Somalia Climate Update: April 2020 Monthly Rainfall and Vegetation Cover (NDVI) (Issued May 18, 2020)

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Across Somalia, Gu season rainfall typically starts in April and extends through June. This year, Gu season rainfall started in late March and intensified around mid-April, covering most parts of Somalia. The overall rainfall amounts in April were average to above average across Somalia. Heavy rainfall in April caused riverine and flash floods in some regions, causing destruction of properties, infrastructure, farms and population displacements (Maps 2-5 and Map 9).

Rain gauge readings recorded for April also confirm intensification of rainfall during April, with several stations in northwestern and southern parts of Somalia reporting over 100mm of rainfall as shown on Table 1. The only stationed that recorded 100 mm of rainfall in the northeast is Ballidhin. Most of the rainfall in April occurred during the second and third dekads as shown on Maps 4 and 5.

Vegetation cover, measured through the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), showed an improvement in vegetation vigor as a result of favorable Gu rains since late March (Maps 6-8 and Map 10). Small to large decreases in vegetation cover as shown on Map 10mainly reflect a technical glitch in the satellite capturing accurate datadue to cloud cover rather than an actual deterioration of the vegetation condition.

Favorable Gu rains in April also replenished water in berkads and other water catchments and enhanced ground water recharge. As a result, pasture, browse and water availability for livestock have also improved across the country. This in turn has led to improved or sustained average to above average livestock body conditions (PET Score of 3-4) across most rural livelihoods. Continued availability of pasture and water has also supported livestock migration to be confined within typical wet-season grazing areas.

Crop planting started in late March and continued through April in agropastoral livelihoods of Waqooyi Galbeed, Toghdeer, Mudug,
Galgaddud, Bay, Bakool, Hiran, Gedo and Lower Shabelle.
However, in some low-lying agropastoral parts of these regions and in riverine livelihood of Juba and Shabelle planting has been delayed due to flooding.

Heavy rainfall in April also caused riverine and flash floods in several parts of Somalia, including in Qardo of Bari region, Bacad weyn of Mudug region. In Shabelle flash foods devastated off-season crops and early-planted maize and sorghum crops, particularly Kurtunwarey and Wanlaeyn districts.

Information compiled by OCHA indicates that, as of 16 May, riverine and flash floods has affected approximately 918 000 people, of whom 412,000 have been displaced and 24 killed, in 29 districts across Somalia. Belet Weyne in Hiraan region is the most affected district after the Shabelle River burst its banks on 12 May, inundating 85 per cent of Belet Weyne town and 25 riverine villages. According to OCHA which quoted the District Flood Taskforce, about 240,000 people were displaced from Belet Weyne town and neighboring villages between 12 and 13 May. In Jowhar district, Middle Shabelle region, riverine flooding is reported to have affected more than 98,000 people in 37 locations, bringing the total affected in Hirshabelle to 338,000 people. According to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in Hirshabelle State, nearly 40 per cent of those affected in Jowhar have been displaced from their homes.

Across Somalia, conditions remain favorable for the continued infestation and breeding of Desert Locust. On 15 May, FAO and IGAD issued a forecasting indicating a high risk of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in the East Africa sub-region both for livestock and humans in the next coming months, either due to favorable environmental conditions and/or through animal movement. FAO and IGAD called for urgent readiness to any potential RVF outbreak in prone areas