Key Overall Developments
During the week, Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) raised the flood alert from moderate to high on the Shabelle and Juba Rivers following significant rainfall in parts of South Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands where the two rivers originate. According to SWALIM, river levels have increased dramatically with massive waters seen at Doolow, Luuq and Baardheere in Gedo region raising serious concerns of flooding in the lower reaches of the Juba River. The rainfall forecast for the coming days is light to moderate rains in the Juba and Shabelle catchments in Ethiopia and heavy rains inside Somalia. There is a high risk of flooding for both rivers during the coming week especially in the lower reaches. Localized floods have already been reported in Doolow, Luuq and Baardheere. According to field reports, some 400 households in Baardheere town have been displaced due to flooding. WFP will distribute one-time relief food to these households this month.
The interagency Flood Working Group was reactivated this week and held its first meeting on 12 November. At the meeting it was agreed to compile information about the flood risk to move forward with an appropriate response.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) latest Somalia Food Security Outlook publication for October 2008 to January 2009 stated that due to the combined effects of drought, conflict and inflation, the food security condition in many parts of Somalia continues to deteriorate. FEWS NET predicts that in the worst case scenario, if the current Deyr rains perform poorly, the food security of drought affected pastoral communities, urban and rural households in South Central Somalia would worsen and more than 3.5 million people would require humanitarian assistance.
Security constraints continued to hamper humanitarian operations across much of Somalia. Mohamed Osman, a principal programme officer for NGO Mercy Corps was shot and killed on 9 November in Jamame, Lower Juba. According to a press release by Mercy Corps, the motive for the killing appears to be criminal, and the local authorities are investigating the incident. Mohamed Osman was managing a livelihood recovery programme in South Somalia aimed at enabling people to earn more while building vital infrastructure for their communities. On Monday 10 November, two Italian nuns were kidnapped by armed Somali gunmen in El Wak, Northern Kenya, and taken over border into Southern Somalia.
WFP Somalia received in-kind contribution of 7,570 mt of Corn Soyo Blend (CSB) from USAID. The donation is vital to WFP's efforts to respond to malnutrition in Somalia at the time when the programme is facing increasing needs of CSB with a fragile pipeline of non-cereals.
With the naval escort by the Dutch Frigate and two NATO warships (Greek and Italian) secured, WFP is shipping 58,970 mt of food into Somalia using eight vessels. The food shipment schedule for November is enough to feed 2.3 million people for six weeks. Some 47,970 mt of assorted food commodities is scheduled to be delivered into Somalia through the south while the rest will be shipped through the north. In November, nearly 2.3 million Somalis will to receive 39,000 mt of assorted food commodities. Since the end of October, the Dutch Frigate along with the Greek and the Italian Frigates have escorted six vessels with over 48,400 mt of food off the coast of Somalia.
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