When is the best time to prepare for an El Niño? Now!
By Dr. Michael H. Glantz
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have each issued an “El Niño watch” indicating up to a 70-75% chance of experiencing an El Niño during the winter of 2018/19.
While most countries around the globe are directly or indirectly affected by El Niño events, several countries are known to suffer the brunt of its impacts.
Kenya is known to be at a higher risk of experiencing El Niño’s extreme environmental and societal impacts.
Depending on the region, these extremes are known to be either flooding, drought, infectious disease outbreaks, migration, food insecurity, and so forth.
The best time to prepare for El Niño is BETWEEN events and NOT during them. Preparing for the negative impacts of El Niño weeks to months in advance can provide useful lead time to spark relevant action and help mitigate, if not avoid destructive impacts.
Is your country El Niño Ready? Are at-risk communities and business sectors prepared for possible supply disruptions linked to El Niño?
While forecasting El Niño and its impacts alone does not guarantee reduced impact, it can prompt timely decisions. With the WMO and NOAA forecast of an El Niño in late 2018-19, national awareness should be raised to benefit the security and resilience of at-risk communities.
The writer is the Director of The Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB) www.elninoreadynations.com