El Nino happens every 3-7 years. How can Africa be better prepared?

22 Aug 2016 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Cluster, UNDP Africa

A farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAOA farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAO
Some 60 million people’s lives have been affected by the 2015/16 El Niño phenomenon in the Horn and Southern Africa, the strongest since 1950. Severe drought conditions have led to crop production failure and food insecurity, massive livestock and wildlife deaths, and loss of livelihoods. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have all declared drought emergencies. In South Africa, only one province –the seat of government Gauteng- has been spared the emergency. A total of 40 million people or 22 percent of Southern Africa’s rural population became food insecure with 23 million of these requiring immediate humanitarian assistance at a cost of US$2.7 billion. … Read more

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