Rains Are Here, but Short-Lived; Weatherman

The weather outlook for November 2022 to January 2023 indicates that the whole country will experience below-average rainfall and warmer-than-average temperatures.

Rains  Are Here, but Short-Lived; Weatherman
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The meteorological department has told Kenyans to expect rain this week but has however warned that the rains will be below average.

In a statement made by the head of meteorological services Dr David Gikungu, the weather forecast for months November to January 2023 shows that the whole country will receive rainfall below average and higher temperatures.

Dr. Gikungu cautioned that the rains will not end the drought as they will be depressed and end early in December in Mandera, Garissa, Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, Turkana and Samburu.

About four million Kenyans, mostly from the arid north, have been painfully lining up for food aid in the past two months.

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According to Dr. Gikungu, northeastern and northwestern regions are likely to remain generally dry throughout the forecast period but may experience occasional rainfall especially in November and early December.

Millions of Kenyans in the arid and semi-arid parts of the country are in severe food insecurity as the country faces worst drought in four years. However, Gikungu noted that the rainfall will not be enough to rescue the country from the current situation of food insecurity an poor nutrition.

The below average rains are attributed to the La Nina phenomenon which, contrary to El Nino, brings dry weather to Kenya.

Despite the depressed rains, isolated episodes of heavy storms are still likely to occur in several parts of the country during the month.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this year’s maize harvest is projected to be 33 million bags of 90 kgs, and this will be the lowest in a period of five years.

Maize production in 2021 was 38 million bags and 42 million bags in 2020. 44.0 million and 44.6 million bags in 2019 and 2018 while 2017 saw the country harvest about 35.4 million bags of 90 kgs.

The targeted maize production this year was 67.3 million bags which is higher than the 2021 target of 61.2 million bags.

“This is against the total national maize demand of 57.8 million bags of 90kg annually,” the ministry data showed.

Met also said the availability of pasture, browse, and water for livestock consumption will deteriorate.

“Therefore, it is advised that relevant authorities closely monitor the situation to prevent any loss of livestock,” Dr Gikungu said.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said currently, 4.35 million Kenyans are in need of food aid.

This is based on the 2022 long rain food and nutritional security assessment report. NDMA October drought early warning bulletin showed that the drought situation continues to worsen in twenty (20) of the 23 ASAL counties.

This is attributed to the four successive failed rain seasons which has led to an increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance from four million in August to the current 4.35 million people.

Eleven counties namely; Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kitui, Mandera, Marsabit, Laikipia, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir, are in alarm drought phase while nine counties including Embu, Kilifi, Kwale, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi and Taita Taveta are in the alert drought phase.

The remaining three counties including Baringo, West Pokot and Lamu are in a normal drought phase.

NDMA further indicated that acute malnutrition has also been noted across the counties with 942,000 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 134,000 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished in need of treatment.