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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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Drought watch

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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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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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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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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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Somalia Flood Update – 28 May 2021.pdf

With no rains in the last two weeks and minimal rains expected the month of June, the Gu rainy season came to an early end with a poor rainfall performance in many parts of the country despite heavy rains during the last week of April and first week of May. Comparing the Gu 2021 and the long term average for the season, Map 1 shows rainfall deficits in many areas of the country, with a significant deviation from the normal. While a few pockets of Somaliland and central areas shows a positive performance, there remains a great concern in the rest parts of the country and especially the southern regions. Further, according to the IGAD Climate Predication and Application Center (ICPAC), the Haggai season which is usually dry in many parts of the country is expected to be normal, safe for western parts of Somaliland that may record enhanced rains as seen in Map 2. With no more rains expected until the next rainy season, mild to moderate drought conditions are foreseen in the coming months. It should be noted that a large amount of rainfall in short periods of time is not effective in mitigating the drought conditions, as it underpins floods but it does not give enough time for water to infiltrate in the ground, recharging groundwater sources. Shabelle River: Following a reduction of rainfall amounts in the Ethiopian highlands and within Somalia, compounded with the recession of the flood wave coming from Ethiopia, river levels along the Shabelle River inside Somalia have decreased drastically in the last 48 hours. The decreasing trend is expected to continue with minimal risk of flooding in Belet Weyne. However, a moderate risk of flooding will be sustained in the mid and lower reaches of the river until the end of the 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 continued to decrease over the last week. The levels are currently within normal with no risk of flooding given the rainfall forecast and decreasing trend of river levels.

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Flood advisory for Juba Shabelle Rivers!

Observed levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia have continued to rise alarmingly in the past two weeks. This has been attributed to unprecedented excessive rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands especially in the last three days. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (08—14 May 2021) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and light to moderate rains within the Shabelle basin inside Somalia. Shabelle River: Heavy rains have been reported in Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions in the last 24 hours with Jowhar station recording 86 mm of rainfall this morning. Flooding of high magnitude has been reported along the Shabelle River in Ethiopia and the flood wave is expected to reach the Somalia side in the next few days. There is a high flood risk in Belet Weyne district in the next to two to three days. The flood wave will be transmitted to the middle and lower reaches towards the end of the week. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open river banks, which is already causing floods in Jowhar. There is need for communities living along the riverine areas of the Shabelle River to take precaution as the river flow is expected to reach bank-full level before the end of the week. Juba River: The levels have been low in the previous week but rose drastically in the last 24 hours. At Dollow, the levels have surpassed the moderate risk level of flooding. There is a moderate risk of flooding along the Juba River especially in Dollow district.

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Somalia Flood Update – 10 May 2021.pdf

Observed levels continued to rise along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers both in Ethiopian and Somalia. However, there was a reduction of rainfall amounts in Somalia as well as in the Ethiopian highlands in the last 48 hours. The rainfall forecast for the period between 10—16 May 2021 is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and light to moderate rains within the Shabelle basin inside Somalia. Heavy rains are also foreseen in Galgaduud and Mudug regions between 10 and 11 May 2021 which may result to flush floods. Minimal rains are expected in Somaliland, Puntland and the southern parts of the country during the week. Shabelle River: Flooding of high magnitude has been reported along the Shabelle River in Ethiopia and the flood wave is rapidly being transmitted to the side of Somalia with flooding being reported in parts of Hiraan region near the border with Ethiopia. Today, the river level at Belet Weyne reached the moderate flood risk level of 6.50 m. If this trend continues, the bank-full level maybe reached within seven to ten days in Belet Weyne leading to an overflow. The high risk flood level in Belet Weyne district will be sustained. The flood wave from Belet Weyne will be transmitted to the middle and lower reaches towards the end 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. There is need for communities living along the entire riverine areas of the Shabelle River to take precaution. Juba River: Similarly, the river levels along the Juba continued to rise drastically over the last two days. At Dollow, the levels have surpassed the moderate risk level of flooding while at Luuq, the level is at 5.20 m which is 0.30 m below the moderate flood risk level. Given the rainfall forecast in the Ethiopian highlands, and the high river levels, there is a high risk of flooding in Dollow, Luuq and Bardheere during this week.

