By Judith Akolo
Climate scientists have once again predicted poor long rains season of March, April to May in the Greater Horn of Africa region for the third consecutive season.
Statistics indicate that about 20 million people are already facing food insecurity in the region and are in need of relief food assistance, with continued deteriorating livelihoods as most of the people in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) loss livestock.
The meeting under the auspices of the Igad Clmate Predictions and Analysis Center (ICPAC) the scientists drawn from the Igad member countries have predicted depressed rainfall for the region.
According to the prediction released at the 45th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum, in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, much of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, the lower region of South Sudan, much of the Sudan will receive below normal rainfall tending to normal, this means depressed or below average rainfall.
Among the countries in the region expected to receive above normal rainfall tending to normal include Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
Analysts are calling on policy planners to have a regional approach in generating sufficient food for the region. “Uganda should be encouraged to produce to service the demand in the rest of the countries given they will have a good season.” Said Patrick Luganda a trainer from Uganda..
An increase in cyclic droughts in the Greater Horn of Africa region is compounding a sorry situation in which the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is on the rise.
2017 has seen the number of people in need of assistance hit the 20 million mark up from 10 million in 2011 when a strategy aimed at ending drought emergencies in the region was mooted.
The rising number of people in need of assistance flies in the face of this initiative, even as John Kabayo the Coordinator of the Igad Drought, Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative – IDDRISI says the measures initiated under the 15 years strategy have began to bear fruit.
“The current drought has been more severe than the one we experienced in 2011, and whereas livestock has been lost no human life has been lost,” he said and added, “even as we seek interventions, our governments have already done their best in containing what would have been a humanitarian crisis.
Speaking at the 45th GHACOF, Kabayo urged Igad member states to mobilize and utilize internal resources to provide solutions to the current drought that is evolving into a humanitarian crisis “as the region faces yet another drought during the long rains season of March through to May.”
Already several failed rain seasons have seen national budgets adjusted to address the impending climate induced disaster.