Somalia

Somalia Seasonal Monitor: November 15, 2020

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Dry conditions persist in the North while heavy rains worsen flood extent in riverine areas

During the November 1-10 period, northern Somalia experienced a dry spell for the second consecutive 10-day period, while rainfall performance continued to improve in many southern and central areas. Moderate to heavy rainfall fell in most livelihood zones in Bay, Bakool, and the Shabelle and Juba regions and in parts of Hiiraan and Gedo regions. According to preliminary Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS), most southern regions received 25-75 millimeters (mm) of rainfall, while central regions and other parts of the South received 10-25 mm of rainfall (Figure 1). Compared to the 1981-2018 average, rainfall in the South ranged from climatologically average to 10-25 mm above average (Figure 2). In contrast, CHIRPS imagery indicates rainfall in central and northern Somalia was climatologically average; however, field reports suggest that suppressed rainfall in northern regions was significantly below normal. In riverine areas, the extent of flooding expanded in several areas in the Shabelle and Juba regions, many of which were already inundated from prior floods during the gu and hagaa seasons. As of November 13th, SWALIM river water level monitoring data indicated low flood risk levels across most flood monitoring sites.

In the Northwest, little to no rainfall was reported across most pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones in Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions during the November 1-10 period. However, despite the receiving little to no rain, livelihood zones in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed are already experiencing colder temperatures. Field reports suggest the inadequate rains are indicating an early end of the rainfall season, though CHIRPS imagery suggest the current dry spell is climatologically average. Given dry conditions over the three weeks, the quality of pasture and water availability are declining, especially in pastoral areas in Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag where early water trucking is being reported. Conditions remain relatively better in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions, where average to above-average August-September karan rains were received.

In the Northeast, most pastoral livelihood zones in Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug continued to remain dry during the November 1-20 period. In Bari, although CHIRPS imagery show light showers with minimal impact along coastal areas, all pastoral livelihood zones experienced a dry spell. Similarly, most livelihood zones in Nugaal and northern Mudug remained totally dry, including Coastal Deeh, Northern Inland, and Addun Pastoral zones. According to field reports, the exception is Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone, which reportedly received uniformly distributed, moderate rainfall; however, CHIRPS imagery does not corroborate this. As a result, pasture, browse, and water conditions in the Northeast are below typical levels, apart from Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone. Damage from desert locusts are also reported in some areas.

In central regions, light to moderate to heavy rainfall continued to fall across all pastoral and agropastoral areas of Galgaduud and southern Mudug during the November 1-10 period. Heavy rains were reported in Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Cowpea Belt Agropastoral livelihood zones. Other livelihood zones received uniformly distributed, moderate to light rainfall, including in Addun and Hawd Pastoral zones. Although the rains have regenerated pasture and browse, the widespread desert locust infestation is causing deterioration of pasture and browse resources in some areas.

In he South, rainfall performance improved during the November 1-10 period, but heavy rains expanded the extent of flooding in riverine areas. In general, moderate to heavy rainfall fell across Bay, Bakool, Middle and Lower Shabelle, and Middle and Lower Juba regions. In riverine areas in the Shabelle and Juba regions, the heavy rains inundated more farmland in Jowhar and Balcad in Middle Shabelle, Afgoye and Marka in Lower Shabelle, Jamaame in Lower Juba, and Bu’ale, Sakow, and Jilib in Middle Juba. Key informants report some crop damage and displacement, adding to the impacts of earlier flood events this year. In contrast, most livelihood zones in Hiiraan and Gedo received localized, moderate to light rains. Rain gauge stations recorded 252 mm in Afgoye (Lower Shabelle), 156.7 mm in Dinsor (Bay), 116 mm in Sakow (Middle Juba), 41.5 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 34 mm in Hudur (Bakool), 8 mm in Jamame (Lower Juba), and 4.5 mm in Beletweyne (Hiiraan). Although these rains broadly benefitted crop and livestock production, vast vegetation deficits are visible across most areas due to the delayed start of season.

The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the November 1-10 period shows large deficits in the South despite recent rainfall over the past 2-3 weeks. Lower deficits are visible in localized areas of central and northeastern Somalia. The deficits are attributed to the delayed, poor distribution of rainfall earlier in October, the impact of dry conditions during the preceding *hagaa *season, and damage from desert locust in central and northern areas. However, the NDVI also shows a surplus in parts of the Northwest, central regions, Bay, Bakool, and Hiiraan due to previous *gu and karan *rains in the North and the *gu *and ongoing *deyr *rains in central and southern Somalia (Figure 3). In these areas, vegetation conditions are expected to further improve given earlier, moderate to heavy rainfall in late October. According to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center's forecast through November 20th, a dry spell is highly likely across most of the country. The only exceptions are coastal areas in south-central Somalia, extending from southern Mudug down to Middle Juba. These areas are forecast to receive rainfall totaling 10 to 30 mm (Figure 4).

For more rain gauge data, please, contact So-Hydro@fao.org or visit www.faoswalim.org.