Andrew S.K Kaggwa
A regional weather forecasting organization has forecast drier than usual conditions from December 2021 up to February 2022.
“December is expected to be drier than usual for most parts of Tanzania and Kenya whereas usual conditions are expected over south-western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and parts of western Tanzania. The rest of the region is generally dry in December,” the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) said in its December rainfall and temperature forecast.
For temperatures, ICPAC said warmer than usual conditions are expected over much of the region with higher chances over most of Kenya, parts of Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania.
“Usual temperature conditions are expected over areas in northern Ethiopia, western Eritrea, isolated locations in Sudan, and Tanzania,” says the forecast.
ICPAC goes further to predict the weather conditions up to February 2022 and says that drier than usual conditions are expected over Kenya, southern parts of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania.
“Usual conditions are expected over western, southern and coastal Tanzania,” the forecast concludes.
A regional food security organisation has already warned that 26 million people in the IGAD region face food insecurity due to drought caused by poor rains for a third consecutive season for some areas.
“Moreover, as forecast by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the start of the current October-December 2021 rainy season has been significantly delayed, with little to no rainfall observed to date in many areas, raising the probability of another poor season. Should this occur, agricultural and pastoral conditions will further deteriorate, causing households already struggling with the effects of multiple, concurrent hazards (climate variability, conflict, COVID-19, and desert locusts) to employ negative coping strategies and reduce their food consumption,” the statement released by IGAD’s Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) on November 18, 2021 said.
A joint statement by the IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu and the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Dr Chimimba David Phiri said drought conditions are already affecting the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, southern and central Somalia, and Belg-receiving areas of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia as consecutive poor rainfall seasons have driven below-average crop production, rising cereal prices, poor rangeland conditions, reduced livestock production, and drought-related animal deaths in many areas.
The government of Somalia, one of the countries greatly hit by drought, last week declared a state of emergency.