The ongoing Gu’ rains have significantly reduced with many parts of Somalia receiving below average cumulative amounts; latest forecasts indicate that the continuation of the rains through June is uncertain.
Findings from the inter-agency assessment in Jowhar, Middle Shebelle, indicate 11,000 households in 27 villages (66,000 people) displaced. The floods were triggered by river breakages at Moyko and Baarey in Jowhar and Shiidlabari in Mahaday district.
Accessibility of air transport to various parts of the country, including Belet Weyne, Jalalaqsi and Afmadow, has improved following a reduction in rains.
The ongoing Gu’ rains have significantly reduced with many parts of Somalia receiving below average cumulative amounts over the last week. The latest forecast indicates that the continuation of these rains from late May through June is uncertain1. However, the rains received triggered flash floods in some areas and will affect food security and livelihoods, with the 2021 Gu’ season cereal production expected to be 20-40% below average. Humanitarian partners estimate that at least 166,000 people have been affected by flooding since the beginning of the Gu’ season.
Flash flooding was particularly felt in Jowhar and Belet Weyne districts. An inter-agency assessment completed on 17 May found that in Mahaday and Jowhar, Middle Shebelle, floods triggered by river breakages at Moyko and Baarey in Jowhar district and Shiidlabari in Mahaday district, affecting 11,000 households in 27 villages (66,000 people; of whom 30 per cent were women, 28 per cent children, seven people living with disability, 12 per cent elderly and 23 men). The floods also destroyed over 40,000 hectares of farmland, disrupted learning in 11 schools, and damaged 82 per cent of all WASH infrastructures in the assessed villages including over 62 shallow wells, and 1,646 latrines.
Despite the reported decrease of rainfall in the third week of May along the Shabelle river valley both in the upper stream areas of Ethiopia and in Somalia, flood ing in the lower reaches in Middle Shabelle particularly in Jowhar continues to affect livelihoods, causing disruption of transport and displacement. River-levels in Jowhar are 4.20 meters high which is 1.05 meters below high-risk level of 5.25 meters high as of 20 May. Some reports indicate that families living within Afgoye town flood prone sections have started moving to higher ground areas. The river breakage in Baarey has affected transportation of food supplies pushing up prices of key commodities. Although there is no shortage of basic food supplies in Jowhar, there is a slight increase of between $0.10 to $0.25 in retail prices of some commodities in the main markets. On 18 May, a delegation led by Hirshabelle President, Ali Abdullahi Hussein visited the Baarey breakage points to assess the situation of flood-displaced people living under trees on elevated land and delivering food and medical assistance. The president urged partners to provide assistance in coordination with the inter-ministerial flood committee that was recently established. OCHA will coordinate delivery of assistance with the committee.
Meanwhile, in Lower Shabelle, despite reported decrease of rainfall over the last week any significant rainfall and increased downstream flow of the river from the Ethiopian highland may cause river breakages in Anole, Sabiid and Aytiri in Afgooye district, as has been the case in previous years. Additional districts such as Wanla Weyn, Marka and Qoryooley may also be affected. Any eventuality would affect crop output and livelihoods, cause disruption of transport and increase displacements. About 10,000 people living in these villages may be affected should there be river breakages. Any significant increase of rainfall in the area as well as the eastern Ethiopian highlands may intensify the downstream flow of the Shabelle river.
In Jubaland, during the last 2 weeks of May, the Juba river levels fluctuated with last week seeing a sharp reduction in flooding, according to Somalia Water and Land Information systems (SWALIM). The levels are currently slightly above normal. However, given the rainfall forecast in the Ethiopian highlands, and the reducing trend of river levels in upper parts of the river, the moderate risk of flooding changed to minimal level in the entire channel.
As of 3rd week of May, most parts of Puntland especially parts of Bari, Nugaal, Mudug and the disputed areas of Sool, Sanaag and Cey (Buhoodle) are reportedly receiving some rains. However, coastal Deeh and Addun livelihood zones and some parts of the inland pastoral have received little to no rains so far. According to the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA), the rains received were light to moderate but poorly distributed and erratic. Although delayed, the rains offered much needed relief to many rural communities facing stress in terms of access to water and pasture for animals. According to FSNAU reports, the rainfall conditions started to improve in late April with most parts of Puntland receiving varying amounts and intensities of rainfall. The rains further intensified the week between 28 of April and 5 May causing deaths, damage and destruction of livelihood assets and economic infrastructures in some areas following flash flooding. According to HADMA, a total of four people and over 200 heads of livestock were killed by flash floods. HADMA reported an unknown number of makeshift shelters for some rural nomadic communities being damaged especially in parts of Bari and Sanaag. Flash floods seriously damaged two bridges along Bossaso – Garowe main road leading to a temporary disruption of the flow of goods and people within parts of Puntland and surrounding areas.
In Galmudug, light to moderate amounts of rain were received across all the districts of Gaalkacyo, Hobyo, Cabuwaaq, Cadaaado, Dhuusamarreeb with rainfall distribution pattern limited but even across the state. While the rains temporarily relieved most of the drought affected villages from the burden of water trucking, the cessation of the rains over the last two weeks triggered renewed drought in some area. Local sources reported poor rainfall distribution along coastal Deex region of Hobyo district including Qaranro, Labad, Kherqabe, Xindawaco and Ceelducal rural villages. An estimated 400 rural households have been displaced from affected villages over last week and arrived at Xajubsufi and Indhaqaris looking for pasture and water. A verification exercise confirmed that the IDP population in south Gaalkacyo increased from 55,000 in 2020 to 66,543 in March 2021 due to displacement triggered by the persistent drought conditions and armed conflict. Sources in the community informed that more IDPs from Baadweyne are likely to soon join them due to an increasingly tense security situation wherein the protracted armed conflict between Government forces and non-state armed actors (Al Shabab) in Baadweyne town, has resulted in civilian casualties and displacement of at least 1276 households, mainly women and children, since the beginning of the year.
Transport constraints have has eased in various parts of the country following the decrease in rains. According to the Logistics Cluster, the Belet Weyne airstrip which was closed due to flooding has since dried up and is accessible again for fixed wing assets. The Jalalaqsi airstrip which was also affected has dried up but is yet to re-open. The Jowhar corridor is still flooded but Afmadow airstrip may be accessible.
There have been reports of an increase in Acute Watery Diarrhea/Cholera cases in various flood affected regions. In Lower Shabelle, a total of 87 cases have been recorded in Qoryooley, Afgooye and Marka regions. In Jubaland, a total of 176 AWD admissions with one associated death has been recorded. According to partners, consumption of unsafe water, inadequate awareness of AWD prevention in the community, the inaccessibility to clean water by host communities and IDPs and poor hygiene and sanitation practices are key causes.
Separately, there are concerns of another surge of Desert Locusts, particularly in northern parts of the country due to favorable conditions following the Gu’ rains in the area. The spread of existing and newly formed swarms is likely to cause significant losses to crop and pasture availability which have already been adversely impacted by drought conditions, thereby exacerbating food insecurity in high risks areas of Somaliland, Puntland and parts of South West State.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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