Worst El Nino Ever?

As per my promise in my last blog post to bring you updates on El Nino, I have yet another heartening piece of information to share with you. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has said that this year’s El Nino is reaching the levels it did in December of 1997, the worst El Nino in recent history, and that it will get even worse in 2016.

According to NBC News;

A new satellite image of the weather system “bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997” — the worst El Niño on record — which was blamed for extreme weather, including record rainfall in California and Peru, heat waves across Australia, and fires in Indonesia. The severe conditions resulted in an estimated 23,000 deaths in 1997 and 1998.

NASA says that the El Niño currently wreaking havoc around the world is forecast to only worsen in 2016!

This should tell us how serious a challenge our global food system is facing. Already, Oxfam International has warned that

The El Niño weather system could leave tens of millions of people facing hunger, water shortages and disease next year if early action isn’t taken to prepare vulnerable people from its effects,”

In Ethiopia, for example, the government estimates 10.2 million people will need humanitarian assistance next year due to a drought exacerbated by El Niño, Oxfam said. In Malawi, 2.8 million people are estimated to experience food shortages before March

As I said in my last post, there is an imminent need for world governments to take seriously the risks that El Nino pose and prepare for the impacts that it’s going to have on households. This is even more imminent for governments in Sub-Saharan Africa where the people are already pressed with decreasing real household incomes and low agricultural productivity.

Photo credit: http://takvera.blogspot.com/2015/03/taking-earths-temperature-and-influence.html
Photo credit: http://takvera.blogspot.com/2015/03/taking-earths-temperature-and-influence.html

Agricultural impacts of El Nino in Sub Saharan Africa

Credit: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/22/el-nino-forecast-noaa
Credit: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/22/el-nino-forecast-noaa

I would have loved to write a good analysis of how El Nino will affect the global agricultural system. Luckily (for me), such analyses has already been conducted. What is remaining is for countries, especially those that are going to be directly affected, to work out plans on how they will respond to this calamity.

In my country Malawi, for example, I do no see any serious deliberate actions from the government, households as well the firms in preparations for effects of El Nino despite early warnings of severe famine from the same. I pray that other countries have plans on how they will deal with these climatic event. Continue reading Agricultural impacts of El Nino in Sub Saharan Africa