In focus

Use of SWALIM's live map for water sources information access in drought response

Somalia has been experiencing one of the most severe drought conditions in the recent past, following consecutive seasons of failed rainfall across the country. Many parts of the country are experiencing acute water shortage and dramatic deterioration of food security. As a result, the humanitarian agencies have scaled up interventions since the beginning of the year to respond to the drought and prevent famine.

Drought Conditions Map April 2017

Many parts of the country remained generally dry throughout the month of March 2017 with extreme drought conditions spreading further to the larger parts of the country. The Gu rains  normally start in late March in the north western parts  of the country and by mid April in the rest of the country.

Somalia Drought Watch April 2017

Key highlights Drought conditions continued to worsen since November affecting more than 50% of the population. Pasture and water came to a complete depletion in most areas leaving about 440,000 in displacement as in 31 March 2017 (OCHA Situation Report 2). During the last half of March, moderate rains were received in the western side of Somaliland marking a possible start of the much waited Gu rains. The rains provided an immediate relief to water stress in such areas as Boroma and Gebiley in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions. Moderate to heavy rains were also observed in the Ethiopian highlands leading to an increase of river levels along the Juba and Shabelle rivers in Somalia. Since early hours of 3 April, both rivers recovered the average levels sharply (3.15m at Shabelle and 1.74m at Juba), which saves the crops that are at the brink of failure and increases the irrigation potential.

Drought Conditions Map, Jan 2017

Most parts of Somalia are facing serious drought conditions with the larger part of the population facing severe to extreme drought conditions. Since the last half of 2016, the severity has been spreading spatially and the impacts getting worse with time. Some climate models are already predicting a poor rainy season in the coming season which may further aggravate the existing drought conditions. However, this forecast will be confirmed in the coming month during a regional Climate Outlook Forum.

Somalia Drought Watch

Key messages Despite some increase in rainfall in Somalia during the last half of November 2016, drought conditions continue to be experienced in many parts of the country following the poor and erratic rain since late September. The 2016 Deyr (October-December) rainfall was characterized by a late onset and poor distribution which has led to large rainfall/moisture deficits across the country. The season has come to an end in early to mid- December and was generally very poor with most of the country recording below 50 percent of the normal total rainfall for the season. As a result of poor Deyr season rainfall, drought severity worsened and expanded to more areas, continuing to adversely affect pasture, water, livestock and crops, with large depletion of vegetation cover across the country

Somalia experiencing moderate to extreme drought condtions

The Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) are pleased to share with you their joint publication: Somalia Drought Watch for October 2016. The key highlights are:      1). Moderate to Extreme drought conditions are being experienced in the country. The negative trends are not expected to reverse until the next rains, which are anticipated in April 2017.      2). During the month of October 2016, most parts of Somalia recorded poor rainfall amounts, with most regions registering 25 to 50 percent of average.      3). Vegetation conditions worsened and drought conditions strengthened and continued to affect pasture, water, livestock and crops, with vegetation cover (NDVI) 60 to 70 percent of average in southern regions.

SWALIM Introduces Telemetric Groundwater Monitoring Stations in Somalia

Outside of the narrow riverine areas of the Juba and Shabelle rivers, where surface water is available throughout the year, groundwater is the main source of water for domestic and livestock use in Somalia. In addition to these domestic uses, limited irrigation using groundwater is carried out in some parts of the country, requiring good management of the vital resource for sustainability.

<<<<NEWS RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 23, 2016>>>>

SWALIM Releases Latest Information on Riverbank Breakages Following analysis of the latest suitable satellite images, some as recent as last week (September 17th), SWALIM has released updated information on the state of the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in advance of the Deyr seasonal rains, which are expected to commence by mid-October (in about three weeks’ time). As the data shows, there are a significant number of breakages or potential breakages in the embankments, giving rise to flood risks should the rivers rise rapidly.

SWALIM Holds “Open Day” Information Sharing Event in Nairobi

On 12 and 13 July, 2016, the Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) project held two well-attended days of information sharing at the FAO Somalia office in Nairobi, Kenya. The event was a great success and provided an opportunity for FAO Somalia and FAO Kenya colleagues to learn more about SWALIM’s award-winning work and impact it has on Somalia.

SWALIM Supports Natural Resource Management Activities in Somalia

The rapidly increasing human population in Somalia, coupled with protracted civil strife, continues to exert heavy pressure on the land and environment, resulting in a rapid depletion of the country’s natural resources. The current situation is unsustainable, in that resources are being extracted more quickly than they can regenerate, leading to the gradual loss of these important biological assets. The principle threats to biodiversity in Somalia include commercial land use practices, like deforestation for timber and charcoal production, soil depletion through over-harvesting, and changes in climate, which have led to decreased rainfall.