East Africa Seasonal Monitor: March 15, 2021

Slow onset of March-May rains with increasing early season rainfall deficits

Key Messages

  • The March-May seasonal rains are gradually being established over Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and southwestern Ethiopia. However, these seasonal rains are yet to be fully established across the region’s equatorial sector, increasing concerns for delayed onset and early season cumulative rainfall deficits during the past month.
  • Rangeland resources have continued to rapidly deteriorate across the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas of the eastern Horn, following the poor 2020 October–December rains and prevailing hotter-than-normal land surface temperatures, in particular eastern Kenya, southern Somalia, southern and western Ethiopia, southern South Sudan, and northwestern Uganda.
  • In February, immature desert locust swarms were generally located across East Africa’s central rift-valley regions, central and northeastern Ethiopia, northern Somalia, and eastern Kenya. In late February, rainfall is likely to allow swarms to mature rapidly in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, with hatching in late March or April around crop planting. However, on-going effective control measures and below-average rainfall is expected to limit breeding.
  • There is an increased likelihood for delayed onset of the seasonal rains in March with increasing cumulative rainfall deficits, especially over vast areas of the eastern Horn, central and northern Uganda, and belg-receiving areas of Ethiopia.

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