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Early warning on El Niño

A first step in developing an early warning system for reducing the impact of the El Niño climate phenomenon in Latin America and the Caribbean will be carried out by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The program will analyze the abilities of national weather and climate and forecasting agencies and pinpoint those areas and population groups most vulnerable to floods and drought caused by El Niño.

The IDB will contribute $998,000 from the Japan Special Fund to support the program, which has a total cost of $1,538,000.

The most recent El Niño episode of 1997–98 caused serious problems throughout the region, with Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Peru declaring states of emergency.

The new program will include measures to improve government forecasting systems and to boost the capacity of government agencies to take measures to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and to provide relief services.

Participating in the program are the International Food Policy Research Institute, the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The launching of the new program follows the completion of an earlier study carried out by the wmo, Spain’s National Meteorological Institute, and United States, Canadian and Latin American consultants, on ways to improve short- to medium-term weather forecasting.

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