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Over 11m in east and S’Africa threatened by El Nino

The strengthening El Nino weather phenomenon now poses a big threat to some 11 million children who are now at risk from hunger, disease and water shortages in east and southern Africa, the UN children’s charity has revealed.

It has caused the worst drought in more than 30 years in Ethiopia, UNICEF said.

Its effects could also be “particularly harsh” in Somalia, amid fears of flooding, it warned.

El Nino is caused by Pacific Ocean warming.

“The weather phenomenon, among the strongest on record, is likely to cause more floods and droughts, fuel Pacific typhoons and cyclones and affect more areas if it continues strengthening as forecast over the coming months,” Unicef said in a statement.

It said 8.2 million people in Ethiopia faced food insecurity, while an estimated 350,000 children needed treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

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“To make matters worse, the weather phenomenon may also bring flooding to some areas of the country in the coming months,” UNICEF said.

Ethiopia says it has food surpluses in country which it continues to send to areas affected by the drought.

“The government is working hard to ensure that no-one dies from lack of food in this El Nino year and, contrary to some Western news reports, there will not be famine of any sort, let alone anything remotely like the magnitude of that of 1984,” a statement from the Ethiopian embassy in the UK said.

Credit: BBC Africa

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