El Nino

​Water sanitation, food security critical during El Nino

Several global and regional climate agencies have predicted a potential occurrence of El Nino in the second half of 2017, which could bring drier than normal conditions to PNG.

Acting Director for the National Disaster Committee and co-chair of the PNG Disaster Management Team, Martin Mose, said during a workshop on El Nino preparedness that PNG has to plan properly for risk management and mitigation actions.

Mose said the country has to pay attention and identify the critical sectors that will be impacted, such as water and food security.

​PNG prepares for potential El Nino occurrence

A two-day workshop is underway in Port Moresby following several global and regional climate agencies’ predictions of a potential occurrence of El Nino in the second half of 2017.

The El Nino could bring drier than normal conditions to PNG.

The 2015 and 2016 El Nino caused widespread drought and frost in PNG, which affected an estimated 2.4 million people, with 480,000 people impacted by severe food shortage.

Forecasters: Pacific hurricane season depends on El Nino

Chris Brenchley, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said at a news conference Wednesday that the region can expect anywhere from five to eight tropical cyclones from June through November.

Brenchley said there is an equal chance of El Nino and neutral conditions in the Pacific this season. 

El Nino is a natural warming of the Pacific that alters weather worldwide.

The average number of storms per year since 1970 is 4.6, but the past four seasons have had above-average activity.

Pacific nations may face droughts, floods if El Niño develops later this year

Conversely, the Eastern Pacific including countries such as Kiribati, Nauru, Northern Cook Islands and Tuvalu would have the opposite effects, with higher rainfall likely to lead to flooding, damage to roads and bridges, and pollution of water sources.

The alert was released this month by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP), a regional body for the protection and sustainable development of the region's natural resources. Twenty-two Pacific nations are members.

Manus Island looks at food security to battle climate change

Mbuke is one of many islands in PNG affected by climate change and sea level rise.

Officers from Government agencies, including NARI, Department of Agriculture and Livestock and Department of Environment and Conservation, visited the island recently to speak to the locals.

They did a survey and interviews with focus groups, community leaders and women on food security and income generating activities.

The people were very happy to hear about options on income generation, women empowerment and capacity building and training.

Use weather outlooks to minimise disaster impacts: Official

The Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) highlights the importance of seasonal weather outlooks in planning for natural events like El Nino and flooding. 

RIMES institutional development specialist, Ruby Policarpio, says responsible authorities must start using information on weather outlooks more effectively to prepare for disasters.

Policarpio said while there have been repeated impacts of El Nino and flooding in the region, PNG still does not have effective recovery efforts and more importantly, disaster preparedness.

Planning is important to avoid disaster: Weather expert

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) institutional development specialist Ruby Policarpio says Papua New Guinea must plan well and be prepared for natural events to avoid disasters.

Policarpio said hazard and disaster are two different things.

She explained that when anticipatory mechanisms are in place then preparedness measures can be done so that the impacts are minimized.

“When we are anticipating El Nino it doesn’t need to be a disaster but a hazard this is where seasonal weather outlooks are very important.

El Niño is not a one-off event, UN says

 

The president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said last Friday: “We must remember that El Niño is not a one-off event but recurring global phenomena that we must address for future generations and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said president Oh Joon at the opening of a special meeting on Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño phenomenon: Reducing risks and capturing opportunities at UN Headquarters in New York. 

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Malnourishment woes persist in drought-hit PNG

The El Nino-linked drought, which began in the middle of last year, appears to finally be over in some parts of PNG, following recent bouts of rain.

However, a specialist in PNG agriculture and food, Mike Bourke, explained that large parts of the south had still not had any significant rain since the drought began.

Dr Bourke, who is an honorary associate professor at the Australian National University, said the drought situation remained bad in Western Province where many remote communities remain malnourished.

UN warns El Niño may increase breeding grounds for Zika mosquitoes

A recent report published by the agency on the health consequences of El Niño forecasts a rise in vector-borne diseases, including diseases spread by mosquitoes – which also include dengue and chikungunya – in Central and South America, particularly in Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. Severe drought, flooding, heavy rains and temperature rises are all known effects of El Niño – a warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.