Status of River Breakages along Juba and Shabelle Rivers, August 2022

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Four consecutive poor rainy seasons in most parts of the Horn of Africa region have resulted to current serious hydrological drought conditions in Somalia and neighboring countries.. Juba and Shabelle Rivers, with the headwaters in the Ethiopian highlands have remained below the long term average since the beginning of 2022, negatively impacting agriculture production, domestic and livestock water use for the riverine communities. The low river levels however provide an opportunity to fix the river breakages and weak embankments, ahead of the next rainy season. SWALIM has updated the status of the river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers using available Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Five types of breakages have been identified, namely; open, overflow, potential overflows, potential breakages and closed with sandbags. The open breakages are those that are currently open as observed on the latest VHR image available. All the observations reported refers to the latest suitable VHR satellite image available, which is indicated in the online database. 100 Open breakage points have been identified, 70 on the Shabelle River and 30 on the Juba River which require immediate action. 13 Overflows were also identified during this season. Jowhar district was worst affected along the Shabelle while Bu’aale and Jilib districts are worst affected along the Juba. Users are advised that the methodology is biased towards Remote Sensing (RS) interpretation with only limited “ground truthing” due to access constraints. Open breakages might have been omitted in some cases where satellite images may not have been very clear (e.g. heavy cloud cover) or were not available.
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Date of publication: 
August, 2022