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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 climate 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.
An El Niño event has been occurring since March 2015 and is steadily strengthening as it approaches its maximum intensity in late 2015. This El Niño is forecasted to peak in December, before gradually ending in early 2016. There are indications that it could become one of the most intense El Niños of the past 30 years.