(Bloomberg) – Californians are suffering an historic drought, Brazilians are rationing water and Chile’s Atacama desert is creeping south. Now Caribbean nations from Jamaica to Trinidad that have been praying for rain are counting their losses.
A region vulnerable to devastating hurricanes, the Caribbean is enduring its worst drought in at least five years due to the El Nino weather pattern. The phenomenon, which has dried Canadian wheat fields, caused palm oil prices to rise and risks boosting global food inflation, is leaving some islands with as little as half their average rainfall.
Puerto Rico has reduced access to water for almost 350,000 customers. Dominican mango growers are producing less than half of the more than 100 varieties they grow due to a dearth of rain and dependable irrigation systems. In western Jamaica, a brush fire exacerbated by dry conditions destroyed hundreds of acres of the famed Blue Mountain coffee crop.