On the 23 August to celebrate World Humanitarian Day UNIC Canberra organised a Diplomatic briefing via Webex by the UN Resident Coordinator, Papua New Guinea, Mr Roy Trivedy.
The briefing was focused on the El Nino climate pattern over the last year, its impact on Papua New Guinea and the corresponding humanitarian efforts to assist communities.
Beginning his briefing, Mr Trivedy said that the El Nino brought with it severe drought and frosts which was catastrophic for a country like Papua New Guinea which has 80 percent of its population heavily reliant of subsistence agriculture.
He explained the various impacts of the El Nino and how communities struggled to cope. One main issue was the lack of rainfall which resulted in the rivers and rainwater catchments drying up leading to a drastic decrease in access to clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. And where communities were reliant on waterways for transport the drop in water level caused difficulties in accessing markets, he said.
In addition to these problems drought created food shortages and food insecurity as food gardens wouldn’t grow – resulting in some communities having to rely on wild crops and berries which is generally regarded as famine food, he added.
BANGKOK, 23 August 2016 – Scientists and researchers were today urged to provide “solutions and guidance” so that policymakers are able to effectively address the challenge of escalating disaster risk.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr Robert Glasser, said successive record-breaking hot months because of climate change were a “frightening development” that makes the need for risk-informed policymaking even more pressing.
“This is a critical time in the history of the planet when many look to the science and technology community for solutions and guidance. Politicians and policymakers are challenged on a daily basis by extreme weather events, poverty, environmental decline, population growth, rapid urbanisation and – most fundamentally – climate change. In short, the major drivers of disaster risk,” Mr Glasser said.
June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat for land and oceans. It marked the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. The last month with temperatures below the 20th century average was December 1984.
The global average surface temperature in 2015 is likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era. This is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Continue reading →
A text messaging system which helped communities in Vanuatu recover from the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam, is also helping communities to prepare for the next potential drought disaster with the impending El Nino. To help Tropical Cyclone Pam-affected people keep their food supply safe, two separate pre and post-cyclone campaign Text messages were sent to 90,000 people around Vanuatu. Continue reading →
It can be all too easy to think of adverse weather events such as El Niño as simply that – a cyclical warming of Pacific ocean waters that causes varying types of unseasonal weather; rain, flooding and elevated sea levels affecting low-lying atoll nations near the equator, paralysing drought affecting more populous countries in the Pacific south west. In parallel with this, a longer and more intense cyclone season generated by El Niño threatens almost all Pacific countries – a phenomenon expected to last well into 2016. Continue reading →