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Somalia Drought Update and GU 2022 Rainfall Performance – Issued 14 June 2022

The 2022 Gu rainy season in Somalia came to an early end in May, with depressed rainfall amounts recorded and forecasts indicating little to no rainfall through mid-June . The overall seasonal rainfall performance was poor. The northern areas recorded 30% to 60% of the average rainfall while the central and southern areas received 45 % to 75%. This marks a fourth consecutive failed rainy season since late 2020. Gu season rainfall has moderated drought conditions in most parts of the country as it replenished pasture and water resources. However, this improvement is expected to be short-lived as and drought conditions are expected to worsen throughout the prolonged dry Hagaa (July-September) dry season. Current climate forecasts indicate a 62 per cent chance of La Niña  during the June to August 2022 period (IRI). La Niña is generally associated with drought conditions in the Horn of Africa region, including Somalia. The next seasonal rains are not expected until mid-October and available long-range forecasts indicate that a record fifth below-average rainy season is likely across Somalia during the forthcoming October and December 2022 Deyr season. This could set the conditions for a worsening multi-season drought well into 2023. More than 80 per cent of Somalia is currently facing severe to extreme drought conditions. The drought severity levels are comparable to that of 2010/11 and 2016/17 as seen in Annex I. Water resources are expected to decline drastically during the forthcoming dry season as water demand and use increases. In Garowe, there was abnormal drop in ground water level of seven meters between October 2021 and May 2022 (Annex II). The Juba and Shabelle River levels are currently 30 percent below the short-term average, with limited water available to support irrigation of crops and other uses. The river levels are expected to decrease further in the coming weeks and months. The vegetation conditions that had improved in some areas as a results of the Gu season rains are expected to be depleted soon due to the low level of biomass recovery and likely influx of livestock into these areas. The Prospects for Gu season cereal production remain bleak, with crop failure expected in many areas . Due to the poor rains, some communities did not plant during this season. Dry and hot conditions will continue across most parts of the country during this dry Haggai (June/July-September ) season except for parts of Somaliland that will receive moderate Karan rains. With no significant rains foreseen until the next rainy season in October, and the La Nina predictions, the current drought situation will deteriorate further in Somalia. The negative trends are not expected to reverse until the arrival of Deyr (Oct-Dec) 2022 rains. However, the preliminary forecast for the Deyr 2022 season is also below average—FEWSNET

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 04 May 2022

In the last one week many parts of Somalia recorded moderate rains. In Somaliland, stations like Amoud, Borama, Yagori, Waridaad and Malawle recorded significant rains of above 70 mm. In the South, many stations including Bur Hakabar, Balcad, Bardheere and Buale recorded rainfall between 15mm to 25mm. The last 24 hours saw heavy rains in parts of Puntland in Bari region and areas around Las Canood. This has led to flash floods subsequently causing damage in different sectors. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week indicates moderate to heavy rains in parts of the central and southern regions of the country especially in Galgaduud, Hiraan and Lower Juba, while light to moderate rainfall of below 30 mm is expected within the Ethiopian highlands. Most parts of Somaliland and Puntland are expected to receive little or no rains in the coming one week. Given the rainfall forecast, flash flooding may occur in the southern areas of Galgaduud region and along the coastal areas of Lower Juba between 04 and 05 May 2022, . While the rains experienced since the start of the Gu season have reduced water stress in many areas, it is worth noting that, the foreseen rains in the coming week are not yet sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, and more rains with good temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to improve the situation. Besides, the cumulative rainfall forecast for the month of May 2022 is expected to be below normal in most parts of the country according to ICPAC.    With the rains experienced during the last week in the country and the Ethiopian highlands, river levels along the Juba and Shabelle increased sharply over the last few days and will continue increasing during the week in focus with no risk of flooding.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 19 May 2022

In the last two weeks there has been a significant reduction of rainfall across Somalia except for a few places along the southern coast. Generally, the seasonal rains have been low in parts of the country, while in other parts localized heavy storms were experienced within a few days, resulting to flash floods such as Las Anod in Sool Region, Ceerigabo in Sanaag, and Jedaal/Ufeyn in Bari Region. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next seven days shows light rains along the coastal areas of Lower Juba. Scattered light rains are also expected in parts of the central and southern regions. Most parts of Somaliland and Puntland will remain dry within the coming week. In the Ethiopian highland where Juba and Shabelle Rivers originate light rains are expected within the same period. It is worth noting that the Gu 2022 rainy season started late in Somalia, and the rainfall amounts recorded so far are below normal in many parts of the country, with poor temporal and spatial distribution. More rains are required to alleviate the current drought conditions. With no significant rains foreseen as the season comes to an end, the existing drought situation may deteriorate further in all the water dependent sectors. River levels along the Juba and Shabelle reduced over the last one week, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming week, given the rainfall forecast.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 25 May 2022

