The government of Uganda has issued a caution about possible troubles in the country due to El Nino rains. These rains could lead to problems in society and the economy and affect people’s livelihoods in different parts of Uganda.
El Nino is a weather pattern where the surface of the sea gets warmer in the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific Ocean. This causes significant interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere over a large area.
Experts have noticed that El Nino events happen irregularly, every 2-7 years, with an average of about once every 3-4 years. These events are part of a cycle called the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This cycle includes phases of warming (El Nino), cooling (La Nina), and normal conditions.
El Nino can directly change how rainfall happens in tropical regions and can affect the weather in Uganda from September to December. Its effects can last a long time and influence weather patterns in other parts of the world too.
The Prime Minister’s office released a statement, signed by Rogers Irumba Kaija on behalf of the permanent secretary, telling local governments, communities, and everyone in Uganda to take this warning seriously.
They advised the committees that manage disasters in each district and other groups working at the district level to update and put into action their plans for dealing with different kinds of disasters.
Kaija also suggested that the community should educate people, keep an eye on the situation, and report disasters to the Prime Minister’s Office. It’s important to get regular weather updates from the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) and share this information with the community.
The committee should also have regular meetings with the community to tell them about the effects of El Nino. In case of extreme weather events like floods and landslides, it’s crucial to have emergency supplies ready in high-risk areas. Working together with the Uganda Red Cross Action Teams (RCATS) is a good idea.
Communities should clean up areas, like removing silt and digging drainage channels, and store food in case there’s not enough during heavy rains. As the rains get stronger, people in high-risk areas should move to safer places and avoid driving or riding during heavy rain or on flooded roads.
Kaija also said, “People should collect rainwater at home and in institutions. If the weather is risky, passengers should avoid using water transport. It’s not safe to stay under trees during a storm, and buildings like schools, hospitals, and churches in areas where lightning is common should have lightning protection.”
On September 1, 2023, the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) gave a forecast for the rainfall between September and December 2023. The forecast showed that there might be more rain than usual in several parts of Uganda, as you can see on the map below.
It was also mentioned that El Nino would affect the weather from September to December 2023. El Nino in Uganda usually means heavy rain.
Uganda is often hit by disasters caused by the weather, and considering what UNMA says about El Nino, there might be problems in many parts of the country that could disrupt life and the economy.