Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preparing for El Nino in East Africa

AllAfrica.com via IRIN: As countries across East Africa and the Horn of Africa begin to receive El Nino-related enhanced rainfall, disaster risk reduction experts from 10 countries in the region are meeting in Nairobi to develop strategies for reducing the negative impact of the evolving El Nino phenomenon.

"Africa, and in particular the Horn of Africa, suffers more and more the impact of climate-induced hazards," Pedro Basabe, the Africa programme representative of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), said on 19 October at the beginning of the three-day conference, organized by the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and World Bank. "Drought and floods affect directly or indirectly millions of people each year, in particular the poor who are the most vulnerable."

According to the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), which produces monthly and seasonal climate outlooks, the Greater Horn of Africa is prone to extreme climate events such as drought and floods, which often have severe negative effects on the region's key socio-economic sectors.

…In a keynote speech, Moses Gitari, a senior deputy secretary in the Kenyan Ministry of State for Special Programmes, said memories of the negative impacts of the 1997-1998 El Nino and awareness efforts by climate experts had helped the country develop several disaster preparedness strategies. "These include education, awareness and information sharing, risks and vulnerability analysis, people-centred early warning, adaptation to climate change, environmental protection, vulnerability reduction through development and social programmes and community coping mechanisms," Gitari said….

The Tekeze River in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, shot by Ondřej Žváček, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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