El Nino to hit us again

National

By NAOMI WASE
THE people have been warned to brace themselves for another El Nino-induced drought soon, similar to one two years ago which badly affected thousands of citizens.
The National Disaster Centre is leading the planning for the natural disaster forecast for August this year so that the mistakes in 2015 and 2016, especially the lack of preparation, are avoided.
Centre director Martin Mose said planning was underway for the El Nino conditions predicted by global and regional climate agencies to happen in August.
It is likely to bring drier-than-normal conditions to PNG.
“In the past when El Nino happens, everybody starts going out and responding everywhere. We don’t like to do that (again) because we can miss the areas heavily affected and we can waste too much time on areas less affected,” Mose told The National.
He said their planning was based on scientific information from the regional integrated multi-hazard early warning system and the National Weather Service.
“It will show us exactly what area in the country is going to be affected and so we can focus our response effort accordingly,” he said.
The Government in its 2016 national budget allocated K220 million towards the drought recovery programmes. It also had to table a 2015 Supplementary Budget to address the shortfalls in revenue caused by factors including the closure of the Ok Tedi mine in Western.
Mose said the El Nino in 2015 and 2016 was challenging because they were still organising themselves when it struck.
“But because of our responsible Government, we were able to mobilise resources with the help of the United Nations,” he said.
He said for this year, they would be more prepared. National Weather Service assistant director Jimmy Gomoga said so far, the El Nino thresholds had not been reached.

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