October to December, the upcoming rainfall season is an important season for countries like Burundi, Kenya, northern Tanzania, southern and central Somalia, southern Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Uganda. For some of these countries, this is the main farming season, and it represents about 70% of the total annual rainfall.
A drier than usual season is forecasted across Eastern Africa from October to December 2021. Particularly in Burundi, Kenya, southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, southern, central, and north-western Somalia, Red Sea coast of northern Eritrea, Rwanda and Tanzania. Of particular concern are the drier than usual conditions forecasted over the cross-border areas of Kenya and Somalia.
2021 is expected to continue to be a drier than usual year for the majority of the eastern region. Observations of rainfall over the past months reveal that the region has been facing rainfall deficits in many parts of central and southern East Africa, and this is forecasted to continue until December 2021. Past observed deficits, coupled with our forecast, indicate moderate to severe drought conditions in the region, particularly over eastern Kenya, south-western Ethiopia, southern Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.
The start of the season is expected to be delayed by up to 2 weeks, especially over eastern Kenya and southern Somalia. The forecast indicates that South Sudan, north-western Uganda, and south-western Ethiopia could receive over 200 and 300 mm during the entire season. There is a lower than usual chance of exceeding 200 and 300 mm over most other regions, particularly over eastern Kenya and southern Tanzania.
Besides the dry conditions, warmer than usual temperatures are expected across the region. In particular in eastern Kenya to Somalia, eastern parts of Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan.
The food security and nutrition situation is likely to worsen, especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid regions, requiring expanding humanitarian assistance and interventions across the region. Generally, poor rains, late-onset, and other non-climatic drivers like COVID-19, economic shocks, and conflict present poor prospects for farming across the region. As a result, more than 30 million people in the region will likely be highly food insecure (IPC Phase 3+) and need urgent assistance through 2021.
Considering the ongoing simultaneous humanitarian emergencies impacting the region, including the COVID-19 pandemic, regional and national authorities are encouraged to use this seasonal forecast to develop contingency plans and update them with weekly and monthly forecasts provided by ICPAC and National Meteorological Services.
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