A recent climatic early warning report on the irregular rainfall situation experienced in the current season by the Horn of Africa warns of a significant moisture deficit in large parts of the region. The report, which is based on satellite-derived observations, was prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Global Information and Early warning System on food and agriculture (GIEWS), in collaboration with the JRC.
The 2014 rainy season deviated from normal patterns since January: unusual rainfall occurred during the dry season, and the rainy season experienced above-average rainfall in some areas and delayed onset in others. The growing season was extremely dry in the East of the region, with total cumulated rainfall amounts expected to be far below normal, leading to a high risk of drought in the main agricultural areas of Kenya, southern Ethiopia, northern Tanzania and Somalia.
While the west of the region saw a good start to the vegetative season due to the rains in February and March, the scarcity of rainfall in April and early May negatively impacted many areas.
For the coming months, models indicate an increased likelihood of El Niño conditions, which should lead to above-average rains between October and March. Such rains could be favourable for the planting of new crops during this period, but could also hamper harvesting of the main season cereal crops and even negatively affect food and livestock conditions due to flooding caused by exceptionally heavy rains.
This analysis will need to be complemented by ground data and monitoring until the end of the season, following which a more complete analysis will be prepared, including socio-economic data.