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Somalia: Floods - May 2021

Types de catastrophes
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Heavy Gu season rains have hit various parts of the country over the last week, triggering flash floods and inundating vast swathes of land, but the short-term forecast suggests the heavy rainfall will begin to subside from mid-May onward. Reports indicate that at least 25 people have been killed due to the heavy rains including nine children who died after their house flooded in Banadir on 7 May, and four people killed by lightening in Puntland on 5 May. In Middle Shabelle region, riverine flooding has affected an estimated 25,000 people in 15 villages in Jowhar, displacing people in eight villages and inundating farms. FAO/SWALIM has warned of the imminent danger of potentially unprecedented flooding expected along the Shabelle river in the coming days and the concern for safety and wellbeing of the people in Belet Weyne and along the river. Reports from Jubaland indicate that the Juba river broke its bank in Doolow, reaching 4.70 metres, which is 0.20 metres above the moderate flooding level, flooding three villages. (OCHA, 9 May 2021)

The recent torrential rains across Somalia affected an estimated 166,000 people. While the rains have reduced in some areas, humanitarian partners are alarmed that Somalia has been hit by a double climate disaster, with drought declared on 25 April and heavy rains last week causing riverine and flash flooding. The seven-day forecast ending 20 May indicates a dry spell is likely across Somalia and in the Ethiopian highlands, which may lead to a reduction of the risk of flooding along the Shabelle and Juba rivers. Humanitarian partners are particularly concerned about areas where the risk of flooding remans, particularly in Belet Weyne in Hiiran region and Doolow in Jubaland where there remains a high-risk level of flooding as the water from Ethiopia highlands stream in. The flood wave from Belet Weyne will be transmitted to the middle and lower reaches towards the end of the week and therefore there is a moderate risk of flooding in these areas during this week. The situation could be further exacerbated by weak river embankments and open riverbanks, which is already causing floods in Jowhar. (OCHA, 17 May 2021)

The ongoing Gu’ rains have significantly reduced with many parts of Somalia receiving below average cumulative amounts over the last week. The latest forecast indicates that the continuation of these rains from late May through June is uncertain. However, the rains received triggered flash floods in some areas and will affect food security and livelihoods, with the 2021 Gu’ season cereal production expected to be 20-40% below average. Humanitarian partners estimate that at least 166,000 people have been affected by flooding since the beginning of the Gu’ season. (OCHA, 26 May 2021)