EU considers extra funding for El Niño famine

26 Apr 16

The European Commission has proposed an additional €414m to alleviate food crises sparked across the globe by a strong El Niño.


The cyclical weather pattern, which results in the warming of the Pacific Ocean, causes erratic weather the world over, but has hit Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia Pacific and Africa the hardest.

Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said that around the world, 41 million people are currently struggling to meet their food needs as a result of El Niño.

El Niño causes both heavy rain and extreme drought, with the latter taking hold across Africa.

Many African nations are currently experiencing their worst dry spell in decades. In Ethiopia alone, the number of people in need of assistance increased from 2.9 to over 10 million in 2015. The government is already supporting around 8 million.

A number of countries in southern Africa have also declared a state of emergency as drought decimates crops and livestock, leaving many to go hungry.  

Following a high-level conference on nutrition, food security and agriculture in Brussels yesterday, commissioner for international cooperation and development Neven Mimica proposed the additional funding.

He said it would combine short-term life-saving support with strengthening long-term resilience to food crises by addressing the root causes of vulnerability.

“We can build on the past successes gained under our existing resilience initiatives to step up our efforts and provide a global response to this food security crisis which is currently affecting so many across the world.”

The package, which still requires approval by member states, would bring the EU’s total contribution to the El Niño food crisis to €539m.

The commission previously mobilised €125m for Ethiopia in December last year.

A number of member states have also contributed to alleviating the crises independently, as has the US and the African Development Bank


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