The current drought situation in Kenya is expected to worsen due to persisting dry conditions and unusually high temperatures that will extend to the month of April.
This is according to the latest forecast by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) stating that there is a higher chance of drier than usual conditions in Western Kenya and other countries across the Horn of Africa including the coastal regions of Tanzania, southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, central and north-eastern Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan.
The report disclosed that the said countries will experience drought and higher than usual temperatures which are affecting forage and water availability for people, livestock and wildlife.
“Poor October to December rains, followed by abnormally high temperatures since January 2019 are leading to rapid deterioration of pastoral resources and have started affecting livelihoods”, the statement said.
According to ICPAC, the dry conditions will persist throughout March 2019. The drought conditions have been contributed by the tropical cyclone observed across the coast of Mozambique during the first and second week of March.
Areas of concern due to rainfall deficits include southern and eastern Ethiopia (Borana including southern Rift Valley lakes and surrounding regions), semi-arid areas in Kenya and Karamoja (Uganda), northern and eastern Somalia.
In Kenya, according to the National Drought Management Authority, poor short rains in October to December have increased the food-insecure population.
Early this month, the Kenya Meteorological Department reported that dry and hot condition being experienced in the country will continue thus affecting the March to April long rains.
According to the weatherman, “a Tropical Cyclone known as “IDAI” located in the Mozambican Channel for several days plays a key role in delaying the northward movement of the rain-bearing Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The cyclone has significantly reduced moisture influx into the country and this leads to the continued sunny and dry weather conditions over the better part of the country.
Countries have been advised to ensure the provision of water and fodder to areas affected by the drought to reduce the impacts on lives and livelihoods.
Close monitoring of the long rains during the last ten days of March, April, and May will also be crucial as prepositioning and preparedness for response is undergoing.
Water harvesting from the expected rains is recommended in the next two months.
Authorities in the health sector should strengthen surveillance, monitor basic supplies for diagnosis and treatment and improve the alert system to ministries of health and local health facilities.