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In South America, a great percentage of the population depends on natural resources, agriculture and animals in order to survive. When there are any types of fluctuations in the environment or the weather, there is a great percentage of people that has to encounter difficult situations. El Niño, is a great example of a phenomenon that comes and goes leaving its scar on many.
This term was used by the fishermen in Peru, who called it “El Niño”. They were the ones who noticed this change of temperature in the Pacific Ocean, and associated this change on the water with the arrival of Jesus Christ, or “El niño Jesus” , since they noticed the changes came normally at the end of December, close to Christmas. This phenomenon affects the temperature of the water and it brings a double-faced season, either provoking flooding or droughts. This radical change occurs in intervals from 2 to 7 years, and they tend to last around twelve to eighteen months.
“In the last 40 years, there has been around nine Niño’s that have had a great impact worldwide”. A very unique characteristic of El Niño, is that whereas in South America the risk of flooding is higher on the other side of the Pacific, as in Indonesia, or Australia the effect is the opposite bringing droughts instead of floods or vice versa. The phenomenon starts in the Tropical Pacific Ocean, near Australia and Indonesia. The atmospheric pressure is altered and it affects even distant zones such as Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. The winds blow from east to best, and this provokes an increase in water and temperature in the occidental part of the Pacific Ocean.
Many cities and towns in South America lack a good infrastructure of houses and water canals. With flooding emergence, inundations bring disastrously effects for people living in villages or closed to the seashores. A good example is the Province of Manabi located in Ecuador, where people live in houses made of Cane, normally built two meters on top of the ground. This infrastructure is made because this province lacks a good draining system and where floods appear people protect their homes and belongings by building their houses this way. When the Niño comes, normally provinces, and villages that have a similar situation to Manabi, are the main ones to be affected regarding diseases such as Dengue, and water contamination, since due to the lack of draining system the water accumulates and the bacteria’s in it reproduce rapidly and the risk of infections are extremely high.
The marine ecosystems are also affected due to the Niño, since the water temperature variations affect the marine life. The fish are not used to this drastic changes, so many drift to other environments in order to survive, leading to an economic deficit for the fishing industries and exportation.
Finally, El Niño is a phenomenon that affects several zones in the world, leading to climate change, affecting the human life such as the animal life. Like any other natural catastrophe, there is nothing the human race can do in order to control this phenomenon but the only thing we are left is to be aware o its consequences and prevent the propagation of diseases and infections.