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Archive for March 16th, 2016

Drought and Saltwater Intrusion Devastate Crops in Vietnam

Posted by feww on March 16, 2016

Severe drought plagues Vietnam

Severe drought has impacted all provinces in the Mekong Delta, Southern Central and Central highland regions since the end of 2015.

  • 39 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces have requested support from central government to cope with the most severe drought in 90 years.
  • 10 provinces have declared drought emergencies.

Disasters caused by drought and saltwater intrusion include:

  • Paddy Rice damaged: 159,000 ha (393,000 acres)
  • An additional 500,000 ha of paddy rice is likely to be damaged by mid 2016
  • No. of people lacking water for daily consumption: 976,000
  • Provinces in states of emergency: 10
  • Total affected provinces: 39 [total of 63 provinces]

Since the end of 2015, water levels in the lower Mekong River have been at their lowest since records began about 100 years ago. It is estimated that levels of water shortage in the rivers of the Mekong Delta range from 30 – 50%.

Salt water intrusion in the Mekong Delta extends 20 – 25km further inland than seasonal averages.

Saltwater intrusion now stretches 90 – 93km inland in the Vam Co River; 45 – 65km in the Tien River and 55 – 60km in the Hau River. Saltwater intrusion began two months earlier than average, causing severe damage to crops and livelihoods.

[Excerpts from an internal report by the UNDRMT for the period Oct 2015 to March 2016.]

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U.S. Complicit in War Crimes in Yemen: Human Rights Watch

Posted by feww on March 16, 2016

U.S. should cease selling bombs to Saudi Arabia or risk complicity in civilian deaths: HRW

United States should stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, or they could be held accountable for war crimes committed in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said.

In a letter to New York Times, Human Rights Watch’s legal and policy director said:

American support for the Saudi-led coalition, including by providing targeting assistance and air refueling of coalition warplanes, makes the United States a party to the conflict in Yemen under international law. This obligates Washington to investigate coalition airstrikes that may be war crimes for which American forces may be liable.

He added:

Given the coalition’s repeated unlawful attacks in Yemen over the last year, which Human Rights Watch and others have documented, the United States should cease selling bombs to Saudi Arabia or risk complicity in civilian deaths.

The US government is spending $255 billion annually to defend Saudi Arabia and other tyrannical monarchies in the Persian Gulf region, says a Saudi scholar in Washington.

“The United States has been spending $255 billion a year since the 1970s, an average of $255 billion a year to protect the [Persian] Gulf monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain,” said Ali al-Ahmed, a critic of the Saudi monarchy.

“This amount of money makes up 40 percent of the annual American defense budget and it’s greater than the combined budgets of the states of California and Florida,” said al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs, an independent think tank in Washington, DC.

“I think it’s really a way for America and the American people to stand against their government policy of supporting the tyrannical and absolute monarchies in the [Persian] Gulf countries,” he added

Under the Obama administration, the United States has entered a record $50 billion in new arms sales agreements with the Saudis.

US weapons sold to Saudi Arabia in 2015

  • $7.8 billion   between May and September
  • $11.25 billion  in October
  • $1.29 billion in November  [Source: HRW]

Yemen Causalities

About 8,200 civilians, including 1,500 children, have been killed or injured [2,800 killed and  5,400 wounded] since violence escalated in March 2015 according to the UN, with many of the deaths caused by explosive weapons including missiles, large aerial bombs, artillery shells, rockets, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“we are a killer nation, at home and abroad”

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