UN gives latest updates on floods in Somalia
The past week has seen a reduction in rainfall activity across Somalia and in the Ethiopian highlands, according to FAO-managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM). However, river levels remain high with flooding continuing along the Shabelle, while water levels are reducing down the Juba River, according to SWALIM. In Belet Weyne town and surrounding areas in Hirshabelle state, flood waters are receding while in Bulo Burto and Jalalasqi flooding levels have increased.
A further reduction of rainfall, apart from the southern coastal areas and Ethiopian highlands where light to moderate rains are foreseen, is forecast. Despite the rains in the Ethiopian Highlands, levels along the Juba and Shabelle are expected to reduce in the coming week.
The upper, middle and lower reaches of Shabelle remain at risk of flooding, while along the Juba there is minimal risk of flooding in the forecast period. In Banadir, heavy rains started on 19 May, causing flash floods in Mogadishu and along the Afgooye corridor. Separate from the riverine and flash flooding in the south and center, cyclone Sagar in the Gulf of Aden caused heavy rains and flash floods in Puntland and Somaliland in particular.
Humanitarian Impact and needs
The floods and storm have resulted in deaths and affected livelihoods, livestock, shelter and key infrastructure across the country. There is a high risk of the outbreak of water-born communicable diseases including malaria and AWD/cholera in several areas. An estimated 794,761 people have been affected by the flooding in southern and central states and more than 231,335 are temporarily displaced, according to the UNHCR-led Protection & Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). So far, 21 people are confirmed dead including nine in Hirshabelle State, four in Jubaland State and eight in Banadir region.
In Galmudug State, more than 7,200 people have been affected and an estimated 5,248 are temporarily displaced. On 15 May, the Minister of Interior for Galmudug reported the arrival of an unconfirmed number of flood-affected IDPs in Guri Ceel from Belet Weyne.
In Hirshabelle, one of the worst affected states, nearly 313,061 people have been affected and over 151,000 displaced by floods. An estimated 15,900 people are displaced from 21 villages in Jalalaqsi district. Some 38 villages in the district were affected after the Shabelle River broke its banks at Jalalaqsi. The road linking Balcad and Jowhar at Golaley village, 12 km from Bal’ad town is impassable. In Belet Weyne, the worst-affected area in HirShabelle State, the road that connects the town center and Ceel Jaale, where populations have relocated, is heavily damaged. An inter-agency mission visited Bulo Burto, in Hiraan region, Hirshabelle state on 19 May, to assess the impact of the flooding and established that farms and key infrastructure including latrines have been destroyed. Authorities estimate that 3,200 people have been affected. An unknown number of people have been displaced. Reports on 16 May, indicate that the Al-Shabaab armed group threatened boat operators in 12 riverine villages in Middle Shabelle against transporting people and goods. The villages were affected by flooding and are only accessible by boat and the threats are likely to restrict transportation of essential goods and hinder access and rescue efforts. An inter-cluster mission to Jowhar on 16 May, reported that significant farmland was inundated by floods and that the rains and flood waters were hindering movement of commercial and humanitarian cargo. Some roads are virtually impassable, leading to price increases of various products.
In South West State, in Bakool, region rains have disrupted access to rural villages in Xudur and Tayeeglow districts.
This has resulted in slight increases in the prices of foodstuffs and basic commodities, though there has been no significant price hike in major towns to date. On 15 May, heavy rains damaged 20 houses in Haduuman, approximately 5km north-west of Qoryooley. Three people, including one child and an elderly woman were killed by lightning.