Somalia: Flash Update 2 Humanitarian Impact of Heavy Rains | 6 November 2015

News and Press Release
Originally published


Situation overview:

While the amount of rainfall has subsided and river levels have relatively receded since the last Flash Update of 26 October, some parts of northern Somalia and areas along the Juba and Shabelle River basins in Somalia and in the Ethiopian Highlands continue to experience moderate to heavy rains. According to the FAO-Managed Somalia Water and Land Information Network (SWALIM), the current rainfall forecast and the current river levels indicate that there is high risk of flooding along the middle and lower reaches of Shabelle, and moderate risk of flooding in the lower reaches of Juba River, especially in areas where there are open river breakages.

As flooding continues, there are concerns over disease outbreaks in flood-affected areas. Already, there are confirmed cases of cholera in three known hotspots in Jowhar, Kismayo and Mogadishu. The number of cases could increase if flooding persists. Authorities in Banadir region have also reported an outbreak of diarrhea in Mogadishu. Similar reports in Lower Shabelle are also being verified.

Humanitarian impact and needs:

Overall, more than 90,000 people have been affected since 23 October and an estimated 42,000 people displaced as a result of the flash floods and river flooding in Bakool, Bay, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Middle Shabelle regions, according to the Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Most are either displaced within or to the nearby villages. Although the rains have subsided and the river levels relatively receded and some people have returned to their villages, the situation remains unpredictable. Thousands of people in the low lying areas of the southern and central parts of Somalia remain at risk of flash and river flooding.

In Bay region, an estimated 8,900 people have been displaced as a result of floods in Buur Hakaba, according to PRMN. Heavy rains have also affected existing settlements for internally displaced persons in Baidoa district. The displaced are in urgent need of emergency shelter, mosquito nets, blankets and rehabilitation of damaged latrines, according to local authorities. Access is likely to be a challenge as a section of the road and bridge near Buur Hakaba is almost impassable. This will also affect the supply of commercial and humanitarian supplies to some areas in Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions as this the main supply route to these regions. Flash floods have also destroyed underground food storage.

In Lower Juba region, an estimated 9,270 people have been displaced in Jamame district while another 6,800 have been displaced in Bulale and Jiliib districts in Middle Juba region, according to PRMN. Some 400 people were displaced by floods to Kismayo from Jamame district and another 400 people who were displaced from Bula Abdi Rahman village have returned to their homes. The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concern of a cholera outbreak in Kismayo and other riverine areas. Already, laboratory results of samples collected from acute water diarrhea (AWD) cases in Kismayo hospital by the WHO confirmed positive for cholera. The most affected areas include Fanole, Farjano and Gulwade neighborhoods.

The situation has stabilized somewhat in Hiraan region where some 9,000 people were affected by flooding in Belet Weyne district. However, partners estimate that over 20,000 people remain at risk of displacement if the Shabelle River spills over into Belet Weyne town.

In Mudug region, where flooding destroyed some makeshift houses, an estimated 1,500 internally displaced people in Gaalkacyo are in urgent need of shelter, according to local authorities and partners. Sections of Gaalkacyo town remain inundated with stagnant flood water, raising concerns of disease outbreaks. orth Gaalkacyo were inundated with stagnant water blocking access to schools, and other public facilities. The road connecting areas such as Garsoor, Israac and Horumar have also been affected. Two assessments were conducted in Gaalkacyo and areas north of the town. The assessments revealed that over 50 per cent of internally displaced people in Gaalkacyo are at risk of floods and their makeshift shelters are in deplorable condition. locations in n Humanitarian response:


Some In Togdheer region, Somaliland, there are no new reports of displacement.

Heavy rains have previously destroyed shelter and affected about 9,840 people in Buhoodle district.
On 2 and 3 November, tropical storm Chapala made landfall in Bari region resulting in heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds.

Local authorities reported that about 2,000 to 3,000 people have been affected. Partners are coordinating with local authorities to carry out a needs assessment.

Humanitarian partners continue to step up efforts to mitigate the impact of floods. WASH, Food Security and Health clusters have begun release of supplies from pre-positioned stocks in most severely affected areas. The WASH Cluster has distributed 500 hygiene kits for 3,000 displaced people in Gaalkacyo and 2,000 hygiene kits for 12,000 people in internally displaced people settlement and adjacent villages in Jowhar. In addition, an estimated 27,500 people will receive water purification tablets in settlements for internally displaced in Jowhar and nearby villages.

Hygiene promotion activities are ongoing to complement these efforts. Health partners are also collaborating with authorities to respond to confirmed cases of cholera in three hotspot areas of Jowhar, Kismayo and Mogadishu by enhancing disease surveillance system, including case definition, detection, management and reporting. While these localized outbreaks are currently under control, the risk of escalation remains high. Health partners and the government have pre-positioned three diarrhoeal/cholera medicine kits to treat 1,500 cholera cases, and three inter-agency health kits to treat 30,000 people for three months in Baidoa, Belet Weyne, Kismayo and Mogadishu.

Some 76 cartons of assorted medicines were delivered to Belet Weyne hospital by the government. Overall, health partners have supplies to assist 577,000 people in three months. Nonetheless, health facilities reported increasing stock-outs of essential medicines and supplies due to poor funding for health. Meanwhile, strengthening of weak spots in river banks, low embankments and breakages in the Juba and Shabelle rivers are continuing in collaboration with authorities and communities.

In addition to continuous flood early warning activities and El Niño mitigation measures, partners have pre-positioned life saving supplies such as food for 186,000 people for a month, hygiene and sanitation kits for about 387,000 people, health and medical supplies in priority areas most likely to be affected. Logistical capacity has also been strengthened with boats in some of the flood-prone areas. In addition to regular UNHAS flights, one helicopter has been allocated for flood-response and another is on standby and can be brought in at 24 hours’ notice.

Consultations led by the Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Peter de Clercq with the Federal Government of Somalia on the floods and overall response to El Niño are ongoing, including on a potential declaration of an emergency if the situation deteriorate further, and facilitation of the work of humanitarian organizations. In addition to operational coordination meetings with Director Generals of relevant line ministries in Mogadishu, coordination with humanitarian partners and with local authorities is being stepped up in regional hubs to facilitate response. OCHA is coordinating inter-agency assessments and have on behalf of the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group requested the REACH on 29 October to launch a Somalia Inter-cluster Rapid Needs Assessment (SIRNA) in Jowhar, as foreseen within the framework of the El Niño Inter-agency Contingency Plan. Since 20 October, seven inter-agency assessments have been or are being conducted in affected areas in Banadir, Hiraan, Middle Shabelle and Mudug regions. OCHA is maintaining an Assessment Registry and a mapping of pre-positioned stocks to facilitate country-wide coordination. In addition, OCHA is working with clusters to map current response capacity.

In Middle Shabelle region, flooding has affected the districts of Balcad, Jowhar and Mahaday, displacing some 6,800 people to the nearby villages, following river-bank breakages due to heavy rains and rising water levels, according to PRMN and Protection Cluster. An inter-cluster needs assessment is ongoing to ascertain the needs.

However, there is an urgent need to repair the river bank breakages in Balcad, Jowhar and Mahaday to prevent river overflow. No new cases of displacement were reported in Gedo region during the reporting period. The 1,800 people who were reported to have been displaced in the last Flash Update have returned to their villages in Ceel Cadde, Garbahaarey district.

The Somalia Inter-agency Contingency Plan for El Niño is available here:

For SWALIM technical rainfall and flood update please visit: For more information or to receive our reports as attachment, contact: Tapiwa Gomo Head of Communication,, Tel. (+254) 731043197

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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