Weatherman sounds alert on Northern Kenya, compares coming season to devastating 2009

Posted on | maart 16, 2012 | No Comments

The Kenya meteorological department is predicting below normal rainfall for the North eastern Province for the March, April and May period, a fact that calls upon the government to prepare for emergencies.

At a forum that brought together climate scientists from the KMD, community representatives and leaders (including traditional forecasters, religious leaders, chiefs, women leaders, youth leaders and pastoralist and farmer group leaders) ; local government officials (including from the Agriculture, Environment, the provincial administration ,Water, Planning and ASALs), civil society organizations at the community and local levels in Thika, James Muhnidi of the KMD said the situation in the three months appears to be closely related to the devastating drought of 2009.

According to Muhindi, although there was good rainfall the last quarter of 2011 with analysis of the “Short Rains” (October-November-December) 2011 seasonal rainfall indicating that the performance was generally good with all the meteorological stations in Wajir, Lodwar and Mandera recording more than 300 percent of their seasonal (above 75% of the Long-Term Mean (LTM)) rainfall, the pastoralists have however not recovered from the 2009 drought and any rainfall shortfall in the following months will seriously affect them.

Recalling what happened then, communities from NEP said they expect deaths due to starvation, migration in search of pasture and water, conflicts among communities in the province and wildlife human conflicts unless remedial measures are taken.

In 2009, livestock were moved to Lamu, Somalia and few animals that left the province returned. The few that returned came back with diseases.

A combination of drought, high food prices, the lingering effects of post-election violence, a cholera outbreak, and a continued influx of refugees from Somalia left hundreds of thousands of people in the province in need of assistance.

Experts attributed the rise in the shortened cycle of natural disasters to global climate change and environmental degradation.

December, January, February and March have so far been dry. Muhindi said January recorded the highest temperatures in 13 years and some parts of NEP have already started some water stress and reduced pasture.

He urged government agencies not to relax based on the last good rain season last October, November and December warning that pastoralists require two good seasons before they can fully recover.

However, this time round, said Muhinid, pastoralists are likely to be hit with another devastating drought before they are fully recovered.

According to predictions from the global circulations from the Pacific and other factors controlling the weather, the factors indicate the 2009 scenario…meaning that rainfall would be very little. Then rainfall was less than 20%.

The rain is expected on the second week of April and may last barely two weeks to end early May.

Maureen Amabni, Climate and Communication officer, CARE International in Kenya’s Adaptation Learning Programme(ALP) the communities will pick the information and take it down to their communities who will in turn decide what to do with the information.

AUTHOR: Henry Neondo
URL: http:// www.africasciencenews.org
E-MAIL: neondohenry [at] yahoo.com

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