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Climate Scientists: Drought Expected In Ethiopia Over The Next Three Months

Post by Oromay » 01 Mar 2012, 15:50


Drought warning prompts call for early action
March 1, 2012
By The News Staff

Kigali, Rwanda (IRIN) – Drought is likely to return to Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa over the next three months, say regional climate scientists meeting in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. The forecast comes just weeks after the United Nations declared the Somali “famine” over.

“There is a high probability of drought returning to the Greater Horn of Africa…Poor rains are a definite in all of Somalia, Djibouti, northern Kenya, southern, eastern and northeastern Ethiopia,” said Laban Ogallo, director of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), which provides forecasts for the Horn.

“We have put the message out there. It is now up to governments, civil society and the media to prepare… for the worst-case scenario even if the worst does not happen. There is no harm in being prepared,” he said. “We must realize many of these areas are already facing the cumulative impact of several droughts.”

Youcef Ait Chellouche, deputy regional coordinator of the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, said the coping mechanism of people in most of these areas who experienced severe drought in 2010-2011, is almost non-existent. In the coming days, he said, he would be meeting disaster risk managers from various countries and agencies to draw up a plan for early action.

“We cannot wait for people to show up in Dadaab [refugee camp in eastern Kenya] yet again. We have to take preventive action now. We need to find ways to secure livestock and provide cash transfers to people now. These are some of the lessons from last year’s drought,” he added.

It took scientists three days of brainstorming over rainfall and temperature data, the status of ocean currents and the strength of the La Niña to make the forecast at the 30th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum in Kigali.

Increased cyclonic activity recorded over the Indian Ocean in the past few weeks was one of the major factors drawing moisture away from the Horn, explained Ogallo. “The Indian Ocean is rather warm at the moment and will continue to be over the next few months.” He cited the recent cyclones recorded near Madagascar.

Climate scientists Andrew Colman with the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Vadlamani Kumar from the U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the residual effects of a dying La Niña were also a factor in possible poor rains over the Horn.

La Niña occurs when the surface of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean–the world’s largest body of water – cools, and has a climatic impact in other regions of the world. A particularly strong La Niña was recorded in 2010-2011 and parts of the Horn experienced their driest period in 60 years.

“We are in a transition phase. It [La Niña] seems to be dying out but it always gets a bit chaotic now [weather-wise] during such time,” said Peter Ambenje, deputy director of Kenya’s meteorological department.

“Near normal to below normal rains”–meaning the outlook is not very hopeful–have also been forecast for southern, eastern and northern Tanzania; Burundi; Rwanda; Uganda; and western and southern Kenya.

High temperatures

“We have already recorded some of the highest temperatures ever in the past 13 years in northern Kenya in January 2012,” said Ambenje. The government, he said, was already planning contingency measures. “People will need water and their livestock will need to be secured.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s FEWS NET said people should expect erratic rain in southern Somalia and southeastern Kenya. It would be releasing a detailed outlook in the coming weeks.

Ethiopia’s pastoralists in the Somali region and the agro-pastoralist communities in southern Oromia could be in for hard times ahead, and The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR), one of Ethiopia’s poorest, is also likely to face a drought, say climate scientists.

However, Dula Shanko, head of Ethiopia Meteorological Department, said they expected the drought to be less severe than last year, as most parts of Ethiopia had received good rains towards the end of 2011.

Djibouti is already facing water shortages, said Osman Saad Said, chief of the country’s Met Division. At least one in eight people there was in need of emergency aid in 2011, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “We are already drilling more and more bore-wells in the city,” he said.

Many disaster experts cited the slow response by governments and donors to the early warning forecasts of the 2010-2011 Horn drought.

Abbas Gullet, secretary-general of the Kenya Red Cross, said his organization had responded to the warning and launched an appeal in early 2011, but it had not managed to raise sufficient resources as the government had failed to ring official alarm bells. Only after it went to the people later in the year as part of the “Kenya 4 Kenyans” campaign were sizeable funds raised.

One of the problems highlighted was the lack of linkage between early warning and early action. “There is no framework that allows the trigger of funds when the early warning bell is sounded,” said one aid worker.

“Governments and people must take pre-emptive action on their own accord and not wait for donors to provide funds,” said another.

“It will be interesting to see how humanitarian actors–and donors–will factor this information into their decision-making, what they will be doing on this basis in the next few weeks,” said Maarten Van Aalst, director of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, and coordinating lead author of the summary of the special report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change (SREX) produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2011.

“Given the moderate strength of the forecast signal, I think the best options would be no-regrets investments, particularly aimed at high-risk areas still suffering from the current crisis, and proper monitoring so that further scale-up can be fast when it is needed,” he added.

Given the moderate strength of the forecast signal, I think the best options would be no-regrets investments, particularly aimed at high-risk areas still suffering from the current crisis, and proper monitoring so that further scale-up can be fast when it is needed.”

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Re: Climate Scientists: Drought Expected In Ethiopia Over The Next Three Months

Post by Adamu » 01 Mar 2012, 18:29

Thanks Abo Oromay for sharing the IRIN's report on the "HORN OF AFRICA: Drought warning prompts call for early action". The report is good, but there are questions about the requirements "early response and operations". Its shame to see this report few weeks after the UN declared the Somali “famine” over. Conflicts and recurrent droughts, and also lack of DRR (disaster risks reduction) and CBRM (community-based risk management) approaches, block of trade, misuse of aid relief, and also political commitment and ethics (accountably) are the causes of this disaster.

Prof Laban Ogallo and his organization IGAD-Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) are the behind the crisis in the Horn of Africa Region. Prof Laban Ogallo and his organization have no knowledge on the realities and local contexts in the region, with the absence of the DRR and CBRM approaches and also political commitment and ethics. ICPAC works under Woyane's policy and instructions.

Therefore, I hope that, IGAD will consider the current disaster in the region, and will assign qualified people with clear strategy for DRR approaches. In this regard, CBRM approach and also political commitment and ethics (accountably) are very crucial for this drought emergency in the region. However, the only things that, Prof Laban Ogallo and his organization can do in the region are the meetings and conferences in the main cities! So, they are part of the problem, not the solutions!

Halafi Mengedi
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Re: Climate Scientists: Drought Expected In Ethiopia Over The Next Three Months

Post by Halafi Mengedi » 02 Mar 2012, 01:08

This is where the Meles regime failed so miserably by adapting a policy from the top to the bottom and from the big cities to the rural areas of Ethiopia developments. If EPRDF was to adapt the opposite policy to empower the rural farmers to work through out the year by conserving water from every small and big rivers around the country and importing tractors instead of luxury cars and other consumer goods, Ethiopia would not have faced drought and looking after foreign donations for the last 20 years.

Ethiopia has two choices to eradicate poverty from the country once for all. One is reverse the current policy of looking after the elite Addis Ababa people and pouring everything to build Addis Ababa. Instead invest in the rural areas and train farmers to use irrigation farming all year and stop waiting rain from haven. It does not matter when the rain comes so long they are water reservations farmers to water their farming fields and the rain saved. The second is come up with family planning people not to have more than two kids in all regions and reduce the population growth. Deploy all the youths in the rural areas to engage them with the land and produce something for the country instead of waiting some relatives to send them dollars from America or Middle Eastern countries. The repeating drought in Ethiopia is the failure of the current government ignored to addressed it early on and put an effort to change it for good.

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