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El Niño Emergency

Unpredictable weather patterns are affecting as many as 4.7 million people in the Pacific. Papua New Guinea and Fiji currently face extreme hunger, poverty, and disease due to El Niño’s alternating patterns of drought, flooding, and frost.

El Niño is a periodic warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean which occurs every two to seven years, creating extreme weather conditions in several regions of the world. Once an El Niño event begins, it can last from six months to two years. One of the strongest El Niño periods occurred between 1997 and 1998, causing up to $US 96 billion of damage worldwide. The current El Niño rivals that of the 1997-1998 event, adding weight to volatile and erratic weather patterns in the Pacific.

algae water croppped2

In Papua New Guinea and Fiji, El Nino has exacerbated drought conditions, affecting 2.4 million and 30,000 people respectively.  This has made it difficult for populations to access water. Fiji has already overspent its water delivery budget by a third, and in Papua New Guinea only 40% of the population have access to safe drinking water. Children are adversely affected with schools closing due to a lack of water, children unable to attend school due to pressure to collect food and water, and disease risks from dirty water sources. El Nino also commonly results in the increase of water-borne illnesses like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid as well as malaria and dengue fever, affecting children the most. 

El Niño Emergency


children in East Sepik die from preventable causes each year


children in Papua New Guinea have benefited from good hygiene training.


affected by the drought in Fiji


of Fiji's population consists of children

What we've achieved so far

Save The Children has been active in the Pacific for decades. We are working to improve access to water and food within affected communities in both Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Children being tested for malnutirion El Nino drought 2016

In Fiji we are constructing local water and toilet facilities near schools, so that children can continue to go to school without the risk of getting sick.

We will also be teaching improved water management and good hygiene practices, so that communities can manage their water supplies and minimise the chance of children being exposed to dangerous illnesses.

In Papua New Guinea, we are working to ensure children and their families have access to safe water and sanitation.

We are also working to ensure the nutritional needs of children are met, distributing lifesaving food and micronutrients to children suffering from malnutrition.

How to help

We invite you to become a monthly donor, so that your donation can provide lifesaving aid to children in Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

Give monthly