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.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations