OCHA Somalia Flash Update #7 - Humanitarian impact of heavy rains | 7 June 2018
There has been a significant reduction in rainfall levels in the Juba and Shabelle river basins in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands over the last two weeks, with most areas receiving only light rainfall, if any.
According to SWALIM, the forecast for the coming week calls for clear weather, with the exception of coastal areas of Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba in Jubaland State. This signifies the gradual end of the 2018 Gu rainy season, which has seen above-average rainfall during April and early May. Some river breakages have not yet been closed in the mid-lower parts of the Shabelle river and therefore there remains a moderate risk of flooding. River levels along the Juba river have been gradually decreasing, which has reduced the risk of flood.
Despite the damage caused by flooding, the moisture conditions of the 2018 Gu are favorable for rain-fed crop and livestock farmers. In areas that were not badly affected by the flooding, it is also expected that cereal production will be above the recent five-year average, and there is also the possibility of an above-average off-season maize yield in September. In addition, livestock conditions have improved to normal in most areas with improved pasture and water availability, but efforts need to be stepped up to avert livestock diseases.
Humanitarian impact and needs
An estimated 830,000 people have been affected, of which nearly 290,000 have been temporarily displaced due to flooding. The flooding has destroyed farmland, infrastructure and roads, and disrupted livelihoods in the worst-hit areas. Major diseases are on the rise, with new cases being reported in areas along the Juba and Shabelle rivers, as well as areas affected by flash flooding. Overall, some 3,547 AWD/cholera, 4,446 malaria and 5,739 measles cases have been reported since the beginning of the year. Except for malaria, which was not a major factor during the protracted drought conditions, the number of AWD/cholera and measles cases are drastically lower than in 2017 due to the vaccination campaigns.
No significant amounts of rain were received in Galmudug State over the past two weeks, and waters that had been stagnating in urban and pre-urban areas, including in IDPs settlements, have dried up. An estimated 30,000 people were affected by the heavy rainfall in the state prior to this, according to an assessment conducted by the Protection Cluster. Nearly 80 per cent of the affected are IDPs. Poor access to water and hygiene facilities is heightening the risk of disease, mainly among IDPs. More than 578 suspected AWD/Cholera and 174 confirmed malaria cases have been reported to health facilities in Galmudug State. Mosquito nets and NFIs are urgently needed.
Nearly 306,000 people have been affected in Hirshabelle State, approximately 186,000 of whom have been displaced, with Belet Weyne town being the worst-hit. Shabelle River levels in Belet Weyne are expected to continue decreasing and stabilize in mid-June, while in Bulo Burto and Jowhar, they are expected to remain high in the coming week posing a moderate risk of flooding in these areas and the lower reaches of the river. Bulo Burto and Jalalaqsi were also badly affected by flash and river flooding, with damage caused to farmland, houses and latrines in the towns. An inter-agency mission to the Jalalaqsi district on 30 May found that flooding had affected 52 villages. An estimated 3,600 families (21,600 people) of the 4,800 families who live in Jalalaqsi town were reportedly displaced. Schools and government offices were also closed due to flooding. Priority needs in Jalalaqsi include shelter, water, mosquito nets, food, medical facilities, sanitation and flood-related livestock vaccinations.
In South West State (SWS), only light rains were received since the last week of May, mainly in the Bay and Bakool regions, which experienced flash flooding during April and May. Recent reports indicate that river levels are decreasing. While rains contributed to improved pasture growth and water availability, flash and river flooding displaced people, destroyed crops and infrastructures. An estimated 174,000 people were affected and over 4,000 people displaced by the floods in SWS. A lack of access to clean water and other hygiene facilities is increasing the risk of an outbreak of waterborne disease in IDP settlements in Baidoa. A joint rapid needs assessment, conducted by WASH Cluster partners, indicates that that majority of IDPs in Baidoa are using unsafe water, while 70 percent of latrines are either damaged or already at capacity. In Lower Shabelle, the Health Cluster reported an increase in the number of suspected AWD/Cholera cases.
In Jubaland State, while water levels are expected to reduce, flooding along the Juba and Dawa rivers has already destroyed farmland and equipment. Some 285,000 people have now been affected and 83,000 of them displaced. FEWSNET and FSNAU estimate that floods inundated an estimated 10,250 hectares of crops and another 18,000 hectares of cultivatable land in Gedo, Lower Juba, and Middle Juba with water. Displaced people coming from flood-affected areas continue to arrive in Kismayo, Baardheere, and Doolow. Six assessments have been conducted in Jubaland since the beginning of the Gu season. Urgent humanitarian needs include food, shelter, sanitation, hygiene and other non-food items. The security situation in Gedo region is highly unstable due to the increased presence and movement of Al Shabaab, mainly in Bardheere, Ceel Waaq and Luuq areas, which has impacted response.
No significant rainfall has recently fallen in Banadir region, but light showers are expected until end of June. Nearly 54,000 people were affected by the flash flooding in April and May.
Humanitarian coordination and response
Humanitarian partners have continued to scale–up their flood response in affected areas. The Federal Ministry of Planning Investment and Economic Development, with support from the World Bank, EU and UN will lead a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment focused on flooding as a compliment to the Drought Impact Needs Assessment (DINA) carried out at the end of 2017. The assessment seeks to capture a comprehensive overview of the damages and losses caused by the floods, along with a recovery strategy. The 2018 HRP, which calls for $1.5 billion, is 28 per cent funded as of 7 June. Pooled funds (CERF and SHF) have provided urgent resources to kick-start the drought and flood responses. Additional resources for the remainder of the year are urgently required.
An assessment was conducted by humanitarians and the Galmudug Disaster Management Agency (GADMA) in May to establish the impact of the heavy rains. Findings from the assessment indicate that heavy rainfall destroyed latrines and water sources in IDP settlements in the districts of Cadaado, Cabudwaaq and Dhuusamareeb. The rains also affected livestock and damaged houses and improvised shelters in the south Gaalkacyo and Hobyo districts. Partners continued to provide life-saving assistance in the affected areas, including repair of damaged facilities.
In Hirshabelle State, the rapid post-flood assessment is ongoing with results informing the response as it proceeds. As flood waters recede, authorities in Belet Weyne have mobilized resources from the business community and are repairing one of the main roads in the town, to improve access. Repairs of the road linking the airport and Ceel Jaale to the town are complete and it is now open for use. A drainage campaign is ongoing as part of the efforts to prevent waterborne diseases. Key rehabilitation priorities include: restoring access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation and the repair of service facilities and feeder roads. Flood-related livestock vaccination is also underway. In Bulo Burto and Jalalaqsi, health and WASH activities are being undertaken to prevent disease outbreaks. Food and nutrition partners have also scaled up their response, including providing in-kind food and cash assistance to 4,030 families in Bulo Burto. In Jalalaqsi, 1.85 metric tons of high energy biscuits for 3,500 beneficiaries and 5.3 metric tons of dates for 15,900 beneficiaries were delivered. Food assistance was provided to nearly 16,000 beneficiaries to last for two months (June and July) in Jalalaqsi. Discussions are underway to repair the airstrip to facilitate the delivery of relief supplies. Progress has also been made to construct latrines to replace those destroyed by flood waters. Authorities provided $50,000 to assist flood-affected people. The Government of Somalia also provided $180,000 for flood response in the Middle Shabelle region. WASH and food assistance has been provided in the affected areas. Meanwhile, the Omani government has donated food for 2,000 families in Jowhar (town), while the Qatari charity delivered food for 400 families in two villages in the same town. However, gaps remain and they include food, shelter, and NFIs. Mosquito nets are also urgently needed to curb malaria.
In South West State, authorities in Afgooye and Qoryooley have drained the stagnant water from public facilities, mainly schools and health centres. Humanitarian partners have provided 2,000 sand bags to repair the breakage along the Shabelle River at Qoryooley. Nearly 27,000 IDPs have received food assistance in Baidoa since April. Shelter Cluster partners have distributed NFI/Shelter Kits to 1,000 IDPs households, while WASH partners are restoring ten shallow wells in Baidoa’s IDP sites. Hygiene kits were provided to 20,000 people in the town. However, a severe lack of resources continues to impact on partners’ ability to scale-up their responses, especially regarding livelihood supports to help farmers who lost their crops to start replanting.
In Jubaland State, food security partners reached 76,800 people with assistance to last for two months (May and June). More than 102,300 people have received hygiene kits, while shelter partners reached 38,110 people with NFI assistance. Some 43,000 people have accessed health services in the state. The record levels of rainfall this year have seen Somalia emerge from the prolonged drought. With the Gu rainy season gradually drawing to an end, there is now a window of opportunity for recovery in the agriculture sector. To achieve that, resources are urgently required for flood response and to support farmers to replant and vaccinate their livestock. More than 5.4 million people still require assistance as the lingering effects of drought remain. The recurrent nature of climatic shocks such as flooding and drought and their impact on humanitarian indicators and the massive erosion of community resilience and losses in livelihoods assets reinforces the need to work with development partners to drive investment in the Resilience and Recovery Framework (RRF) to address root causes of vulnerability.
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