UN strengthens mitigation measures in Somalia ahead of impending El Niño rains

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced on Monday that the Somalia Land and Water Information Management (SWALIM) unit is taking proactive steps to strengthen mitigation measures, including mapping vulnerable areas, in preparation for the anticipated El Niño rains.

In a recent update, the FAO stated that the SWALIM program has successfully completed its assessment and mapping of river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle rivers using highly detailed satellite images.

The findings indicate that the forecasted El Niño season is likely to bring increased rainfall to Somalia and the Ethiopian Highlands, with a high potential for flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers, particularly in areas where open or potential points of vulnerability have been identified.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the FAO emphasizes the need to address these vulnerabilities promptly. It highlights the importance of closing open points and reinforcing areas with weak river embankments.

The FAO’s assessment has also identified several other points that are either potential risks or temporarily closed with sandbags.

The FAO advises intervening agencies to take advantage of the current dry period before the onset of rains and implement temporary or long-term measures to address the identified river breakages. Swift action is necessary to prevent further damage and mitigate the potential impact of the anticipated El Niño rains.

El Niño is a recurring climate pattern that occurs every two to seven years, while the Indian Ocean Dipole is a climate pattern associated with sea surface temperatures in the ocean.

By leveraging satellite imagery and conducting comprehensive assessments, the SWALIM unit and the FAO aim to enhance preparedness and response capacities in the face of the impending El Niño event. These measures seek to protect vulnerable communities, mitigate flood risks, and safeguard lives and livelihoods in Somalia.

The FAO’s ongoing efforts, in collaboration with SWALIM and other partners, reflect a commitment to building resilience and addressing climate-related risks in Somalia.

By combining scientific expertise, data-driven assessments, and comprehensive mitigation strategies, they are working towards a more resilient and prepared Somalia in the face of climate variability and change.

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