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Somalia: Flood Update Issued: 05 September 2019

Publication date

Observed river levels along the Shabelle River in Somalia remained above the average at this time of the year since mid August following moderate to heavy rains in the upper parts of Ethiopian Highlands. The levels at the upper reaches of the river inside Somalia (Hiraan Region at Belet Weyne and Bulo Burti) increased sharply over the last three weeks, but have started to decrease in the last few days. Current river levels in the mid and lower reaches (Middle and Lower Shabelle regions) are significantly above the normal levels at this time of the year with some sections at Mahadey Weyne, Jowhar and Balcad districs experiencing over spillage leading to floods. River levels along Juba are within normal for this time of the year.

The rainfall forecast for the coming week (06 to 12 Sept 2019) is pointing towards moderate to heavy rains within the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and moderate rains in parts of Lower Shabelle. Given the forecast, Shabelle river levels are expected to remain high in the coming week; while the Juba levels stay within the Long Term Mean.

With the weak river embankments, and several open river breakages identified, there remains a high risk of flooding in the coming week in Middle and Lower reaches of the Shabelle river. Areas to watch include Jowhar town and its environs; where the river level is currently at full crest (Figure 1), and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region. The forecast, observed river levels and rainfall amounts are updated on a daily basis and can be found on this link: