El Niño: The case for urgent action

Publication date: 16 December 2015
Author: Debbie Hillier, Josephine Liebl and Franziska Mager

Millions of poor and vulnerable people face hunger and poverty this year and next because of record global temperatures, droughts and erratic rains in 2014 and 2015, compounded by the development of possibly the most powerful El Niño on record. Strong leadership at every level of government and a coordinated international effort are required to avoid the failures of the 2011 Horn of Africa drought, when the international system was slow to respond and widespread suffering ensued.

Urgent humanitarian response is required in places already in crisis such as parts of Ethiopia. This paper focuses particularly on other places, where the crisis is currently unfolding, and where there is still the opportunity for rapid action to mitigate the worst impacts of El Niño.