Combined efforts to prevent further human suffering, strengthen resilience and safeguard livelihoods in the wake of El Niño's devastating effects worldwide must be rapidly ramped-up by governments and the international community, United Nations (UN) leaders said in July 2016.
More than 60 million people worldwide, about 40 million in east and southern Africa alone, are projected to be food insecure due to the impact of the El Niño climate event.
The Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, Central America's Dry Corridor, Caribbean islands, Southeast Asia and Pacific islands have been hit the hardest.
More than 100 million people could be affected by the combined impacts of El Niño/La Niña
Scientists are predicting an increasing likelihood of the opposite climate phenomenon, La Niña, developing. This will increase the probability of above-average rainfall and flooding in areas affected by El Niño-related drought, whilst at the same time making it more likely that drought will occur in areas that have been flooded due to El Niño.
The UN estimates that without the necessary action, the number of people affected by the combined impacts of El Niño/La Niña could top 100 million.
It is crucial to recover agricultural livelihoods that have been severely damaged by the droughts associated with El Niño. Acting now will ensure that farmers have sufficient levels of agricultural inputs for upcoming planting seasons.
Furthermore, FAO, IFAD and WFP are redoubling efforts to mitigate the negative impacts and capitalize on positive opportunities of a likely La Niña phenomenon in the coming months. This means acting decisively to prepare for above-average rainfall in some areas and potential drought conditions in others.
Responding to El Niño, preparing for La Niña
Drought has gripped large swathes of east and southern Africa and has also hit Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam, while El Nino-associated storms have wiped out harvests in Fiji and some of its neighbouring island states.
In southern Africa a three-month "window of opportunity" exists before the 2016/17 planting season begins and adequate interventions, including agricultural input distributions are urgently needed to avoid millions of rural families becoming dependent on humanitarian assistance programmes well into 2018.
In south-east Asia, drought and saltwater intrusion are threatening the livelihoods of farmers in Viet Nam and also seriously impacting household food security and cash availability. With the monsoon season fast approaching, most farmers need to purchase inputs for their upcoming agricultural and animal production activities. In the Pacific region the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau have already declared a state of emergency and below-normal rainfall is forecast to continue across the northern and western Pacific areas, threatening the livelihoods and well-being of 1.9 million people.
Read more at FAO-Website