By Sharon Atieno
A wetter than normal season is expected across some areas in Eastern Africa with the season expected to start early in most farming areas of the region.
According to the seasonal forecast of June to September by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), western and central Sudan, southwestern Ethiopia, southeastern South Sudan, western Kenya, eastern and central Uganda will experience wetter than usual season. However, the rest of the region will receive usual rainfall, except for a limited area in the Somalian coast, where rainfall will be less than normal.
An early start of the rains is expected over central and southern Sudan, central and southeastern Ethiopia, South Sudan, southern Eritrea and western Kenya while a delayed start is forecasted in eastern Somalia and Ethiopia, Djibouti, northern Eritrea, northern Sudan and Uganda.
Even though a warmer than usual season is expected in northern and central Sudan, coastal parts of the region from Eritrea to Tanzania, central Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, and western South Sudan; a colder than usual season is expected for the central parts of the region, including central and eastern South Sudan, western Ethiopia, and Lake Victoria basin.
Meanwhile, a recent desert locust prediction by ICPAC notes that the conditions for desert locust development and reproduction in the invasion areas in Eastern Africa are becoming less suitable as compared to January-March 2020.
Though South Sudan is predicted to have the most suitable conditions for invasion due to a combination of climatic and ecological conditions, the climatic conditions of northern South Sudan, western and central Ethiopia, Somalia and northwestern Kenya are also suitable for desert locust development.
With wind direction and speeds greatly determining swarm movement, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, southern Kenya and southern Somalia will be on lowest risk of an invasion as winds are forecasted to be southerly and southwesterly in Somalia.
Desert locust hoppers have been reported in recently been reported in Turkana East, South Turkana and Marsabit, parts of southern Ethiopia Oromo regions, Torit South Sudan and Dire Dawa, northern Somalia and Afar regions of Ethiopia. Swarms are still widespread in parts of Oromia, SNNP and Afar regions in Ethiopia, Samburu, Marsabit, Turkana and Laikipia parts of Kenya.
Desert locusts are projected to move from south to northeastern areas of South Sudan and southern Sudan; south to western and northern to eastern Ethiopia, and northern Ethiopia to southern Eritrea.