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October 18, 2023


The National Meteorological Service of Argentina announced the arrival of El Niño. It is a complex phenomenon, its meteorological name is El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and it may imply an increase in rains and storms in some areas of southern South America.

It is a natural climatic phenomenon that has a recurrence of between 2 and 7 years. Its impact on the climate is global in scale and varies depending on the region of the planet and the time of year in which it occurs. As for the quarter that runs from September, October and November 2023, forecasts indicate that there is a 99% probability that El Niño conditions will persist.

El Niño in Argentina

All in all, under the influence of El Niño, the frequency and intensity of rains tends to increase in most of central-eastern and northern argentinian regions, especially in the provinces of Misiones, Corrientes and northern Santa Fe.

These provinces are the ones most closely linked to the El Niño phenomenon, and this comes down to seasons where the risk of floods, river flooding, intense storms, among other impacts, increases.

It should also be noted that springs with El Niño tend to be rainier in the province of Buenos Aires, the south of the Littoral area and the northwest of Patagonia.

The World Health Organization (OMS) released a document warning that global climate phenomenon El Niño will generate effects on the health of Latin Americans. Specifically, it could intensify malnutrition and cases of dengue, Zika and Chikungunya.

Through the writing titled Analysis of the Public Health Situation, WHO identifies current and potential health impacts that vulnerable populations may face as a result of climate change.

The forecast rainfall, which is below normal, combined with the probability of higher temperatures, contribute to intensifying the conditions of drought.

At the same time, “there is a greater potential risk of dengue and other arboviruses such as chikungunya and Zika between July and September, when dry conditions can increase Aedes mosquito breeding sites due to greater water storage around homes, and higher temperatures reduce the extrinsic incubation period of viruses.”

As the statement notes, El Niño and La Niña usually last between nine and twelve months, so far most models suggest that El Niño will persist at least until the end of 2023.

The impact El Niño also concerns the Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO), which in a virtual meeting encouraged the health sector to prepare to better respond to the impact that El Niño could have.

“The El Niño phenomenon and the hurricane season are a call to review where we are as a health sector, what are the possible scenarios regarding the risk of intense rains and hurricanes, and plan the measures to be taken,” considered Leonardo Hernández, head of the PAHO Emergency Operations Unit.

During the meeting, authorities were urged to update and review hospital contingency plans and the health services network, evacuate health centers that could suffer structural damage, ensure the purchase and strategic location of essential medical supplies, and redistribute health personnel to face a sudden increase in demand for care, and prepare communication materials for the prevention of health risks for the population.

Chau Mosquito

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