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East Africa's Seasonal Rains Are Seen Improving by USAID
Thursday, July 19, 2012

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East Africa’s seasonal rains are improving after a delayed start that resulted in late crop planting, the U.S. Agency for International Development said.

Rain in Sudan and South Sudan ranged from normal to more than 25 percent greater than usual so far in the June-to- September rainy period, and the outlook for rainfall is favorable for crop-growing areas in the north of East Africa, USAID wrote yesterday in a report on its website.

Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia in the region rank among the world’s 25 poorest countries, according to the CIA World Factbook. A famine in southern Somalia last year that officially ended in February caused tens of thousands of deaths, according to the United Nations.

“For the key cropping regions of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan, crop conditions have remained favorable and relatively better than 2011,” USAID wrote.

Vegetation development across the Great Rift Valley in Kenya into South Sudan is better-than-normal, while conditions are below average in parts of central and western Ethiopia, according to the report.

The forecast is for sustained heavy rains across the west and north of the region in coming weeks, which could cause flooding in parts of South Sudan and Sudan, potentially damaging crops and property, USAID said. Conditions in the east are expected to worsen on hotter-than-usual weather.

El Nino conditions are developing over the Pacific Ocean, which could lead to wetter-than-normal weather during the October-to-December rainy period in the east of the region, including the south of Somalia and Ethiopia and northeastern parts of Kenya, according to the agency.


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