FEWS NET publishes a Seasonal Monitor for Somalia every 10 days(dekad) through the end of the current April to June Gu rainy season. The purpose of this document isto provide updated information on the progress of the Gu season to facilitate contingency and response planning. This Somalia Seasonal Monitor is valid through April 30, 2021 and is produced in collaboration with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Food Security andNutritionAnalysis Unit (FSNAU)
Somalia, the Somali Water and Land Information System (SWALIM), a number of other agencies, and several Somali non-governmental organizations(NGOs).
Start of the 2021 gu rains marked by delayed and below-average rainfall
The 2021 gu rainfall season, which typically begins between late March and mid-April, has yet to be effectively established across many areas of Somalia. Somalia received little to no rainfall in March and poorly distributed rainfall between April 1 and 20. To date, rainfall has performed relatively better in the South than in central and northern Somalia. According to CHIRPS preliminary remote sensing data for the period of April 11-20, localized rainfall ranging between 10 and 75 millimeters (mm) fell in most of Bay and Lower Juba regions and in localized areas of Hiiraan, Bakool, Gedo, and the Shabelle regions. Conversely, the central regions received only 10-25 mm while the Northwest received less than 25 mm of rain and the Northeast received less than 10 mm (Figure 1). In comparison to the long-term average, rainfall amounts were 10-50 mm below average across much of the South and in parts of the Northwest but were considered climatologically average in most of the Northeast, central regions, and localized areas in the South.
According to the most recent FAO SWALIM river station gauge data, water levels in the Shabelle River remain below average and water levels in the Juba River range from near average to slightly above average. Currently, the risk of flooding along both rivers is low.
In the Northwest, the rainfall season has yet to be fully established in most pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones in Awdal,
Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions. During the period of April 11-20, only localized light to moderate rain occurred in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed and localized areas of Hawd Pastoral and Golis Pastoral livelihood zones in Togdheer region. However, localized flooding was reported in parts in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone in Lughaya district of Awdal due to moderate rainfall in the Golis Mountains. In Sool and Sanaag, little to no rainfall has been reported. As a result, meteorological drought is present and pasture and water availability remain significantly below normal in most regions, adversely affecting livestock condition and productivity.
In the Northeast, most livelihood zones in Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions received little to no rain during the period of April 11-20. In Bari, only localized, light to moderate rainfall occurred in parts of East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone of Caluula and Qandala districts. In Nugaal and northern Mudug, only localized light showers were reported in Hawd Pastoral and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones of Burtinle and Eyl districts. Meteorological drought exists across this area and rangeland conditions range from below normal to poor, especially in Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone where rainfall in the preceding 2020 deyr season was also poor.
In central regions, rainfall onset was delayed across Galgaduud and southern Mudug regions. However, widespread moderate to heavy rainfall was reported on April 20 in both regions, marking the onset of the gu season. The exceptions are most of Galkacyo and Hobyo districts in southern Mudug, which remained dry. Although the recent rain has alleviated water stress and reduced reliance on water trucking, rangeland conditions remain well below typical levels with negative impacts on livestock conditions and productivity.
In the South, the onset of the gu varied during the period of April 1-20. Most livelihood zones in Bay, Lower Juba, and Lower and Middle Shabelle regions received localized, moderate rainfall early in the month. In mid-April, light to moderate rainfall was more widespread. However, according to ground reports, Southern Rainfed Agropastoral and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones received little to no rainfall through April 20. Between April 1 and 20, rain gauge stations recorded 141.6 mm in Qansahdhere (Bay),
64.5 mm in Jamaame (Lower Juba), 45 mm in Beledweyne (Hiiraan), 42.5 mm in Hudur (Bakool), 30.5 mm in Baidoa (Bay), and 30 mm in Sakow (Middle Juba). No flood risk was reported from the Juba and Shabelle rivers. Given these below-average amounts, the rains have benefitted rangeland conditions but are not yet sufficient to support optimal crop development.
According to the satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the period of April 11-20, 2021, negative vegetation anomalies are widespread in southern, central, and northwestern parts of the country (Figure 3). Negative anomalies are attributed to below-average precipitation in late 2020, the hotter-than-normal jilaal dry season in early 2021, and delayed or poor gu rainfall in April. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center's seven-day weather forecast through April 30 predicts heavy precipitation of up to 100 mm across most of the Northwest, while eastern-central Somalia and some parts in the South (including most of Hiiraan and Bakool and localized areas of Bay) are forecast to receive 15-40 mm of rainfall. However, much of the Shabelle, the Juba, and Gedo regions and much of the central and northeastern regions will likely receive little to no rainfall.