OCHA SOMALIA Flash Update 5: Humanitarian impact of heavy rains
Moderate to heavy rains continued to fall across Somali and the Ethiopian highlands, resulting in increased river flooding, along the Juba and Shabelle rivers and localized flash flooding. Since early April, heavy rainfall has marked the end of prolonged drought across much of the country and has supported crop development and the regeneration of pasture and water resources. Rainfall totals so far are some of the highest since 1981, equivalent to between 130 and 200 per cent of the annual average, according to the FAO-managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM). However, the flooding has also led to fatalities, massive displacement, and damage to infrastructure and cropland, compounding an already fragile humanitarian situation.FEWS NET and FSNAU estimate that 700,000 people in flood-affected areas will need livelihood support through to September, roughly 300,000 of whom are likely to require emergency food assistance.
SWALIM projects that moderate to heavy rains will continue in the coming week, leading to continued overflow in the Juba and Shabelle rivers. Somaliland and Puntland will record the highest amounts of rainfall, according to the forecast, which will address shortfalls in those areas. Flash flooding is likely to impact the coastal areas of Puntland (Bari and Nugaal) and central (Mudug and Galgaduud) regions.
Humanitarian impact and needs
Flash and riverine flooding is compounding an already fragile humanitarian situation, with more than 5.4 million people already in need of assistance due to drought and conflict. An estimated 772,500 people have been affected by the flooding and more than 229,000 are displaced, according to the UNHCR-led Protection & Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). According to the FEWS NET and FSNAU, the food security outcomes are likely to be more severe than previously projected for many families in areas affected by flooding, especially in riverine areas of Hirshabelle, Jubaland and some agropastoral areas of South West State. In these areas, several roads are now impassible and trade flows are expected to slow, driving food prices higher.Cases of AWD/Cholera are expected to rise as flood waters stagnate and remaining clean drinking water sources are compromised.
In Hirshabelle State, one of the worst-hit areas, around 295,000 people have been affected and more than 145,000 people forced from their homes due to the floods. Another massive wave of flooding hit Belet Weyne on 11 May, worsening the already severe situation. The flooding destroyed roads, bridges, houses, farms with crops, and other infrastructure. At least two people were confirmed dead, while others are still missing. Latrines, water, shelter, health and food assistance are urgently needed.
In South West State, the rainfall continued over the past week, but with less intensity. However, rising water levels in the Shabelle River have been reported and the risk of flooding persists along the Afgooye corridor. Around 162,000 people have been affected in the state, with more than 2,900 displaced. At least 52 suspected cases of AWD/Cholera have been recorded over the past weeks. More than 30,000 people need emergency shelter assistance.
In Jubaland State, some 250,000 people have been affected by the floods, around 70,700 of whom are displaced. Destruction of crops, shelters and latrines have been reported. In Gedo, the river Dawa flooded and destroyed the water points in Balet Xaawo, leaving the entire town without access to clean water. In Baardheere, one of the most affected towns in Gedo region, over 600 farms have been affected and agriculture equipment was also damaged. At least 8,000 families in riverine villages along the Juba River have lost their crops. In Lower Juba, Lake Dhera overflowed and flooded the towns of Afmadow, Diif and Dhobley. Latrines were washed away into shallow wells and water pans, contaminating the only water sources for Afmadow and Diif. The price of food supplies is increasing, as major supply routes are impassible and access is limited.
Most areas in Galmudug State did not receive significant rainfall over the past week, according to the Disaster Management Agency (GADMA). However, the stagnant waters in the affected areas is leading to an increase in mosquito breeding and worsening hygiene conditions in IDP sites.More than 6,700 people have been affected by the floods, around 5,200 of whom are now displaced. At least 57 confirmed cases of malaria have been reported in the town of Caabud Waaq. WASH and Protection assessments were conducted in the Mudug and Galgaduud regions.
No significant rains were received in the Banadir region last week, but AWD/cholera cases continued to spike due to a lack of access to safe water and sanitation facilities. 132 cases of AWD/Cholera – 70 per cent of them concerning children under the age of two – have been reported over the past two weeks. Since January, 899 AWD/Cholera cases, and five resulting deaths,have been reported.