East African regional bloc issues warning about El Nino rainfall in Horn of Africa


El Nino rains will begin in the Horn of Africa region from mid-October, experts from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, said on Monday, noting that there has been a delay in onset.

Eunice Koech, a climate modeling assistant at the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center based in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, said during a virtual meeting that the forecast for the region to receive heavier-than-normal rains during the October to December season still stands, as El Nino conditions have already formed.

Koech noted that the Indian Ocean Dipole, a phenomenon that causes heavy rains, is in a positive phase; thus, the rains would begin anytime.

East African regional bloc issues warning about El Nino rainfall in Horn of Africa

A double rainbow appears after a rainfall in Ethiopia. /CFP

A double rainbow appears after a rainfall in Ethiopia. /CFP

“El Nino rains will affect Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, southern Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Onset for most countries is from mid-October to mid-November. People should not be worried that the rains have not come; they are coming,” she said.

One of the sectors that would be affected by the heavy rains is agriculture, Koech added.

Jasper Batureine Mwesigwa, a food security expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said the positive impact of the rains would be improved pasture in arid areas, availability of water, good crop performance and enhanced food security.

Negatively, he said, farmers should expect flash floods that may lead to the burying of crops on farmlands, causing displacements and food shortages.

He further warned that there is also a likelihood of a desert locust outbreak due to the heavy rains that would provide perfect conditions for the pests to thrive.

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Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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