In global news, El Niño, a complex series of climatic changes commonly occurring in the winter,  has caused droughts and floods, leading to a substantial food crisis in parts of Asia, Latin America, and southern Africa, which was the area hardest hit.  Now, in the second year in a row without rain, the people of southern Africa are facing one of the most severe food shortages the region has ever faced.  Up to 50 million people in the region will need food by the end of the year.  The countries of Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Angola, and Swaziland have already declared national emergencies due to the crisis. While plans are in place to reach those targeted, funding for food assistance during the first quarter of 2017 is urgently required. 

Livestock drink from a drying river outside Utrecht, a small town in the northwest of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Nov. 8, 2015. Kenya and Uganda are bracing for floods, while South Africa and Malawi are already grappling with drought as a result of this year’s strengthening El Niño weather phenomenon.

Photo: Rueters