The last two weeks have seen a significant reduction of rainfall across Somalia marking a possible early end of the Gu 2022 rainfall season. There is cause for concern as observed rainfall records indicate that some parts in the central regions of Galmudug as well as Bari and Nugaal regions in Puntland received minimal rains since the start of the season. Cumulatively, the rainfall amounts recorded so far are below average with a typical poor distribution in space and time. This marks the fourth consecutive failed rainy season in Somalia, a situation that has not been witnessed in the recent history. According to current climate model (https://iri.columbia.edu/our-expertise/climate/forecasts/enso/current/), indicate there is 62 per cent (62%) chance of the La Nina phenomena during the June to August 2022 period. The phenomena is largely associated with drier than normal periods in the country. With no significant rains foreseen as the season comes to an end and the La Nina predictions, the existing drought situation will deteriorate further in Somalia. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next seven days is calling for a further reduction of the seasonal rains with light rains expected in pockets of a few regions. In the same period moderate to low rains are expected in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands. River levels along the Juba and Shabelle reduced over the last one week, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming week, given the rainfall forecast.  

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 20 April 2022

After a prolonged dry period of three weeks since the start of the Gu rains, parts of the southern regions in Somalia recorded light to moderate rains in the last few days. The central and northern parts of the country however remained dry. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week indicates moderate to heavy rains in the southern regions as well as within the Ethiopian highlands. In the north, light rains are foreseen in pockets Sanaag while moderate rains are expected in Woqooyi Galbeed and Toghdeer regions. The central and Puntland areas will remain dry during the forecast period. It is worth noting that, the foreseen rains in the coming week are not yet sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, and more rains with good temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to improve the situation.    River levels along the Juba and Shabelle started to increase over the last few days and are expected to continue with the increasing trend during the week in focus.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 27 April 2022

In the last one week the southern regions as well as parts of Somaliland recorded moderate rains while the central and larger parts of Puntland remained dry. In Somaliland, Awdal and Wooqoyi Galbeed regions recorded significant rains between 24 and 26 April with some areas receiving over 50mm of rainfall. Likewise, Gedo region in Dollow district recorded heavy rains on 25 April. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week indicates moderate to heavy rains in most parts of the country as well as within the Ethiopian highlands. Specifically, heavy rains are expected towards the end of the week in focus around 2nd and 3rd of May in pockets of Wooqoyi Galbeed, Sanaag, Togdheer, Lower Shabelle and Bay regions. While the rains will lead to immediate relief of water stress in many areas, it is worth noting that, the foreseen rains in the coming week are not yet sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, and more rains with good temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to improve the situation.    River levels along the Juba and Shabelle are expected to continue increasing during the week in focus with no risk of flooding.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 13 April 2022

The Gu rains which started in the second half of March 2022 in parts of Somalia were followed by a prolonged dry period of more than 15 days making the rains ineffective. The prolonged dry period led to a significant water deficit further deteriorating the drought conditions. The last two days have seen scattered light rains in a few places in the southern parts of the country while the northern parts remained dry. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week indicates light to moderate rains in the southern and central regions as well as within the Ethiopian highlands. Light rains are foreseen in pockets of the northern regions during the forecast period It is worth noting that, the foreseen rains in the coming week are not sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, more rains with good temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to improve the situation.    River levels along the Juba and Shabelle are still within the historical minimum and are expected to start increasing at the end of the April given the rainfall forecast.

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Somalia Drought Update & GU 2022 Rainfall Outlook–Issued March 2022

Many parts of the country remained generally dry throughout the month of February 2022 leading to persistence of drought conditions. Pasture and water are in extremely poor conditions and close to a complete depletion in key pastoral livelihoods across Somalia. Severe water crises has resulted to increased water trucking and prices, which pastoral and agro pastoral households meet through increased debt accumulation and/or livestock sales. Current drought conditions are expected to worsen until the start of Gu season rainfall in April. The high demand for water is overstretching the few functional permanent water sources in the country. Preliminary results from the ongoing SWALIM water sources survey across the country indicate 15 to 24 pumping hours per day for many boreholes. Body condition of small ruminants and cattle has deteriorated to poor and very poor conditions, leading to death of offspring (calves, kids, lambs) as well as lactating animals due to prolonged drought conditions. Livestock migration options remain limited due to exhausted rangelands and weak body conditions. Current river levels along the Juba and Shabelle rivers are currently below their historical minimum, with dry riverbeds observed in many sections of the two rivers. This conditions will get worse until the start of Gu season rainfall in April.

