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Horn of Africa drought to worsen as sparse rainy season predicted

Horn of Africa drought to worsen as sparse rainy season predicted
FILE - Cows that died from drought near Ilangeruani village, near Lake Magadi, in Kenya, on Nov. 9, 2022   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Trends in a historic Horn of Africa drought are now worse than they were during the 2011 drought in which at least a quarter-million people died, an international climate centre said on Wednesday.

The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center said below-normal rainfall is expected in the upcoming rainy season over the next three months.

“This could be the sixth failed consecutive rainfall season” in the region that includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, the centre stated.

The drought, the longest on record in Somalia, has lasted almost three years, and tens of thousands of people are said to have died. More than one million people have been displaced in Somalia alone, according to the United Nations.

Last month, the U.N. resident coordinator in Somalia warned that excess deaths in Somalia will “almost certainly” surpass those of the famine declared in the country in 2011.

Close to 23 million people are thought to be highly food insecure in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to a food security working group chaired by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

Already, 11 million livestock that are essential to many families’ health and wealth have died, Wednesday’s statement said. Many people affected across the region are pastoralists or farmers who have watched crops wither and water sources run dry.

The war in Ukraine has affected the humanitarian response as traditional donors in Europe divert funding to the crisis closer to home. The head of IGAD, Workneh Gebeyehu, urged governments and partners to act “before it’s too late.”

IGAD is designated as a regional climate centre by the World Meteorological Organisation.

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