From Texas to India to the Horn of Africa, Concern about Weather, Water and Crops

7 March 2012

National Geographic - March 6, 2012

On February 29, United Nations officials announced that the crucial March through May rainy season in the Horn of Africa would likely fall short again this year.  The warning comes on the heels of last year’s drought, the worst in sixty years, and the devastating famine it triggered.

Scientists analyzed data on rainfall, temperature, ocean currents and the strength of the La Niña before making their forecast at a climate outlook conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

“This is not good news for farmers in areas which have been affected by agricultural drought in recent years,” said Youcef Ait-Chellouche, an official with the U.N.’s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.  “We must plan for the probability that rainfall will be erratic and there will be long dry spells which will impact on crop production and food security.”

The forecast comes just weeks after the United Nations downgraded Somalia’s food crisis from a famine to a “humanitarian emergency.”  Across the Horn of Africa, some 9.5 million people still require emergency assistance, according to U.N. officials.


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