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Drought Threatens Food Security in West Africa

Posted by feww on April 19, 2012

Millions of people facing severe food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa

A severe drought has led to a poor harvest, especially in Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, and Burkina Faso, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

  • Sahel region’s agricultural production has fallen by at least 25 percent since 2010.
  • The region’s grain harvest is down by at least 1.4 million metric tons, reports said.
  •  Mauritania, the worst hit country, has experienced a 52 percent drop in crop production since last year.
  • Drought has also slashed Sahelian cereal production by 26 percent as compared to last year, said FAO.
  • Chad and Gambia are experiencing 50 percent drops in their productions.
  • Food prices in the region have risen by about 25 percent above the 5-year average, with further rises of up to 30 percent anticipated in the next few months.
  • “The combined threat of drought, high food prices, displacement and chronic poverty is affecting millions of people in 2012 as a new food crisis emerges across the Sahel Region. Food insecurity and malnutrition are recurrent in the region with more than 16 million people directly at risk this year.” FAO said.
  • “Severe fodder shortages are leading to early transhumance and changing livestock corridors, causing tensions to rise between communities and at border areas.”

Other Global Disasters, Significant Events

  • Hawaii. The Disaster President has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii following widespread damage caused by severe storms, flooding, and landslides during the period of March 3-11, 2012.
  • Mexico. Popocatépetl Volcano Update

Popocatépetl Volcano (April 19, 2012 @ 00:53:07GMT) 

Popocatépetl Volcano (“smoking mountain” in Aztec) is North America’s 2nd-highest volcano. The massive stratovolcano stands 5,450m high and lies about 65 kilometers (40 miles)  southeast of  Mexico City (19.023°N, 98.622°W ) in the eastern segment of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. Mexico’s Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) has warned of large scale explosions, with high probability of  incendiary fragments and ash showers. Image source:  CENAPRED, Mexico.

The following is the latest bulletin issued by CENAPRED

April 19 07:00 (Apr 19  12:00 GMT)

The monitoring system of Popocatepetl detected 15 exhalations middle range, the most important one occurred yesterday at 19:51 hrs. driving a considerable amount of ash the eastern direction (see Figure 4) . Likewise there was 2h 30min with tremor which began at 00:34 hrs (local time)and ended at 03:05 hrs. (local time) The images and features of the tremor can be found in the previous update.

Apr 19 02:30 (07:30 GMT Apr 19)
At 00:34 hrs began registering a spasmodic tremor with some signs of exhalation, the most intense phase began at 01:12 hrs. and continuing until 2:16 pm. The clouds present in the area does not allow the visibility of the volcano, but from the 1:18 pm shows crater glow and an exhalation of water vapor and gas accompanied by ash (see figure 1) . So do not rule out the possibility of ashfall in the eastern sector of the volcano (see Figure 2) . Approximately

at 01:44 you can see incandescent materials that reach a height of about 1 km (see Figure 3) .

The traffic light alert signal remains in Yellow Phase 3. This level implies:

1. Announcing the situation and measures taken to the public and the media. 2. Prepare personnel, equipment and evacuation shelters. 3. Implement specific measures in the most vulnerable. 4. Implement preventive measures against ash fall, lahars and against fragments in vulnerable regions. 5. Alert air navigation systems.6. Limit access to the volcano over a larger area.

Above image was taken on April 14 by SCT, which shows dome 36 growing inside the crater.   Image source:  CENAPRED, Mexico.

Global Drought

Recent Global Drought Links

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background 

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