by Chrispinus Omar
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Increased nonseasonal rainfall may slightly ease
dry conditions in some drought-affected areas in East Africa
region, a food security agency has forecast.
Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) said the presence of a
tropical cyclone (Dineo), currently located over the Mozambique
Channel, is forecast to bring nonseasonal moderate to heavy
rains across much of Tanzania and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia,
Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi during the coming week.
"This may slightly ease the currently very dry conditions in
these areas, prior to the onset of seasonal rains in the Horn,"
the agency said in its February report published on Sunday.
Vegetation conditions remain very poor in much of East
Africa, following scarce rainfall between October 2016 and
January in many areas, particularly in Somalia, southeastern
Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and northeastern Tanzania.
Vegetations have continued to deteriorate into February,
particularly in the Horn of Africa region, as the dry season has
continued, according to the report.
The report came as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
warned on Feb. 14 that East Africa’s ongoing drought had sharply
curbed harvests and driven up the prices of cereals and other
staple foods to unusually high levels, posing a heavy burden to
local households and special risks for pastoralists.
"Sharply increasing prices are severely constraining food
access for large numbers of households with alarming
consequences in terms of food insecurity," FAO said.
Local prices of maize, sorghum and other cereals are near or
at record levels in swathes of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South
Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, according to the latest Food Price
Monitoring and Analysis Bulletin.
The report says since late January, seasonal dryness has
continued over the eastern Horn, following very poor performance
of the Deyr/ Hageya/ short rains between October and December,
resulting in an abnormally long dry season that has also been
marked by hotter-than-normal land surface temperatures across
Somalia, Kenya, southern and eastern Ethiopia, and northeastern
In addition, end of the season dryness in January affected
cropping conditions and reduced maize yields in Burundi, Rwanda,
and bimodal areas of Tanzania and led to well below average
rangeland resources in these countries.
"In Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, rangeland resources in many
areas continue to deteriorate as the dry season continues
following very poor performance of the Deyr/Hageya/short rains
in 2016," FEWS Net said.
In many areas, NDVI continues to show vegetation conditions
that are well below normal and field reports confirm little to
no pasture availability in many pastoral areas.
During the past several days, small amounts of nonseasonal
rainfall has occurred in localized areas of northeastern Kenya,
southern Ethiopia, and Djibouti.