IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) Director Dr. Guleid Artan, Director Kenya Meteorological Department Dr. David Gikungu, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment Ms Sopitan Tuya and Senior Director of Administration at the Ministry of Environment John Elungata follow proceedings during the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum for the March to May 2023 season.

Alarm raised over failed rainy season as drought hits Horn of Africa region

Dry conditions highly likely to continue over the Horn of Africa during the March to May 2023 rainfall season

The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) on Wednesday, February 22, reported that below-normal rainfall is anticipated throughout the majority of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) over the next three months.

Delegates attending the 63rd GHA Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 63) in Nairobi, looked at the projection for the March to May (MAM) 2023 season, which predicts low rainfall and high temperatures. This could be the sixth straight failed rainfall season in the most drought-stricken regions of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda.

Also increased is the likelihood of drier-than-average rainfall in parts of Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Tanzania, and western South Sudan. On the other side, wetter than usual weather is predicted over parts of central and southern Tanzania, the border regions between Ethiopia and South Sudan, and northwestern Kenya.

Across Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, northwestern South Sudan, southern and north-eastern Ethiopia, northern Somalia, northern and western Kenya, and portions of south-eastern and western Tanzania, warmer-than-normal temperatures are anticipated to occur.

A significant rainfall season is usually expected from March to May, especially in the equatorial regions of the GHA where it accounts for up to 60% of the yearly total. Even though the season doesn’t appear to have favorable overall conditions, people can still benefit from rains, according to Dr Guleid Artan, Director of ICPAC.

Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, the executive secretary of IGAD, called for an “immediate scaling-up of humanitarian and risk reduction initiatives” in light of these dire circumstances. Before it’s a little too late, national governments, humanitarian organizations, and development actors must embrace a no-regret strategy.

“We all know that extreme climate events are expected to be more frequent and intense because of climate change. The critical issue, therefore, is to enhance the capacity of ICPAC and the member states’ meteorological agencies to provide actionable weather and climate early warnings,” Mr Gebeyehu said.
The Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), co-chaired by IGAD and FAO, estimates that close to 23 million people are currently highly food insecure in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
Through the transition to MAM 2023, it is probable that the situation in the impacted areas would worsen. The situation will be influenced by the season’s performance after this. Any good effects won’t be felt right now, though, as 11 million animals have already died and the major harvests may only be recorded around August.

“These prolonged and recurrent climate change-induced droughts will further worsen other existing, mutually exacerbating humanitarian challenges in the region, including the ongoing hunger crisis, the impacts of COVID-19 and internal displacement. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to strengthen food systems, livelihoods, and climate resilience,” Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC Director for Africa, said. 
Droughts have been occurring often in the Horn of Africa, which has had terrible consequences for the local population. Many people are now more exposed to food insecurity and hunger due to the worsening scenario brought on by failed rains and climate change. 

Experts have urged regional governments and international donors to support better water management and conservation. Building water catchment areas and funding water storage projects like dams, reservoirs, and boreholes are two ways to do this. In order to lessen the effects of drought, water can be stored during the rainy season and used during the dry season.

Promoting environmentally friendly agriculture methods is another measure. Investing in livestock and crops that can survive in dry environments will help you achieve this. To help the soil retain moisture, farmers can also use conservation agriculture techniques including intercropping, crop rotation, and mulching.
Experts say that it is critical to offer assistance and support to drought-affected populations. The distribution of food and water, the provision of medical care, and the support of livelihoods through the creation of jobs and financial transfers are some examples. It is also important to focus on resolving the underlying causes of climate change – governments can support sustainable development principles and invest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy. By doing so, carbon emissions will be decreased and the effects of climate change will be lessened.

“We are rallying Kenyans behind the need to conserve our ecosystems and one of the ways we are doing it is to enhance the participator; bringing the communities at the core of our ecosystem management plans… so we want to make Kenyans understand that there is a lot of economic value, livelihood support, and enterprise models that come with the growing of trees and ecosystem management and one of them is the carbon markets. We are at advanced stages of developing carbon markets legal frame work. Kenya is rated as one of the top countries in the carbon trading in Africa. We want to have clear benefits sharing modalities for communities. We want to improve carbon market space to be high integrity, high quality so that it can earn revenue for Kenya, but also for communities to benefit for their role as custodians for our forests,” Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment Ms Sopitan Tuya, said during the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum.

Sign Up