JOHANNESBURG,  – Parts of southern Somalia are yet to recover from the battering they took in 2010-2011, when severe drought followed excessive rain, and now the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) says insufficient rain may fall in the coming months. “We are concerned – our forecast shows that there is 80 percent probability that rains could trend from normal to below normal across Somalia,” said Gideon Galu, a regional FEWS NET scientist based in Africa.

The situation appears to be particularly bleak in southern Somalia, where rains during June/July are likely to be inadequate.

Accurately predicting the weather and its possible impact is tricky, and even more so in a year marked by the absence of strong climatic signals from the oceans. Phenomena like La Niña, when sea surface temperatures are cooler, or El Niño, when they are warmer, are part of the normal climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean and occur once every four to seven years. They can also provide clues as to how the weather may behave.

So agencies can have varying views on the intensity of the forthcoming rains. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said they were “somehow optimistic” about the rain forecast for Somalia as it was better than a prediction of poor rains. “This is a seasonal climate forecast which will depend very much on the spatial and temporal distribution of the rains during the season,” said Hussein Gadain, chief technical advisor at FAO. “In fact, we expect some areas might even be flooded, especially along the Shabelle River, where farmers cut the… [banks] for irrigation.”

Somalia has two distinct rainy seasons. The first is ‘Gu’, the long rains from March to June that support the main cropping season. The second is ‘Deyr’, the short rains, which occur at different times across the country but usually from October to November, according to FAO.

The FAO believes that the absence of the La Niña/ El Niño would not affect the Gu rains as much. “Normally, the climatic conditions in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean ( El Niño and La Niña) tend to affect the Deyr rains more than the Gu rains, which are affected by the Somali Jet [a narrow wind-stream running north along the east African coast] and the conditions in the western Indian Ocean,” Gadain noted.

Galu said FEWS-NET uses an analogue year – when a similar forecast has been made – to build a picture of the likely impact on agriculture. “The year we used as a reference especially 2002 (the most likely scenario), indicates that rainfall distribution during the coming months is also expected to be erratic in both space and time,” but he added that no two seasons/years can be exactly the same.

Some parts of southern Somalia received good Deyr rains between October and December in 2012, and farmers have managed to harvest an almost average crop of sorghum, but FAO noted that the agro-pastoral areas of Gedo, in the southwest, as well as Lower and Middle Juba, the country’s southernmost regions, received inadequate rainfall.

The severe drought in the Horn of Africa in 2010/11 displaced millions of people and left tens of thousands dead, and led the United Nations to declare a famine in parts of southern Somalia.

“We are particularly concerned, as the same communities – who have not really had sufficient time to recover – could be affected by insufficient rains,” said Galu. “Crop yield prospects in southern Somalia, particularly for the rainfed cropping areas, are likely to be reduced in [the] case of below-normal rainfall amounts and erratic distribution during the season.”

Source: IRIN


  1. If those war lords in Southern Somalia repent and stop killing women and children , may be God will give them some kind of mercy. and bring rain and prosperity.

  2. Hassan Mahamoud Has his first shipment of AK45 and rocket grenades arriving in 2months time which is a coincidence with this drought's predicted impact.

    This man used to work as an NGO and he is fully aware of the needs of the people instead he has chosen to spend his efforts on acquiring more weapons instead of more food for his people.


  3. "Gayigii dhulkeena, miyaad geed ku aragtaa,
    Gurmago'ankii mooyee, aaway lagama guure,
    Galookiyo maraage, suu kan gooyay jiilaal". Cabdi Qays.

    The word "drought" has become synonymous with Somalia. It does not have to be that way; Somalis degrade their environment by maintaining unsustainable way of life of nomadism and pastoralism and they cut the trees for charcoal export. Most probably, the banks of Shabelle river were clear cut to produce charcoal to be exported to the Middle East. As I write this comment, the charcoal export from Kismayo port is going strong where the last forested area in Somalia is being destroyed. All the fighting on and fake claims of Kismayo by some predatory tribes is due to the fact that as Somalis do not produce any other product to the world, everyone sees charcoal export as a lucrative business. Somali people must move away from pastoralism, stop the export of charcoal and learn from their neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia on how to harvest rain water and conserve the environment. The trees cover in Somalia is decimated by the unsustainable use of the land and the rest of the country is taken over by Garanwaa or by invasive trees like Garanwaa (Prosopis). This is a disaster.

  4. Life is not all music. Nor it is a vale of tear alone. Man and misery are twins. Life is a mosaic benld of pain and pleasure. The pendulum oscillates bewteen sighs and smiles. Man's deeds are the seeds. He reaps what he sows. He gets what he gives. And God is great accountant. But He is gracious. He enjoins his rules. He wars that the ultimate end of life is accountability. He rewards the good. He punishes bad.

    No people get humiliated unless they humiliate themselves. Guess what happens when no one walks pure before God.

    What about drought and famine! We do not know when it would rain or why it would not rain. There is no much we can do when the sky does not rain or when the rain does not come in its time. We just run amok and look like an old woman moaning to the lost of her only son ceaselessly.

    The hope is that He who always blessed the land is there to bless it again.