Wednesday 20 April 2011

Kurdistan‘s rainfall this year is low الجفاف ,ووشكه سال

As information to anyone involved in agriculture and livestock production, the indications are that Kurdistan‘s rainfall this year is low and that the country will suffer from drought.

Each week the Ministry of Transportation kindly sends to me the precipitation records from its 69 weather monitoring stations across Kurdistan. As a result I have been able to compare the rainfall for the 6 month period from 11th October 2010 to 12th April 2011 to that recorded over the same period the previous year (i.e. 11th October 2009 to 12th April 2010). Comparing the rainfall in the four governorates reveals the following:

• Dohuk: For the 6 month period 2009 -2010 the 20 stations in Dohuk governorate recorded an average rainfall of 675.3mm compared to 465.5mm in the same period for 2010-2011. The rainfall this season has been 209.8mm less, i.e. a 31% reduction.

• Erbil: Over the 6 months period 2009-2010 the average rainfall recorded by the 23 stations in this governorate was 489.3mm compared to 340.9 mm recorded in the last 6 months. This is a drop of 148.4mm or 30%.

• Suliemaniah: The average rainfall recorded by the 19 stations in the governorate was 708.1mm in 2009-2010 and 353mm over the 6 months, 2010-2011. This is a drop of 355.1mm or 50%.

• Garmyan: The 7 stations in this district recorded an average of 384.1mm rainfall in the 6 months of 2009-2010 while in the last 6 months the average was 212.6mm. This is a drop of 171.5mm or 44.6% reduction.

Comparing the data collected over all four governorates one can see that the rainfall over the last 6 months is 38.9% less than that of the same 6 month season in 2009-2010.

These figures reveal that we have drought this year. Following the non appearance of the seasonal rains in November a Committee for Drought was convened three months ago and plans were to assist farmers were drawn up. However because there was some rainfall early this year people and officials became complacent and no further action was taken.

The lower rainfall this year will have an effect on wheat production and we cannot expect to see the grain harvest that was achieved last year. The reduction in rainfall will have consequences on all aspects or agriculture and water availability for crops, livestock and also human consumption.

 Drought makes livestock less resistant to disease and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) has already been recorded  in Iraq. In Barzan and the surrounding districts the deaths of 1,200 wild goats from Peste de Petit Ruminant (PPR) have been recorded in the last 3 months. Drought will place our livestock at greater risk from disease and the spread of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs). We need to be aware of the consequences of drought, be vigilant and take steps to protect our livestock.

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