The impact of the ongoing flooding compounded by economic and social impacts of COVID-19, escalated conflict, and forecast of below-average Gu rainfall from October to December 2020 may result in further deterioration of humanitarian outcomes for affected communities through 2021.
The floods have been triggered by heavy, above-average rainfall locally and in upstream areas in the Ethiopian highlands and have affected Gedo, Hiraan, Middle Juba, and Middle and Lower Shabelle regions. The situation has been exacerbated by weak river embankments and open riverbanks. Recent analysis by SWALIM indicates that there are 109 open riverbank points along the Shabelle River. The worst affected districts are Balcad, Jowhar and Mahaday in Middle Shabelle (Hirshabelle); Afgooye and Wanlaweyn districts in Lower Shabelle (South West State) and Belet Weyne (Hiraan) where over 85 per cent of the displacement has occurred. Somalia’s marginalised communities and internally displaced persons are expected to most severely be affected by the impact of the floods. Many disadvantaged communities and IDP settlements are located in areas prone to flooding and sometimes flash floods. Their shelters provide insufficient protection against heavy rains and winds. The Shelter Cluster estimates that 150,000 people need urgent shelter and NFI assistance
Thus far, an estimated 132,000 hectares (ha) of agricultural land and 294 villages along the Shabelle River have been affected by the Hagaa floods. Almost 250,000 people have been affected, of whom 125,000 have been displaced. The floods temporarily displaced households to higher ground in several flood-prone areas, including in Beletweyne and Jalalaqsi districts (Hiraan), Balcad and Jowhar districts (Middle Shabelle), and Afgooye district (Lower Shabelle). Even though flood waters are reported to have receded and 40 per cent of the 86,900 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Middle Shabelle have returned to the homes, Balcad District still hosts the largest number of this group. New displacements and further disruption to livelihoods are expected as foreseen moderate to heavy rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands is likely to raise Shabelle River levels over the coming weeks, likely resulting in additional flooding in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle. Of particular concern is Jowhar town and its environs in Middle Shabelle, where the river level is near full crest, and other riverine towns in the Lower Shabelle region.
Food assistance needs in Somalia are already high with an estimated 3.5 million people in rural livelihood zones, urban areas, and IDP settlements in need of food assistance. In riverine areas, farmers have suffered from multiple flood events during the Gu and Hagaa 2020 seasons, which damaged Deyr 2019/20 off-season crops and Gu 2020 main season crops. As a result, the main Gu harvest in July/August is up to 40 per cent below the long-term average in these areas. In addition, escalated conflict in Lower Shabelle suspended cropping activities in Qoryooley, Marka, Afgooye, and Wanlaweyn districts and displaced large populations to Mogadishu.
The Hagaa floods in July/August have had mixed effects. While the floods disrupted recessional cultivation activities and inundated crops, the rains are supporting late planted Gu main season crops and Gu off-season crops. This comes amid alleviated fears that the forecast of a below-average Hagaa season would deplete soil moisture and negatively affect off-season crops. In general, farmers have benefitted from improved access to water for irrigation. Worryingly however, the damage to road infrastructure and market access have adversely affected the terms of trade with higher prices of maize, and significantly lowering the prices for goats and daily labour wage rates by up to 30 and 102 per cent respectively below the five-year average.
However, SOYDA have been providing integrated package of nutrition, Food Security, Education, Civic Education, Youth empowerment, WASH, protection, and health intervention in Benadir, Southwest and Jubbaland State of Somalia.
SOYDA shall however, continue its program implementation to enable reduce the vulnerability as well as provide improved lifesaving Health, Nutrition, WASH, Food Security, Protection and Education services