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Brace for heavy rains, EAC states cautioned

REELING from the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, East African Community (EAC) residents have been warned to brace themselves for more rains likely to pound the region.

Quoting the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum Statement, the EAC says parts of South Sudan, Western Kenya, Uganda, Northern Tanzania and Rwanda are expected to receive above normal rainfall between June and September this year, while the rest of the EAC Region is expected to experience the normal dry season.

“Against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the heavy floods that have caused havoc in parts of the region and the second wave of desert locust invasion, the EAC Secretariat urges the Partner States to take appropriate measures toward off further threats to our people,” explained the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Mr Christophe Bazivamo.

The region has recently experienced the wettest and longest rainy seasons in history which led to an unprecedented rise in water levels of the Lake Victoria Basin and widespread landslides and floods.

The EAC cautioned that a warmer than usual season is expected in the coastal parts of the region from Kenya to Tanzania and beyond, Burundi, Rwanda, and western South Sudan.

Following the revelations by the Africa Climate Outlook Forum Statement, the EAC Secretariat has challenged ministries responsible for disaster preparedness among the six partner states to alert people living in flood and landslide-prone areas on the expected heavy rains and ahead of time support those who need to relocate.

“Citizens should be urged to protect themselves and especially the children against mosquito bites by using treated mosquito nets, personal insect repellents and avoiding outdoor activities at peak biting times of mosquitos,” advised the EAC Secretariat.

EAC also challenged ministries responsible for agriculture to advise farmers on the best time to prepare for gardening against the backdrop of climate change and ensure agricultural inputs are timely availed to them.

Moreover, farmers have been advised to contact the veterinary services for early vaccination of animals against Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and further preventive measures against other diseases that see an increase in incidence under wet conditions.

It also called on the ministries of health across the six partner states to intensify social mobilisation and health promotion efforts with preventive messages that enable the public to manage the risks at hand.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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