BOGOTA, July 25 Colombia has launched an
emergency plan to combat the impact of the El Nino weather
phenomenon, which has led to drought in several regions of the
Andean nation, causing the death of livestock and damage to
Among the measures that were announced by President Juan
Manuel Santos late on Thursday were drilling water wells,
purchasing water trucks, subsidizing animal feed and offering
financing to the agricultural sector.
Santos also said Colombia would buy helicopters and other
equipment to fight wildfires sparked by the hot dry weather.
El Nino, which can last more than a year, significantly
raises surface temperatures in the central and eastern areas of
the tropical Pacific, a phenomenon linked to major climate
fluctuations around the world.
While water rationing has not been introduced, Santos urged
Colombians to reduce consumption, saying the worst of the
drought is still to come.
"What we've seen is only the start, meaning that the
phenomenon in all its intensity could last from October to March
or April of next year," he told reporters after an emergency
There is a 75 to 80 percent probability that the phenomenon
will reach its height between October and December, according to
the World Meteorological Organization, an agency of the United
Analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll last month cited El Nino
as one of the reasons they raised their 2014 inflation forecast
for Colombia to 3.4 percent, above the central bank's goal of 3
(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb;
Editing by Peter Galloway)