In focus

Sustained “no regrets” humanitarian efforts urgently needed in response to drought in the Horn of Africa

The following statement is a joint alert by meteorological agencies and humanitarian partners. 16 February 2023; Nairobi, Kenya: The Horn of Africa is facing an unprecedented, three-year drought, with catastrophic humanitarian impacts.1 The occurrence of another poor rainy season between March–May 2023, as forecast by some meteorological agencies, would have devastating consequences for communities. Regardless of seasonal performance, humanitarian needs will remain high in 2023, and multi-sectoral assistance must be scaled up in order to save lives.

Climate-smart water harvesting and storage systems help rural communities overcome climate shocks

Accessing water for her livestock and crops has been a lifelong struggle for Muhubo Warsame, who lives in Puntland’s Qardho District. The area’s main source of water is deep wells which require generators to pump ground water to the surface. The cost of fuel and maintenance of these systems is a burden for the community and requires money that would otherwise be spent on education for the children, and buying food, medicine and other essential items.

EU and FAO handover a new Water and Land Information Management Centre to Government of Somalia in Puntland

The Centre will provide valuable data to help inform policy, programmes and development in the country.On 6 December 2021, the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially handed over the new Information Management Centre (IMC) to the Government of Somalia. The launch is part of ongoing joint efforts by FAO in conjunction with the Government to enhance technical and operational capacity to produce and provide water and land (WAL) information products and services that inform policy, planning and future development initiatives in the country.

Improving flood response in Somalia through remote sensing

Satellite imagery reports riverbank breakages in real timeSomalia, like many countries, is affected by frequent climate-related hazards such as floods, droughts and tropical storms. Flood frequency has increased in Somalia over the past 20 years, resulting in the disruption of people’s livelihoods and the economy at large. Climate change – compounded with other factors such as low ability to adapt, a rapidly growing population, poor infrastructure, weak river embankments and poor soil structures – is exacerbating the level of flood damage inflicted on local communities.  

SWALIM Online Systems Virtual Launch

Since inception in 2001, SWALIM has collected, processed, analyzed and archived land and water information and datasets across Somalia. A number of online platforms have been developed to make this data and related products accessible to all users. The online platforms include;

FAO-SWALIM river level gauge readers show Resilience, commitment and hard work in a difficult environment

Hussein Ali, fictional name, works as river level gauge reader for FAO-SWALIM (Somali Water and Land Information Management). In the midst of clan disputes, he walks to the middle of the bridge that divides into two a town along the Shabelle river, one of the two main rivers of Somalia. Hussein quickly takes the reading of the gauge that SWALIM has installed. It is a routine that he has mastered.

FAO-SWALIM adjusts its modus operandi to overcome the physical limitations of the pandemic

How a land and water management project in Somalia is staying on track despite COVID-19FAO-SWALIM adjusts its modus operandi to overcome the physical limitations of the pandemic19 May 2020, Mogadishu - When COVID-19 suddenly emerged in Somalia, authorities imposed an international travel ban to prevent spread of the deadly infection. For 14 government staff members from Somaliland and Puntland who were going to receive induction training for the Integrated Land and Water Resources Management (ILRWM) project, their plan was doomed; the training would have to be postponed.But organizers got creative and found a new way to reach participants and make sure the knowledge transfer went ahead.

Belet Weyne Flood Update - Issued 15 May 2020

The river level at Belet Weyne reached bank full level on 11 May 2020 and has remained so for the last four days. Heavy river flows from the Ethiopian highlands continue to stream into Somalia side following heavy rains in the previous weeks. Antecedent soil moisture conditions, open breakages, modified riverbeds and poor drainage system only make the situation worse. Besides, the town is located in a flood plain making it vulnerable to floods year in and out. Thousands of people have been displaced by the razing floodwaters in the district.

Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued March 2020

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) Project, has finalized the analysis and mapping of the river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle rivers using very high resolution satellite imagery. Breakages identified in the map have been classified into five different categories; Open, Overflow, Potential Overflows, Potential breakages and Closed with sandbags. A legend/Key for further explanation of the different types of breakages is provided here.