Ethiopia, South Africa, others to get $136m EU fund for El Niño response

A 2014 study suggests that while the overall number of El Niños is unlikely to increase, particularly strong “super” El Niños are likely to occur twice as frequently as global warming increases in the world. The current El Niño is expected to be the strongest on record, surpassing the one in 1997/1998.

Already several countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America have all been hit by the effects of the extreme weather phenomenon ‘El Niño’ exacerbated by global warming. The European Union is, therefore, announcing a contribution of €125 million ($136 million) to finance emergency actions in the affected nations.

The ‘El Niño’ phenomenon is characterised by rising temperatures of surface sea water, which interact with the atmosphere and cause different extreme events, from floods to droughts.

Large regions of Africa – Central Africa, Greater Horn of Africa, and Southern Africa – have been affected with both floods and droughts, threatening food security, health, access to water and hygiene conditions.

Ethiopia, whose economic growth in recent years have been impressive is the worst-hit country by El Niño. The country has reported an increase in the number of food insecure people due to drought from 2.9 million in January 2015 to 8.2 million in October 2015.

Of the €125 million support, €119 million comes from the European Development Fund reserves, and the remaining €6 million from the humanitarian budget. The fund will contribute to the joint effort of bringing lifesaving emergency assistance and increasing resilience in the affected countries.