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Rainfall Outlook

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 25 March 2022

In the last 24 hours, a few places in Somalia received light to moderate rains marking a possible start of the Gu rain season. Galdogob and Galckaayo in the central areas recorded 37 mm and 14 mm respectively. Field reports also indicate that there was moderate rains in parts of Bay and Bakool regions during the same period. It is worth noting that, the foreseen rains in the coming week are not sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, more rains with good temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to improve the situation. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week indicates a continuous spread of rains in the southern and central regions. No rains are foreseen in the northern regions during the forecast period. In the Ethiopian highland, whose rainfall is largely responsible for increase in river flow along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia, light to moderate rainfall is foreseen in the coming week. River levels along the Juba and Shabelle are still within the historical minimum and are expected to start increasing in April given the rainfall forecast.

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Somalia Drought Update & April 2022 Rainfal Outlook

The latest rainfall forecast from ICPAC is now indicating that below normal rains are expected in the country during April. Forecasts from other sources also show higher chances of below normal rains in Southern Somalia and normal rains in the rest of the country for the period April through June. Given forecast La Nina conditions which are expected to persist in April, ongoing drought in Somalia will worsen in April and possibly continue at least through mid-2022. Worst affected areas will be central and southern parts of the country. SWALIM’s drought monitoring based on field reports and the Combined Drought Index indicates that, currently, about 80% of the country is facing extreme drought conditions. This has continued to cause loss of livestock and human suffering. Water shortage is widespread. Water and food prices remain high and continue to rise in many areas. Preliminary results from an ongoing survey of boreholes in Puntland indicates that water trucking is on the rise with some boreholes serving more than 15 trucks per day. This has in turn led to extended pumping hours where over 60% of them are operating for more than 12 hours in a day. There has been a wide disruption of normal activities in some areas where children have stopped going to school. The lack of water and pasture for livestock has impacted negatively to the animal conditions with livestock deaths increasing in many areas and an increasing proportion of the surviving ones being in very weak conditions. Juba and Shabelle river levels continued to decrease during the month of March. The graphs in Figure 2 & 3 show comparison of 2021/22 and the short term mean (2002 to 2022) for Shabelle and Juba river levels at Belet Weyne and Luuq stations, respectively. Current river levels are lower than the short term mean for both stations. Irrigated agriculture in the lower reaches of the two rivers have been seriously hampered by the low river levels . At Luuq along the Juba river in Gedo region, the unprecedented low river levels has exposed the dry river bed. According to the revised March to May 2022 seasonal forecast issued by IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) on 28 March 2022, there is a greater likelihood of below average rainfall in April 2022 in the southern pars of Somalia as well as the adjacent Ethiopian highlands as shown on Map 2. High temperatures are expected during the same month of April. High temperatures will lead to increased evaporation and increased demand for water among livestock, leading to worsening drought conditions. Following the failure of three consecutive rainy seasons since October 2020, and forecast below average 2022 Gu season rainfall, the cumulative effect will likely lead to extended and worsening drought conditions in Somalia. The seasonal rains started in the last week of March in some southern and a few places in the north, briefing a temporary relief to these areas. Drought condition will likely persist and could even worsen unless the rains continue in the coming weeks and months. While current forecasts indicate a likely below average March to May 2022 Gu season rainfall, flash floods or extended dry periods may occur in some areas. SWALIM will keep updating this forecast for shorter lead time and will share with you through regular bulletins throughout the rainfall season.

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Status of river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia – February 2022

