Southern Africa could face an early start to the 2019-2020 lean season and abnormally high food assistance needs, according to a new alert from FEWS Net . Due to a significant delay in the start of the rainy season and predicted below-average precipitation through March, the region is likely to experience cumulative seasonal rainfall significantly below average. This deficit may negatively impact maize production, livestock conditions, and agricultural labor opportunities in the region.
Parts of the Eastern Horn of Africa experienced above-average precipitation between March and May, followed by more heavy rainfall in the northern areas of the region during the start of the June-September wet season. This increased rainfall has led to severe flooding in several areas of the region, and FEWS Net forecasts flooding and heavy rains to continue into Decembe r. Sudan remains the hardest hit, with parts of northern Ethiopia and western South Sudan also impacted.
During the 2017 rainy season (June – September), parts of the Sahel in West Africa received erratic and below-average rainfall, according to a special report from FEWS Net. Some areas of the region received rainfall more than 25 percent below average. This has led to pasture and water deficits that are expected to last at least until July 2018.