Climatologists believe the world is now experiencing a strong El Niño event. Some modelling is now suggesting this El Niño could be as severe as the event in 1997/98 which is the worst on record and brought severe drought to PNG and Fiji. As many as 11 South Pacific countries could be affected, placing 4.7 million people at risk.
Over the coming months, countries on the equator can expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels presenting challenges for low-lying atolls already feeling the impacts of climate change. The more populous countries of the Pacific south west will see conditions get drier from now on with some eventually slipping into drought.
An El Niño event also has implications for the severity and range of cyclones, particularly for countries in the eastern Pacific such as the Cook Islands and Samoa. The El Niño-charged southern cyclone season ahead is likely to feature a greater number of more intense cyclones, forming over a larger area and longer period.
Communities can prepare themselves so they are more resilient to the impacts of El Niño. Planting drought resistant crops, installing water tanks and good hygiene are among the steps Pacific Islanders can take to get ready for what is to come.
A number of NDRF members are responding to drought, food and water shortages in the Pacific. These include:
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is working in PNG, supporting government-led rapid drought assessment teams by putting them in touch with local staff and facilitating field visits to rural communities. We have been closely monitoring the El Nino situation and liaising with partners on the ground and plans for an increased response are being prepared.
CWS works in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and has supported indigenous people in Kanaky and Tahiti.
Oxfam New Zealand is preparing a humanitarian response in PNG and Tonga. The response includes distribution of water equipment, health promotion programmes that minimise the risk of waterborne disease and are helping communities prepare for drought by providing water saving advice and drought-resistant crops.
Rotary New Zealand wants to position supplies near at-risk areas so that when the need arises, relief can be delivered immediately. While donors often want to give to a specific event, Rotary need donations now so that we can pack and ship supplies.
Save the Children has existing projects and trained staff in the Solomon Islands, PNG, Vanuatu and Fiji allowing them to deploy quickly. Save the Children's response is tailored to the needs of the community as we work with them and local government partners to help people identify what will work best - now – and for the future.
TEAR Fund are working with partners to create irrigated gardens in Vanuatu and working in disaster preparedness as the cyclone season starts. Tear Fund are also working in East Africa to ensure the effects of food insecurity are minimised to avert famine.
UNICEF is active in the countries affected and threatened by El Niño, providing support with a focus on the most vulnerable children in the areas of health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; education; and child protection.
World Vision are working in PNG, in the Solomon Islands where plans are in place to begin distribution if emergency water and sanitation materials to communities, schools and health centres. Right now, World Vision are already distributing food and water in Timor Leste. Our staff on the ground in the Pacific are continually assessing the situation and are making sure risk measures are being integrated into existing projects.
Childfund are working in Ethiopia, providing food aid to drought affected families. After the initial urgent response, ChildFund will work with communities and local organisations to make sure families do not slide back to desperation and food dependency. This will include restoring water sources, providing drought-resistant seeds and caring for livestock.
TEAR Fund are working in East Africa with their partner World Concern to reduce malnutrition among high-risk groups such as children and pregnant women.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Credit: CWS/ACT Alliance/ P Jeffrey
ADRA is currently accepting donations, working with existing ADRA partners and programmes in Lebanon.
CWS is currently appealing for support. CWS and its partners are providing assistance that refugees need now in Jordan and Lebanon. Food, blankets, clothes, hygiene kits and medical assistance are high on the urgent list. ACT Alliance is meeting immediate needs and helping displaced families survive, focusing on education, healthcare, emergency assistance, livelihoods and psychosocial care.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is currently appealing for support. The Peace in the Middle East campaign aims to support development programmes and provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the ongoing humanitarian crises in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.
Oxfam NZ is currently appealing for support. In Lebanon and Jordan, Oxfam is helping families get the essential supplies they need, while protecting public health with clean water and safe sanitation. In war-torn Syria, we are supporting repairs to damaged water networks and helping keep clean water flowing to hundreds of thousands of people.
Rotary NZ World Community Service is going to appeal soon
TEAR Fund is currently appealing for support. TEAR Fund are working on the front lines of bordering countries where refugees are fleeing. Their partners are in refugee camps setting up child friendly spaces to help prevent children from being trafficked or exploited. We’re also offering trauma support and counselling to help them through the trauma they’ve experienced
UNICEF is currently appealing for support. UNICEF is supplying safe drinking water and food, and setting up child-friendly tents for Syrian children who've crossed into Macedonia. And in Lebanon, which is home to the greatest number of Syrian refugees, we are working around the clock trying to ensure the rights of each child are being met.
