Philippines braces for worst El Nino

Manila, Sep 5 (IANS) The Philippine government have instituted measures to mitigate the effects of the worst El Nino weather phenomenon which is expected to hit the country later this year, the media reported on Saturday.

Environmental watchdog, the EcoWaste Coalition, has called on the public to reduce water and electricity consumption as these two commodities would be the first to be affected by the prolonged drought caused by El Nino, Channel News Asia reported.

The Philippine weather agency said the El Nino phenomenon in the country may intensify from moderate to strong in the last quarter of 2015 up to the first quarter of 2016.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently predicted the occurrence of “one of the strongest El Nino in recorded history” in the coming months, with experts saying that it “has the potential of being the Godzilla El Nino”.

El Nino means The Little Boy, or Christ Child in Spanish. It was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America in the 1600s, with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean.

El Nino occurs every two to seven years in varying intensity and the waters of the eastern Pacific can be up to 4 degrees Celsius warmer than usual.

The l997 El Nino affected 74,000 hectares of agricultural lands in 18 provinces in the Philippines. The impact of the worst-recorded El Nino was most felt in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

More than 74 people died and almost half a million agricultural families experienced hunger because of the drought.

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