• ICPAC, however, said wetter than normal conditions are expected over cross-border areas of Ethiopia and South Sudan, north-western Kenya and parts of Tanzania.
• The rainy season contributes to up to 60 per cent of the total annual rainfall for farmers in Kenya and across the GHA region.
The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre has said that most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa will over the next three months experience below-normal rainfall.
In the forecast released on Wednesday, ICPAC said that this could be the 6th failed consecutive rainfall season in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda.
The delegates who are gathering in Nairobi for the 63rd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 63) examined the forecast for the March to May rainy season.
"The probability for drier than normal rainfall is also enhanced for parts of Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Tanzania, and western South Sudan," the team said.
ICPAC, however, said that wetter than normal conditions are expected over the cross-border areas of Ethiopia and South Sudan, north-western Kenya and parts of central and southern Tanzania.
The forecast serves to deepen worries for countries in the Horn of Africa which are still battling the effects of depressed rainfall and high temperatures that have resulted in a devastating drought.
Failed March-May rains are bad news for most countries like Kenya whose food-producing regions largely depend on the rains for the planting season which begins in mid-March.
The rainy season contributes to up to 60 per cent of the total annual rainfall for farmers in Kenya and across the GHA region.
“Even if the general conditions for the season do not look favourable, people can still take advantage of rainfall. This is why I urge all to consult our weekly and monthly forecasts which have a high degree of predictability," ICPAC Director Dr Guleid Artan said.
Close to 23 million people are currently highly food insecure in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, according to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), co-chaired by IGAD and FAO.
This means that ICPAC’s analysis of depressed rains could only mean the situation may worsen in the coming months in the regions severely hit by drought.
The drought has already killed 11 million livestock and it is likely that the situation in the affected areas will intensify past the March-May rain season.
In view of these grim realities, IGAD’s Executive Secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu has called for an immediate scaling-up of humanitarian and risk reduction efforts.
His sentiments were echoed by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) Director for Africa Mohammed Mukhier.
He noted that the forecast weather conditions will further worsen other existing humanitarian challenges in the region, including the ongoing hunger crisis, impacts of Covid-19 and internal displacements.
"We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to strengthen food systems, livelihoods, and climate resilience,” Mukhier said.