Due to climate change and its associated impacts Somalia is now recording more wet and dry weather events, often with disastrous consequences for the people facing such extremes. It has become even more difficult to predict such sequential events. Currently, more than 80 percent of the country is facing drought conditions in the mid of the primary Gu rainy season. Yet, flash floods have been reported in the last two days following heavy and sporadic rains in Somaliland. In addition, limited climate change adaptive capacities has led to irresponsible socio- economic practices like cutting of river banks to extract irrigation waters, further exposing the communities to climate hazards. For instance, riverine flooding due to open river banks near Baarey and Moyko villages has been reported in Jowhar within Middle Shabelle region.
With current climate models predicting extreme temperatures and rainfall in the future within the region, the country is likely to continue experiencing frequent flood and drought events with likely consequences of affecting untold numbers of people, taxing economies, disrupting food production, creating unrest and prompting migrations.
FLOODS AND RAINS UPDATE
The Gu rains continued to spread across most parts of the country with Somaliland and Puntland experiencing moderate to heavy rains over the last week. Other areas in central and southern regions recorded light to moderate rains. The Ethiopian highlands received moderate rains within the last week.
Since 25 May 2021, most parts of Somaliland have been receiving moderate to heavy rains. Localized flash floods caused by the heavy rainfall were reported on 01 May 2021 in parts of Hargeisa district. The riverine areas of the seasonal Hargeisa River were worst affected by the flood waters that lasted a couple of hours. According to unconfirmed reports, approximately 50 houses have been either partially damaged or destroyed leading to displacement of several households. Power and water systems are also reportedly damaged, while public infrastructure have also been impacted.
The river levels along Shabelle river have been increasing over the last few days, and are currently within normal at this time of the year. At Belet Weyne, the river level increased by over 2m in the last 2 days. Today’s level is 4.65 m, which is 1.85 m below the moderate risk level (6.50 m). In Jowhar, two open river bank points at Bareey and Moyko have led to flooding causing extensive damage in the area. Unconfirmed hectares of cropland have been submerged while several houses were affected. The flood waters are from the upper reaches of Jowhar and mostly from Ethiopia as the area has not experienced good rains since the beginning of the current Gu season. The river level at Jowhar today is 3.80 m which is slightly below normal at this time of the year. Due to several open river banks in the area, further increase of river levels will see more flooding. The worst affected villages include Bareey, Moyko, Libiga and Bananey. Parts of Jowhar town have also been affected by flood water streaming from Moyko river breakage.
Along the Juba river there is a sharp increase in river levels over the last few days. The levels are currently above normal for this time of the year, and expected to continue rising over the next week, given the rainfall forecast.