ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is among the 20 countries which are at risk of excessive rainfall as the El Nino oceanographic phenomenon forecast returns in June following three years of La Nina, according to a report prepared by the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

While 20 countries are at risk of excessive rainfall, 42 countries are also at risk of the effects of El Nino with the risk of dry conditions, the report says.

The countries at risk of excessive rainfall are: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhu­tan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkiye, Turkm­e­nistan, United States and Uzbekistan.

The report released on Wednesday aimed to highlight countries where El Nino-induced dry weather conditions could occur and have an adverse impact on cereal production in 2023-24, potentially aggravating local food insecurity.

Forecast to return in June 2023, the El Nino oceanographic phenomenon was a key driver of extreme weather events that pose high risks to global food security. Already in 2022, the number of people facing acute food insecurity was projected to reach up to 222 million in 53 countries/territories, according to the latest Hunger Hotspots report.

The report said the world experienced a third consecutive La Nina event in 2022 and early 2023, a rare occurrence that has happened only twice since 1950. La Nina events are commonly associated with wetter conditions in Australia and drier conditions in the US, South America and East Africa.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2023

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