Floods, Droughts Increased Africa’s Food shortages in 2020, Says NiMet

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has said flash floods in urban areas, storms, and droughts increased food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.

Specifically, the Director-General of the agency, Prof Mansur Matazu, stated this on Monday at the end of the Regional Forum on Seasonal Forecasting of the Agro-Hydro Climatic Characteristic of the rainy season for the Sudan-Sahel Zone, held in Abuja.

According to the Matazu, food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa increased by five to 20 percentage points with each flood or drought in the region, calling on the public to take the annual seasonal weather prediction serious, as it would save them from the adverse effect of environmental hazards due to seasonal changes.

Represented by Engr Mailadi Abba Misau, the Director-General said the forecast focused on three thematic areas of agrometeorology, climate services and hydrology.

His words, “It is possible to adapt to or mitigate the effects of adverse weather if a forecast of the expected weather can be obtained in time.

“Weather forecasts are needed for all activities of human endeavour from simply knowing what to wear to go out, to planning for the day’s activities, to how the farmer and his local extension agent will plan their agricultural activities, to how the water resources managers will plan the operations of their water infrastructure, to how health practitioners will issue advisories for certain infectious diseases that are dependent on heat, wind speed and rainfall.

“There is virtually no sector that is not impacted by weather conditions. This platform is perhaps the best to further underline the importance of weather forecasting to regional integration and development.

“To be able to avoid or adapt to the effects of these parameters, society needs to be advised through forecasts that will alert and so make it prepared against any adverse effects that the parameters may generate. Occurrences of erratic weather, which knows no geographical boundaries, by the way, are beyond human control.”

Meanwhile, Matazu charged stakeholders to take the forecast down to the grassroots where it is most needed, especially for agricultural activities, saying, “it will be a huge waste of resources (financial and human) to dump it on our shelves and not to downscale to the farmers and others that need the information.”

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