Somalia is particularly vulnerable to droughts, mainly because of its geographical lo cation, the fragile environment, the variable climate and the political instability in the country. Droughts have disastrous impacts on Somali communities. In recent times, severe droughts in Somalia occurred in 1964, 1969, 1974, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2011. The number of persons affected is not reliable and differs depending on different sources. This fact, together with other reasons, reinforces the need for developing more objective measures which reflect the real severity of droughts. Without objective indicators it is very difficult to take appropriate mitigation measures to reduce the effects of a drought or move towards any kind of drought monitoring and early warning.
SWALIM has been monitoring drought in Somalia since its inception. This includes monitoring of rainfall and carrying out analyses to indicate if drought conditions exist. In 2010, SWALIM developed a drought measurement tool, the Combined Drought Index (CDI). It is a statistical index comparing the present hydro-meteorological conditions with the long-term average characteristics in the same seasonal period. The system shows the spatial or point distribution of drought conditions in the country, ranging from mild to extreme levels. A detailed description of the index and the relevant mathematical expressions are explained in the CDI manual.
Combined Drought Index Manual