Seasonal Monitor

Drought conditions persist, despite late seasonal rains over parts of eastern Horn of Africa

December 16, 2016

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.IPC phase classifications for concentrations of displaced people are included in Somalia, Sudan and Uganda country maps.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
USGS

Key Messages

  • Rainfall increased during late November and early December in parts of northeastern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and southern Somalia, which is likely to lead to short-term improvements in pasture and water. However, rainfall remains less than 30 percent of average parts of southern and central Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia. Agricultural production prospects are very poor and pasture levels remain very low.

  • Rainfall was below average in much of Uganda, Tanzania, and parts of Burundi between mid-November and mid-December. Particularly in northeastern Uganda and eastern Burundi, persistent rainfall deficits have led to below-average harvest prospects, although conditions have been much more favorable in Rwanda and harvest prospects are near normal. 

  • During the next week, moderate to heavy rainfall is forecast central Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania. However, seasonal rainfall typically ends during this time over Somalia, southern and southeastern Ethiopia, and northern and eastern Kenya. As the immiment dry season progresses, further deterioration of water and pasture resources is expected in these areas. 

Seasonal Progress

During late November and early December, seasonal rains intensified in the eastern Horn of Africa, following the onset of rainfall that was more than one month late over southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and Kenya’s coastal areas. According to the ARC2 rainfall product, more than 75 mm of rainfall occurred across many of these areas from November 16-December 15, 2016, which is up to twice the amount that is climatologically normal for this period (Figure 1). During this time, rainfall was below average across broad areas of eastern Tanzania, much of Uganda, and parts of Burundi.

Although increased rainfall in the eastern Horn of Africa is expected to contribute slight improvements in pasture and water availability, the rains have been insufficient to guarantee full recovery from the current drought in these regions, with large parts of Somalia and parts of southeastern Ethiopia receiving less than 30 percent of normal seasonal rainfall, and coastal areas of Kenya receiving less than 50 percent of their average seasonal amounts. According to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), vegetation conditions in late November/early December 2016 remained well below average in southern and central Somalia, southern and southeastern Ethiopia, much of eastern Kenya, Karamoja in Uganda, and northern and coastal areas of Tanzania (Figure 2).

The following is a country-by-country update on recent seasonal progress to date:

  • In parts of northeastern Kenya, southern Somalia, southern/southeastern Ethiopia, increased rainfall in late November and early December helped to slightly reduce rainfall deficits that have accumulated since the start of the Deyr/Hageya/long rains (October to December) season. This recent rainfall may lead to some improvements in pasture and water availability, particularly in northeastern Kenya. However, cumulative seasonal rainfall since October 1 remains less than 50 percent of normal in many areas, and less than 30 percent of normal across much of Somalia and large areas of Somali Region in Ethiopia. Prospects for pasture regeneration and replenishment of water resources remain poor in many areas. Moreover, cropping prospects remain very poor, particularly in rainfed areas of central and southern Somalia where failure of Deyr crops is likely. In southeastern and coastal marginal cropping areas of Kenya, recent rainfall may contribute to harvests of short-cycle crops in January rather than in December, as is usual, but still at below-average levels.
  • Despite recent rainfall in northeastern Tanzania, seasonal Vuli (September to December) rainfall totals remain significantly below average, especially in Kilimanjaro and Pwani, which is leading to prospects for below-average production in January.
  • In South Sudan, harvest prospects remain poor despite favorable seasonal rains in Greater Equatoria, Unity and Bahr Ghazal, due to limited farm access and population displacement.
  • In Rwanda, initial harvesting is underway and field reports indicate that Season A harvest prospects are average to slightly above average. Even crops in eastern drought-prone areas is performing well. In Burundi, seasonal rainfall since early October 1 has been average to above average according to CHIRPS, although NDVI suggests vegetation conditions remain below average across large areas of the country. Based on a field visit conducted in mid-November and seasonal progress since mid-November, cropping prospects remain near average, although some below-average production is expected in eastern areas of the country.
  • In bimodal areas of Uganda, rainfall has been below average throughout October and November, leading to below-average harvest prospects.  

Forecast

The short-term NOAA/GFS rainfall forecast through December 30, 2016 (Figure 3) shows the southward shift of the rainfall-systems into Tanzania and further south. Somalia’s coastal strip and northeastern and eastern Kenya may receive moderate to heavy rains, but the end of seasonal rainfall is likely in late December. Coastal areas of Kenya are likely to receive substantial rainfall during the next two weeks, which should help improve rangeland resources in the short term. Continued moderate to heavy rains are also forecast in western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and western and coastal Tanzania. Meanwhile, the southward shift of the rainfall system (ITCZ) is expected to result in moderate to very heavy seasonal rains in Tanzania and the DRC. 

About this Report

The seasonal monitor, produced by the FEWS NET USGS regional scientist and FEWS NET Regional Technical Manager, updates rainfall totals, the impact on production, and the short-term forecast. It is produced every 20 days during the production season. Find more remote sensing information here.

 

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.