Guatemala City, August 21 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Over 1.6 million Central American and Caribbean farmers and their families have been seriously affected by a severe drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, prompting officials of the region's countries on Thursday to declare an agricultural alert. In Guatemala alone, according to a recent report, at least one million people are suffering hunger due to the drought and the crops is has destroyed. In Honduras, 10 municipalities are now officially experiencing famine. Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, hundreds of thousands of households in San Juan and along the country's north coast are being limited to two days a week of water use. The Central American and Caribbean ministers of agriculture met in El Salvador's capital San Salvador to discuss the ill-effects of El Niño, which international experts say is building up to be stronger than many previous years. The officials explained that declaring the agricultural alert implies that aid and assistance will be given to the families affected, as well as coordination between the region's countries to receive international cooperation. They added that it also includes technical assistance to farming families so they can deal with the damages caused by the drought to their crops and cattle. The ministers said their governments are mulling the application of policies aimed at adapting to climate change, protecting coffee plantations facing the roya fungus plague affecting them and the implementation of a family agricultural plan in the next six months. Central America and the Caribbean are particularly affected each year by climate change and El Niño due to their geographic location, which generates multi million-dollar losses. The lack of rains has left millions of Central American farmers without their subsistence crops, such as corn, beans and rice.
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