Millions of Kenyans are at risk of facing severe hunger in 2021 due to La Niña conditions set to emerge from subdued rainfall in the Horn East and Central Africa.
La Niña is a situation whereby the winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.
Revealing this in a statement last weekend, Oxfam said that from mid-December, countries such as Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda would experience below-average rainfall as a result of a strong La Niña.
It warned that over 50 million people would require relief packages in the Horn East and Central Africa with the numbers expected to rise, even as the region prepares for harsh weather conditions.
According to Oxfam Regional Director in the Horn East and Central Africa, Lydia Zigomo, the situation could harm production in the country already plagued by the African migratory locust.
“The forecasted dry season will be the last straw for many, devastating their remaining crops and cutting their lifeline of food and income,” Zigomo said.
The region, this year, had already been affected by severe floods, desert locust invasion as well as economic meltdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Oxfam said.
Meanwhile, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) had earlier warned that there would be an intense invasion of desert locust in Kenya from mid-December extending to January.
It said, “From mid-December onwards, successive waves of immature swarms are expected to migrate south to southeastern Ethiopia and southern Somalia and invade northeast Kenya, spreading to northern and central counties.
“Intensive survey and control operations should be maintained in Ethiopia and Somalia while extreme vigilance and preparedness are required in Kenya”.