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.
In Jubaland State, some 250,300 people have been affected by the floods and nearly 70,700 are displaced. Nearly 4,000 IDP households in Luuq and Baardheere were affected by the heavy rains on 21 and 22 May that resulted in the destruction or damage of shelters. Similar torrential rains in Afmadow, Dhobley, Kismayo and other rural villages disrupted daily activities, affected shelters, transportation, washed away some food stocks and contaminated shallow wells. New IDP arrivals, mainly from remote areas in the districts of Kismayo, Bu’ale and Jamame, are attributed to flooding according to the Camp Coordination and Camp Management cluster (CCCM). The two roads connecting Gedo to Mogadishu and Kismayo are both inaccessible. Transport costs have also increased. Priority needs for the affected are shelter/NFIs, food, health and mosquito nets. Health facilities in Doolow, Luuq and Baardheere are reporting an increase in cases of common cold and malaria. Kismayo has recorded high cases of AWD/cholera and malaria. There has been a rise in commodity prices across Gedo region due to inaccessibility.
In Banadir region, flash flooding on 20 May, affected primary and secondary roads in Mogadishu – damaging many and rendering them temporarily impassable – and damaging settlements inhabited by IDPs, particularly on the outskirts of the city and along the Afgooye corridor. Eight deaths were confirmed with seven of them being children. Authorities and humanitarian partners are working to establish the full extent of the damage, though the office of the Mayor estimates damage to total $35 million. Thousands of people have been affected and businesses disrupted. The IDPs settlements have been particularly affected: in Kahda district, 60 latrines mostly for IDPs who were evicted on 29 and 30 December 2017, were damaged or destroyed along with shelters. Many IDPs are subsequently living in open fields.
IDP settlements along Afgooye corridor are affected, including Harqabobe IDPs Center (700 households), Luuq Ganaane (85 households), and Tawakal (95 households). Shelter, WASH and non-food items (NFI) are the most urgent priorities for affected households.
Authorities and humanitarian partners have continued to provide WASH, health, nutrition, shelter and infrastructure support. However, the lack of adequate funding is impacting the level of humanitarian response. The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan is only 25 per cent funded. In addition, humanitarian access and logistical challenges have continued to hamper response to people in need in many areas.
In Hirshabelle State, authorities have repaired the Shabelle River breakage in Mandheere village, which had caused flooding in 12 villages. The flood task force in Belet Weyne town continues to coordinate flood response. Distribution of tarpaulin plastic sheets is ongoing. Humanitarian partners are conducting water trucking to 113,500 displaced people in Ceel jaale, Banaaney and Shiirkaneco. Partners continue to provide hygiene promotion services. Cash assistance has been provided to affected households.
In South West State, local communities in Atunyo, Danow and Shangani villages of Lower Shabelle are working with AMISOM to repair weak and broken embankments along the Shabelle River. The joint effort aims to protect approximately 10,000 hectares of farmland.
In Jubaland State, food security partners have started registration of 7,031 households in Luuq, Doolow and Ceel Waaq for flood response. The beneficiaries will receive two-months cash based transfers. Humanitarians are assessing the number of shelters, latrines, shallow wells damaged by the rains. So far, shelter partners have registered 800 IDP households affected by rains to benefit from plastic sheets, blankets and sleeping mats.
In Banadir region, shelter cluster partners have distributed 22,800 plastic sheets targeting districts hosting IDPs such as Daynile, Dharkeynley, Garasbaley, Hodon, Kahda, Waberi, Wardand Wadajir.
The Federal Government chaired a high level round table on floods on 20 May, with representation from affected states and Banadir region. The flood response plan was launched during the meeting.
Humanitarian partners are seeking US$80 to mitigate the impact of the floods and avert a larger scale humanitarian crisis, while seeking to capitalize on the agricultural potential the rains present in order to address the food insecurity that has been exacerbated by protracted drought.