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Climate forecasters are predicting below normal rainfall levels for several Pacific Island nations over the next three months on top of an already unusually dry period.
New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) says New Caledonia and Vanuatu, which have recently experienced well below normal rainfall levels in some areas, will continue to experience below normal levels.
In what might be a slight reprieve for Papua New Guinea, which has borne the brunt of El Niño, the forecast is for normal or below normal rainfall.
El Niño threatens at least 60 million people in high-risk developing countries, WHO says
Geneva, 22 January 2016—The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners predict a major global increase in health consequences of emergencies this year due to El Niño.
As many as 4.7 million people in 11 Pacific countries (2.4 million in PNG and the total populations of the remaining Pacific nations) are at risk of adverse effects of drought including water shortages, food insecurity and disease. Governments are taking measures to mitigate the potential impacts of the drought. The government is delivering water to drought affected areas in Fiji. The Vanuatu government is delivering food to affected communities especially those affected by Tropical cyclone Pam.