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Flood risks to continue across East Africa, IGAD warns

By Vicky Wandawa

Added 1st November 2019 02:58 PM

These heavy rains and flooding have already led to losses in property and livelihoods in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya.

Flood risks to continue across East Africa, IGAD warns

These heavy rains and flooding have already led to losses in property and livelihoods in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya.

Floods in Kampala recently. File Photo

Higher than usual rains are expected to persist throughout November and December, according to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)'s monthly and seasonal forecasts.

In a communiqué from IGAD, Abubakr Salih Babiker, Climate Scientist notes that a tropical storm named KYARR that has been developing in the northern Indian Ocean and is expected to reach Puntland and Somaliland in four to five days, and the affected areas will experience strong winds and light rains.

"The risk of flooding is high and wet conditions might increase the risk of crop fungal and bacterial disease outbreaks, and livestock diseases such as Rift Valley Fever in disease-prone regions," Babiker warned.

Babiker further noted that if the wet conditions continue beyond November - December, there may be challenges with harvesting and post-harvest crop management, and this could lead to significant post-harvest losses in both grain quality and volume.

East Africa rainfall is sensitive to the Indian Ocean sea surface temperature patterns, which is in its strongest positive state since 2006 and is bringing heavy rains to the region. These heavy rains and flooding have already led to losses in property and livelihoods in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya.

"We encourage all stakeholders to take the necessary measures to mitigate the potential impacts," says Abubakr Salih Babiker, Climate Scientist at ICPAC.

Overall, the current forecast presents positive prospects for increased crop yields for major cereals in the equatorial and southern agricultural areas of the region as well as improvement in pasture, range and water resources for livestock.

However, in the northern parts of the region where the crops were in advanced stages of maturity, the increased rainfall activity poses the risk of interrupting crop maturation and harvesting.

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