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Written by Joachim Willms [Managing Director]   
On behalf of the EWC [East-West Center]:

New Publication

El Nio Strengthens in the Pacific: Preparing for the Impacts of Drought
by H. Annamalai, Victoria Keener, Matthew J. Widlansky, and Jan Hafner

AsiaPacific Issues, no. 122 (Honolulu: East-West Center, December 2015)
10 pp.
Download PDF file free of charge

A drought is moving through the Pacific Islands, brought by one of the strongest El Nio events since record keeping began 60 years ago. It started in the southwest Pacific, where it has brought famine to Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.  It is expected to reach the South Pacific, tropical West Pacific, and Hawaiian Islands between December 2015 and May 2016, potentially affecting 4.7 million people. While the effect of El Nio in the Pacific Islands receives little global attention, it has already proved severe, particularly among vulnerable island populations. Prolonged drought can compromise not only freshwater supplies and food security, but can also have cascading impacts on public health, economies, food distribution, and even trigger civil unrest. Past experiences with regional drought, current actions being taken, and the most current predictions for El Nios anticipated effects on the Pacific Islands, suggest strategies that governments and aid groups can take to prepare for this powerful climate event.


See related publications below


Papers in the AsiaPacific Issues series address topics of broad interest and significant impact relevant to current and emerging policy debates.  For more information on the series, including submission guidelines, visit

Recent Titles in the AsiaPacific Issues Series

Alternative Waste Solutions for the Pacific Region: Learning from the Hawai'i Experience
by Jordan P. Howell
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 121 (Honolulu: East-West Center, November 2015)

China's Hidden Obstacles to Socioeconomic Rebalancing
by Boy Lthje and Christopher A. McNally
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 120 (Honolulu: East-West Center, October 2015)

The ASEAN Economic Community: What Stands in the Way?
by Jrn Dosch
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 119 (Honolulu: East-West Center, September 2015)

Transforming the Regional Architecture: New Players and Challenges for the Pacific Islands
by Nic Maclellan
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 118 (Honolulu: East-West Center, August 2015)

North Korea and the Sony Hack: Exporting Instability Through Cyberspace
by Stephan Haggard and Jon R. Lindsay
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 117 (Honolulu: East-West Center, May 2015)

Related East-West Center Publications

Disaster and Climate Change Preparedness in American Sāmoa: A Handbook for Communities
by Kati Corlew, PhD

Also available in the Sāmoan language
Sauniuniga mo Puapuaga ma Suiga o le Tau i Amerika Sāmoa
by Kati Corlew, PhD

Disaster and Climate Change Preparedness in Maui:
A Handbook for Communities

by Kati Corlew, PhD

Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts - Report for the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA)
edited by Victoria W. Keener, John J. Marra, Melissa L. Finucane, Deanna Spooner, and Margaret H. Smith

See also
Executive Summary of the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA)

Case Studies from the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA)

Symposium on Climate and Extreme Events in Asia Pacific: Enhancing Resilience and Improving Decision Making
by Eileen L. Shea and A. R. Subbiah
See also
Executive Summary

Preparing for a Changing Climate: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change
by Eileen L. Shea, Glenn Dolcemascolo, Cheryl L. Anderson, Anthony Barnston, Charles P. (Chip) Guard, Michael P. Hamnett, Stephen T. Kubota, Nancy Lewis, Johannes Loschnigg, and Gerald Meehl
See also
Executive Summary

AsiaPacific Issues

No. 98
In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier
by Maxine Burkett

No. 96
Cities at Risk: Asia's Coastal Cities in an Age of Climate Change
by Roland J. Fuchs

No. 91
Forest Communities and REDD Climate Initiatives
by Mark Poffenberger and Kathryn Smith-Hanssen

No. 89
Why Science Alone Won't Solve the Climate Crisis: Managing Climate Risks in the Pacific
by Melissa L. Finucane

No. 66
Living with a Climate in Transition: Pacific Communities Plan for Today and Tomorrow
by Eileen Shea

East-West Dialogue

No. 4
Climate Commitments to 2050: A Roadmap for China
by ZhongXiang Zhang with responses by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Jisun Kim, Raekwon Chung, and Stephen Howes
Recent Publications


Also of interest
Developed by the NOAA Hawaii and Pacific Islands ENSO Tiger Team, which includes Pacific RISA, bringing together expertise in El Nio impacts and applied climate science in the Pacific Islands Region.

Top 20 news items from around the Pacific islands region compiled by the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) and posted on the Internet five days a week.  

ASEAN  |  Japan  |  South Korea  |  Australia
China  |  India  |  Taiwan

an interactive website with analysis, data, and reporting on the importance of Asia to the United States at national, state, and local levels
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Search the East-West Center Publications website for other publications by the East-West Center and its staff. If you have any questions, comments, or need further information, contact the East-West Center Publication Sales Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Copyright 2015 East-West Center, All rights reserved.
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