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Somalia Seasonal Monitor: November 15, 2021

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FEWS NET publishes a Seasonal Monitor for Somalia every 10 days (dekad) through the end of the current October to December deyr rainy season. The purpose of this document is to provide updated information on the progress of the gu season to facilitate contingency and response planning. This Somalia Seasonal Monitor is valid through November 20, 2021, and is produced in collaboration with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) Somalia, the Somali Water and Land Information System (SWALIM), a number of other agencies, and several Somali non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Given little to no rainfall since early October, a failed deyr 2021 season is increasingly likely

According to CHIRPS remote-sensing data, most of Somalia has received less than 50 millimeters (mm) of rainfall since October 1. Total cumulative rainfall from October 1 through November 10 ranges from 40 to 70 percent below the 40-year average in southern, central, and parts of northern Somalia. With dry conditions forecast through November 20, there is an increasing likelihood of seasonal rainfall failure. During the most recent dekad of November 1-10, most of northern and central Somalia remained dry while only a few localized areas in the south received light rainfall, including Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bay, Gedo, and Lower and Middle Juba regions. Rainfall in these localized areas amounted to less than 10 mm (Figure 1), leaving a rainfall deficit of 10 to 50 mm compared to average across the south (Figure 2). In central and northern Somalia, remote-sensing data indicate dry conditions were climatologically average, but ground information suggests there was a rainfall deficit. According to SWALIM’s river station gauge data on November 15, the level of the Shabelle River is slightly above average in Hiiraan, but the level of both the Shabelle and Juba Rivers are below average at all other monitoring stations. With a forecast of suppressed rainfall over the Ethiopian highlands over the coming week, the risk of flooding remains minimal.

In the northwest, little to no rainfall was reported in most livelihood zones of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions during the November 1-10 period. However, localized areas of Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, especially in Lowyaddo and Zeylac districts, received a brief period of light to moderate rainfall over 1-2 days. Overall, the suppressed rains are beginning to lead to a decline in rangeland resource availability, though pasture, browse, and water conditions still largely range from near to above normal levels across all pastoral livelihood zones. Localized bands of adult Desert Locusts are present in Hawd Pastoral and West Golis Pastoral livelihood zones, though the direct impact on rangeland resource availability is currently minimal.

In the northeast, no precipitation was reported across all livelihood zones of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions during the November 1-10 period. Pasture, browse, and water availability are below normal levels in East Golis Pastoral and Northern Inland Pastoral (NIP) livelihood zones of Bari and significantly below normal in Coastal Deeh Pastoral, NIP, Addun Pastoral, and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones of Nugaal and northern Mudug. As a result, water is in short supply, water trucking is ongoing in most areas, and water prices are atypically high. Atypical livestock out-migration from Nugaal and Mudug to Bari and other areas in the northwest is reportedly ongoing.

In central regions, all pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones of Galgaduud and southern Mudug were reportedly dry during the November 1-10 period. The availability of pasture, browse, and water is significantly below normal across all livelihood zones. In the few areas where rangeland resources are available, significant overgrazing is reported due to the influx of migrating livestock. As a result, the cowpea crops have failed, and livestock body conditions, productivity, reproduction, and sale value are all significantly below average. The impacts on crop and livestock production are significantly affecting people’s ability to earn income and purchase food.

In the south, little to no rainfall was reported across most livelihood zones during the November 1-10 period. Only highly localized areas in Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bay, Gedo, and Lower and Middle Juba regions received light to moderate rainfall amounting to less than 10 mm, with marginal to moderate impact on rangelands in parts of Shabelle and Bay regions. However, rain gauge data suggests heavier amounts occurred in Diinsoor district of Bay region. Rain gauge stations recorded 2.5 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 31.2 mm in Qansahdhere (Bay), and no rainfall at all in Beledweyne (Hiiraan), Afgoye (Lower Shabelle), Jamaame (Lower Juba), Sakow (Lower Juba), and Hudur (Bakool). The very poor performance of the deyr season has significantly affected crop and rangeland conditions across most of the south. No flooding has been reported in the Shabelle and Juba riverine areas, although some farmers opportunistically opened river breakages in parts of Jowhar to facilitate flood recession cultivation on local farmlands, and the flooding caused minimal damage.

According to the satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the period of November 1-10, vegetation conditions in most of southern and central Somalia and in parts of northeastern Somalia are significantly below median levels (Figure 3) due to the failure of the deyr rains and preceding below-average gu season. Conversely, vegetation conditions remain near- to above-median levels in most of the north due to favorable rains from July to mid-October. The seven-day weather forecast from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center through November 20th indicates that no precipitation is likely to occur across Somalia or the Ethiopian highlands, which normally feed the Shabelle and Juba rivers.

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