Somalia Seasonal Monitor: December 15, 2020

Situation Report
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In early December, deyr rainfall subsided across most of Somalia

During the December 1-10 period, little to no rainfall was reported across Somalia. According to field information and preliminary Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station Data (CHIRPS) imagery, only localized areas in the South received light to moderate rainfall of up to 10-25 millimeters, specifically in agropastoral areas of Bay, southern Gedo, and Lower Juba regions (Figure 1). Compared to the 1981-2018 average, the observed dryness at this time of year is climatologically average for most of the country. However, the limited precipitation in the Juba regions is 10-25 mm below the long-term average (Figure 2). No flooding events were reported during December 1-10, although the effects of the October-November floods on crop production in riverine areas are still visible. SWALIM river station monitoring data shows that both Shabelle and Juba river water levels are modestly to significantly below flood-risk levels.

In the Northwest, little to no rainfall occurred across all livelihood zones of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Sanaag regions during the December 1-10 period. Despite the suppressed rains, rangeland conditions improved due to light to heavy rainfall associated with Cyclone Gati in late November, especially in West Golis and Guban Pastoral livelihood zones and in Northwestern Agropastoral livelihood zones of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Sanaag. In the rest of the Northwest, including most livelihood zones of Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions, pasture, browse, and water availability are below normal. Livestock out-migration is occurring to northeastern pastoral areas and crossborder areas of Ethiopia.

In the Northeast, little to no rainfall occurred across all livelihood zones of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions during the December 1-10 period. However, following torrential rainfall from Tropical Cyclone Gati in coastal and adjacent pastoral areas of Bari region in late November, rangeland conditions have markedly improved in many pastoral areas of Bari. In contrast, rangeland conditions continued to deteriorate due to poor deyr rainfall in most livelihood zones of Nugaal and Northern Mudug, which has negatively affected livestock body conditions, productivity, and value. However, rangeland conditions are better in Hawd Pastoral and adjacent Addun Pastoral areas, where rainfall performance was relatively better earlier in the season.

In central regions, all pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones of Galgaduud and southern Mudug continued to experience dry conditions with little to no rainfall reported during the December 1-10 period. Despite suppressed rainfall over the past 3-4 weeks, pasture and water availability still remain normal to above normal due to the favorable start of the deyr rainfall season in this part of Somalia. However, the sustained presence of desert locusts in this area since the beginning of the season is beginning to lead to deterioration of pasture and browse.
Crop damage is also reported in Cowpea Belt Agropastoral livelihood zone.

In the South, where rainfall has been relatively normal in most areas since the beginning of the season in October, field reports suggest that little to no rainfall occurred across most livelihood zones during the December 1-10 period. According to field reports, the exceptions included the agropastoral livelihood zones of Bay region, where light to moderate rainfall was reported. Contrary to the field information, CHIRPS satellite imagery indicated that the southern parts of Gedo and Middle Juba also received light to moderate rainfall of up to 25 mm. In the December 1-10 period, most rain gauge stations recorded little to no rainfall, apart from 6 mm in Baidoa and 13 mm Qansaxdheere of Bay region. Overall, favorable deyr rainfall over the course of the season has improved rangeland conditions and supported crop development in pastoral and agropastoral areas. However, large parts of Gedo and Juba regions exhibit below-normal crop conditions, attributed to either below-average rainfall or riverine floods. As of early December, SWALIM river station monitoring data continued to show a low risk of new flooding, though flood waters are still visible in some riverine areas.

The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the December 1-10 period shows improving vegetation conditions in much of the North, especially in parts of Bari, Sanaag, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Awdal regions, which received rainfall from Cyclone Gati (Figure 3). However, the Index shows deteriorating vegetation conditions in other areas in the North. Meanwhile, the Index also shows widespread, above-normal vegetation conditions across most southern and central regions, with some deficits visible in northern Gedo and localized areas of Juba. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center's forecast through December 21 predicts a continued suppression of rainfall in southern and central regions and large parts of the Northeast (Figure 4). However, moderate to heavy rainfall of up to 15-60 mm is likely in all coastal areas of the North and most agropastoral and pastoral livelihood zones in the Northwest.