The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been monitoring forecasts for the current El Niño since early 2015. It is using early warning information to design and implement early actions knowing that anticipatory action can mitigate or even prevent disasters from happening.
What is El Niño?
El Niño is the warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. While the main threats to food production are reduced rainfall and drought in some regions, El Niño can also cause heavy rains and flooding in others.
Mercy Corps is demonstrating a new approach to sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) by economically incentivizing climate-informed DRR measures in Nepal and Timor Leste. This case study highlights lessons learned from the program and offers insights for the consideration of other global climate-informed DRR programs.
Summary of WFP assistance
Poverty, food insecurity and under nutrition remain widespread in Timor-Leste, with 41 percent of the population living below the national poverty line 1 and ov e r h al f food insecure. 2 The Mother and Child Health and Nutrition – Targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme (TSFP) aims to treat moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in children aged 6-59 months and malnourished pregnant women and nursing mothers, while building the capacity of the Ministry of Health.
Some good rains have fallen across Timor-Leste in the northern areas and in the mountains which has brought welcome relief to farmers. However, the south coast has received very little rain which has resulted in many areas experiencing crop failure. In other areas the crop is performing so poorly that farmers consider it not worthwhile to weed so the crop is neglected and further stressed. More animals have been dying along the south coast and in some areas along the north coast.
Globally, millions of vulnerable households are at risk of increased hunger and poverty due to droughts and floods as a result of a climatic occurrence: El Niño. This phenomenon is not an individual weather event but a climatic pattern which occurs every two to seven years and lasts 9-12 months. No two El Niño events are ever the same and it is thought that this particular occurrence could be the most powerful on record. The strongest El Niño in 1997/1998 killed some 21,000 people and caused damage to infrastructure worth US$ 36 billion.
60 million PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY EL NIÑO IN THE FOUR MOST AFFECTED REGIONS
2.8 million PEOPLE REQUIRE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS
10.2 million PEOPLE IN NEED OF EMERGENCY FOOD IN ETHIOPIA
14 million FOOD INSECURE PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA – EXCLUDING SOUTH AFRICA
El Niño status
Background and purpose
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has as its **Strategic Objective 5** to “Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises”. In support of its national counterparts, FAO aims to address the current and future needs of vulnerable people affected by the 2015‒2016 El Niño event.
By Annie Slemrod
JERUSALEM, 27 January 2016 (IRIN) - Between 400,000 and two million Syrians (depending on who’s counting) are living under siege. Madaya forced their plight onto the international stage. Since then, voices calling for airdrops to save starving civilians have only become louder.
Genetic diversity of livestock can help feed a hotter, harsher world
Despite growing interest in safeguarding biodiversity of livestock and poultry,genetic erosion continues
2016 Requirements: US$4,209,600
Human rights feature prominently in the Charter of the United Nations. Its preamble says that the “Peoples of the United Nations” are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights. Promoting the respect for human rights is included among the purposes and principles of the organisation. Article 55 sees “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights” as integral to the “creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations”.
There has been a continued period of patchy rainfall across Timor-Leste where some localised areas have received enough rain whereas other areas have received very little rain. Timor-Leste has received generally less than 50% rainfall compared to normal years in December and January is looking worse. Farmers are reporting more animals are losing condition and dying. An extra map has been included to indicate those areas where reports were received of sick and dying animals. This is due to animals losing condition due to lack of feed, eating feed of poor quality and reduced water supply.
Media Statement by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia
On 13 January, WHO South-East Asia Region completes five years without any case of wild poliovirus. This is a remarkable achievement in view of the continued threat of poliovirus importation from the remaining polio-endemic countries.
Current conditions and forecast
Oceanic and atmospheric indicators suggest the 2015/2016 El Niño has peaked with a return to neutral conditions expected during the second quarter of 2016. However, countries continue to feel the effects of El Niño which include below average precipitation during the rainy season, more intense cyclones in the North-Western Pacific and potentially more frequent cyclones in the South Pacific over the coming weeks, as well as drought in South and South-East Asia.
7 January 2016 – Briefing United Nations Member States today on the wildly varied and devastating impacts of the current El Niño weather phenomenon – which for months has sparked massive floods in some countries while leaving others, often in the same region, bone dry – the top UN relief official urged the international community to act now to help millions of people facing food insecurity.
Featured in this issue:
Refl ections on our visit to Northern Nigeria
Updates from our partners in Nigeria, Sudan,
South Sudan, Uganda, India, Timor-Leste and Burma
News from HART
Refl ection and Celebration
At HART, we love to celebrate the courage, commitment and achievements of our partners who dedicate themselves to serving their communities in very challenging situations. They truly represent the spirit of Christmas – ‘love in action’.
Food, water, rain, risk: these four aspects are at the heart of MAKA’AS project that CARE and WaterAid implemented with funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Launched in July 2012, the project set out to facilitate community-based adaptation to climate change amongst 33 villages in Timor-Leste’s Liquica district. This included promoting of climate-resilient livelihoods (e.g.
WHO SEARO Press release 1617
New Delhi, 14 December: Nearly 7400 new-borns die every day in the WHO South-East Asia Region causing untold misery to mothers and families. Two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented by adopting proven and cost-effective measures, World Health Organization today said seeking focused efforts by governments and partners to prevent newborn deaths with a sense of urgency.
UN warns current El Niño event is strongest since 1998 and will continue into early 2016
The third Advisory Note on El Nino for Asia-Pacific countries, issued jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), warns that the current El Nino event is likely to be one of the strongest since 1997-1998 and will persist into the second quarter of 2016.