El Niño (ENSO) Flood Prevention

Help Artisanal Miners Protect Their Mines​

El Niño predicts an 80% chance for East Africa to receive exponentially higher normal rainfall levels at serious flooding levels over the next 6 months. Help us equip artisanal colored gemstone miners to protect their mines with a $160 donation.

What is El Niño (ENSO)?

El Niño is one of the main weather-causing phenomena on Earth, occurring approximately every two to seven years and typically peaking between November and January. Warnings can be identified months in advance and the ripple effect can take months to reach the far corners of the globe.


“During an El Niño event, the surface waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean become significantly warmer than usual. That change is intimately tied to the atmosphere and to the winds blowing over the vast Pacific. Because of the vastness of the Pacific basin—covering one-third of the planet—these wind and humidity changes get transmitted around the world, disrupting circulation patterns such as jet streams (strong upper-level winds). We know these large-scale shifts in Pacific winds and waters initiate El Niño”

NASA, Earth Observatory


Prevention Strategies

Gem Legacy will recommend the most effective strategy for each mine’s topographical geography, location, and mine orientation.


fill and properly place bags to act as a barrier around the mine.

Trench Digging

cut a trough around the mine area and a trench or ditch to redirect the flow of water away from the mine opening(s).

Water Storage

provide resources to capture and store rainwater, since water is an ongoing challenge for most mines.

$160 Sponsors 1 Mine's Flood Prevention and Water Storage

In person support will include a mine safety assessment, tools for prevention and water storage (bags, shovels, a 500L water container), and an informational session about the upcoming weather conditions and preventative measures.

More Details About El Niño

“The last El Niño was in 2015/16 when downpours of torrential rains caused landslides, flash floods, and buildings to collapse. The United Nations (U.N.) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported in April 2016 that 60 million people across Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America needed food assistance due to weather extremes from the 2015-16 El Niño. Looking back at 1997-98, the U.N. attributed more than 20,000 deaths and $36 billion in infrastructure damage to that El Niño.”

Governments and disaster management agencies are advised to take all necessary measures to save lives and livelihoods. Local governments are already recommending that people move out of low geographical areas, etc. This flooding would cause serious damage to mines and lives if they are unprepared, as it did in the 2015/16, 2007, and 1998 floods.

“The Greater Horn of Africa is finally emerging from three years of devastating drought, with above average rainfall predicted for the forthcoming season. Whilst this is a welcome prospect, it is accompanied by the risk that flooding will impact local communities and livelihoods. Notably, there is an exceptionally high probability (more than 80%) of experiencing wetter-than-usual rainfall in southern Ethiopia, eastern Kenya, and southern Somalia. Another climate phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole is developing over the Indian Ocean and may strengthen the El Niño impacts.”

Governmental organizations are predicting an 80% (“exceptionally high probability”) that these exacerbated conditions will occur in Gem Legacy’s areas of work in Tanzania and Kenya. We are choosing to help miners prepare and protect their miners for the 80% chance predicted, aware that our efforts may not be needed should the predictions be incorrect.

Gem Legacy will continue to monitor the situation from the ground and assess miners’ needs for further assistance, such as expanded flood prevention techniques, water storage, and food insecurity relief. Gem Legacy is committed to quickly and effectively supporting miners needs as they change.

Gem Legacy’s goal is always to provide the tools to equip and encourage artisanal mining communities, but not to sustain them. In that vein, Gem Legacy will provide the tools and education to equip miners to implement flood prevention techniques at their mines.

Gem Legacy appreciates that the decision to support artisanal colored gemstone miners in this way comes with a 20% risk (according to current predictions) that your donation and our efforts may not be needed. We thank you for making it possible for us to provide preventative materials and knowledge to them. Should El Niño not occur in these regions at flooding levels, the provided tools and water storage containers will still be highly beneficial in the mining operations.

The capacity of Gem Legacy’s support will depend on our fundraising efforts and our team’s time on the ground. We will continue to expand our delivery region until it is no longer effective to do so (whether by the presence of El Niño effects or lack thereof).

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