7:45 pm GMT+12, 12/10/2015, Papua New Guinea
Two dozen people have already died from hunger and drinking contaminated water in drought-stricken Papua New Guinea, but the looming El Niño crisis could leave more than four million people across the Pacific without enough food or clean water.
The El Niño weather pattern – when waters in the eastern tropical Pacific ocean become warmer, driving extreme weather conditions – may be as severe as in 1997-98, when an estimated 23,000 people died, forecasters believe.
Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands need to invest in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to improve their ability to combat the detrimental effects of climate change on food security and poverty.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
According to the Government, over 2.3 million people are affected by prolonged drought across PNG.
Immediate needs are food and water. The Government is leading the response and has completed the first round of relief distribution to the most affected provinces in the Highlands.
The following syndromes have been flagged:
Diarrhoea: Cook Islands, Guam
Influenza-Like illness: Guam, Nauru, Tonga
Tuvalu: Seven samples sent to the Institut Lois Malarde, French Polynesia have tested RT-PCR positive for Chikungunya.
As of 27 September 2015; there have been 1317 cases since February 2015 in Marshall Islands. There were 3 cases for the month of September. The number of cases is decreasing.
At least four million people in the Pacific face hunger, water shortages and risk of disease this year and next due to droughts and erratic rains, influenced by climate change and the likely development of a ‘super El Niño’.
A regional restoration of ecosystems services and climate change adaptation project aimed at increasing the resilience of Pacific Island countries and territories has started in the Kadavu and Ra provinces of Fiji.
The RESCCUE project, implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), is being piloted in seven sites across Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
The monthly climate update for the Pacific says Fiji and Tonga are expected to receive below normal rainfall over the next three months.
Read the full article on Radio New Zealand International
Super El Niño and climate change cause crop failures putting millions at risk of hunger
At least ten million poor people face hunger this year and next due to both droughts and erratic rains influenced by climate change and the likely development of a ‘super El Niño’.
• A strong El Niño is now established in the tropical Pacific which continues to strengthen;
• It is almost certain to continue through the September to November 2015 period and very likely through to the early part of 2016;
• It is expected to further strengthen and reach peak later in the year;
• The trend of below normal rainfall is likely to continue over most parts of the country during both the September to November 2015 and December 2015 to February 2016 periods;
Central America - Food Insecurity
• Guatemala - a food insecure population of 1 to 2.49 million people from February until next main harvest in August 2016.
• Honduras, many poor households will have very limited maize reserves after the 2015 drought and will be facing a food crisis by March.
• El Salvador & Nicaragua - the number of people affected is lower but still of concern with critical numbers being reached from March 2016.
CHINA / JAPAN
Tropical Cyclone Dujuan is currently a Category 4 storm about 200km east of Taiwan province of China.
The China Meteorological Administration issued warnings for the powerful typhoon which is scheduled to make landfall on 29 Sep. Given that there are public holidays in China, the government is working to ensure the safety of tourists visiting seaside areas.
In Japan, warnings for heavy rain, flood, storm, high waves and storm surge are in place for Ishigakijima and Yonagunijima. Flights and ships to/from these islands are cancelled.
Nadi, Fiji – Increasing the climate and disaster resilience of urban development planning is the focus of a three day training being held in Nadi this week (21-23 September) for representatives of national government and Nadi Town Council.
In Fiji, 50,000 people are now estimated to be affected by reduced rainfall connected with El Niño. The impacts of El Niño in Fiji are now well established with water shortages forcing the government to continue water deliveries in some farming communities and on the outer islands. The dry weather has cut the sugar cane harvest, reduced fruit and vegetable production and increased food prices. Farmers are reporting stock losses because of water shortages and the reduced rainfall is impacting on hydro-electric power generation capacity.
Fiji's disaster management office says more than 50,000 people are affected by a prolonged dry spell in the country's west and north.
Read the full article on Radio New Zealand International
More than 4.2million litres of water have been carted to areas affected by the dry spell in Fiji’s Western Division.
Divisional planning officer West Sitiveni Tavaga said strategic points were identified to place 15,000 litre water tanks in areas that needed water.
“Right now the focus is on areas in Nadi and some places in Nadroga,” he said.
“We've placed 16 water tanks in Nadi and nearby residents to go to these tanks to get water."
In recognition of the role that technology will play in addressing development challenges such as climate change, key stakeholders from Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu are helping to identify requirements for a regional climate change adaptation and resilience planning decision support tool.
SUAVE, Fiji, 14 September 2015 - The United Nations is urging Pacific Islanders and their governments to prepare now for a looming El Niño emergency with the potential to affect more than four million people.
“Climatologists are now unanimous in predicting that we are heading for a strong to severe El Niño event in the coming months. Some modelling is now suggesting this El Niño could be as severe as the event in 1997/98 which is the worst on record and brought severe drought to PNG and Fiji,” United Nations Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani said.
The world over, food production faces an unprecedented threat from climate change. On small islands, agriculture faces unique, additional challenges.