UN-backed climate forum forecasts erratic rainy season in Horn of Africa

Climate change is a growing cause of displacement in Africa, where some areas have been devastated by drought. Photo: UNHCR/B. Bannon

29 February 2012 – The main rainy season in the Greater Horn of Africa is likely to receive “near normal to below normal rainfall” over much of the region between March and May, a United Nations-backed climate forecasting forum reported today.

This rainfall outlook applies in particular to areas that were ravaged by severe drought last year, including much of Somalia; Djibouti; eastern and northern Kenya; and southern, eastern and north-eastern Ethiopia.

“This is not good news for farmers in areas which have been affected by agricultural drought in recent years,” said Youcef Ait-Chellouche, the Deputy Regional Coordinator of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

“We must plan for the probability that rainfall will be erratic and there will be long dry spells which will impact on crop production and food security.”

Mr. Ait-Chellouche said that disaster managers and sector specialists are in agreement that disaster risk reduction must be embedded in long-term development plans for the region, while preparedness measures are put in place for the humanitarian consequences of a poor rainy season in many parts of the Horn.

The 30th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF30) also found that there is there is an “increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall” over south-western Tanzania, south-western Ethiopia, South Sudan and south-western Sudan. The near normal to below normal forecast also applies to much of Tanzania, western and southern Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

The Greater Horn of Africa region comprises Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.


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