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Somalia: Floods - Oct 2019

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Moderate to heavy rains continued in many parts of Somalia and within the Ethiopian highlands over the last one week. River levels at Belet Weyne (Shabelle) are currently very high and the trend is expected to continue reaching over bank in the coming few days. Along Juba, the river levels are also high. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week is calling for moderate to heavy rains across the country as well as the Ethiopian highlands. The river levels will therefore continue to rise with a high risk of flooding along the entire two channels. Flash floods are expected in built-up and low lying areas of Bay, Bakool and central regions given the forecast. (FAO, 18 Oct 2019)

Latest reports received in the evening of 21 October indicate that nearly 40 per cent of Belet Weyne town has been affected by flooding with an estimated 72,000 people having moved to Ceel Jaale highlands and surrounding areas. All villages in the north of Belet Weyne town have been affected and humanitarian partners are yet to establish the number of people displaced in these areas. The situation is further compounded by flooding from an outburst of minor tributaries in Belet Weyne, which has caused damage to farmland in villages such as Hawo Taako. Significant portions of crop land were also flooded in Bardheere in Gedo region, (where the river is already at bank full) and Bualle. Riverine communities have been asked to vacate their homes to higher ground with immediate effect. The rains will continue in the next seven days and river levels will continue to rise, further worsening the flood situation. (OCHA, 21 Oct 2019)

Riverine and flash flooding has affected populations in middle and lower Juba, Bay, lower and middle Shabelle, and Hiraan states. The number of people affected is expected to be high; an initial 76,000 people have been displaced so far in the worst affected areas. The impact of the rains will have on food security is not yet clear. (ACAPS, 24 Oct 2019)

An estimated 182,000 people have been displaced thus far due to flooding, according to UNHCR-Protection Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Farmland, infrastructure and roads have been destroyed, and livelihoods disrupted in some of the worst-hit areas.(OCHA, 28 Oct 2019)

As of 5 November, 547,000 people have been impacted of whom 370,000 are displaced. In Belet Weyne district, an estimated 45,500 households (273,000 people) have fled their homes. Farmland, infrastructure, and roads have been destroyed in some of the worst-hit areas in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West States. At least 17 deaths have been reported. (OCHA, 06 Nov 2019)

Humanitarian partners have scaled up flood responses by re-programming available resources, but significant gaps remain even as heavy rains subside in some locations. More than 350,000 people have received assistance out of 570,000 flood-affected people. In Belet Weyne, flood water has receded, allowing 80,000 displaced people in Belet Weyne town (40 per cent of 180,000 displaced town residents) to return home. The rains have inundated 207,000 hectares of land along Shabelle and Juba rivers, raising concerns about food security and livelihood losses. On 23 November, the UN and Government launched a 3-month US$72.5 million Flood Response Plan to mobilise additional resources. Some $25 million has been made available - $11 million from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund, $8 million from CERF and funding from ECHO and DFID, but $47.5 million is still required. (OCHA, 5 Dec 2019)

The Tropical Storm (TS) initially named SIX that developed in the northern Indian Ocean has now been assigned the name PAWAN after sustaining a speed of more than 39 miles per hour for two days. (FAO, 6 Dec 2019)

Heavy rain in the last 5 days has affected northern, central and coastal Somalia. On 7 December, Puntland coast was affected by Tropical Storm PAWAN and 2 people died following floods in Las Qoray (Sanaag Region). Roads connecting the town to the rest of the region have been damaged. In central Somalia, the overflow of the River Shabelle flooded Afgooye district, displacing over 1,500 people. (ECHO, 10 Dec 2019)

According to the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA), some 35,600 people in Puntland have been affected by TC Pawan and the consecutive heavy rains which accompanied the tropical cyclone. (IFRC, 20 Dec 2019)

River floods and flash floods from excessive rainfall have caused moderate damage to crops, especially in riverine livelihood zones. In urban Beletweyne, where floods have disrupted livelihoods and caused large population displacement, significant humanitarian assistance is currently preventing targeted households to meet minimally adequate food consumption requirements. (FEWSNET/FSNAU, 27 Dec 2019)