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Somalia Flood Update – 13 May 2021.pdf

The coastal areas of Nugaal, Mudug and Galgaduud regions experienced heavy rains in the last 48 hours leading to flash floods in some areas. The Juba and Shabelle basins saw a significant reduction of rainfall amounts within the same period. However, observed levels continued to rise along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers both in Somalia following heavy rains in Ethiopia in the previous weeks. The rainfall forecast for the period between 12—18 May 2021 is pointing towards light to moderate rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and light rains in most parts of Somalia with exception of a few pockets in Mudug that may record moderate rains during the forecast period. 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. The level in Belet Weyne today is 6.60 m which is beyond the moderate flood risk level. The reduced amounts of rainfall in the highlands has subsequently led to a slower rate of flow into Belet Weyne. However, 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 towards the end 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 in the last two days with a slight reduction in Dollow and Luuq stations and an increase in the mid reaches of Bardheere and Bualle. Given the rainfall forecast in the Ethiopian highlands, and the reducing river levels in upper parts of the river, the high risk of flooding changes to moderate level in the mid and lower parts of the river.

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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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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 04 May 2021

The last one week has seen a significant increase of rainfall amounts across many parts of Somalia as the Gu rainy season continues to spread.  The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates significant spread of the rains to Somaliland and the southern regions. Heavy rains are foreseen on 07 May 2021 in parts of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions. This is likely to lead to flash floods in the area. Moderate to heavy rains are expected in the Ethiopian highlands during the week in forecast.   River levels along the Shabelle have increased sharply over the last few days following heavy rains within the Ethiopian highlands. At Belet Weyne, the level is at 5.15 m while at Jowhar the level is at 3.80 m as of today. Given the rainfall forecast, the levels are expected to continue rising along the Shabelle River with moderate risk of flooding due to existing open river banks. Along Juba River, the levels are within normal in most of the stations. However, heavy rains within Bardheere district has led to a sharp increase of river levels by about 1.74 m within 24 hours. Today, the river level at Bardheere is at 6.98 m which 0.42 m below the moderate flood risk level. Given the foreseen rains in the area, this may lead to flooding in the next few days.

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Somalia Flood Update – 25 May 2021.pdf

During the last two weeks there has been minimal or no rains in most parts of Somalia, marking an early cessation of the Gu 2021 rains which also had a late onset. The rainfall forecast for the next week till end of May, shows no rains in the country. Further, no rains are expected in the month of June according to most forecast models. With a late start, short growing period and an early end of the season, drought conditions which were detected in February, may continue to impact some areas especially in the southern regions where the total rainfall recorded so far is less than the long term average. There is also a great concern in the northern regions which recorded good rains in a period of two weeks before the cessation. SWALIM will carry out an in-depth analysis of the situation in the coming days. Shabelle River: Following a reduction of rainfall amounts in the Ethiopian highlands, there was a subsequent decrease in runoff from the upper reaches of the basin to Somalia. However, flood waters from previous two weeks rainfall are still streaming into Somalia side of the basin. Today, the level in Belet Weyne is 8.25 m and is likely to reach the bank-full level any time from now, with a high risk of flooding in the town. During the last week, a few villages in the upstream parts of Belet Weyne town were affected by flooding with evacuation having taken place. 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 continued to decrease over the last week. The levels are currently slightly above normal and expected to stabilize as the week progresses. Given the rainfall forecast and decreasing trend of river levels there is no risk of flooding along Juba in the coming week.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued: 06 May 2021

The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next seven days indicates moderate to heavy rains in Somaliland and the southern regions. Most of the rainfall in Somaliland is expected to fall on 07 May 2021 and thereafter there will be a significant reduction during the week. This is likely to lead to flash floods in parts of Togdheer and Woqooyi Galbeed west of Sanaag regions. In the southern parts, the foreseen rains will be concentrated between 07 and 09 May 2021 followed by a reduction of rainfall activities. Light rains are foreseen in Puntland and central areas of the country. Moderate to heavy rains are expected in the Ethiopian highlands during the week in forecast. River levels along the Shabelle continued to increase over the last few days following heavy rains within the Ethiopian highlands and inside Somalia. At Belet Weyne, the level is at 5.38 m while at Jowhar the level is at 3.95 m as of today. Given the rainfall forecast, the levels are expected to continue rising along the Shabelle River with moderate to high risk of flooding in the coming week. According to analysis by SWALIM with support from UNOSAT on satellite images, the flooding in Jowhar reported since 04 May 2021 due to open river banks has so far inundated about 1,984 Ha of farmland. Further, eight villages have been severely affected by the flooding. Along Juba River, the levels have increased sharply over the last two days following heavy rains in the upper catchments. Given the foreseen rains in the area, this may lead to flooding in the mid section of the River especially where open river banks exist.

