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Addressing El Niño impacts

 

Photo credit: FAO

In Ethiopia, owners bring their livestock to sell for destocking purposes. El Niño impacts have made it necessary to reduce herd sizes.

UN urges stronger, coordinated international response to address El Niño impacts

Climate event has affected 60 million people; impacts set to increase at least until end of 2016

The United Nations has called for a stronger response by governments, aid organizations and the private sector to address the devastating impact the El Niño climate event is having on the food security, livelihoods, nutrition and health of some 60 million people around the world.

The appeal came at a meeting organized in Rome by four UN agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Participants, including representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies, took stock of the growing impacts of the current El Niño, which is considered as one of the strongest in history.

They noted that more than $2.4 billion are needed for current El Niño emergency and recovery-responses and currently there is a $1.5 billion gap in funding.

A global crisis

El Niño-related impacts have been felt across the globe since mid 2015. Among these are severe or record droughts in Central America, the Pacific region, East Timor, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and in Southern Africa. In addition, floods have affected certain parts of Somalia and the Tanzania, devastating forest fires have once again resurfaced in Indonesia  while some regions has witnessed storms, as in the case of Fiji with Tropical Cyclone Winston.

These disasters have resulted in a wide range of consequences, most importantly, severe increases in hunger, malnutrition, water- and vector-borne diseases and the prevalence of animal and plant pests and diseases. Increasingly, populations are on the move: families across the globe are being forced into distress migration, both within and across borders, as their sources of livelihood disappear.

Read the full article: FAO

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.