El Nino to boost food security in North Eastern
Food security is expected to improve significantly in the Northern frontier and parts of Ukambani during and after the October – December rains.
According to the Meteorological Department, the anticipated El Nino will affect most parts of the country but some parts, especially the Arid and Semi-Arid, will be less affected.
Samuel Mwangi, the Met Department Deputy Director, says that the El Nino will positively impact on the productivity of the arid areas.
Foliage and pastures are expected to regenerate as a result of the good rains.
These areas (arid and semi-arid) will also be affected by the El Nino rains but will receive considerably less rainfall with a tendency to be just above normal.
The El Nino rains will enable these areas to at least sustain themselves for a period of time and will also be able to feed the neighboring areas which will ultimately not be able to produce as much due to the extreme conditions.
Pastoralism, predominantly practiced by families living in Northern Eastern Province (NEP) of Kenya, is supplemented only by a limited amount of agriculture along the season rivers and is expected to flourish for a longer period of time.
Northern Kenya is considered the poorest part of the country with over 90% of the population living on less than a dollar a day. It also dominates the list of least developed areas in the country that is home to over 40 million people.
It is characterized by food insecurity, low human capital and poor health standards, high vulnerability to climate change, poor infrastructure, insecurity and low crop and livestock productivity.
El Nino conditions are currently present in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean (the Nino areas).
El Nino is characterized by rising temperatures in the Indian Ocean that have already affected the entire country.
Rainfall performance of the “Short Rains” (October-November-December (OND)) 2015 season will be driven by the evolving El Nino conditions coupled with the warming of the Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the western Equatorial Indian Ocean adjacent to the East African coastline.
According to the Met department, heavy rainfall will be experienced within the second week of October through December and may run up to January 2016.
Much of the country is, therefore, likely to experience highly enhanced rainfall that is likely to cause serious flooding over various flood prone parts of the country.
The most prone counties are Tana River and Mombasa. In the western region, Budalangi area of Busia County, Nyando and Kano Plains in Kisumu will also be affected.
The North Eastern counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera are also prone to suffer floods due to the flat nature. Garissa’s situation will be compounded by proximity to Tana River as it flows to the ocean.
The coastal region will experience immediate effect due to closeness to the Indian Ocean but also from the runoff from upper counties.
This year’s El Nino is being compared to the 1997 El Nino which was the heaviest of all time.
The last El Nino experienced in Kenya was in 2012.
The map shows the heavy rainfall which will be experienced throughout the country. The lighter parts show that there will be heavy rainfall but just above normal.
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