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Somalia Drought Update – April 2021.pdf

The Gu rains continued to spread in time and space over the last few days with some places recording moderate rains. Many parts of Bay, Bakool and Puntland recorded good rains on 19 to 21 April 2021. The Gu rains are yet to start in some areas. Despite the Gu 2021 having started, more than 80 percent of the country is currently experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions This is due to below average 2020 Oct-Dec Deyr rains, followed by a harsh and warmer than normal Jan-Mar Jilaal season, and a delayed start of the current Gu (Mar/Apr-Jun) season with a poor distribution. Worst affected areas include larger parts of Somaliland and Puntland, central regions and Gedo region Currently, water levels along Shabelle river are slightly below average while water levels in the Juba river are within the normal range. The levels in both rivers are expected to increase following the start of Gu rains in the Ethiopian highlands and within Somalia. Preliminary rainfall forecast for the coming months of May and June indicates depressed amounts of rainfall and this may worsen the ongoing drought in many parts of the country. If Gu season rainfall continues to perform poorly, this could lead to a worsening of the current humanitarian situation in Somalia through late 2021, especially in rural areas.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 26 April 2021

The Gu rains continued to spread in time and space over the last few days with many places recording moderate rains across the country. Notably, good rains were recorded in Puntland and Somaliland between 23rd and 25th of April. However, some parts are yet to receive the Gu rains. The Ethiopian highlands also experienced good rains over the week ending on 25 April 2021. The rains comes as an immediate relief to the drought stricken areas which will see water sources recharge and pasture growth.   The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates significant spread of the rains to Somaliland and Puntland with most of the rains expected fall towards the end of the week. In particular heavy rains are expected in Caluula, Qandala Bossaso and Lasqoray districts on 30 April to 02 May. The central and southern region will see light to moderate rains within the week in forecast. In the Ethiopian highland, 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 observed rains and the foreseen rains in the coming week are not sufficient to alleviate the current drought conditions in the country, more rains with good quantity, temporal and spatial distribution are required during the season in order to meet the current water deficit and improve the situation. River levels along the Shabelle have increased slightly at Belet Weyne over the last few days, but remains low and below the normal for this period of the year. Along Juba River the levels are within normal for this period. 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 9 April 2021

Some stations in the southern parts of Somalia have recorded light rains over the last one week marking the start of the Gu rainy season which runs from March/April to June. The rains are expected to continue spreading in time and space during the coming weeks. The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates light to moderate rains over the southern parts of Somalia. The rest of the country will remain dry for the same period, apart from scattered light showers expected in north western areas. Moderate rains are also expected in the Ethiopian highland whose rainfall is largely responsible for increase in river flow along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia. River levels are currently low along the Shabelle and Juba Rivers. In Shabelle, the levels are below normal for this period, with many middle and downstream sections reporting dry river beds. Along Juba River the levels are within normal for this period of the year. Given the rainfall forecast, the levels will start to increase towards the end of the coming week with no risk of flooding during the forecast period.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast – Issued 13 April 2021

The Gu rains which started in the southern parts of Somalia continued to spread over the last three days. Some stations in the region have so far recorded light to moderate rains, while others remain dry since the onset of the season, in the first week of April. In the northern parts of the country the season has not yet started, with no rains recorded across the stations. The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates spread of the rains to the northern parts of the country. Light to moderate rains are expected over the southern and northern parts of the country, while the central regions remains dry over the same period. Some parts of Awdal Region may experience high localized rains of up to 100mm, according to the forecast. In the Ethiopian highland, 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 Shabelle have increased slightly at Belet Weyne over the last 2 days, but remains low and below the normal for this period of the year. Along Juba River the levels are within normal for this period. 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 16 April 2021

The Gu rains continued to spread in time and space over the last few days with a few places recording moderate rains in the southern and north western regions. The north eastern and central parts of the country remained dry.   The cumulative rainfall forecast for this week indicates significant spread of the rains to the central and northern parts of the country starting from 18 to 20 April, this will mark the start of the rains in these areas. Some parts of Awdal Region may experience high localized rains of up to 50mm on 19 April 2020, according to the forecast. Similarly, moderate rains are expected over the southern and central parts of the country. In the Ethiopian highland, 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 Shabelle have increased slightly at Belet Weyne over the last few days, but remains low and below the normal for this period of the year. Along Juba River the levels are within normal for this period. 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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Rainfall Forecast

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Somalia Gu 2021 Rainfall Forecast and Weather Update

