Rainfall received in April across many parts of the ASALs has provided some reprieve, replenishing water sources and regenerating pasture and browse to some degree. Distances to water are reducing but are still well above normal. Livestock body condition and milk production are starting to improve, particularly among browsers, although the effect of the season on livestock productivity should be more apparent next month. However, any positive impacts are likely to be modest and short-lived, since the rains have generally been below normal and poorly distributed and therefore unlikely to sustain recovery throughout the coming dry period. Moreover, some areas have received very little rainfall, even none.
One of the most striking features of the April bulletins is the large rise in the price of basic foodstuffs, particularly in semi-arid counties. Marginal agricultural counties are already dealing with the cumulative impact of past poor seasons. The late start to the current season and its erratic performance thus far suggests that the long rains crop will also be poor.
Consequently, there is no sign yet that the current drought period is coming to an end, but rather every indication that sustained assistance will be required, possibly right through the next two dry seasons until March/April 2018.