A weather event over the Indian Ocean is exacerbating the driest conditions in the African Horn for more than four decades that could last for the rest of the year.
Extreme climatic conditions are damaging crops and leading to cattle deaths in countries including Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, further complicating the sharp rise in food prices as a result of Russia’s war with Ukraine. Rainfall, which usually occurs from March to May, has failed this year and as a result, the drought has exhausted the process of coping with people who now have to rely on humanitarian aid to survive, the World Food Program said in April.
Every year, an oscillation of sea-surface temperature in the western and eastern parts of the Indian Ocean causes long droughts or heavy rains in East Africa. The so-called Indian Ocean dipole was also responsible for the desert locust plague that has devastated farmland since 2019.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this year, IOD will be “the strongest, if not the strongest.”
“On the one hand, the stronger the IOD, the stronger the contrast between the two sides,” Abubakar Salih Babikar of the World Meteorological Organization’s regional office for Africa said by phone from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “The prospects are not looking good. The drought is likely to continue till the end of the year. ”
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