During the last two weeks many parts of the Juba and Shabelle River basins in Somalia and within the Ethiopian highlands received moderate to high rainfall. This has resulted into drastic increase in river levels especially along the Shabelle River. In Jowhar for instance, there was a sudden rise in river level of 1.6m in less than 24 hours; with an overall rise of 3.75m in the last one week. This has led to floods in middle and lower reaches of the river. SWALIM field reports in the last two days indicate river breakages at Hurway (about 8m wide), Eji (about 6m wide) and Maadheere (about 14m wide) villages all in Middle Shabelle region. This has led to inundation of large areas causing destruction of cropped area of unconfirmed acreage and displacement of several families.
Today’s river level at Belet Weyne is 6.30m which is 1.0m below the high flood risk level. Moderate to high rainfall is expected to continue within the Shabelle River basin in the coming week in both Somalia and the Ethiopia highlands. As a result, river levels are expected to remain high, posing additional high risk of flooding especially in the lower reaches where the river embankments are weak. Consequently, this changes the flood risk from moderate to high along the Shabelle River. The areas to watch closely for flooding include Mahadey Weyne, Jowhar, Awdegle and Kurtunwaarey.
River levels are expected to increase slightly along the Juba river in the coming few days following the foreseen moderate rainfall within the catchment. However, there is no risk of flooding foreseen in the coming week along the Juba River unless there are areas with unclosed river breakages.
While all these factors have increased the risk of flooding, conditions can change quickly and the outlook is still very dependent on weather conditions and measures taken to contain potential river breakages.
SWALIM and partners are carefully monitoring the situation.
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