▪ The March to May rainfall season in East Africa was one of the wettest since 1981, characterised by average to aboveaverage cumulative rainfall in most areas. This followed a record wet season during the 2019 October to December period. Increased wetness has led to rising water levels in waterbodies and extreme weather events across the region.
▪ Consecutive wet seasons also helped maintain the vegetation in better than normal condition particularly in the pastoral and agropastoral areas, which suggests the availability of pastures and browse for livestock.
▪ Although the rainfall conditions were sufficient (early onset and above-average performance) for crop production, the crop conditions are generally average. This could be due to combination of various factors including floods and landslides in some areas that damaged or hampered development of planted crops, continued desert locust upsurge in some locations, and reduced planting due to inadequate access to agricultural inputs and labour following the COVID-19 restrictions on movement.
▪ Widespread floods and landslides resulted from the above-average rains causing casualties, human displacement, infrastructural damage and crop losses in nearly all countries. The worst effects were experienced in the Lake Victoria basin due to rising water levels in the lake, the Juba and Shabelle basins in Somalia and Ethiopia, Tana River basin in Kenya, and other major river catchments. An estimated 2.05 million were affected in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and Burundi.
▪ The abundant rains and improved vegetation have promoted the breeding and development of desert locusts and expanded the outbreak across the region, which continues to pose a significant threat to main season crops. The infestation is projected to move northwards into Sudan, Eritrea, northern Ethiopia and Djibouti over the June-September rainfall season with negative impacts on crops and pastures.
▪ Wetter than normal conditions are forecasted between June and September in northern countries that will allow for crop development and rangeland regeneration. Similar conditions are expected to continue in western and northwest Kenya, southwest Ethiopia, equatorial South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. This increases the risk of extreme climatic events (floods, waterlogging and landslides), pre-and-post harvest crop losses in areas where harvesting is due, and risk of desert locust infestation.