Gu (March/April-June) seasonal rainfall typically starts between late March to early April in northwestern and southern parts of Somalia and expands eastwards to cover central and northeast regions by mid-April. April and May are peak months for Gu season rainfall.
This year, sunny and dry weather conditions characterized by higher than average daytime temperatures prevailed in most regions of Somalia in March. There was limited rainfall in areas along Somalias border with Ethiopia and Kenyan in March.
Rainfall amount and intensity increased in April and May, covering most parts of the country. However, there has been little to no rainfall in June, indicating likely end of the season.
Total rainfall amounts from 1 March through 15 June 2022, including forecasts from 16 to 30 June 2022 are low in most parts of the Somalia (Maps 1 and 2). Rainfall deficits during the current Gu season are the highest in most parts of central and southern Somalia (Maps 3 and 4). Rainfall amounts are 45 to 75 percent of normal in most parts of the country (Maps 5 and 6).
Observed rainfall readings indicated only a few stations across the country recording over 100mm of monthly rainfall totals during the current Gu season: Borama (102.5mm), Bardaale (128.0mm) and Bardheere (141.0 mm) in April 2022; Odweyne (125.0 mm), Lasaanod (108.0 mm), Baidoa (115.5mm), and Diinsor (175.2mm) in May 2022. All other stations recorded less rainfall in March 2022, April 2022 and May 2022 compared to the respective Short Term Average (STA) – see Table 1.
Vegetation cover measured through the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) remained poor through the first dekad of May 2022 in most parts of central and southern Somalia, reflecting persistent drought conditions but there have been some improvements in vegetation conditions in June reflecting the impact of rainfall in April and May (Maps 7, 8 and 9). Rainfall in April and May has helped to slightly ease the water stress in some parts of country and temporarily improved pasture conditions especially in some areas in the south. However, this improvement is expected to be short-lived as the drought conditions are expected to worsen throughout the prolonged dry Hagaa (July-September) season.
Severe water shortage, and increased reliance and use of water trucking were reported through mid-April 2022 in parts of northern and central regions with abnormally high water prices for livestock and human consumption. Water prices were significantly higher in March, April and May 2022 compared to five-year averages for 2017-2021 in most parts of northwest (19-21%), most parts of northeast (22-59%), in central regions (7-21%), and in parts of southern Somalia: Shabelle (5-16%), Bakool (47-88%), Bay (11-37%), and Middle Juba (8-38%).
Moreover, water prices in remote areas are much higher than water prices near main towns and urban areas where there are permanent water sources in northwest, northeast, and central.
However, decreases in water prices compared to the five-year averages for April and May have also been reported in rural markets some regions: Lower Juba (38-55%), Bakool (2-26%), and Lower Shabelle (1-6%).
Due to scarce pasture and water resources throughout Somalia, livestock body conditions have continued to deteriorate as drought conditions worsen. In northeastern and central regions, livestock body conditions are atypically poor with a PET Score of 2. Low conception, increased abortion and low births among livestock during the current Gu season have adversely affected availability of milk for consumption and sale in most pastoral livelihoods across the country. With already limited and dwindling herd sizes, poor pastoral households in northern and central regions are facing rising debt levels due to increased costs associated with livestock feed and water. Poor pastoral households can not afford the increased costs associated with livestock migration to distant grazing areas in search of water and pasture. Destitution and drought related displacement is also reported in drought affected areas of northern, central and southern Somalia.
Poor households in agropastoral who have sustained widespread crop losses and harvest failure as well as loss of income from agricultural employment during the 2021 Deyr cropping season are experiencing worsening food insecurity as their food stocks have been depleted and they face rising food prices in the market. Substantially below-average rainfall during the current Gu season have also adversely affected income of poor households from agricultural employment. The 2022 Gu season cereal harvest in southern Somalia is expected to be 40-60 percent below the long-term average.
The Juba and Shabelle River levels are currently 30 percent below the short-term average, with limited water available to support irrigation of crops and other uses. The river levels are expected to decrease further during the typically dry Hagaa (July-September) season.