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Less rainfalls predicted for most of Africa - 10 March 2008

Nairobi - The greater horn of Africa is set to receive depressed rainfall over most of the region, says the director of the Centre for Climate Predictions and Applications, Professor Laban Ogallo.

Mr Ogallo has called on governments in the region to prepare contingency measures in order to reduce suffering of the public following the expected weather anomaly.

He said the region, which includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, would receive less rainfall during the long rainy period.

Prof Ogallo, who was speaking during the 21st Climate Outlook Forum held in Entebbe, Uganda, over the weekend, urged policy planners to take advantage of the rainfall that would be received in some regions and effectively make use of the rainwater.

The forum noted that the threat of climate change on economic productivity was real and that measures to mitigate the resultant negative effects on the weather patterns in the region needed to be put in place.

Uganda's Minister for Water and Environment, Maria Mutagamba, said the long drought that was witnessed in the region in 2006 to 2007 should send an alarm that things are not right and measures need to be put in place.

Minister Mutagamba said in order to achieve meaningful and sustainable development, countries in the region had to address environmental degradation and check the worrying trend of disasters associated with extreme weather.

The minister said agricultural productivity ought to take into consideration the weather predictions if it was to realise sustained economic growth.

The Commissioner General of the Uganda Meteorological Services, Stephen Magezi, urged users of climate and weather information to come out and demand for the information they needed in order to better lives.

Mr Magezi said cost benefit analysis done recently showed that for every one US dollar invested in climate; more than 10 US dollars were saved or generated in income.

He called on the media to help the scientists to pass the information to the public in order to reduce the percentage of calamities that affected the public whenever weather extremes were experienced in the region.

The forum was organised by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, a horn of Africa grouping Climate Predictions and Applications Centre, which brings together climate scientists, users of climate predictions from Africa, International Research Institute of Climate Predictions, the United States Agency for International Development and the media.

By Judith Akolo – BuaNews