Colombia’s meteorological institute has warned that all 32 states are threatened by drought associated with the weather phenomenon known as El Niño, according to newspaper El Tiempo.
This comes one week after the same government agency, the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), claimed that El Niño would be weak.
But, IDEAM claimed, even a week El Niño can cause severe water shortages. “If it arrives, it would coincide with the first three months of 2015, which are very dry,” claimed Omar Franco, the institute’s director.
IDEAM estimated that the likelihood of El Niño occurring this year exceeds 60%.
Much of Colombia is already experiencing serious drought, with the northeast region of La Guajira being hit particularly hard. Protests demanding humanitarian aid from the national government erupted last month, resulting in several injuries and arrests.
Much of La Guarija’s economy and food security rests on agriculture and cattle ranching, both of which have been hit hard by the drought.
A decrease in crop yields, increased incidences of sickness among animals and humans alike, and infrastructural damage are among the expected consequences of El Niño.