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08 April 2011

Africa Update #24: Crisis Building in the East

Rainfall is completely insufficient in east Africa for the second consecutive growing season.  Meanwhile in the south the rains have continued to ease, as is seasonal for this time of year. In west Africa rainfall is picking up along the southern coast, including in turbulent Côte d'Ivoire.

There is another crisis building in east Africa. After the failure of last seasons rains across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, the current rains became critical. Instead of rescuing the east this season, the rains have failed. We are now approaching the middle of the rainy season and the season is almost certain to not provide enough rain. Many areas of Somalia and Ethiopia that should have received enough rain to grow crops, have instead received no precipitation. This will put additional strain on available food, water and pasture for livestock. All of Somalia, Ethiopia and most of Kenya are in danger. It is not likely, but there is the possibility that rains may pick up across the Ethiopia highlands next week.

Everything continues to move along smoothly in the southern and western parts of the continent, where rains are ending and starting, respectively, as expected. Côte d'Ivoire's political crisis looks like it will continue to get played out under showers and thunderstorms. More rains are likely during the next week in the west, as the south continues to dry out.

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