Kenya

New Drought Alert, Kenyans Told

NAIROBI (May 6) XINHUA - Kenya's famine is expected to get worse because of poor rainfall during the long rains season from March to June, meteorologists have warned.

Kenya's Meteorological Department Friday said that Kenya is soon to experience a severe drought over a long spell of time owing to the current slump in rainfall in most parts of the country, local newspapers reported Saturday.

The department said the severity of the drought, which started last year, will be worse than that in 1984, which was recorded as one of the worst in terms of recurrent famine and drought in black Africa.

Evans Mukolwe, Director of the department, said during March, some locations did not receive a single drop of rain and the hardest hit areas were in the northwest and northeast of the country.

The same situation prevailed up to April as the same areas received less than 20mm of rainfall compared to the normal 250mm in other years, he added.

Mukolwe attributed the current rainfall deficit to the series of weather changes, especially La Nina.

However, he said the sea surface temperatures over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans are indicating that La Nina conditions are dying out, adding that this could enhance rainfall over some parts of the country.

He noted that in May, rainfall is expected over the western, central and northeastern parts and that in June and July there is a probability for enhanced rainfall over western and coastal area.

Due to a long spell of drought, there are over 2.7 million Kenyans facing a famine threat since early this year. The U.N. World Food Program in February appealed international donors for 43.4 million U.S. dollars for purchasing 75,000 tons of food for those famine-threatened Kenyans.

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 05/06/2000 04:23:07