RedR Australia
RedR Australia

RedR Australia relieves suffering in disasters by selecting, training and providing competent and committed personnel to humanitarian relief agencies worldwide

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  • El Nino Causes Global Emergencies Across Four Continents

    The 2015/16 El Niño cycle is one of the strongest on record. In March this year, 60 million people worldwide were affected by El Niño related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. Whilst this extreme weather pattern is now declining, the danger hasn’t passed as crops have failed in many parts of the world and food insecurity remains. Malnutrition rates have skyrocketed in some countries and there’s an ongoing need for many populations to gain access to a stable water supply.


    RedR has 11 experts currently responding to El Niño-induced emergencies in seven countries including Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Our experts on the ground include five logisticians with the World Food Programme and UNICEF, three water and sanitation engineers, two emergency coordinators and an emergency preparedness response officer.

    Water and sanitation engineers Charles Knight, 64, and Jim Sisson, 68, are currently in PNG where they are supporting UNICEF and the International Organisation for Migration to install hand pumps to guarantee a clean water supply for remote communities in the highlands. Almost 20% of PNG's population has had their food security impacted by drought and severe frosts and 162,000 people are facing extreme food shortages. You can read more about Charles’ lifesaving work here.

    Next week, veteran RedR WASH engineer and Associate Trainer, Paul Bolger, will deploy to Vietnam where the El Niño-induced drought has left one million people in urgent need of food aid and two million lacking access to drinking water. The country’s worst drought in 90 years comes at a time when sea water has encroached up the Mekong River which irrigates the country’s rich southern Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam’s rice bowl.