LESOTHO is among seven southern African countries set to benefit from €12 million (M187.7 million) the European Union (EU) will disburse to mitigate the effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon.
The EU announced on Wednesday it would contribute €125 million to finance emergency actions in countries affected by El Niño in Africa and the Caribbean.
According to the bloc, of the €125 million, €12 million would go towards assisting 7,8 million people in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Madagascar and Zimbabwe being affected by the phenomenon.
The support would combine humanitarian and development assistance, as well as addressing immediate needs of nutrition, water and sanitation, health and shelter.
“It will provide support to health structures, provision of food and safe drinking water, supplementary food for pregnant women and children. It will also help build resilience in the most exposed countries by enhancing disaster preparedness, early response mechanisms, and supporting long-term development solutions,” the EU announced in a statement.
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said the aid would help meet the urgent needs of affected populations, support resilience efforts and make the beneficiaries better-equipped to face natural disasters in the future.
Mr Stylianides also noted the El Niño phenomenon was already affecting millions, especially in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.
“This shows how fragile we are in the face of nature. This is even more visible in regions that are already vulnerable, as they are the ones most affected. The EU is here to help them deal with the consequences of El Niño,” he said.
“Our aid will help meet the urgent needs of the populations, but it will also support resilience efforts, making them better-equipped to face natural disasters in the future.”
El Niño is a periodic climatic phenomenon characterised by inadequate rain in some parts of the world and floods in others. Under El Niño, parts of South America experience heavy rainfall, while dry conditions prevail in Australia, south-east Asia and southern Africa.
El Niño used to occur in varying degrees of severity after every five years, but since the 1990s, has become more frequent due to global warming.
This time around, weather experts forecast the phenomenon to peak between October and March, with the current El Niño expected to be the strongest on record, surpassing the 1997/1998 ‘El Niño of the century’.