Despite Heavy Rains, Drought Conditions Persist in Southern Africa
Heavy rainfall since late February has helped to lessen short- and long-term moisture deficits experienced in southern Africa, though severe drought conditions persist in regions of South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar following what has been observed as “one of the driest monsoons on record” for the October-February season (CPC).
Since October, poor rainfall and El Niño-induced dry conditions have led to reduced water availability, delayed planting, and major reductions in planting area across parts of southern Africa—and for some of the crops that had been planted, poor conditions have led to permanently wilted and underdeveloped crops (CPC, FAO).
As of March 2016, El Niño-induced drought has led Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe to declare “national emergencies,” while five provinces of South Africa have been declared “drought disaster areas” (FAO). Improved rainfall through the end of the month is expected to replenish water availability and benefit some pastoral areas, however, significant crop reductions remain likely due to poor rainfall during previous months (CPC). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that below-average 2016 harvests, along with increased food prices and other drought-related factors, will play a significant role in increasing food insecurity across the region into 2017 (FAO).
RVA Profile: South Africa
This Week in Hazards:
- Over the last week, severe weather conditions have impacted parts of southeastern China. Heavy rain, thunderstorms, hail, and strong winds have caused flooding and landslides, prompting the evacuation of more than 7,000 people in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Giangxi, and Guinzhou (ECHO). Observed rainfall totals indicate that south China has entered the “pre-rainy season” two weeks earlier than usual, but heavy rains should ease by the weekend (CMA, GDEMO).
- More than 800 contacts of recently confirmed Ebola cases in Guinea have been placed under medical monitoring in an effort to contain a flare-up of the disease (WHO). According to media reports, five people have died of Ebola in southeast Guinea since March 17, and Liberia closed its border with the country earlier this week as a precaution against the recent outbreak (Reuters).
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Australia (Queensland), Indonesia, Pakistan, United States (Southern), China (Southeastern)
Winter Storm: United States (Northwest, Midwest), Canada (Eastern)
Drought: Southeast Asia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Southern Africa, Madagascar, Eastern Caribbean, United States (Western)
Biomedical: West Africa
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