OCHA Somalia Flash Update #3 - Humanitarian impact of heavy rains | 2 May 2018

Situation overview

Heavy rains continued in the Juba and Shabelle basins over the last week with the flood situation, worsening, especially in Belet Weyne in Hirshabelle State. Flash and river flooding have continued over the past week affecting and displacing thousands of people. The current water levels exceed a 50-year return period in most locations, according to Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM). The Juba and Shabelle rivers have reached bank-full levels in several locations, causing flooding much earlier in the season than ever before.

According to SWALIM projections, the heavy rains in the two basins in Somalia and in the Ethiopian highlands will continue next week. River levels inside Somalia are expected to continue rising in the coming days with more cases of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers.

Humanitarian impact and needs

Flash and river flooding has so far affected an estimated 630,000 people. More than 214,800 of these have been displaced from their homes following the heavy rains received across the country in April, according to the UNHCR-led Protection & Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Assessments continue to determine the impact of flooding in the affected areas. PRMN reports that some IDPs are moving out of settlements to take advantage of the rains back home.

In Hirshabelle State, Belet Weyne town and the surrounding riverine villages are the worst hit areas with an estimate 180,000 people displaced from their homes. As of 2 May 2018, the river water level began to recede slightly in Belet Weyne and reports from the upper stream villages indicate similar marginal recession in water levels. However, road movement remains limited, thus hindering access to some of the affected areas, including the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies. Another 56,000 people have been affected in Middle Shabelle region in Hirshabelle State, including 7,000 people displaced. The flooding has isolated or displaced residents in 18 riverine villages along the river. Road access, grain stores and farms have also been affected. Waterlogging and lack of access to hygiene facilities and uncollected garbage are heightening the risk of communicable diseases, mainly in IDP settlements. Jowhar, Mahaday and Balcad are among the worst affected areas.

In South West State, the torrential rains have resulted in localized flash floods in many towns. Some 174,000 people have been affected and 6,100 displaced. More than 200 latrines have either been damaged or totally destroyed in 26 IDP sites across the state and partners are concerned about the outbreak of diseases. More than 5,000 IDPs have been displaced in Baidoa, most of them moving to nearby IDP settlements on higher ground. Most of the emergency shelter materials provided to IDPs since January 2017 cannot withstand the heavy rains. Baidoa town hosts 246,000 IDPs. Some 295 IDPs exited settlements to return to their farms in the last week. This is the highest number of returnees recorded in a week since August 2017. Meanwhile, according to the Food Security cluster, the Gu rains are likely to have a positive impact on food security in many parts of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle.

In Jubaland State, some 206,000 people have been affected, with 94,620 having been displaced. The weak points along the Juba river banks are likely to worsen the risk of river flooding. In Kismayo, heavy rains have led to the destruction of roads and latrines. An unknown number of latrines have been filled up with flood water and some shelters belonging to IDPs destroyed. In Middle Juba region of Jubaland State where river flooding was also reported. Some 66,000 people have been affected and 17,200 have been displaced, mainly in in Bu'aale, Jilib and Saakow. Some 98 per cent of the families living on both sides of the river have been forced to flee. Two children, a girl and boy, died in Bu'ale due to flooding. Livestock deaths have been reported. Most areas in Middle Juba are under the control of nonstate armed actors limiting access.

In Galmudug State, medium and moderate rains were received in most parts of the Galgaduud and Mudug regions. Some 9,300 IDPs have been affected in IDP settlements in low-lying areas of Cabudwaaq town. Flooding also damaged 75 IDP improvised shelters and latrines. WASH-related concerns have been reported among IDPs in Caabud Waaq IDP settlements with fears of disease outbreaks due to limited access to latrines and stagnant waters.

In Somaliland, heavy rains were received in Hargeisa town on 30 April. The floods swept away a mother and her two children. The woman survived, but the two children died. However, on the whole the rains are having a positive effect in Somaliland. Sool region and the surrounding areas also recorded heavy rains.

In Banadir region, flash flooding affected nearly 54,000 people mainly in IDP settlements in K12, towards the Afgooye corridor. Banadir hosts approximately 497,000 IDPs. Most of the improvised shelters and latrines have been destroyed. There is a heightened risk of communicable diseases with 690 cases of AWD/cholera recorded since January. Urgent needs include shelter, food, health and WASH.

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