Humanitarian agencies raised the alarm that over 50 million people in the region are suffering from acute food insecurity this year
NewDelhi: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that millions of people in the greater Horn of Africa will likely face a fifth consecutive season due to failed rainy season.
According to the U.N. weather agency the terrible four-year long drought in the Horn of Africa is set to continue for another year.
“As millions of people in the Greater Horn of Africa have already “suffered the longest drought in 40 years,” parts of the region are bracing for a fifth consecutive failed rainy season” said the agency.
The forecast for October to December, issued at the Greater Horn of Africa Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum, shows high chances of drier than average conditions across most parts of the region, which will further worsen the crisis for millions of people.
“It pains me to be the bearer of bad news,” said Guleid Artan, Director of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) – WMO’s climate centre for East Africa.
“Sadly, our models show with a high degree of confidence that we are entering the fifth consecutive failed rainy season in the Horn of Africa” he said.
Earlier IGAD and humanitarian agencies raised the alarm that over 50 million people in the region are suffering from acute food insecurity this year.
World Food Program spokesman Tomson Phiri said that drought is not a new phenomenon in the Horn of Africa. However, he says what is happening now is more severe and is occurring with greater frequency.
“Hunger and malnutrition is worsening across all drought-affected areas. And there is a very real risk of famine in Somalia”, says Phiri. “I think this is well documented. This is on the record.
Rainfall from October to December contributes up to 70 per cent of the annual total in the equatorial parts of the Greater Horn of Africa, particularly in eastern Kenya.
However, the start of the rainy season is likely to be delayed across much of the eastern parts of the region, triggering rainfall deficits.
The agency said the rainfall deficits are likely to extend to parts of Eritrea, most of Uganda and also Tanzania as ICPAC estimate that the start of the rainy season is likely to be delayed across much of the eastern parts of the region.
“Djibouti, the eastern Afar region of Ethiopia, and central to northeastern South Sudan could receive above average precipitation. Temperatures are expected to remain warmer than average across most of the region” it said.
The agency said the exceptional drought underlines the vulnerability of the region to climate-related risks, which are expected to intensify because of climate change.
U.N agencies estimate more than 50 million people in the greater Horn of Africa suffer from acute food insecurity. The director of the WMO’s regional climate center for East Africa, Guleid Artan, warns the region is on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.