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El nino takes toll on Southern Africa

El nino takes toll on Southern Africa


Zimbabwe is one of the many countries feeling the strain of El Nino, which has dried up rainfall across southern Africa over the last year, killing crops, disrupting hydro power production and forcing local water authorities to enforce stringent water rationing in some areas.

As a result, aid agencies have warned that 1.5 million Zimbabweans could face hunger due to the El Nino phenomenon.

The country is yet to expect rain putting a damper to livestock farmers who are already grumbling of emaciated cattle.

There is a significant chance that it may become one of the strongest events of the past 30 years

Zimbabwe’s meteorological services department further says that the country should not expect any rain in the coming month.

In 1997 to 1998 the Southern African nation experienced a similar El Nino episode. Crop yields were destroyed and livestock killed prompting many to leave their homes.

‘‘The El Niño of 1997-1998 was the worst in modern records for Zimbabwe. It left swaths of the low level underwater and killed a number of people. It also triggered widespread waterborne disease outbreaks,’‘ a statement from UNICEF read.

According to reports , a record breaking El Nino has hit several countries.

‘‘There is a significant chance that it may become one of the strongest events of the past 30 years,’‘ World Food Programme said.

Malawi and South Africa have also not been spared from the drought.

‘‘The region is particularly prone following a ruinous 2015: more than 1.8 million people were affected by mass floods in January and March, with 280,000 people displaced and at least 600 people killed – the largest numbers since the great floods of 2000. More than 15,500 cholera cases and 129 deaths were reported in the first nine months of 2015 alone,’‘ read a statement by the “United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs”: http://www.unocha.org/el-nino-southern-africa

Meanwhile in Eastern Africa, Ethiopia is one of the hardest hit countries and is undergoing its worst drought in decades.

UNICEF fears that the current drought cycle to affect the country is the worst in over a decade.