Readers React: Climate change and El Niño: East Africa is already suffering

To the editor: It is heartening to see so many California business leaders and state officials, with strong support from Gov. Jerry Brown, attending the United Nations climate change summit in Paris. Your coverage of climate change has made readers aware of the potential positive and negative impacts of El Niño on California. (“California isn’t a country, so why are so many in the state headed to climate talks in Paris?,” Dec. 2)

What your readers may not know is that El Niño already has generated one of the worst food crises to hit East Africa in three decades. Scientists cite the current El Niño weather event as the major cause of severe drought in Ethiopia and Somalia, putting millions of East Africans at risk.

El Niño, in fact, threatens to undo many of the hard-won gains made by the Ethiopian government in food security, education and reduced mortality rates. My group, Save the Children, estimates that at least 4.6 million boys and girls need food assistance, and that number is growing.

Although Ethiopia has never been better prepared to deal with a major food crisis, El Niño’s impact is now so severe that more help is needed. As the East Africa food crisis demonstrates, climate change poses a threat to all of us, especially our children.


Carolyn Miles, Fairfield, Conn.

The writer is president and chief executive of Save the Children.

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