Effects of El Nino
Large parts of southern Africa, India and central America are about to get a Christmas present they would gladly do without, the catastrophic effects of the climatic phenomenon of El Nino, writes Paul Cullen.EU experts say that in Africa alone 25 million people could be affected by drought resulting from the effect. El Nino results from the periodic warming of the surface of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru.
The European Commission is so concerned about the weather prospects for 1998 that it has set up an emergency plan to deal with the effects of El Nino in developing countries.
Officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs' emergency aid division have also been monitoring the situation. At a meeting of EU development ministers at the weekend, the Minister of State at the Department, Ms Liz O'Donnell, said Ireland was fully committed to mitigating the adverse humanitarian effects of El Nino.