El Niño

How the Australian Government is helping

El Niño is an abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the Pacific that can significantly affect weather patterns around the world. The 2015-16 El Niño event was one of the strongest ever recorded and its impact was felt across the world from mid-2015 onwards. The event peaked in early January 2016 and is now in gradual decline.

An Ethiopian man sitting on dry ground
El Niño weather conditions contributed to the worst drought in Ethiopia in more than 50 years. Credit: Kebede Gizachew Ayalew / World Vision

Although El Niño is weakening, the humanitarian impact will continue to grow, with issues of food insecurity in the most affected regions expected to peak between December 2016 and April 2017. Australia’s approach has been to support affected countries and communities prepare for the worst. Australia has provided $36.1 million globally in response to the 2015-16 El Niño event. This includes $9.5 million in the Pacific and $10 million to Ethiopia.

Hands holding water
Australian Government funds have helped CARE Australia to provide clean water to drought-affected areas in PNG. Credit: Sam Bolitho/CARE Australia

Australia has also deployed numerous Australian Civilian Corps and RedR specialists around the world to respond to the humanitarian impact of the El Niño event.

Current climate model outlooks suggest a 70 percent chance of La-Niña forming later in 2016. La Niña can influence weather patterns in areas affected by El Niño, potentially affecting already stressed regions with back-to-back years of extreme climate. Australia will continue to monitor the impact of El Niño and the implications of La Niña.

How you can help

If you would like to contribute to Australia's response to the impacts of El Niño please consider donating to an agency working with affected communities. The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) provides advice on how you can support Australian aid agencies responding to El Niño. ACFID also has advice on financial donations and volunteer opportunities.

For more on Australia's humanitarian efforts, follow @AusHumanitarian on Twitter.

Last Updated: 17 August 2016