The 2020 Gu’ rains (April-June) intensified in the Ethiopian highlands and across Somalia, triggering flash flooding in several regions and along the Juba and Shabelle river valleys where water levels rose sharply. In Bari region of Puntland State, six people reportedly died in Qhardo town during flash flooding caused by a heavy downpour on 27 April. Across Somalia, thousands of people, including IDPs, have lost their homes and farms. This year’s flooding comes at a time when Somalia is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 500 confirmed cases and 28 dead. In addition,
Somalia is currently burdened by the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years, consituting a ‘Triple Threat’ on top of an already large humanitarian case load and inadequate funding of the response plan According to FAO/Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), rainfall increased significantly in most parts of Somalia and the eastern Ethiopian highlands from 25-27 April. The rains caused a drastic increase in water levels along the Shabelle River. In Belet Weyne and surrounding areas, river levels rose sharply to 6 m which is only 0.50 m below the moderate flood risk level. Water levels have also risen down river in Bulo Burto and Jowhar.
The Juba river level also rose leading to flooding in Dollow town. Floods were also reported north of Dollow town where the Dawa and Juba rivers converge, and in Luuq town. Around Bardheere in Gedo, river levels surpassed the high-risk flood level. Flooding in the area has continued since 23 April. Middle Juba and Lower Juba regions are also experiencing high river levels with flooding reported.
More rains are forecasted for many parts of Somalia with flash flooding likely to occur in the northern regions especially Bari and Nugal regions, and low-lying areas of Bay and Bakool. The River levels along the Shabelle River which increased sharply in the last few days are expected to remain high, with a high likelihood of flooding. During the 2019 Deyr (October-November) rains, riverine flooding inundated most parts of Somalia affecting over half a million people.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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