The drought situation ravaging most parts of Kenya is bound to get worse.
According to the latest weather outlook by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD’S) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), most parts of equatorial Eastern Africa where seasonal rains have failed are expected to remain dry for the next five months.
The regions affected are the rangelands of eastern Ethiopia, coastal areas of Kenya, and southern Somalia where drier than normal conditions are likely.
“Early indications for October also point towards sustained dry conditions in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, where communities have experienced up to four failed rainy seasons” read part of the weather outlook.
Kenya has two rainy seasons. The long rainy season is the first of the year from March to May while the short rains start in October to December.
ICPAC’s June to September (JJAS) 2022 forecast shows strong chances of wetter than normal conditions in most of the northern parts of the Greater Horn of Africa.
Djibouti, Eritrea, most of the northern two-thirds of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, western Kenya, and most parts of Uganda.
“The highest chances of wetter conditions are for western Kenya and neighbouring Uganda, central and northern Ethiopia, and parts of Sudan” the forecast adds.
ICPAC further estimates that warmer than normal temperatures are expected over northern Sudan, most parts of eastern Tanzania, eastern Kenya, south-eastern Ethiopia, and southern and central Somalia.
Cooler temperatures are expected over most of the southern parts of Sudan, eastern South Sudan, Eritrea, and north-eastern Ethiopia.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) recently renewed its call for action to national governments, donors, and international development partners to step up humanitarian assistance and resilience programs in the region where 40 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity.
Kenya has so far spent Sh1.2 billion to cushion people faced with starvation in 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties of the country.
t2.8 million people are faced with starvation in Tana River, Makueni, Kitui, Garissa, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, Laikipia, West Pokot, Kajiado, Embu, Isiolo and Wajir counties.
Other affected counties include Mandera, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Machakos, Baringo, Narok and Nyeri.
Dr Guleid Artan, ICPAC’s Director challenged African counties to improve weather and climate forecasting in order to strengthen preparedness.
“The importance of the JJAS season in the northern parts of the Greater Horn of Africa where it contributes to more than 70% of the annual rainfall.”
He also reiterated “the usefulness of regular regional climate outlook forums to help the region anticipate and adapt to climate variability and climate extremes in a continent that is warming faster than anywhere else in the world”.
ICPAC is a designated Regional Climate Centre by the World Meteorological Organization. Its seasonal forecast is based on an analysis of several global climate model predictions customized for East Africa.