The weather changer known as El Nino has left countries in east Africa in danger of famine, according to a group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
The Somalia NGO Consortium said Tuesday that El Nino is creating drought and food shortages. The group released the statement to coincide with a United Nations meeting on humanitarian needs related to the effects of El Nino.
El Nino is the natural warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. El Nino occurs every several years and lasts close to a year, according to the Associated Press.
El Nino impacts weather systems around the globe. For example, some places receive more rain, while others receive no rain or snow.
Last year, El Nino mostly helped conditions in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania by creating more rainfall.
But this year, El Nino has severely reduced rainfall in Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. As a result, close to 19 million people in the Horn of Africa region face food shortages, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Cash, cash vouchers and food have already been issued to Somalians. But the Somalia NGO Consortium says more help is needed. The Consortium is calling for “urgent humanitarian action.”
Somalia suffered a deadly famine from 2010 to 2012. More than 250,000 people died because of drought and food shortages. NGOs are hoping to avoid a similar – or even larger – disaster this year.
I’m Jim Dresbach.
Words in This Story
El Nino – n. the natural warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide
famine – n. a situation in which many people do not have enough food to eat
consortium – n. a group of people or companies that agree to work together
drought – n. a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain
shortage – n. a state in which there is not enough of something that is needed
voucher – n. a document that gives you the right to get something, such as a product or service, without paying for it