The week that ended on 03 May saw increased rainfall in most regions in Somalia. Heavy rains led to flash floods in northern regions and riverine flooding along the Juba River in the south. The significant rains received so far, follows another above average rainy season, observed during the Deyr (October-December) 2019 season. There has been a general improvement in pasture and ground water recharge across the country.
The rainfall forecast for this week is for more rains, especially in the Juba and Shabelle river basins, while there will be a slight reduction of rains in the northern regions. Moderate to high flood risk is likely to persist at least through mid-May, threatening urban and riverine populations, including in Belet Weyne (Hiran) and Jowhar (Middle Shabelle).
Shabelle River: River levels continued to rise following heavy rains within the Shabelle River basin in both Ethiopia and inside Somalia. Mataban, Belet Weyne, Bulo Burti, Jowhar and Balcad rainfall stations recorded over 50mm in the last week. Today, the river level at Belet Weyne is 7.20m, which is just 0.10m less the high risk flood level and 1.10m less the bank-full level. The river level at Bulo Burti continued to rise slowly reaching 4.55m today. In Jowhar, the river level reached 5.30 m, which is the high-risk flood level and has remained so in the last four days. Localized flooding has been reported in Tugaarey village within Jowhar district. A similar trend has been observed in Balcad and the lower reaches of the river. The levels are expected to continue rising along the entire channel of Shabelle as more waters from the Ethiopian highlands are still streaming in. High risk of flooding is foreseen along the Shabelle during this week and the following week. Further, reports from the Ethiopian catchment indicate high river levels and flooding in some locations. There is therefore a high likelihood that these waters will reach in Belet Weyne in two to 5 days, which will likely exceed bank full level in the area. It is advisable that the riverine communities within Belet Weyne to prepare for possible evacuation in the course of the week. Existence of river breakages (50 points identified and reported by SWALIM in February 2020) along the Shabelle is likely to exacerbate the flooding situation unless urgent measures are taken.
Juba River: River levels were very high at the beginning of last week and started to drop slightly in the last three days in Dollow, Luuq and Bardheere monitoring stations, all within Gedo region. Flood waters started to recede back to the river in Bardheere and this has in turn led to an increase of levels in the downstream reaches where flooding continue to be observed. Using high-resolution satellite images, SWALIM identified 51 Km2 of flood-affected areas along the Juba for the period 23 to 30 April 2020. The worst affected areas are found in Saakow,
Buaale, Jilib and Jamame districts. Given the current high levels and rainfall forecast, there is a High risk of flooding along the entire Juba river channel.
In Bay and Bakool regions: Heavy rains resulted to flash floods in some areas within Bay and Bakool regions. In the last week of April, Baidoa station recorded 190mm while Dinsor recorded 110mm of rainfall. In Bakool region, 88 mm and 178 mm of rainfall were recorded in Hudur and El Berde stations respectively in the same period. Flash floods were observed in Qansadheere, Dinsor districts where around 124 Ha of crop fields comprising of Sorghum, Maize, Beans and Sesame were affected. Moderate risk of flooding remains in this area.
Puntland, Somaliland and Central regions: Since the beginning of the rainy season, moderate to heavy rains have been reported in many parts of the northern regions. Heavy storms in Qardho, Bari region and Burao in Togdheer region on the night of 27 April 2020 led to severe flash floods leading to massive destruction of properties and loss of lives. In Puntland, more than 10 stations in Bari, Nuugal and Mudug regions recorded heavy rains of between 50 mm to 100 mm cumulatively in the last seven days. Moderate rains have also been observed in Somaliland. This week will see a reduction of rainfall amounts in both areas with no risk of flash floods.
Forecasts for the next week shows an intensification of rainfall within the Juba and Shabelle basins both in Ethiopia and Somalia. Heavy rains are expected in middle Galgaduud region in the next 48 to 72 hours and this may lead to flash floods in the area. Foreseen heavy rains in Lower Juba are likely to lead to further flooding in the region.