Somalia

Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers as Jan/Feb 2016

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The Gu 2016 (March to May) rainfall forecast points towards enhanced rainfall activities within the Shabelle river basins in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands. Consequently, open river bank points and poor river embankments are likely to cause flooding in the event of heavy rains and increased river flow.

SWALIM has updated the status of the river breakages by mapping them using very high resolution satellite imagery for the period 2015 and 2016 and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and verifications with field observations.

Three types of breakages have been identified namely; open, potential and closed. The open breakages are those that are still open during the months of January and February 2016. The potential breakages represent points that have very weak river embankment or have experienced several breakages in the recent past and minimal or no interventions have been put in place. The closed breakages are those that were previously open but efforts have been made to close them.

The attached and maps and tables provide the open and potential river breakages along the two rivers. In summary, 19 open points along the Shabelle and 23 along the Juba have been identified. Several other points with potential of breaking have been identified and need to be strengthened immediately.

It is however worth noting that the methodology heavily relied on satellite imageries and field verification with limitation of physical access at some locations. Open breakages might have been omitted in some cases where satellite images may not have been very clear or not available at all.

Maps of the status of river breakages with detailed information have been produced at large scale and hard copies can be obtained from SWALIM offices. This information will also be availed in the SWALIM Flood Information System (http://frrmis.faoswalim.org) in due course.