News / Africa

Less Severe Drought Forecast For Horn of Africa

Kenya's Turkana region shows effects of severe drought affecting Horn of Africa
Kenya's Turkana region shows effects of severe drought affecting Horn of Africa

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the Horn Of Africa can look forward to weaker drought conditions in the coming months.  In its latest El Nino/La Nina update, the WMO says near neutral or weak La Nina conditions, which lessen the severity of drought, are the most likely scenarios for the rest of 2011.

The El Nino and La Nina phenomena, which occur in the tropical Pacific, have a significant impact upon weather and climate around the globe. The World Meteorological Organization says there is a possibility that La Nina conditions, where sea surface temperatures cool, may re-emerge over the coming months.  But, if this happens, it says the event is likely to be much weaker than the moderate to strong La Nina, which prevailed in 2010 and ended in May 2011.

That La Nina was linked to disastrously wet conditions in parts of Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and portions of northern South America. At the same time, it caused drought in East Africa.

WMO Climate Expert Rupa Kumar Kolli says if La Nina re-emerges it would result in rainfall, which is either normal or below normal.  This, he tells VOA, could potentially spell bad news for East Africa but he adds that drought conditions are still likely to be less severe than in the past two years.

“There is reason to be concerned about the situation. But, at the same time, even if La Nina occurs, the current indications are that it is likely to be weak and is not going to be anywhere close to the moderate to strong La Nina that we have seen last year," said Kolli. "In that sense, even if it is slightly below normal, it is really not alarming and it is very unlikely that we will see a very severe drought condition to happen in Eastern Africa.”

Somali's wait for food aid to be handed out from the UNHCR in Mogadishu , Wednesday. Aug. 31.2011
Somali's wait for food aid to be handed out from the UNHCR in Mogadishu , Wednesday. Aug. 31.2011

More than 12 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia are struggling to cope with the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years. People in Somalia are particularly hard hit as they try to survive the twin disasters of conflict and drought.  The United Nations has declared several regions in southern Somalia to be famine zones.

Kolli says the drought in the Horn of Africa came as no surprise to meteorologists.  He says the impact resulting from the La Nina event was expected and he says regional weather centers warned countries of the severity of the drought that was looming.

Once countries have been warned of a possible weather-related disaster, he tells VOA it is up to their governments to take appropriate measures to try to lessen the expected impact.

“Famines are man-made, whereas droughts are natural parts of the system. So, the drought warnings were given sufficiently in advance to the policy makers,".Kolli added. "But, the famine conditions are a combination of the drought and other factors, which actually create a situation where people have no access to food.”  

WMO Climate Expert Kolli says meteorologists are trying to improve ways of getting policy makers to take their warnings more seriously. He says they are trying to see how they can better communicate weather and climate information. He says it is important to make policy makers understand they must take appropriate decisions based on the regional forecasts they receive.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid