The current 2015-2016 El Niño cycle has been one of the strongest on record and has had significant impacts on agricultural production and food security across the globe.
At present, the agriculture, food security and nutritional status of more than 60 million people are affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather.
FAO is continuously monitoring the status of El Niño. While it has declined in strength and a return to a neutral state is indicated, its impacts on the agriculture sector are still continuing. Climate models are now predicting an increasing likelihood of La Niña developing in 2016, which is an opposite phenomenon. If this develops, the impacts could not only be the opposite, for example, increased rainfall and flooding instead of drought, but it could also be in the same areas already affected by El Niño.
Harvests in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in others, which will result in a dramatic increase in acute household food insecurity.
The regions most affected include the Horn of Africa, southern Africa, the Dry Corridor of Central America, Caribbean Islands, southeast Asia and Pacific Islands. Many countries within these regions have already declared a national state of emergency. In many of the affected countries, FAO is using early warning information to design and implement early action and response plans.