Drought to worsen in E. Africa amid calls for concerted efforts: IGAD

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Friday warned that drought will worsen in parts of Horn of Africa due to persisting dry conditions and unusually high temperatures.

“In some parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia persisting drought are affecting water availability, grazing pastures and food security,” the East African bloc said in a statement on Friday.

According to IGAD, poor October to December rains that followed by abnormally high temperatures since January are leading to rapid deterioration of pastoral resources and have started affecting livelihoods.

Noting that dry conditions are persisting into March, IGAD said that the tropical cyclone observed across the coast of Mozambique during the first and second week of March partially contributed to the current dry conditions.

Areas of concern due to rainfall deficits include southern and eastern Ethiopia, semi-arid areas in Kenya and Uganda, as well as northern and eastern Somalia, it was noted.

“In these areas, drought and higher than usual temperatures are affecting forage and water availability for people, livestock and wildlife,” an IGAD statement read.

The tropical cyclone has affected Uganda by delaying the start of rains to the end of March, while the dry conditions have “a high likelihood of affecting maize, bananas and sorghum production in the country,” it was noted.

IGAD, through its Climate Prediction and Applications Centre, provides regional updates on a regular basis while the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services provides detailed national and sub-national updates.

The statement also indicated that drought conditions are “likely to worsen during April and May 2019.”

“Rainfall deficits are still expected during the month of April,” IGAD said, adding that areas of concern include the Greater Rift Valley and northern Somalia.

There is a high chance of drier than usual conditions over western Kenya, Turkana region, southern and southeastern Ethiopia, central and northeastern Somalia, coasts of Tanzania and Kenya, much of Uganda and South Sudan, IGAD said.

“This poses significant stress on water availability and may worsen the current situation,” the statement read.

The East African bloc also urged the provision of water and fodder to areas affected by the drought to reduce the impacts on lives and livelihoods.

Health sector actors are also urged to strengthen surveillance, monitor basic supplies for diagnosis and treatment and improve the alert system to ministries of health and local health facilities.

Xinhuanet

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