8 February 2016

Africa: South Africa Isn't Alone in Feeling the Wrath of El Niño

South Africa is in the middle of its worst drought since 1982, millions of households are facing water shortages and the cost of basic food staples like maize meal has shot through the roof. Extreme weather phenomenon El Niño has returned with a vengeance and we aren't the only country feeling its effects. STUART LEWIS rounds up five other places dealing with the effects of El Niño.

El Niño is an extreme weather phenomenon that occurs regularly every couple of years.

Some of the worst El Niños on record have also coincided with the with drought in South Africa in 1982 and the previous hottest year on record in 1998. But this year's one is the worst on record and has crippled South Africa with the worst drought since 1982.

South Africa isn't the only place that has dealt with the damage wrought by El Niño in 2015.

1. Ethiopia

The most populous landlocked country on Earth, Ethiopia, suffered from low rainfall and a consequent extreme drought with roughly 10 million people affected. The drought has antagonised an already dire situation faced by farmers in the Oromia region, where they, along with students, have been locked in protests against the government's plans to develop land close to the capital, Addis Ababa. The plan, which has since been abandoned, would have resulted in farmers losing their land.

2. India & 3. Pakistan

India's regular monsoon season has seen an over 20% drop in rain levels which has affected water supplies and crops across the sub-continent. Extreme heatwaves in Pakistan and India have killed thousands of people in 2015.

4. Mexico

On the other end of the Pacific Ocean, extreme rainfall has plagued many countries along the eastern coast of North and South America. Mexico was particularly hard hit after Hurricane Patricia, super-charged by El Niño, made landfall last year.

5. Phillippines

The Philippines is another country suffering from extreme drought. It has seen extreme declines in the profits of its farming industry with only marginal growth in its crop output.

6. Pacific island nations

Finally, just about every small island nation in the Pacific including Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Micronesia, have also been crippled by droughts, with as many as 4.7 million people in direct risk of running out of water.

South Africa

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