Impact of El Niño called serious threat

Global weather conditions associated with El Niño are posing a serious threat to millions of vulnerable people, particularly in rural communities, with scarce rainfall devastating crops and causing water shortages in some regions, while other parts of the world are seeing flooding caused by above-average precipitation.

Now evident is the fact that this current El Niño equals or exceeds the intensity of the previous occurrence in 1997, according to Lutheran World Relief.

The organization says it has executed short-term drought response projects in Honduras and Guatemala to help alleviate conditions for vulnerable women, children and men in rural communities suffering from extreme food shortages due to significant crop losses. A  response to El Niño has also been proposed for El Salvador, the organization said.  Lutheran World Relief also is preparing a response to drought-related food security needs in the north-west of Haiti, it added.

Lutheran World Relief  gave this assessment:

Conditions along Central America’s Dry Corridor have reached crisis levels, with more than 3.5 million people facing food insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Significant loss of staple grain crops and the deaths of thousands of cattle are drastically affecting families whose livelihoods are heavily dependent on subsistence farming.

In Haiti, the government has reported that 1.5 million people are in urgent need of assistance due to dry conditions that have led to low agricultural yields, a number that has doubled in just the last six months.

In some areas of Haiti, up to 70 percent of the population is facing hunger, and a recent study conducted by the United Nations and the Haitian government found that hunger is exceeding emergency levels in several communes.

In South America, wetter conditions are contributing to extreme cold temperatures and widespread flooding in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. This has also contributed to the loss of cattle and crops.

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