OCHA Somalia Flash Update #3 Humanitarian impact of flooding | 1 November 2019

Situation Report
Originally published


Situation Overview

There has been a reduction in rainfall across most parts of Somalia as well as in the Ethiopian highlands compared to the previous three weeks, according to FAO-Managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM).

However, moderate to heavy rains were recorded in Bay and Bakool regions in South West State and some areas in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. The northern parts of the country are mostly dry. The water levels in the Shabelle river have increased reaching maximum holding capacity in Belet Weyne town and surrounding areas but there has been a reduction of river levels along the Juba river.

Flooding continues to be reported, especially in Belet Weyne district.

Most riverine areas along the Juba and Shabelle rivers across Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states have been inundated.

Flash flooding was also reported in the three states and Banadir region.

In the northern parts of the country (Puntland and Somaliland), the latest forecast indicates a possible tropical storm due 3 November which could result in flash flooding in some areas.

The rainfall forecast for the coming week shows an increase in many parts of Somalia, according to SWALIM. As a result, the current high river levels, and ongoing riverine flooding are expected to continue in the coming week. Flash floods will also be experienced in low-lying areas where moderate rains are expected.

Humanitarian impact and needs

As of 31 October, more than 270,000 people have been displaced, of whom 230,000 are in Belet Weyne district, according to UNHCR-Protection Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Farmland, infrastructure and roads have been destroyed, and livelihoods disrupted in some of the worst-hit areas. Casualties have been reported but numbers are unknown.

SWALIM estimates that floods in Middle Shabelle have damaged more than 10,000 hectares of cropland in Jowhar and Mahaday Weyne. OCHA is working with authorities and humanitarian partners to scale up the response.

In Belet Weyne town the rains have inundated houses, displaced people and left others isolated or trapped in the town and the surrounding villages. Fourteen people were rescued alive after a boat carrying more than 20 people capsized in a river near the town on 28 October. Four bodies have been found and four people are still missing. Most of those affected by flooding in Belet Weyne are temporarily settled in Ceel Jaale an area of higher ground in the outskirts of the town.

As of 30 October, the water levels in the Shabelle river in Belet Weyne started receding but risks remain. The road connecting Belet Weyne town and Ceel Jaale is functional and is expected to open to more traffic by the evening of 31 October. So far, only tractors and four-wheel drive vehicles have been able to pass.

Partners report that urgent needs, especially in Belet Weyne, include shelter, food, health, drinking water, sanitation/latrines, mosquito nets. In Jowhar and Mahaday Weyne of Hirshabelle State, flooding has damaged large areas of crop land. On 29 October, authorities and the local community members drained water from the affected residential areas in Jowhar town. However, potential river breakage points that were identified earlier in the town and surrounding areas may escalate the flooding situation unless urgent measures are taken.

In Jubaland State, the water levels in the Juba river have receded gradually during the week. However, Baardheere town in Gedo region remains inundated. Thirty other villages along the Juba river from Bu’ale to Gobweyn have been affected by river spillage. There are reports of displacement and movement of people to higher grounds. According to the Lower Juba governor’s office, 2,500 to 3,000 households have been affected by the floods.

Food and WASH supplies are priority needs and there is heightened risk of water/mosquito borne diseases due to stagnant water. To ascertain the numbers of affected people, OCHA is working closely with humanitarian partners in Kismayo, community networks and Jubaland authorities. The heavy rains and the flash floods have also interrupted the supply of commercial food and non-food items resulting in shortages and increased prices.

In South West State, flash floods have damaged crops and houses in Janaale, Lower Shabelle. Authorities and partners in Marka, Lower Shabelle, report that over 200 hectares of farmland and residential houses are inundated. In Berdale district of Bay region, an overflow from the Juba river has caused flooding affecting an estimated 30,000 people including 12,000 children.
In Puntland, tropical storm Kyaar is expected to make a landfall on the east coast at Caluula on 3 November and further move along the coastal settlements of Bari, Sanaag and later to Nugaal regions. Initial forecasts indicated that the storm could bring torrential rains, severe winds, cold weather and flooding in some areas, but latest forecasts show it may be dissipating.

Humanitarian coordination and response

Humanitarian partners are working with the authorities to expedite the delivery of life-saving assistance to affected people. On 30 October, the United Nations envoy to Somalia voiced his deep concern over the flooding and highlighted the world body’s willingness to assist affected people. James Swan, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, extended condolences to bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to all those injured and affected by the flooding. He welcomed the Government of Somalia’s initiative in setting up an interministerial committee to coordinate flood response with state authorities.

On 30 October, the European Commission announced an additional €3 million in emergency aid to Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan (€850,000 for Somalia). The EU funding will provide emergency shelter for displaced people, food, logistics support for access as well as water, hygiene and sanitation assistance aimed at preventing the outbreak of cholera and other water-borne diseases.

On 30 October, the President of Hirshabelle and his delegation participated in the OCHA-facilitated regional Flood Task Force forum aimed at improving inter-agency collaboration in addressing humanitarian needs in Belet Weyne district.

The task force has identified locations where flood-affected people have moved to and continues to coordinate the flood response. On 30 October, the World Food Programme deployed a helicopter to support humanitarian response efforts in Belet Weyne and other affected locations. Another helicopter provided by the UN Support Office in Somalia was temporarily used to assist in carrying out search-and-rescue operations in Belet Weyne.

Clean water is being provided to some 120,000 people in Belet Weyne district. Two mobile health clinics are operational at Ceel Jaale settlement and emergency latrines are being set up for 10,000 people. WASH partners have provided hygiene kits to 18,000 people and health nutrition services for 20,000 people. Nearly 2,200 people have received assorted food vouchers and 6,600 water purification items. Humanitarian partners are continuing to scale up their responses. Overall, the immediate needs remain WASH, health and emergency education supplies.

For further information, please contact: Ogoso Erich Opolot, Head of Communications, Tel+252616548007I Email:, Mursal Ali Ahmed | Public Information Officer,, Tel:+252619150457/+252615679998. Ayub Ahmed | Public Information Officer | Mobile:+252619150463 | Email: Yahya Dahiye | Public Information Officer | Mobile: +252618180926| Email:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit