Drought

The chances of another El Niño weather pattern this summer have risen to about 70%.

03 September 2018 | Weather

The chances of Namibia suffering yet another drought year has grown immensely, with the probability of another El Niño occurrence increasing to about 70% for the summer cropping season - from December to February next year.

This is the period during which most parts of southern Africa receive their highest rainfall, and it also coincides with the next summer cropping season.

In the SADC region, El Niño has historically been associated with the occurrence of below-average rainfall in the central and southern parts of the region, while the north-eastern parts of the region have historically experienced a higher frequency of above-average rainfall during El Niño years.

The El Niño in 2015/16 caused the worst drought in 35 years leaving 14.1 million people in need of emergency assistance across the region. Namibia was also not spared from the impacts of the El Niño during 2015/16 and experienced one of its worst droughts in the country's history, with a state of emergency declared.

Thousands of people in Namibia suffered from food insecurity, while the country's dams ran dry, water restrictions had to be implemented and farmers suffered from deteriorating grazing and livestock conditions.

The latest Southern Africa Food and Nutrition Security report says another El Niño this year could have devastating food security implications.

According to the latest figures provided by SADC countries the total number of food insecure people in the region is expected to increase this year by approximately 14% from 26.9 million in 2017/18 to 30.7 million in 2018/19.

According to the report Namibia experienced the biggest rainfall deficit in the SADC region, particularly in the western and southern parts of the country. Many of these areas are still trying to recover.









“In contrast flooding was recorded in the north-east and north-western parts of the country. Being an arid country, most Namibians depend on markets for their food, and due to production shortfalls staple prices increased.”

It however says that the number of people who are food insecure declined by 68% to 257 383 compared to 2017 when the number stood at about 800 000.



It is indicated that 24.6% of rural Namibians are moderately food insecure and 10.5% severely food insecure. In urban areas, 12.6% are food insecure and 6.3% severely food insecure. About 3% of children under five are severely malnourished.



“Overall the food insecurity situation is highly likely to deteriorate. The number of severely food insecure is likely rise by more than 70% to 9.6 million people in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” says the report.



Meanwhile the SADC Region Food and Nutrition Security Strategy 2015 to 2025 emphasises that the regional food and nutrition security situation remains unstable and unpredictable.



It says almost 16% of SADC's rural population have been consistently designated food insecure over the past five years. This is despite improved production in some countries.



It says that in Namibia between 200 000 and 800 000 people are at risk of food insecurity.



Furthermore the food security report highlights the fact that the 2017/18 was characterised by a late start an extended mid-season dry spell during December and January and heavy rains from February into April.



Available data indicates that the dry spells that characterised the 2017/18 rainfall season have resulted in reduced cereal harvests compared to the 2016/17 bumper crop.



Namibia harvested 135 770 tonnes in 2017/18. This indicates a self-sufficiency of a meagre 39% for the country.



With the El Nino conditions that are expected for the 2018/19 rainfall season it will likely result in delayed harvests and reduced maize production levels. “Thus maize grain prices in deficit countries such as Namibia may stabilise between March 2019 and April 2019 instead of declining as is typically the case prior to harvests.”



The report says that poor pasture conditions was also observed in much of Namibia, western South Africa, south-western Botswana, and south-western Angola. Some of these affected areas have also reported low-to-critical water availability. A lack of pasture and water available for livestock may have adverse impacts on livestock, particularly if the 2018/19 season experiences poor rainfall in the affected areas.



Currently the total of Namibia's dams stands at 39.4% in comparison to last year when it 53.4%. The capital has again implemented water restrictions to reduce consumers' water use in Windhoek.



ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Rains bring relief, devastation and death

6 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Weather

While farmers in the south are celebrating the good rains that fell over the weekend, the showers of blessing also caused massive devastation, including at...

Rainfall outlook improves

1 week ago - 06 February 2019 | Weather

JANA-MARI SMITH Heavy rains are expected over Namibia’s interior today and on Friday.This is in line with a recent report which...

Rainy season off to bad start

2 weeks ago - 29 January 2019 | Weather

Rainfall between October and December last year was less than normal but weather experts are hopeful of better rain prospects in February.A seasonal rainfall outlook...

Little chance of rain this week

3 weeks ago - 21 January 2019 | Weather

Hot and dry conditions persisted over most of Namibia, except parts of the north, over the weekend and the chance of rain remains slim for...

Weather outlook remains murky

1 month - 17 January 2019 | Weather

It remains a coin toss whether good rainfall or dry conditions will dominate the rest of the rainfall season in Namibia, say experts who are...

Fears of drought escalate

1 month - 04 January 2019 | Weather

JANA-MARI SMITH Recent downpours in many parts of Namibia and a trickle inflow into dams in the central areas have raised hopes of a good...

Rains greet the New Year

1 month - 02 January 2019 | Weather

JANA-MARI SMITHWidespread rains and a dip in temperatures marked the last days of 2018 in many parts of the country and there are high hopes...

Rainfall welcome, but devastating

2 months ago - 21 November 2018 | Weather

The north-western parts of Namibia, extending along the western escarpment into eastern areas of the Hardap Region, received welcome, but devastating and exceptionally high rainfall...

Heat wave sears Namibia

3 months ago - 15 November 2018 | Weather

The scorching heat wave will persist over the weekend and into early next week in most parts of Namibia.The Namibia Meteorological Service (NMS) issued an...

Heat wave is here

3 months ago - 26 October 2018 | Weather

Following wet and cool weather in most parts of Namibia, a sharp spike in temperatures is expected today and over the weekend. The chief weather...

Latest News

Logistical problems force Nigeria election...

15 hours ago | Africa

Nigeria's electoral watchdog today postponed presidential and parliamentary elections for one week, just hours before polls were due to open.The two main political parties swiftly...

Hostel a threat to lives

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Education

The Kavango West education directorate continues to subsidise a dilapidated church hostel at Nkurenkuru, despite a 2010 directive by the health ministry that it must...

Foreign graduates protest 'unfair' tests

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Health

Dozens of foreign-trained medical and dentistry graduates took to the streets yesterday to protest against a pre-internship exam which they claim is unfair and discriminatory.One...

FirstRand Namibia fights back

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – FirstRand Namibia bounced back to positive profit growth in the six months ended 31 December 2018 after taking a knock in the...

Our people sustain our group

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Engaged employees help establish better relationships with customers, since staff are the ones who are actually in contact with customers. This is why FirstRand Namibia...

NaCC scrutinises fuel imports

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Business

The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) is requesting input from interested and affected parties on the reinstatement of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia's (Namcor) intent...

Our Achilles heel of accountability

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Enforcing greater accountability has always been an Achilles heel for the Namibian government over the years. Questions have been raised over whether there is indeed...

RA, Unam sign MoU

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Business

Justicia Shipena On 12 February, the Roads Authority (RA) and the University of Namibia (Unam) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the RA’s...

Mutorwa’s journey with science

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Marius Mutorwa is a lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) in the department of health...

Load More