Poor Rains May Bring Drought, Famine To Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, May 8, 2000) - The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted a severe drought which may result in famine in all parts of the country following the failure of the rain which normally fall from March to May.

"The rain has failed," Evans Mukolwe, the country's director of Meteorological Services, said, noting that the anticipated short rains in August will not sustain some crops.

"The situation is worrying and we may not even be able to sustain whatever has been grown," he added.

Mukolwe explained that the current rainfall deficit was as a result of a series of weather changes, which resulted in the exceptionally low rainfall during the months of March and April.

In March, some regions did not receive a single drop of rainfall, the hardest hit being the arid north-eastern and north-western Kenya. Mean rainfall for the months ranged between 50 mm and 240 mm.

Mukolwe said rainfall was equally poor in agriculturally productive areas. However, the Lake Victoria region received near normal rainfall, while the western highlands had spatial, and temporal variations.

At some locations, the rainfall deficit was worse than occurred in 1984 - the year the country experienced a prolonged drought resulting in deaths of hundreds of people and thousands of livestock.

Mukolwe explained that the sea surface temperatures over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans were indicating that the La Nina weather conditions were dying out, and hoped that the condition would enhance rainfall over some parts of the country.

Copyright 2000 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed via Africa News Online.


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