Three consecutive poor rainy seasons within the Juba and Shabelle River basins inside Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands have led to the current serious hydrological drought along the two rivers. The river levels in the upper sections are currently at their historical minimum, while the mid and lower sections of the Shabelle River having run dry. With no rains expected in February and most of March, the river flow will continue to decline. The reduced river flow along the two rivers has negatively impacted agriculture production, domestic and livestock water use. This has also led to an increase of new river breakages as the riverine communities attempt to extract the limited resource to support livelihood activities. SWALIM has completed analysis and mapping of the river breakages along the two rivers using very high resolution satellite images acquired thanks to the kind contribution of the Embassy of France. The study has identified 101 open points along the Shabelle, out of which 24 points are new and the rest have remained open since the last survey in August 2021. Along the Juba River, 35 open points were identified out of which 5 are new points. During this drought period, it is expected that the riverine communities will continue to extract water from the rivers by breaching the banks and this will only see an increase of the open river bank points. Several other weak points which are not necessarily open but have the potential to overflow or break were identified during the analysis. This information is available in the SWALIM Flood Risk and Response Information Management System (http://frrims.faoswalim.org/rivers/breakages). It is worth noting that since the last survey in August 2021, several agencies including FAO have made efforts to close about 23 of the open river banks and reinforced about 37 of weak river embankments that could otherwise flood when river levels rise. With the Gu rains expected in April 2022, the rise in river levels will consequently lead to floods resulting from the existing open river bank points and weak river embankments. It is therefore advisable to close the open points and reinforce the weak points before the start of the Gu season to avoid the negative impacts of riverine flooding. The methodology heavily relied on satellite imageries with limited field verification. Open breakages might have been omitted in some cases due to cloud cover or vegetation cover along the embankments

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Somalia Drought Update - Issued 27 January 2022

The poor rains during the last three consecutive seasons (October 2020 to December 2021) have caused widespread and worsening drought conditions across most parts of Somalia. This has resulted in failed crop harvests, widespread water shortage, triggering abnormal livestock migration, decline in livestock production and increased livestock deaths. Water and food prices have continued to rise sharply. Since December 2021 the drought severity has notably worsened. As of January 2022, most parts of the country are experiencing Severe drought conditions, with Jubaland and central regions and adjacent areas already in Extreme drought. Somaliland, which was previously less affected is now experiencing Moderate to Severe drought conditions following an influx of both humans and livestock and a rapid depletion of rangeland conditions.

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Somalia Drought Update – Issued 22 December 2021

Drought severity in Somalia has continued to worsen following prolonged dry period characterized by high temperatures. The drought conditions in Jubaland in southern parts of the country have deteriorated from severe to extreme. Other areas that were experiencing mild drought conditions in the north are now facing moderate levels of drought with the situation expected to get worse. Wells are drying up rapidly while the river levels along the Juba and Shabelle continue to decrease at an alarming rate. Currently, more than 90 percent of the country is experiencing drought conditions at different severity magnitudes with the southern and central parts being worst affected. Pasture and water came to a complete depletion in many areas leaving about 169,000 in displacement as of today (OCHA—2022 Drought Response Plan Report). Drought conditions are expected to worsen during the first quarter of 2022 with possibility of extending to the second quarter due to extended impacts.

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Somalia Drought Update – Issued 18 November 2021

The impacts of Climate Change and variability in Somalia are the major causes of current climatic hazards that have been facing the country over the last 10 years. In 2018 and 2019 the country experienced heavy rains leading to massive flooding and associated negative impacts. This was followed by poor rains in Dyer 2020, Gu 2021 and the ongoing Deyr season. Currently, more than 80% of the country is experiencing severe drought conditions following a third consecutive failed rainfall season. This has led to serious human suffering. Water trucking, migration of populations and livestock has become rampant in many areas leading to quick depletion of the limited resources. The Juba and Shabelle river levels are low and are expected to decrease further in the coming months. Likewise, most berkads and shallow wells have dried up leaving the communities to rely on boreholes which are far apart and some with low yield and poor quality especially in Puntland and the central regions. With crop failure expected in most of the agricultural areas the prospects for Deyr season cereal production remain bleak. The rainfall forecast for the second half of November indicates depressed rains in the country which will not be effective in mitigating the drought conditions. Drought conditions are expected to worsen in December 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 leading to a similar situation witnessed in 2017.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 24 November 2021

The last 2 weeks have been characterized by a reduction of rains across Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands. Many stations did not record any rainfall within that period. This raised a lot of concerns as an early cessation of the Deyr season would make worse the drought conditions currently experienced in many parts of the country. The rainfall forecast for the next one week is however promising, especially in the southern regions. The 3—7 days cumulative rainfall forecast (Maps 1 and 2) shows moderate rains spread across the southern regions of the country, with parts of Bay and Lower Shabelle receiving heavy rainfall. The central and northern regions are expected to receive scattered light to moderate rains for the same period. Inside Ethiopia, the Juba and Shabelle catchment, where most of flow in the two rivers originate, moderate to heavy rainfall is foreseen towards the end of the week. Along the Puntland coast there has been fears of experiencing a cyclone within today. Recent updates however indicate that the area of convection has since dissipated, reducing the possibility of a significant tropical cyclone developing. The coastal areas of Bari may however experience strong winds and showers in the next few days, but at a much lower magnitude compared to a tropical cyclone.   River levels along Juba and Shabelle remains low, and within normal for this time of the year.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 28 October 2021

