The El Niño phenomenon is looming over the Horn of Africa including Somalia, with heavy rainfall anticipated to start as early as mid-September.
El Niño is characterized by prolonged warming of the Pacific Ocean surface, leading to heavier rainfall in most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa and elsewhere, while also leading to less rainfall in some areas.
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has raised concerns about the potential impact of the anticipated El Niño. It could lead to riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers, and flash floods in central regions. It could also exacerbate drought conditions in northern Somalia.
The last El Niño events caused massive flooding and affected some 900,000 people in 1997/98 and over 440,000 people in 2006/07. Humanitarian actors are preparing contingency plans and prepositioning stocks specifically for El Niño flooding, as decided by the Humanitarian Country Team in July, covering initially more than 600,000 affected people.
Some donors through their partners in the country have already pledged to make resources available for a humanitarian response.