March to May usually constitutes the long rain and a very important cropping season for most countries in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region. However, the regional consensus climate outlook for the March to May 2017 season indicates an increased likelihood of below normal to near normal rainfall over northern and eastern Tanzania; north, eastern and coastal Kenya; southern and north-western Somalia; north and western Djibouti; western and south-eastern Eritrea; north-eastern, eastern and southern Ethiopia; southern parts of South Sudan; north-eastern Uganda and southern parts of Sudan. On the other hand, the Central and western Tanzania, much of Burundi and Rwanda, western Uganda and south-western parts of South Sudan have increased probability for above to near normal rainfall. Likewise, the southern Tanzania, western, parts of South Rift and central Kenya; much of central Uganda, northern parts of South Sudan, extreme southern parts of Sudan, western Ethiopia, much of Eritrea and parts of central and north-eastern Somalia are likely to have probability of near normal to above normal rainfall.
The forecasted performance of the MAM 2017 rainfall is expected to have mixed implications for food security, livestock production and productivity, water, health in different parts of the region. The climate outlook is likely to lead to both drought and flood related disasters in different parts of the region. Some regions that are predicted to receive depressed rainfall during the MAM 2017 rainfall season also experienced poor rainfall performance during the OND 2016 rainfall season which has pushed areas like Somalia, parts of Kenya, Uganda and Southern Ethiopia into serious food insecurity. Poor performance of the MAM 2017 rainfall will only exacerbate the already deteriorating situation in these countries. On the other hand, there are risk of flooding in some parts of Tanzania; flooding and landslides in parts of Burundi and Rwanda, western Uganda and south-western parts of South Sudan due to the increased probability for above to near normal rainfall.
In order to address the likely impact and take advantage of the MAM 2017 seasonal forecast, the stakeholders are advised to implement the proposed mitigation and response measures across the different socio-economic sectors. In order reduce the impacts of the forecast in the region, there is need to strengthen disaster risk reduction strategies including response capacities, coordination, resource mobilization, communication and advocacy at the regional, national and sub-national levels. For people living in cities, landslide and flood prone zones, structural and non-structural mitigation measures are recommended to avoid damage and losses to lives and properties. For actors working in the Agriculture and food security sector, there is need to diversify livelihoods, plant early maturing and drought tolerant crops in areas with depressed rainfall, maximize the good rains to boost crop and forage production, and avoid planting crops in flood and landslide prone zones. Priorities for the livestock sector include massive livestock vaccination; promote livestock insurance, among others. In the water sector, there is need to close open river banks/dykes and strengthening weak ones; intensify rainwater harvesting; maintain strategic borehole for pastoralists; de-silt water pans and carry out construction of new ones; and carry out effective reservoir management as well as manage conflict in known hotspot zones.