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Flood Advisory for Middle and Lower Shabelle (Issued: 21 August 2019)

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 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.

The rainfall forecast for the coming week (21 to 27 Aug 2019) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and moderate rains in parts of Lower Shabelle. Given the forecast, river levels are expected to continue rising further in the coming week .

There is therefore a high risk of flooding in the coming few days in Middle and Lower reaches of the Shabelle river given the current situation and the foreseen rains. Areas to watch include Jowhar town and its environs; where the river level is currently at full crest (Figure 1), and other riverine towns in the lower Shabelle region. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations