Pacific: Drought - 2015-2017
In Fiji, many communities are experiencing the effects of an El Niño-induced drought, with farmers losing crops and water supplies drying out and water trucking underway. A drought warning is in place and the Government reports at least 30,000 people are now affected. Other El Niño effects include a drought declaration in Tonga after extremely dry weather for nearly a year and further low rainfall expected for the rest of the year. Emergency water supplies were distributed to the outer islands and water desalination services are available if needed. (OCHA, 14 Sep 2015)
Current estimates suggest that 4.3 million people in 12 Pacific countries could be at risk from changed rainfall patterns caused by El Niño (drought and increased rainfall).
Fiji are reliant on water deliveries as a result of the country’s El Niño-related drought in Western, Eastern and Northern divisions of Fiji.
A drought watch has recently been cancelled in the Solomon Islands after recent rainfall which started before Christmas. However there remain food security concerns after repeated interruptions to crop cultivation as a result of cyclones, floods and drought conditions last year. (OCHA, 8 Jan 2016)
Many parts of Micronesia are entering a period of moderate to severe drought as El Niño impacts continue to be felt. Lower than normal rainfall during the coming months will cause drought to develop in the Mariana Islands and parts of Chuuk state. Drought is already affecting Palau and Yap State. A dry trade-wind pattern will also cause increasingly dry conditions across the Marshall Islands. Below normal rainfall is expected across the region until later in the year. (OCHA, 25 Jan 2016)
The Marshall Islands declared a state of emergency in February after 13 atolls have formally requested assistance from the National Government to address water shortage challenges associated with the droughts. (Gov't of Marshall Islands, 3 Feb 2016)
Over the past several weeks, extreme drought was reported in eight atolls across the Marshall Islands including Wotje and Utirik. As of 20 April, the drought has affected an estimated 6,400 people. On 24 April, the Government declared a State of Emergency for 31 days in the affected areas. The Emergency Operations Centre was activated and is coordinating the response with local governments and national clusters. Authorities are liaising with bilateral partners to support the in-country response. (OCHA, 1 May 2017)
Palau became the latest country in the north Pacific to declare an El Niño-related State of Emergency. In a statement, the President reported that the total rainfall in the state of Koror over the past four months was the lowest recorded since 1951. The Ngerimel Dam, has run out of water while the only other remaining source of freshwater, the Ngerikiil River, is at a critically low level. Koror and Airai are on an emergency water-rationing schedule, permitting three hours of water access each morning and evening. Water rationing was also initiated in other parts of the country. (OCHA, 28 Mar 2016)
Vanuatu has been grappling with drought since mid-2015 with many of the affected areas being the same as those that were hit by Category 5 Cyclone Pam in March 2015, thus reducing communities’ resilience to further shocks. Reasonable rain over recent months has eased water concerns across of the country but food security remains an ongoing issue in some areas. As Vanuatu is moving into its traditional dry season, there are still concerns that food gardens may not be able to supply sufficient produce to keep all areas and populations appropriately fed later 2016. (OCHA, 06 Jun 2016)
Papua New Guinea was impacted by the El Niño climatic phenomenon from mid-2015 to 2016, causing the affected areas to experience less than average rainfall and a series of frost events. The prolonged anomalous weather pattern has resulted in water shortages and crop damage in a number of localities, particularly in the Highland provinces. In 2015, the European Commission made over €1 260 000 available to enable its partners to provide relief and build resilience amongst the most vulnerable communities. Overall, a total of 75 000 individuals benefited from this aid, which included health and nutrition support, as well as access to clean water and the provision of water and hygiene kits. Farmers also benefited from training on drought resilient agricultural methods. As the dry spell has continued into mid-2016, affecting the food security of close to 1.5 million people nationwide, a further €2 million has been released to support a food assistance initiative by the World Food Programme (WFP). The aid focuses on meeting urgent food needs of 180 000 people in drought-affected areas. (ECHO, 28 Sep 2016)
In October 2016, the World Food Programme announced that it had concluded its food distributions in Papua New Guinea, having reached more than 246,000 people in the highlands as well as Western and Milne Bay Provinces. WFP documented visible signs of recovery as well as anecdotal evidence suggesting the return of crops to areas once affected by drought. However, evidence of the extent of the recovery was limited —while the El Niño event has officially ended, some subsistence farmers reported that they did not expect kaukau (sweet potato) yields until December 2016. WFP will begin an assessment in November 2016 to monitor the extent of the recovery (WFP, 20 Oct 2016)
In Kiribati, a drought situation is affecting several areas including Butaritari, Beru and Kirimati. An emergency situation has not yet been declared. Low water levels are also reported in Nauru, Tokelau and Tuvalu. (OCHA, 13 Mar 2017)
According to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology’s El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Outlook, there is around a 50 per cent chance (twice the normal likelihood) of an El Niño event developing in 2017. Since the beginning of 2017, sea surface temperatures have continued to warm in the Pacific. To mitigate the potential impact of El Niño, countries in the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea, have started to initiate preparedness activities. In 2016, at least 11 countries across the Asia-Pacific region were affected by severe weather events associated with El Niño. While the effects of El Niño have not been consistent they have generally comprised of extended dry spells or drought leading to water shortages, prolonged lean seasons and food shortages. (OCHA, 8 May 2017)
According to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, a regional sustainable development body, five of eight surveyed models indicated El Niño is likely to form by the third quarter of 2017. The effects of an El Niño event are different for each country. Generally, however, El Niño events are usually associated with lower rainfall with the possibility of droughts, dust, and increased bushfires in countries like Fiji, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu in the Western Pacific. In the Eastern Pacific, including countries like Kiribati, Nauru, Northern Cook Islands and Tuvalu, El Niño events are usually associated with higher rainfall—likely leading to flooding, infrastructure damage and the pollution of water sources. (SPREP, 24 May 2017)
This case study draws on fieldwork in two communities in Fiji that participated in the 2002–05 Capacity Building to Enable the Development of Adaptation Measures in Pacific Island Countries (CBDAMPIC) project, one of the first adaptation projects in the Pacific that attempted to work at this community scale to build resilience to the longer-term impacts of climate change. In both communities, the project served as a catalyst for more resilient development, improving both absorptive and adaptive capacity with respect to water shortages.
People residing in two drought-prone sugarcane areas on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, are a step closer to accessing more reliable water supplies, following the recent completion of Hydrogeological surveys. The surveys, conducted by a Water Resources team from the Pacific Community’s Geoscience Division have mapped new sources of underground water in Qerelevu (Ba) and Nanuku-Wailevu (Ra).
This performance evaluation using Case Study design and qualitative methods focused on the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s (NIWA) Challenge Fund (CF) Drought Risk Visualization Toolkit (DRVT) project in Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji. It addressed the following four theory-based evaluation questions:
To what extent is NIWA achieving CF logic model results at the outcome and purpose levels in Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji? (Please note that these results refer to access and use of the toolkit.)
in the month of June, the Pacific was in the spotlight at the highlevel UN Conference to Support the implementation of Sustainable development Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development), demonstrating global leadership on ocean issues with Fiji and Sweden serving as co-chairs of the meeting.
Technical officers from different Pacific atolls met in Kiribati for an intensive week of training and knowledge sharing to improve their capacity to support the water security of vulnerable island communities.
The one-week Atoll Water Security Workshop was convened by the Pacific Community (SPC) in South Tarawa, an urban atoll community all too familiar with the impacts of climate variability on household water security.
With no substantial rainfall since November 2016, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) declared a state of emergency in April 2017 due to a severe drought affecting the country. At the time eight out of the country’s 29 atolls were affected by the drought, impacting approximately 12 per cent of the overall population of RMI.
