UN warns Horn of Africa drought to get worse as 5th consecutive rains fail
By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AA): The harsh drought in the Horn of Africa is expected to get worse as the region braces for a fifth consecutive failed rainy season, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned Friday.
The UN weather body said forecasts for October-December show high chances of drier than average conditions across most parts of the region.
“It pain me to be the bearer bad news, when millions of people in the region have already the longest drought in 40 years,” said Guleid Increasing, the director of WMO’s regional climate center for East Africa.
The Horn of Africa which includes Ethiopia, Somalia and Northern Kenya have had four failed rainy seasons, pushing them into a drought.
Pastoralist communities have been forced to leave their homes in search of pasture and water.
Somalia is the most affected country in the Horn of Africa, and it is facing a catastrophic drought that has already claimed scores of lives.
Over 7 million Somalis — nearly half the country’s population — are in need of humanitarian assistance and 1.5 million children are severely malnourished.
Thousands of people in the country walk several kilometers from rural areas to seek humanitarian assistance in major towns and cities.
“I solemnly renew our call to national, donors, humanitarian and development actors to adopt a no-regret strategy and help us weather the worst of this crisis,” said Workneh Gebeyehu, executive secretary of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD ), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa.
This is the longest drought in 40 years affecting over 50 million people in the Greater Horn of Africa region.
The WMO also said the rainfall deficits are likely to extend to parts of Eritrea, most of Uganda and also Tanzania as the start of the rainy season is likely to be delayed across much of the eastern parts of the region.
[Map of Horn of Africa Region by JRC, EU/Creative Commons]
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