At least 10 million poor people face hunger this year and next because of droughts and erratic rains linked to record global temperatures and an expected “super” version of the evolving El Nino weather pattern, aid charity Oxfam has warned. In Ethiopia alone, 4.5 million people need food aid because a combination of El Nino and long-term climate change has made the rainy season more unpredictable, according to United Nations agencies.

El Nino, caused by Pacific Ocean warming, leads to dry weather in some parts of the world and causes floods in others. This year the phenomenon is expected to peak between October and January and could turn into one of the strongest on record. The last “super El Nino” was in 1997-8. “Rice and maize crops are both at risk, with serious implications for millions of poor people from Southern Africa to Central America who are dependent on these staples,” Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday. CONTINUE