30 December 2018

Mozambique: El Nino Threatens Drought in Southern Mozambique

Maputo — The Mozambican National Meteorological Institute (INAM) has warned that the "El Nino" weather phenomenon is recurring this year, and could lead to poor rainfall in the south and centre of the country.

El Nino is characterised by abnormal warming of the surface water of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This has impacts on weather around the globe, and in southern Africa it is associated with drought.

2018 was a normal year, and in the January-March period (the height of the rainy season) there was regular rainfall. But INAM fears this may not be the case in 2019, because of the El Nino impact.

The prognosis of INAM is for very low levels of rainfall in the southern provinces and parts of the central region. However, heavy rainfall is expected in northern Mozambique due to the influence of systems of low pressure and the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone.

This is more pessimistic than the forecast made by INAM in September, which was for normal to below normal rains in the south and centre, and normal to above normal rains in the north.

According to the latest situation report from the national relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), citing INAM, the first three months of the rainy season (October to December) were highly uneven. Rainfall levels were low in October, but picked up in November, with rains over most of the country, but particularly in the central region. In December there have been regular rains in the north, but poor rainfall in the south and centre.

The poor rains could worsen the situation of food insecurity in the south, particularly in Gaza province. The latest data from the INGC warn of over 814,000 people affected by food insecurity.

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