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El Niño alert

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Andrew McConnell/Panos

East Africa on alert for El Niño deluge

Gilbert Nakweya

Speed read

  • Floods, disease and crop losses expected in coming months
  • Kenya has built camps for displaced people and is ready for cholera
  • East African farmers may face drought after the rains

East African countries near the equator are bracing for high El Niño-related rainfall that meteorologists warn may cause floods, crop losses and disease in the coming months.

The region is set to experience much more rain than usual during the October-December wet season, and possibly until early next year, forecasts say — although the rains may be less heavy than those experienced during the powerful 1997-98 El Niño ocean warming event.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Kenya Meteorological Department, Tanzania Meteorological Agency and Uganda National Meteorological Authority have issued warnings about the risks associated with higher rainfall.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network says flooding along rivers and lakes, such as Lake Victoria, and flash floods in lowland areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania are likely to force people from their homes, lead to crop and livestock losses, and make it difficult for people to access food and work.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.