We have come a long way from when the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came into force, the establishment of the Global Environment Facility, the Kyoto Protocol, the adaptation Fund, recently the Paris agreement and the Green Climate Fund. Yet the same issues and challenges of accessing climate change funds by small islands remain up to day.
Port Moresby, May 30, 2017 - Key disaster risk management and Government stakeholders held a two day workshop this week to prepare for a potential El Nino event in August which could bring drier-than-normal conditions to Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Since March, several global and regional climate agencies have predicted a potential occurrence of El Niño in the second half of 2017. Based on these reports, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has indicated a 50 per cent likelihood of a return to El Niño conditions by August 2017.
by Sophie Hares | @SophieHares | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 26 May 2017 08:25 GMT
"But the underlying issue is the money - our public resources are not sufficient to address these climatic issues"
By Sophie Hares
CANCUN, Mexico, May 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is in dire need of aid as drought pushes it closer to declaring a state of emergency and it struggles with rising seas and other effects of climate change which could cost "billions", said President Taneti Mamau.
Meteorologists warn that there is twice the normal likelihood of El Niño developing in 2017.
WASHINGTON D.C., May 9, 2017 –The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today grant financing for a project that is expected to help communities in the Marshall Islands – already vulnerable to recurring drought and flooding – prepare better for the impact of climate change.
The Pacific Resilience Project II will receive a US$19.6 million grant for the Marshall Islands and a US$4 million grant for the Pacific Community (SPC) to support this important initiative.
08/05/2017 Suva, Fiji Preparing for and responding to natural disasters as they affect access to food for millions of people in the Pacific Islands was a major theme at the first-ever meeting of the Regional Pacific Food Security Cluster Forum in Nadi, Fiji that took place from 26 to 28 April.
The joint FAO/WFP meeting of some 50 representatives from governments, non-governmental and UN organizations, was jointly hosted by the FAO and WFP Food Security Cluster co-lead Coordinators.
On 8 May, Tropical Cyclone Donna intensified into a Category 5 storm (winds of up to 215 km/h near the centre and gusts of 300 km/h) as it continues to move across Vanuatu towards New Caledonia. Over the weekend, Torba Province, with a population of about 10,000 people, was severely hit. Provincial authorities have conducted a rapid assessment with Community Disaster Committees on Loh, Hui, Tegua and Toga islands.
This report summarises the performance of the Australian aid program in 2014-15. It reviews progress with implementation of the Government’s policy and performance framework for the aid program.
Chapter 1 reviews progress towards the 10 strategic targets set by the Government to assess the performance of the aid program as a whole. Good progress has been made against the strategic targets.
This report summarises the performance of the Australian aid program in 2015-16. It reviews progress with implementation of the Government’s policy and performance framework.
NADI – Preparing for and responding to natural disasters as they affect access to food for millions of people in the Pacific Islands, is one of the major themes that was discussed at the first-ever meeting of the Regional Pacific Food Security Cluster in Nadi, Fiji this week.
The meeting of some 50 representatives from governments, non-governmental and UN organizations, was jointly hosted by Food Security Cluster co-lead Coordinators: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Climate Change Matters in this edition celebrates the handing over of the Pacific Greenhouse Gas abatement Programme through renewable Energy (PiGGarEP) projects in Palau and tuvalu. the excellent outcomes from both Palau and tuvalu need to be replicated in other communities and in remote outer islands. it’s at these times that we ask ourselves - “is the pilot approach to building resiliency in the Pacific the best approach? What happens to the many communities and outer islands with similar issues? do they need the same interventions?”.
Over the past several weeks, extreme drought was reported in eight atolls across the Marshall Islands including Wotje and Utirik. As of 20 April, the drought has affected an estimated 6,400 people. On 24 April, the Government declared a State of Emergency for 31 days in the affected areas. The Emergency Operations Centre was activated and is coordinating the response with local governments and national clusters. Authorities are liaising with bilateral partners to support the in-country response.
6,400 people affected