World Vision NZ is currently appealing for support. World Vision is on the ground right now providing life-saving aid to children and their families fleeing the Syrian conflict. We have been responding to the Syrian conflict since 2011 and have reached more than two million people with food, water, shelter and education.
Kathmandu hit hardest by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April, 2015 (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
On 25 April, 2015, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck 77 kilometres northwest of Nepal's capital Kathmandu, toppling office blocks and towers and killing thousands of people.
On 12 May, a new earthquake measuring 7.3 magnitude struck Nepal. The epicentre was southeast of Kodari, an area already affected by the 25 April Earthquake.
NDRF members are working with partners to respond to the impacts of the earthquake in Nepal. The following agencies have launched public appeals to support their efforts in the response:
Jacob Tallah, coffee chairman of Nasi Tuan sits outside the rubble of his home on Tanna Island after Cyclone Pam (Photo by Helen Manson - Tearfund)
Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu as an extremely destructive category 5 cyclone on the evening of 13 March 2015, causing serious damage to infrastructure and leaving debris strewn across the capital. At the end of March, the storm had affected around 166,000 people on 22 islands who are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. Approximately 15,000 homes have been reported to be destroyed or damaged throughout the provinces of Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea, and 75,000 are in need of emergency shelter.
A number of New Zealand NGOs are responding in Vanuatu - here are brief details of their appeals.
Visit their websites for more information on how you can support their ongoing work.
ADRA - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to support the response to Tropical Cyclone Pam by providing local communities in need with safety, food parcesls, and access to water.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand - Caritas staff members Mark Mitchell is working with the Diocesan Disaster Committee (DDC) to help coordinate humanitarian relief efforts. More than 1500 Caritas tarpaulins have arrived and are being distributed to provide shelter for those displaced.
cbm - cbm has launched a general appeal to support disaster affected communities, particularly those people with disabilities and their families.
ChildFund - ChildFund are raising funds to rebuild school water tanks and santiation facilities as well as provide water purification tablets and hygiene and health messages to affected communities.
CWS - CWS is working to provide: food, water, sanitation, hygiene kits, non-food items and water tanks, solar power, seeds, farm tools, medical care, health education, literacy and further disaster preparedness measures as well as rebuilding schools and health clinics. The programme will assist people on the Shepherd Islands, Tanna, Erromango, Pentecost, Ambae, Santo, Sanma, Penama, Efate, Epi, Paama, Sola.
Habitat for Humanity - Habitat for Humanity is sending staff to Vanuatu to assess the situation. Based on funding availability, the longer-term response will follow Habitat’s model of assisting affected communities with housing solutions ranging from emergency shelter interventions to permanent home reconstruction.
Oxfam - In the emergency phase, Oxfam are providing affected communities with clean water, hygiene kits and shelter material. In the longer term, Oxfam will have support communities to restore their livelihoods.
Rotary - Rotary NZ World Community Service (RNZWCS) now has 1,000 Emergency Response Kits either in Vanuatu or en route. 600 left on HMNZS Canterbury. Rotary are raising money to replace the stock sent to Vanuatu and planning to provide safe drinking water for 75 communities. In addition, Rotary are planning to reestablish home vegetable gardens for the most vulable families.
Save the Children - Save the Children are raising funds to distribute equipment to provide clean water to communities, emergency shelter kits for home repairs, hygiene equipment to keep communities clean, safe and healthy essential household items including blankets and mattresses.
TEAR Fund - TEAR Fund is responding on the main Island of Efate, and on the Island of Tanna and are partnership with other local agencies to provide emergency assistance. TEAR Fund will focus on providing agricultural support, seeds and tools to feed families and help get the local economy up and running again.
UNICEF - UNICEF aims to provide children and their families access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, life savings health interventions, and education and protection.
World Animal Protection - World Animal Protection teams are working to ensure that farmers' livestock and families and their pets are taken care of by providing life-saving veterinary treatment, urgent medical supplies and emergency feed.
World Vision - World Vision has 80 staff working in six provinces across Vanuatu. World Vision is providing water, food, blankets, tarpaulins, and shelter, hygiene, kitchen and baby kits to affected families. They also plan to provide livelihood recovery, school rehabilitation and rebuilding disaster resilience structures.
For the latest situation reports on Vanuatu, visit Reliefweb
For the latest news, visit the NDRF news archive