Over the coming months, countries on the equator can expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels presenting challenges for low-lying atolls already feeling the impacts of climate change. The more populous countries of the Pacific south west will see conditions get drier from now on with some eventually slipping into drought.
An El Niño event increases the number, severity and range of Pacific cyclones. These cyclones will bring much-needed rain to the region but experts warn this kind of rainfall may not do much to immediately alleviate protracted drought conditions.
The 1997/98 El Niño brought severe drought to Fiji including water and food shortages. Schools were forced to close and the country's economy was hit hard as export crops failed. Many farmers are worried a repeat of this disaster could be on the way.
Communities can prepare themselves so they are more resilient to the impacts of El Niño. Planting drought resistant crops, installing water tanks and good hygiene are among the steps Pacific Islanders can take to get ready for what is to come.