Millions may face hunger, water shortages in 2016 due to possibly most destructive El Niño to hit world

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Source: Christian Today

Millions of Americans experienced an unusually warm Christmas this year, with temperature even reaching 70 degrees Fahrenheit along the East Coast, due to the El Niño phenomenon.

For those living in the South and Midwest, meanwhile, El Niño caused a deadly storm that brought near-record flooding, claiming the lives of more than 30 people and rendering thousands homeless during the holidays.
The worst, however, is still to come, according to forecasts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The space agency has warned that the most destructive El Niño may be experienced around the world this year, and millions may face hunger, water shortages due to droughts and diseases that come with the warm temperature.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which measures sea surface heights, generated a new satellite image last Dec. 27 which, according to the space agency, “bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997.”

It may be recalled that during this period, Australia experienced deadly heatwaves, parts of Indonesia were devastated because of forest fires, and Peru and California were severely flooded due to record rainfall—all caused by the worst El Niño on record.

The devastating weather conditions caused some 23,000 deaths between 1997 and 1998, according to estimates made by NBC News.

Aid agency Oxfam International warned that the same extreme conditions may be experienced this year in different parts of the world due to the predicted intense El Niño.

“The El Niño weather system could leave tens of millions of people facing hunger, water shortages and disease [this] year if early action isn’t taken to prepare vulnerable people from its effects,” the agency said in a press release, as quoted by the USA Today.

Matt Sitkowski, a coordinating weather producer at The Weather Channel, meanwhile warned of destructive storms affecting California this year due to El Niño.

“The fear is some of these storms come and you get too much at once, which could lead to flooding concerns,” Sitkowski told USA Today. “It doesn’t take much in parts of California.”

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