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Pacific Island countries are preparing for a looming El Niño emergency with the potential to affect more than four million people. Climatologists are now unanimous in predicting that we are heading for a strong to severe El Niño event in the coming months. Some modelling is now suggesting this El Niño could be as severe as the event in 1997/98 which is the worst on record and brought severe drought to PNG and Fiji. Communities and governments are getting ready for extreme weather changes El Niño usually triggers. A number of countries are currently in the process of implementing or drafting drought plans and the United Nations stands ready to support these efforts by providing coordination and technical advice.

Countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands are already feeling El Nino’s impact with reduced rainfall affecting crops and drinking water supplies. Drought conditions would further complicate the humanitarian situation in countries that are just emerging from the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclones Pam, Maysak and Raquel