Thousands of subsistence farmers across the country are slowly but surely losing hope to work their fields because of the low rainfalls so far, but the Meteorological Office this week predicted heavy rainfalls during December.
Heavy rainfalls have been predicted for the second week of December across the country. According to the weather bureau, some parts of Namibia may receive up to 50mm of rainfall and flooding can be expected in some parts of the country.
Speaking to The Patriot here on Wednesday, Chief Forecaster at NMS Odillo Kgobetsi said that heavy showers were expected in northern and central parts of Namibia.
“We can expect rainfall in most parts of Namibia, from the south of Rehoboth, Gobabis up to the north, north eastern and central parts,”
“We are expecting rainfall of 50mm and more which means that the intensity is increasing and normally if we have 50mm or more than there is a possibility of some flesh floods,” said Kgobetsi.
Moreover, Kgobetsi noted that during the same period, the southern parts of the country will receive fewer showers.
“In the southern parts, there is also rain expected but in the range of 20-40mm, so generally we are expecting rain from 8 to 16 December countrywide,” added Kgobetsi.
Meanwhile, Chief Technician of Climate and Data Bank Simon Dirkse said normal rains can be expected with a “bias” towards above normal rainfall this rainy season.
However, Dirkse said from February to April next year, rainfall activities over Namibia are expected to decrease, meaning that normal to below rainfall activities should be expected during the said period.
According to Dirkse, the reason for the drop in rainfall activities towards the conclusion of the rainy season is because of the weakening signal from the Pacific Ocean, which is associated with Namibian rainfall.
“If the Pacific Ocean is slightly warmer than usual, we get below normal rainfall but if the Pacific Ocean is cooler than usual we get enhanced rainfall,” Dirkse explained.
In essence, Namibians can expect a normal rainy season (December 2016 to April 2017) with a drop in rainfall activities towards the culmination of the season.
Government will face a torrid time if rains do not fall soon, having recently extended the state of emergency due to the ongoing drought.
This is the second time in three years the government has declared a state of emergency since 2013 when former president Hifikepunye Pohamba declared an emergency saying more than 4 000 animals had died and about 300 000 people were affected by the drought.
Some 729 000 people in the rural areas have been affected by this year’s drought, accounting for about 57 percent of the rural population. Of these, about 596 000 are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
In particular, 33 120 people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance out of the 88 300 people living in rural areas of Kunene Region.
Currently, the number of people receiving drought relief food has risen from 413 900 in the financial year 2014/15 to 556 447 in 2015/16, and to 595 839 in 2016/17 until March 2017.
Government needs at least N$659 million for its drought-relief programme, a huge figure considering the country’s precarious financial situation.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s office in Namibia this year warned that the drought poses a growing threat to sub-Saharan African populations due to a combination of factors which include population growth, higher exposure to hazards, increased socio-economic and environmental vulnerability and increased frequency, intensity and duration of droughts that are worsened by climate change.
East and southern Africa is currently facing one of the worst droughts in over 50 years, induced by El Nino.
Namibia is not the only country being ravaged by the drought, the whole southern Africa is affected. Official United Nations statistics indicate that an estimated 52 million people in the region will be food insecure and that it could rise if this rainy season does not yield the desired amount of rainfall.
On a global scale, over 60 million people are affected by the El Nino phenomenon, the highest number ever recorded.