El Niño

Sixty million people around the world were adversely affect by the El Niño pattern of ocean and atmospheric temperatures across the Pacific that caused droughts and flooding in Asia, the Pacific, parts of Africa and the Caribbean in 2016.

One of the strongest on record, it had significant impacts on agricultural production and food security across the globe. Many countries declared a national emergency and we deployed 18 people to nine countries including six water and sanitation engineers primarily focused on drought relief and five logistics specialists to help various United Nations partners move food to disaster-affected populations many of whom experienced Severe and Acute Malnutrition.

The regions most affected included the Horn of Africa, southern Africa, parts of Central America and the Caribbean Islands, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Many countries within these regions have already declared a national state of emergency.

The effects of the El Niño cycle were strongly felt in the Pacific region. Drought, frost and fires in PNG affected 2.7 million people and 162,000 faced extreme food shortages. In Timor-Leste, about 40% of maize and 57% of rice production areas were affected by El Niño, impacting 220,000 people in rural areas. Click here for stories about our work in water and sanitation, food security, logistics and public health.