A press statement issued in Nairobi yesterday by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) said there is a higher chance of drier than usual conditions in the coast regions of Tanzania, western Kenya, southern and southeastern Ethiopia, central and northeastern Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.
The above mentioned countries will experience drought and higher than usual temperatures which are affecting forage and water availability for people, livestock and wildlife.
“Poor October to December rains, followed by abnormally high temperatures since January 2019 are leading to rapid deterioration of pastoral resources and have started affecting livelihoods”, the statement said.
According to ICPAC the dry conditions will persist throughout March 2019. The draught conditions have been contributed by the tropical cyclone observed across the coast of Mozambique during the first and second week of March.
Areas of concern due to rainfall deficits include southern and eastern Ethiopia (Borana including southern Rift Valley lakes and surrounding regions), semi-arid areas in Kenya and Karamoja (Uganda), northern and eastern Somalia.
The tropical cyclone has affected Uganda by delaying the start of rains to end of March. The dry conditions have a high likelihood of affecting maize, bananas and sorghum production in the country.
ICPAC said the highest concern countries in terms of food security include Karamoja in Uganda, northern and central Somalia and most of South Sudan.
In Kenya, according to the National Drought Management Authority, poor short rains in October to December have increased the food-insecure population.
Countries are advised to ensure provision of water and fodder to areas affected by the drought to reduce the impacts on lives and livelihoods.
Close monitoring of the long rains during the last ten days of March, April and May will also be crucial as prepositioning and preparedness for response is undergoing.
Water harvesting from the expected rains is recommended in the next two months.
Authorities in the health sector should strengthen surveillance, monitor basic supplies for diagnosis and treatment and improve alert system to ministries of health and local health facilities.