stations recorded over 50mm in the last week. Today, 11 May, the river level at Belet Weyne is 8.10m, which is already above the High flood-risk threshold and just 0.20m less than the bank-full level of 8.30m. Parts of Belet Weyne riverine areas have been experiencing flooding since the end of last week, where many HH’s have since evacuated. The river level at Jowhar continued to rise slowly reaching 5.3m as of today, which is above the high flood-risk threshold and only 0.2m below the 5.5 m bank-full level. Flooding is currently reported also in Jalaalaqsi. Localized flooding continued in Tugaarey village within Jowhar district inundating over 500 hectares of farmland and displacing over 400 households. A similar trend has been observed in Balcad and the lower reaches of the river where flooding was reported in Kurtunwaarey. The levels are expected to continue rising along the entire channel of Shabelle as more waters from the eastern Ethiopian highlands are still streaming in. High risk of flooding is foreseen along the Shabelle during this week; and Moderate Risk the following week. It is advisable that riverine communities within low-lying areas of Belet Weyne who have not evacuated yet to do so, while following guidelines by the local authorities. Existence of river breakages (50 points identified and reported by SWALIM in February 2020) along the Shabelle is likely to exacerbate the flooding unless urgent measures are taken in river management. Juba River: River levels increased significantly in the last three days at Dollow, Luuq and Bardheere monitoring stations, all within Gedo region. Flooding has been reported for two days and expected to continue in the week due to the high flows being transmitted from Ethiopian and Kenyan sides. Using high-resolution satellite images, SWALIM identified more than 50 Km2 of flood-affected areas along the Juba since 23 April 2020 and has continued to increase to date. Affected areas include Dollow, Belet Hawa, Luq, Saakow, Buaale, Jilib and Jamame districts. Given the current high levels and rainfall forecast, there is a High risk of flooding along the entire Juba river channel this week; and Moderate Risk the following week. In Bay and Bakool regions: Moderate to heavy rains were recorded in Bay and Bakool regions over the last week. The forecast for this week indicates reduced rainfall prospects in these regions with no flood risk anticipated. Somaliland, Puntland, and Central regions: Since the beginning of the current rainy season in April, moderate to heavy rains have been reported in many parts of the northern and central regions. However, there was a reduction of rainfall in Somaliland while moderate to high precipitation were reported in parts of Puntland. Heavy storms in Baran (Sanaag region) on 06 and 07 May 2020 led to severe flash floods and destruction of properties and cropland. This week will see a reduction of rainfall amounts in both northern and central regions with no risk of flash floods expected.

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Somali Floods Update - Issued 18 May 2020

The Gu (April-June) season to date has seen significant rainfall across Somalia with many areas recording more than twice their average rainfall over the period. The rains which intensified since mid-April have been well distributed in terms of space and time. The heavy rains have left many areas water logged for weeks. In particular, the Juba and Shabelle basins have had excessive flows that will keep flood risks high during this week and at moderate risk in the coming week. On the down side still, the wet conditions and ample vegetation have created favorable conditions for the spread of desert locust infestation across Somalia. On the up side of the rains, there has been tremendous improvement of vegetation conditions and overall water availability throughout Somalia. In most parts of Somalia, Gu season rainfall usually start to decline starting in mid to late May. The rainfall forecast for the week ending on 24 May 2020 shows a significant reduction of rains across Somalia, with rainfall of up to 50 mm cumulatively confined mostly to coastal parts of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions. The Juba and Shabelle rivers’ high to moderate flood risk is likely to persist during this week due to continuing high flows from the upper catchments. Shabelle River: There was a reduction of rainfall amounts in the basin during the last week. River levels at Belet Weyne have remained at bank-full since 12 May 2020 to date, leading to extensive flooding of the flood plain riverine areas. More than 230 km2 have been flooded including 11 km2 of urban land and 225 km2 of agricultural land. The levels are expected to start going down at Belet Weyne in the next 2 – 3 days. The river level at Jowhar decreased slightly and is at 5.20 m today. River levels are expected to remain high in the lower reaches of the river as the lagged flood flows stream in from upstream reaches and rivers flow bank full through to Qoryoley. High risk of flooding is foreseen along the Shabelle during this week; and Moderate Risk the following week. Existence of river breakages (50 points identified and reported by SWALIM in February 2020) along the Shabelle will exacerbate the flooding unless emergency repair measures are taken. Juba River: River levels increased significantly beginning of last week at Dollow, Luuq and Bardheere gauging stations, all within Gedo region. Flooding that was reported has reduced although some farm lands are still under water in Dollow and Luuq districts. The river level at Bardheere has remained at 9.00m for the last seven days, but is expected to start going down in the next 2-3 days. Using VHR satellite imagery, SWALIM identified more than 10 km2 of flood-affected areas in Gedo region and approximately 140 km2 of inundated land in Middle and Lower Juba regions. Currently, affected areas include Dollow, Luuq, Saakow, Buaale, Jilib and Jamame districts. Given the current high levels in Bardheere, a High risk of flooding along the entire Juba river channel remains in place this week; with a reduction to Moderate Risk the following week. In Bay and Bakool regions: Little to no rains were recorded during the week. The forecast for this week indicates reduced rainfall prospects in these regions with no flood risk anticipated. Somaliland, Puntland, and Central regions: No rains were reported in the northern regions during the last week. This week will see a reduction of rainfall amounts in both northern and central regions with no risk of flash floods expected.

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