Equal chances of average, enhanced and depressed rains expected during the Gu 2021 season. According to the March to May 2021 seasonal forecast issued by IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) during the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF57), there are equal chances of receiving either above average, average or below average rainfall amounts in most parts of Somalia. The three-month outlook favours a similar situation for the eastern Ethiopian highlands which are responsible for most of the flow in the Juba and Shabelle rivers in Somalia. A few pockets in Puntland within Bari and Sanaag regions will receive enhanced rains during the season. Warmer than usual season is expected in the northern areas while relatively cooler conditions are likely to occur in the southern parts of Somalia. In contrast, forecast from FEWS NET’s science partners (NOAA/CPC, NASA/GFSC and CHC) indicates: (1) cumulative rainfall during the March-June 2021 long rains/Gu season in Somalia is most likely to be below-average in Somalia, (2) Gu season rainfall onset is likely to be poor or delayed, and (3) there is an increased likelihood that the rainfall amounts will be widely below average in May, which may signal an earlier-than-normal end of the rainfall season. Given the above seasonal rainfall forecast, all sectors should be prepared for both best and worst case scenarios. However, a pessimistic forecast should be considered for humanitarian response planning during Gu 2021. SWALIM and partners will closely monitor the situation and provide shorter timescale forecasts throughout the season.  Sunny and dry weather conditions characterized by higher than average daytime temperatures prevailed over most parts of the country since December 2020. The unusually dry period is as a result of the poor Deyr 2020 rainfall season in many parts of the country. The areas in northern and central Somalia worst affected by poor rainfall during the 2020 Deyr (October-December) season are currently experiencing mild to moderate drought conditions, leading to water shortages and high water prices. The local authorities in these areas have initiated water tracking activities with Sanaag, Bari, Nuugal and Mudug areas being worst affected by the water shortage. The Juba and Shabelle river levels are very low at this time of the year. Parts of the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle River are reportedly dry leaving insufficient flow to support irrigation along the river. Whether this drought condition deteriorates to a full-fledged drought or improves will depend on the timeliness, amount and distribution of the forthcoming Gu season rainfall. A more detailed downscaled outlook will be released in the coming days by national inter-ministerial meteorological working group (IMMWG) of Somalia. The downscaled outlook is expected to cover sectorial impacts and advisories for the coming season.

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Rainfall Outlook

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Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued March 2021

In the recent years, floods have prevailed in Somalia hampering both social and economic development. Rainfall intensity in the Ethiopian highlands triggered riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers in the last three consecutive years. With climate models projecting an increase of rainfall intensities in the region in the coming yeras, flood events will therefore continue to take place if nothing is done. The presence of open and weak river banks contributes significantly to flooding along these two major rivers. It is therefore of paramount importance to try and reduce or rather prevent these losses due to flood events. With the objective of identifying locations and dimensions of the open and weak points along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers, SWALIM has carried out an assessment using very high resolution (VHR) satellite images. The activity aimed to ascertain the existence of such points and share with intervening agencies and other partners to inform decisions for closure of the points which would see a reduction of flood impacts along the river. Along the Juba River, 46 open points, 8 overflows and another 65 potential overflows were identified. The Juba River assessment also identified over 100 potential breakage points. Further, the team have identified 57 open points, 225 overflows and 74 potential overflows along the Shabelle River. These points need immediate closure or reinforcement before the Gu rainy season which is expected to start in Mid-April 2021. It is worth noting that due to limited availability of VHR images, there has been a delay in completing the assessment of Shabelle River breakages. FAO SWALIM is in the process of procuring images to cover the assessment gap and partners will be notified once the finalized product is ready. SWALIM is pleased to share with you the status of open river points maps along the Juba and Shabelle which can be downloaded from the download links.

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Map

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Somalia Drought Update – Issued March 2021

Many parts of Somalia are currently experiencing drought conditions, triggered by below average 2020 Deyr (October-December) season rainfall which was characterized by depressed rains with poor spatial and temporal distributions and harsh conditions during the typically dry Jiaall (January-March) season. The worst affected regions include Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Gedo, Mudug, Nuugal, Bari, Toghdheer and Sool which are currently experiencing severe water shortage for domestic use, water for livestock as well as agricultural production. Water and pasture resources are getting depleted in most of the affected pastoral areas leading to abnormal migration of livestock and communities. Currently, water levels in the Juba river are within the normal range, while water levels along Shabelle river are slightly below average. The levels in both rivers are expected to decrease further as no rains are foreseen in the coming two weeks. Drought conditions could worsen if the 2021 Gu (April-June) season rainfall is delayed and/or performs poorly as some forecasts indicate.

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Drought watch

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Status and Impacts of Open River Points along the Shabelle River in Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye Districts

A recent flood analysis by SWALIM indicates that there has been an increase in flood frequency and intensity in the last 10 years along the riverine areas of Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia. Recognizing the recurrent flooding along the Shabelle River in the last few years, SWALIM undertook a field survey in Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye districts. The objective of the survey was to map existing open and weak river embankments in the three districts. We are pleased to share with you the status and impacts of open river points along the Shabelle River in Jowhar, Balcad and Afgooye Districts bulletin and related annexes.

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Flood Alert

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