Thousands at risk as Juba and Shabelle rivers near breaking point

An aerial view of the town of Marere in the Jubba Valley, southern Somalia, affected by the recent floods that have ravaged the region, December 5, 2006. About 500 Ethiopian troops were spotted in Somalia on Wednesday along a main supply route to the government stronghold in Baidoa, as rains and floods stalled a feared march to war in other parts of the country. Picture taken December 5, 2006 REUTERS/Grant Fleming (SOMALIA)

October 24, 2019 (AO)  – Thousands of somalia’s residents along the riverine areas of Rivers Shabelle and Jubba are at risk of flooding as the two rivers are about to breach their banks, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said.

In its regular update Tuesday, the UN agency warned of flash floods in Bardheere, Dollow, Luug and Buale districts in Gedo and Middle Juba regions and Beletweyne in Hiiraan region.

“As of 22 October, the river level at Belet Weyne is at 7.8m which is about half a meter short of the full bank level,” the update noted adding over bank spillages from minor tributaries passing through Belet Weyne town have caused flooding leading to displacements of a significant number of households.

According to the report, there have been flooding in Ethiopian highlands about 20 Km north of Belet Weyne and this is expected to reach Somalia in coming days should the rains continue.

In Gedo region, the report notes, four people have lost their lives in Bardheere and a further 750 households displaced. The floods have also destroyed 1200 farms and drowned 250 livestock.

In Bay and Bakool regions, flash floods destroyed cropland (sorghum, maize and cowpeas) that were at the seedling stage. Low lying areas of Gedo were also affected by flash floods over the last one week.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Monday called for emergency relief efforts to avert suffering as the floods sweep through Gedo and Hiiraan regions.

According to a statement, the government said 12,000 households had self-evacuated as the rains continue to pound the affected regions.

According to the update by FAO, rainfall will be modest in the coming week in Jubba, Shabelle and Bay and Bakool regions but flooding will continue.