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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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Drought watch

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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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Rainfall Forecast

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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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Drought watch

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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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Rainfall Forecast

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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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Drought watch

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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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Map

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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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