Millions in the Pacific Affected by Strong El Niño
The 2015/2016 El Niño is expected to strengthen further before the end of the year, becoming one of the “strongest El Niño events in the past twenty years” (WMO). What this means for as many as 4.7 million people in 11 Pacific countries is that persistent drought conditions will continue to increase the risk of water shortages, food insecurity, and disease (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA).
Drought conditions continue to impact Papua New Guinea, where (as of November 9) an estimated 2.4 million people have been affected (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA). According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, frost and drought have impacted economic and agricultural activities, as well as access to education and health services. As of the end of October, the National Disaster Centre reported concern over the drop in water levels at the Yonki dam, which generates electricity for seven provinces: Eastern Highlands, Enga, Chimbu, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands, Madang, and Morobe (NDC Situation Report #8).
In Vanuatu, an estimated 90,000 people in areas still recovering from impact by Tropical Cyclone Pam are expected to receive food distributions; while in Tonga, it is expected that 80% of locally-grown taro will be damaged by this year’s El Niño (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA).
RVA Country Profile: Papua New Guinea
This Week in Hazards
- According to reports, ongoing wildfire activity (since June) has burned through 2.1 million hectares of land in Indonesia, and resultant smoke and haze has affected more than 43 million people (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA). Rainfall earlier this month has helped improve air quality and decrease the number of fires, but the potential for wildfires remains—below-normal rainfall is forecast over the next three months (ECHO, BNPB).
- Heavy rainfall led to flooding, landslides, and river overflows, which have been affecting western Colombia over the last week. (ECHO Daily Flash 10 November 2015). As of November 10, flooding has been reported in 10 departments, mostly in Cauca, Cordoba, Bolivar, Caldas, and Norte de Santander. Over 7,000 people have been affected in the Cauca towns of Timbiqui and Guapi since November 4.
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: United States (Texas, South Carolina, Florida), Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, England, Scotland, India, Colombia
Winter Storm: Canada (Nunavut)
Drought: Puerto Rico, United States (Western), Indonesia, Pacific Islands
Biomedical: West Africa
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