El Nino drought leaves millions hungry and in need of drinking water in Vietnam

originally posted on June 21, 2016


An El Niño-induced drought in Vietnam has left one million people in urgent need of food assistance and two million people lacking access to drinking water, Europe’s humanitarian aid agency said.

The country’s worst drought in 90 years coupled with seawater intrusion into the Mekong River delta have destroyed fruit, rice and sugar crops in the world’s third-largest rice exporter after India and Thailand.

“The disruption in precipitation patterns has affected the livelihoods, food security and access to safe water of the people of Vietnam,” Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said in a statement.

El Nino is an abnormal warming of waters in the equatorial Pacific that occurs once every three to four years.

A strong El Nino would normally cause drought in wide swathes of Southeast Asia, with Indonesia and the Philippines bearing the brunt of the drought. The 2015/16 El NIno is the worst since the 1997/98 edition, which just happens to be the worst Nino in recorded history.

The EU’s humanitarian arm ECHO said it would provide 2 million (US$2.3 million) in funding for emergency relief.

“This EU contribution will help provide life-saving assistance to affected families at this critical time, ensuring that their basic needs are met,” Stylianides said.

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