February 5, 2023

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The east and horn of Africa expects the worst drought in decades

Mombasa, Kenya (AP) – Farmers in the horny region of eastern and eastern Africa are facing the worst drought in 40 years as meteorological agencies warned of higher-than-normal temperatures and lower rainfall in March and April.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Development said the rains could continue for the fourth year in a row, raising fears of rising malnutrition, threats to livelihoods and severe threats to 29 million people in the region. Meteorologists link the current drought with man-made climate change, which raises temperatures in the Indian Ocean, which in turn increases the frequency of hurricanes.

Like most of the continent, in the east and the horn, the main economic pillar is agriculture, which is dependent on rainfall, which is highly susceptible to extreme weather events. Uncle Charity Kimaru, who runs a livestock farm on his 30-acre (12-hectare) farm in Nyandaruwa, about 80 miles (126 km) north of Nairobi, and cultivates mixed crops such as grains and vegetables, is one of those preparing for their worst. Kimaru says rising temperatures in recent months have allowed his livestock to graze and that the crops he planted have failed in anticipation of the long rainy season.

In February, the Meteorological Agency said it would prepare for “longer than average” long rainy seasons, which usually last from March to May, but this week revised its forecast.

“Rainfall in March, April and May is very important for the region. Unfortunately, we are not facing three rainy seasons, but four consecutive failed rainy seasons,” said Vorkne Kepiyehu, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Organization. “This, along with other stressors such as the conflict in our region and Europe, the impact of the Govt-19 and the macroeconomic challenges, has led to high levels of food insecurity across Africa’s Greater Horn.”

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The low average rainfall in 2022 is likely to extend to droughts that have not reached this level since 1981. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, which have been hit hard by low rainfall, are already experiencing severe famine.

Lack of rainfall during the short rainy season last year and the current drought in the long season caused crop losses and livelihoods, conflicts between communities due to rising food prices and scarcity of grazing and depletion of water resources.

“Whenever there are severe hurricanes in the southwestern Indian Ocean, we are preparing for a long dry season in the eastern and horny regions,” said Evans Mugolvey, a former United Nations chief science officer. “Because hurricanes absorb so much moisture and lose much-needed rainfall for the region, it’s been a pattern for decades.

Aid agencies are already concerned about how the effects of bad climate change will affect the region in the coming decades.

Sean Granville-Rose, regional director for Africa at the Mercy Corps Humanitarian Institute, said: “This is not the first drought in the Horn, it’s unlikely to be the last.” People affected by climate change cannot prepare for the next crisis and wait for one crisis to end.

“International response should prioritize immediate needs, while allocating additional resources for prudent long-term interventions that will help bring about long-term change and help communities become more drought tolerant,” he added.

The United Nations Humanitarian Agency last week warned that the current drought “risks becoming one of the worst climate-driven emergencies in recent history in the Horn of Africa”, noting that about $ 1.5 billion is needed for about $ 5.5 million. Region.

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The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage is supported by a number of private charities. AP is solely responsible for the content.