The UN’s humanitarian aid agency says the El Nino weather phenomenon has affected 60 million people worldwide and is warning the worst impact from the droughts it causes is yet to come.
Stephen O’Brien of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted El Nino’s impact and expressed concerns today about “rising acute malnutrition among children under five and the increase in water- and vector-borne diseases.” OCHA says the impact of droughts caused by El Nino is expected to peak later this year or early next year.
Experts warn of a double-whammy of possible flooding from its sibling, La Nina. The current El Nino has been one of the strongest ever. La Nina is likely to have detrimental impact leading to heavy rains, exacerbating agricultural damage. El Nino is triggered by periodic oceanic warming that can cause drought in some regions, while heavy rains in others.
The agency said 13 countries are requesting USD 3.6 billion to help meet critical needs like food, agricultural support, water and sanitation. But OCHA said “the funding gap” for the global response to El Nino is now over USD 2.2 billion and could rise.