SOLOMON ISLANDS FACES EL NIÑO DROUGHT

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 30, 2002 - SIBC/PINA Nius Online)---The Solomon Islands is currently heading into an El Niño drought, just like neighboring Papua New Guinea, Meteorological Service acting director Chanel Iroi said.

The country will experience reduced or below average rainfall for much of this year, continuing into next year, he added.

El Niño is a weather anomaly blamed for worldwide droughts and floods. It involves an above average warming of waters in the eastern Pacific that occurs every four to five years. This distorts wind and rainfall patterns.

Mr. Iroi warned that the expected reduced rainfall will affect the growth and supply of agricultural crops, dry up streams and otherwise decrease water supply.

He said other sectors that will be affected include:

The drought comes as a blow to a country already facing an economic crisis because of the more than two years of ethnic conflict and continuing law and order problems.

Mr. Iroi advised the national government and the people of the Solomon Islands to take appropriate actions to reduce the likely impacts of El Niño.

If there is a tropical cyclone affecting the country during this coming cyclone season, it will certainly give much needed rainfall, he said.

But he said it is also noted that during an El Niño, the number of cyclones likely to affect Western Pacific countries, including the Solomon Islands, will be reduced.

Already in Papua New Guinea:

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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