Civil society body advocates for climate change dialogue

Community Empowerment for Organization (CEPO) has called for a national climate change dialogue to mitigate effects of heavy rains expected in the region.

The call comes barely a month after the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) announced that heavy rains could fall over East Africa in the months of March, April to May (MAM) seasons.

ICPAC is a designated Regional Climate Centre by the World Meteorological Organization, whose seasonal forecast is based on analysis of several global climate model predictions customized for East Africa.

“The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization climate change engagement program is urging the South Sudan government to act on this information timely,” said CEPO’s Executive Director, Edmund Yakani.

He added, “Unavailability of accurate information on government strategy of how to deal with information provided is worrying after persistent floods recently displaced thousands of people in several parts of South Sudan”.

Yakani expressed fears of a likely rise in politically-motivated inter-communal violence.

According to ICPAC, southern to central parts of the region have the highest chances of receiving more rain than normally at this time of year, particularly southern, central and northern Tanzania, eastern Uganda, northern Burundi, eastern Rwanda, southern and western Kenya, eastern South Sudan, western Ethiopia, a few localities in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, and southern and northern Somalia.

The regional climate change entity, however, said western South Sudan, and central and north-eastern Ethiopia are likely to receive less rain than usual, while estimating that high temperatures could be recorded in southern Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and northern Sudan.

Yakani said the rainfall patterns could result into low agricultural production.

“Both situation are worse and require early national decisions from the concerned government institutions, including state government’s plan for mitigation of the situation should it get worse,” stressed the activist.

He further added, “But it seems the concerned government institutions at national and state levels are silent on these facts and are first waiting to see the occurrence of the disaster before they can act. This is unacceptable”.

More than 70% of South Sudan’s population will struggle to survive the peak of the annual ‘lean season this year as the country grapples with unprecedented levels of food insecurity caused by conflict, climate shocks, Covid-19 and rising costs, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned last week. Particularly at risk, it said, are tens of thousands of South Sudanese who are already severely hungry following successive and continuous shocks and could starve without food assistance.

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