IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) indicates that the first month of the March to May (MAM) 2022 season was particularly dry. Overall, the region recorded higher temperatures and less than normal rainfall.
In addition, ICPAC specified that Eastern Africa is facing the very real prospect that the rains will fail for a fourth consecutive season, placing Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia into a drought of a length not experienced in the last 40 years.
“The MAM rains are crucial for the region, and, sadly, we are looking at not just three, but potentially four consecutive failed seasons,” said Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD’s Executive Secretary, at a press conference this morning. “This, coupled with other stress factors such as conflicts in both our region and Europe, the impact of COVID-19, and macro-economic challenges, has led to acute levels of food insecurity across the Greater Horn of Africa”.
The Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, co-chaired by IGAD and FAO, estimates that over 29 million people face high levels of food insecurity across the IGAD region.
“Already, 15.5 to 16 million of our sisters and brothers need immediate food assistance due to the drought. This is 6 to 6.5 million in Ethiopia, 3.5 million in Kenya, and 6 million in Somalia. The situation is catastrophic in the southern-central part of Somalia, with 81,000 people at risk of famine,” explained Dr Workneh Gebeyehu.
Dr Guleid Artan, ICPAC’s Director, added that “the severe shortages in water and pasture are leading to smaller food production, significant losses in livestock and wildlife, and a rise in the resource-based conflict in the region. On the outlook, our early warning systems and indicators show the situation worsening in the coming months”.
IGAD is calling on member states, donors, and humanitarian partners to immediately increase their emergency response in the affected countries to avoid further worsening of the humanitarian crisis. Dr Workneh Gebeyehu said, “we have to act NOW based on a “no regrets” approach”. He further stated that “livelihood programs must be scaled up to protect the lives and livelihoods of our farmers, agro-pastoralists, and pastoralists. This will help support their recovery and self-reliance in the immediate and medium-term”.
ICPAC provides climate services to IGAD member states (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda), plus Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Each month, ICPAC’s scientists collect global climate data and localise it to the region. This information is analysed to assess the implications of the forecast on different sectors (agriculture and food security, water resources, disaster risk management, environmental monitoring, climate change). This service aim at creating resilience in a region deeply affected by climate change and extreme weather.
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