After a long dry spell coupled with drought, the rains have finally arrived in many African countries, including Kenya and South Africa, and the 2017 planting season is underway. But this joy may be short-lived. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization released an update that projects a 50-60 per cent chance of an El Niño event forming in mid- to-late 2017.
Depending on the regions and hemisphere, El Niño events can bring either drought or floods. Either way, these conditions trigger food insecurity, increase malnutrition and enhance vulnerability to infectious diseases.
But this is not new. The last El Niño event happened in 2015-2016. This caused the worst drought in decades and failed harvests in parts of Africa, Asia and the Pacific. As a result, millions of citizens across Africa and Asia experienced food insecurity.