The Deyr seasonal rains continued to spread in across Somalia over the last week although the amounts were low. There was notably a significant reduction of rainfall amounts in Puntland and Somaliland over the same period. Further, it is worrying to note that many parts of the southern regions which are facing serious drought conditions, have not yet received the much awaited seasonal rains. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next seven days shows continuous spread of the Deyr rains with light to moderate intensities in parts of the northern regions, Hirshabelle, Bay and Bakool regions. Most of the central and Jubaland regions will receive minimal rains during the forecast period. In the Ethiopian highlands, whose rainfall is largely responsible for increase in river flow along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia, light to moderate rainfall is foreseen in the coming one week.   River levels along the upper reaches of both Juba and Shabelle continued to increase over the last one week. The levels are however within the normal for this period of the year. The increasing trend will continue given the rainfall forecast with no risk of flooding over the next seven days.   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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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 04 October 2021

The 2021 Deyr rains have kicked off in parts of Somalia. The northern regions of Somaliland and Puntland recorded moderate amounts of rainfall during the last one week. Notably, Baran station in Sanaag region recorded a total of 230 mm over the last one week while Las Canood received 76 mm during the same period. The rains are expected to continue spreading in time and space during this month. Most parts of Somaliland recorded good rains during the months of August and September. The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates significant spread of the rains within the northern parts of the country. The central and southern parts of the country will remain dry during the forecast period with the rains expected to start in the second half of October. In the Ethiopian highlands, whose rainfall is largely responsible for increase in river flow along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia, moderate to high rainfall is foreseen in the coming one week. It is worth noting that, the foreseen rains in the coming week are not sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, more rains with good temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to improve the situation. River levels along the upper reaches of both Juba and Shabelle increased over the last few days, but remains within the normal for this period of the year. Given the rainfall forecast, a slight increase in the levels for both rivers is expected with no risk of flooding over the next seven days.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 11 October 2021

Moderate to heavy rains were observed in parts of Puntland during the last few two days. The good rains came as an immediate relief to the drought stricken areas following the failure of two consecutive rainy seasons. More rains will however be required to alleviate the water stress in Puntland and other parts of the country. On the negative side, the heavy rains led to flashfloods and consequently, loss of property and livestock death in Bari region. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next seven days shows continuous spread of the Deyr rains in the central and southern areas of the country. There will be a reduction of rainfall activities in Somaliland and most parts of Puntland with an exception of Nugaal region that will see moderate rains within the week. In the Ethiopian highlands, whose rainfall is largely responsible for increase in river flow along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia, moderate to high rainfall is foreseen in the coming one week.   River levels along the upper reaches of both Juba and Shabelle continued to increase since the last update last week. The levels are however within the normal for this period of the year. The increasing trend will continue given the rainfall forecast with no risk of flooding over the next seven days.

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Somalia Drought Update – Issued 18 October 2021

The Deyr 2021 rains kicked off in parts of Somalia with moderate rains being observed in Puntland ( Bari region) and a few pockets in the southern regions. However, more than half of the country is still experiencing serious drought conditions. The Southern parts of the country that had remained in moderate drought conditions in the previous months are now facing moderate to severe drought due to further depletion of the limited resources in the areas. This has led to serious human suffering and livestock death. Drought impacts are worse in Jubaland, Southwest state, GalMudug ( central regions) and parts of Puntland which have suffered from consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. Water resources and pasture conditions have deteriorated in these areas triggering livestock migration and increased competition among pastoralists on the already limited resources. The rainfall forecast for the second half of October indicates depressed rains in the south and central regions while the northern regions will record within normal rains. In November, the will subside in the northern areas and increase in the southern areas. Further, the Deyr 2021 seasonal rainfall is expected to be cumulatively below average in many parts of Somalia according to ICPAC. Given the rainfall forecast, the depressed rains are not going to be effective in mitigating the drought conditions A return to normal rainfall patterns and in good amounts is necessary for drought conditions to be reversed. Short and intensive rains are not effective in mitigating the drought conditions, as they trigger floods (damaging the crops and washing away the upper fertile layer of soil) but does not give enough time for the water to infiltrate in the ground and improve crop germination and development.

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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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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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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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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 – 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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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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