Somalia Seasonal Monitor: December 4, 2020

Situation Report
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Cyclone Gati causes fatalities and extensive damage to coastal and pastoral livelihoods in Bari region

During the November 21-30 period, a category 2 cyclone (Gati) made landfall in coastal and adjacent pastoral areas of Bari region on November 22. The cyclone caused fatalities, livestock losses, and extensive damage to other property and infrastructure, especially in Iskushuban district. Coastal areas of Sanaag, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Awdal regions received lower intensity rains as the cyclone moved westward. The rest of Somalia’s northern and central regions remained dry. In the South, rainfall of varying intensity fell across Bay, Bakool, and parts of Shabelle and Juba regions. According to preliminary Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS), coastal areas in Bari, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Awdal and most of the South received up to 25 millimeters (mm) of rain (Figure 1). However, ground information suggests that rainfall was higher in the South. In contrast, the rest of the country received little to no rain. Compared to the 1981-2018 average, rainfall was slightly above average in coastal areas of Bari and Awdal and climatologically average in other central and northern areas. In most of the South, rainfall was 10-50 mm below average (Figure 2). Although no new flooding was reported in the South, large swathes of agricultural land in the Shabelle and Juba regions remain inundated. According to SWALIM river water levels, most river points in Juba and Shabelle are below flood-risk levels.

In the Northwest, rainfall was generally light to moderate across West Golis and Guban livelihood zones of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Sanaag regions during the November 21-30 period, with heavier rain in some localized areas. The rains, brought by Cyclone GATI, caused some flash floods in parts of Berbera and Zaylac districts. Little to no rainfall was reported in Togdheer, Sool, or the rest of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Sanaag regions. Pasture and water availability and access continued to decline in most areas, leading to declining livestock body conditions, productivity, and value, especially in pastoral areas of Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag.

In the Northeast, Cyclone GATI brought torrential rains to coastal and adjacent pastoral areas of Bari region early in the November 21-30 period. Heavy rains, winds, and flash floods swept across Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone and adjacent Northern Inland Pastoral areas of Iskushuban district, causing fatalities, loss of livestock, and extensive damage to homes, fishing equipment, and telecommunications infrastructure. Moderate to heavy rains also fell in East Golis Pastoral areas of Caluula, Qandala, and Bossaso districts. In contrast, little to no rainfall was reported in the livelihood zones of Nugaal and northern Mudug. Although the cyclone caused damage, moderate to heavy rains are expected to mitigate the dry conditions over the coming weeks.

In the central regions, little to no rainfall was reported in all livelihood zones of Galgaduud and southern Mudug during the November 21-30 period. The exceptions were Addun Pastoral areas of Cadaado and Galkayo districts, where localized light showers occurred. Given the moderate to heavy rainfall received in October and early November, positive vegetation anomalies are still visible in most areas. However, desert locusts are damaging the quality of pasture and cowpea crops in many areas.

In the South, rainfall performance varied during the November 21-30 period. Ground information suggests moderate rainfall occurred across most of Bay, Bakool, and Lower Juba, while localized moderate to heavy rain fell in Shabelle regions. However, CHIRPS satellite imagery shows relatively smaller amounts of rainfall across these regions. In contrast, little to no rain was reported in Hiiraan, Gedo, and Middle Juba regions. In the November 21-30 period, rain gauge stations recorded 109 mm in Afgoye (Lower Shabelle), 70 mm in Huddur (Bakool), 8 mm in Sakow (Middle Juba), 5.5 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 1.5 mm in Jamame (Lower Juba), 0 mm in Beletweyne (Hiiraan). The rains further improved rangeland and crop conditions in these areas. No floods have been reported in this reporting period. According to SWALIM river water levels, most river points in Juba and Shabelle are below flood-risk levels.

The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the November 21-30 period shows improved vegetation conditions in the South due to improved rainfall during early to mid-November. However, persistent deficits are still visible in parts of Gedo and Juba regions (Figure 4). The Index also shows deteriorating vegetation conditions in many pastoral areas in the North. However, widespread positive vegetation anomalies are observable in central and large parts of the South. Due to the moderate to heavy rains recorded in parts of southern and central regions during mid-October, vegetation conditions are likely to improve within the coming weeks. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center's forecast through December 10 predicts a suppressed rainfall situation with little to no rain across most of Somalia (Figure 4). The suppressed rainfall at this stage of the season is typical in many areas of the country, especially in the central and northern regions.