UNICEF, the United Nations’ child relief agency, is appealing for US$62 million from donors to help children impacted by various crises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Humanitarian agencies are monitoring and responding to droughts and food insecurity in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Reuters reports.
Extreme conditions blamed on El Niño have caused severe droughts, heavy rains, flooding and damage to crops and property.
“El Niño is peaking at the moment and we expect the impacts to come up after the peak,” said Krishna Krishnamurthy, a regional climate risk analyst for the World Food Program.
Krishnamurthy visited East Timor earlier this month and saw areas that were parched even though the rainy season was supposed to have started in November.
“Rivers are completely dry in several parts of the country,” he said, noting some hard-hit areas were deceptively green.
The El Niño phenomenon, occurring every few years and caused by unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean, triggers heavy rains and floods in South America and dry, scorching weather in Asia and East Africa, and usually lasts about one year.
UNICEF launched a US$62 million appeal on Tuesday to help children affected by drought, conflict and other crises, focusing on areas such as nutrition, health, water and sanitation.
Also, it is calling for US$25 million for its work in conflict-affected Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states in Myanmar, as well as US$18 million for North Korea, US$10 million for conflict-affected Mindanao province in the Philippines and US$5 million for Pacific Island countries.
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