Breaking News:

Opinions & Editorial

11 million children are the most vulnerable to El Niño


African countries are ill-prepared for El Niño, and children may be hit the hardest, according to the United Nations. As the weather phenomenon takes hold in the region, at least 11 million children in east and southern Africa will be vulnerable to waterborne diseases, shortages of food and water, and developmental problems.
“The consequences could ripple through generations unless affected communities receive support amid crop failures and lack of access to drinking water that are leaving children malnourished and at risk of killer diseases,” UNICEF said in a report (pdf) released on Nov. 10.
El Niño, a climate pattern linked to the warming of surface waters of the Pacific Ocean, is already causing floods and droughts across the African continent. In Ethiopia, 8.2 million people are facing food shortages as the country experiences its worst drought in three decades. According to USAID’s Famine Early Warning System Network, at least 20 million in the greater Horn of Africa are at risk of food insecurity because of the drought. In South Africa, water restrictions have been put in place to lessen the impact of an ongoing drought that has already killed livestock.
UNICEF worries El Niño could undo years of improved public health, nutrition, and education, which have increased life expectancy on the continent, as well as contributed to optimism over Africa’s prospects for economic growth and stability. Changes in temperature and rainfall can increase the incidence of malaria, dengue fever, cholera, and diarrhea—major causes of child fatalities on the continent. (The destruction of roads and use of schools as evacuation centers will disrupt education, UNICEF adds.)
Some predict that this year’s El Niño may be even more powerful than the strongest one on record, between 1997-1998, when over 2,000 people in East Africa were killed by severe flooding. It is expected to strengthen through the beginning of 2016.
In Kenya, where 2.5 million children are likely to be affected by flooding, residents living along riverbanks and low-lying coastal areas have been asked to relocate. The country’s central bank also warned that food prices may rise because of heavy rainfall disrupting harvests. Residents have criticized the government for wasting money on soap and other questionable purchases in preparation of the weather pattern.
Sign up for the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief — the most important and interesting news from across the continent, in your inbox.

Related Posts

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • JB attends BT synod centenary… calls for unity and hard work – honours late Matenje

    By Arnold Mnelemba Former President Dr. Joyce Banda on Sunday, November 8 attended celebrations marking 110 years of service for late Harry Kambwiri Matecheta, the first Malawian Church Minister of Blantyre Synod in the Church of Central African Presbyterian. The celebrations were held at Bemvu Congregation of Ntcheu Presbytery of Blantyre Synod. Before the ceremony,…

  • Minister urges MPs to lead in National Forestry Season

    By Faith Mwafulirwa The Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo on Thursday presented in the National Assembly a ministerial statement on the National Forestry Season and Launch of National Clean-Up Day scheduled next Month. In her presentation in Parliament, Tembo reminded all Malawians that every Malawian is charged with the responsibility of protecting…

  • WE NEED HEALTHY CHAM – Health minister orders CHAM Officials

    As the country’s public health continues undergoing serious renovation in the way it has had been operating, healthily looking Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda on Wednesday ordered Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) to strive in giving the public the desired healthy health services. Chiponda made the remarks during the interface she had with…

  • K79 MILLION BRIDGE HANDED OVER TO VILLAGERS IN TA KALUMBA & CHADZA -Community hails Chakwera govt for the initiative.

    By Daniel Namwini – MANA Members of parliament for Lilongwe central constituency Hon. Lobin Lowe and Msozi North constituency Hon. Sosten Gwengwe who are also Ministers of Agriculture and Trade respectively on Friday handed over the newly constructed concrete bridge worth K79.8 million from Roads Authority. The Community members from Traditional Authority (TA) Kalumba and…

  • HRDC APPLAUDS AGRICULTURE MINISTRY-Says AIP has registered success despite challenges

    The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has applauded Ministry of Agriculture for a good progress the Ministry has registered in the implementation of this year’s farm inputs subsidy called Affordable Inputs Program (AIP). The coalition has made the remarks this morning at their press briefing in Lilongwe saying despite many challenges the Ministry encountered during…

  • GO TO THE FIELD AS FARMER TUTORS – Nkusa orders Mwimba graduands.

    The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Agnes Nkusankhoma, MP, has challenged the graduating students from Mwimba college of Agriculture to go in the field to serve the farmers and not to boost out to them. Nkusa made the remarks Friday morning at Golden Peacock Hotel when she presided over 18th graduation ceremony for the students who…