EAST AFRICA: 14 million "face
hardship from drought"
KAMPALA, 3 March 2008 (IRIN) - Up to 14 million people in the
greater Horn of African region are expected to suffer under harsh
weather conditions in the next three months that threaten food
security, according to climate specialists meeting in Kampala, the
Experts under the regional body, the IGAD Climate Prediction and
Application Centre, urged governments to take immediate action to
protect the region.
Professor Laban Ogallo, head of the centre, based in Kenya, said
that unless governments took steps to stem the impact of the
impending conditions, development targets would not be met. “Lack
of rain should not bring about a crisis if people in policy
management take the advice we are offering. These climatic
conditions can forestall whatever they want to do on development,”
“It is estimated that between 11 million and 14 million people, or
10 percent of the regional population, will be affected.
Pastoralist communities are going to be the most vulnerable and
this may cause conflict as these communities move from their areas
to look for water and pasture,” said Patrick Luganda, the media
official of the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum.
Luganda said the cattle corridor of the region would experience
tension as most of it is forecast to experience dry spells,
putting pressure on available water and pasture. Other
agricultural areas are also expected to suffer as a result. “We
forecast tension between cattle keepers in Kenya and those in
Uganda. Kenya will be drier so these communities will try to move
while those in northeastern Uganda will move further inland. This
will bring about conflicts over water, pasture and over animals,”
Much of Somalia, eastern, central and southern Ethiopia, as well
as much of Kenya and southern Sudan is expected to be affected.
Whereas much of Uganda is likely to have near-normal or
above-normal rainfall, the southwestern region will experience
harsh conditions. Areas such as southwestern and eastern Sudan,
western Ethiopia, southwestern Kenya, extreme southern Burundi, as
well as northern, western and southwestern Tanzania, are also
likely to have near-normal or above-normal rainfall.
However, because of the political crisis in Kenya that has kept
many people in camps, they have not tended to their farms and this
threatens food security in the east African country, according to
“This outlook may help governments to plan better as it tells them
which areas are safe and which will need help,” Luganda said.
The specialists noted, however, that despite the expectation of
poor rainfall, “episodic wet spells and flash floods could occur”
over areas expected to be dry. Flash floods over the east African
region displaced thousands last year and compromised food security.