In focus

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.

Somalia Tropical Storm PAWAN Alert

Tropical Storm PAWAN expected to lead to winds of medium strength with moderate to heavy rainfall amounts in parts of Somaliland, Puntland and Central regions of Somalia. The Tropical Storm (TS) initially named SIX that developed in the northern Indian Ocean has now been assigned the name PAWAN after sustaining a speed of more than 39 miles per hour for two days. The probability of the TS landing in the coastal areas of Puntland has increased from (10% TO 35%) over the last two days and is expected to make a land fall in Nugaal region in the next 24 hours. The influence of PAWAN may start being felt in the coastal areas of Bari, Mudug and Sanaag regions in the next 12 hours where moderate to heavy rains and strong winds are expected. The rains will then spread further inland to many areas within Somaliland, Puntland and central regions on 07 and 08 December 2019.

Flood Extent Map of Middle, Lower Shabelle and Hiraan Regions

Thousands of people have been left homeless following continued flooding in parts of Somalia’s Hiraan and Middle Shebelle regions over the past couple of weeks, with large tracts of farmland being inundated, raising fears of livelihood losses. The Shabelle River floods started in late October around  the town of Beletweyne due to intense rains in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands. Subsequent flooding has since spread to the downstream areas including Jowhar.

FAO, EU and Somaliland Government launch a new initiative to improve land and water management

24 June 2019, Hargeisa - The European Union Delegation to the Federal Republic of Somalia jointly with the Government of Somaliland and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)'s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) project today launched in Hargeisa the Integrated Land and Water Management (ILWRM) Project. The event was graced by the EU Charge d'Affairs Dr. Hjordis D'Agostino Ogendo, FAO Deputy Representative for Somalia Mr. Peterschmitt Etienne and representatives of the Ministries of Planning, Agriculture and Environment, Livestock, Water and the Agency for Disaster Management as well as other Somali and International partners and stakeholders.

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