Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive – mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin in 2016

Posts Tagged ‘Drought’

Drought Destroys Crops in Wyoming, Montana

Posted by feww on June 4, 2016

Drought Disaster Declared for Multiple Counties across Two U.S. States

Drought Disaster Emergency Designations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of 13 counties across two states—Wyoming and Montana—as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought. Those areas are:

Wyoming. Big Horn, Campbell, Converse, Fremont, Hot Springs, Johnson, Natrona, Park,  Sheridan and Washakie counties.

Montana. Big Horn, Carbon and Powder River counties.

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on one or more crops.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

Crop Disaster Designations – 2016

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Nearly 3M People in Central America Rely on Food Aid to Survive

Posted by feww on May 29, 2016

2.8 Million people Need Food Aid in Drought-Hit Central America: UN

At least  2.8 million people in three Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—need food aid after two consecutive years of severe drought decimated crops and exacerbated hunger among the poor, said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“People are and have been selling their assets to survive, selling land and seeds, reducing the number of meals a day and reducing their amount of protein intake,” said a disaster response coordinator for Central America at the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA).

“Right now the situation is very serious, and it’s fragile.”

Losses as of September 2015 (FAO)

At an estimated 3 million tonnes across the subregion, this year’s maize harvest is expected to be far below average and some 8 percent below last year’s already compromised harvest.

Production declines are expected to be particularly sharp in El Salvador and Honduras, which both saw 60 percent of their maize crops destroyed by the irregular rainfall earlier this year. In El Salvador alone, losses are estimated at $28 million in seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and land preparation. Honduras additionally saw 80 percent of its beans perish.

In Guatemala’s most affected areas, some 80 percent of crops are estimated to have been lost, including 55,000 tonnes of maize and 11,500 tonnes of beans, affecting over 150,000 families.

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Drought Severely Affects Malawi and Zimbabwe

Posted by feww on May 25, 2016

Severe food shortages in southern Africa worsening dramatically

Severe drought said to be related to El Nino weather pattern is affecting southern and eastern Africa. Drought follows extreme rain events and severe flooding that had previously inundated parts of the region.

“The crisis has affected some 32 million people in Southern Africa alone, and experts say they expect new assessments to rise to nearly 50 million people in early June.”

Africa’s breadbasket is empty

The UN World Food Program estimates that 16 million people in southern Africa are affected by the El Nino phenomenon, and that’s not counting the drastic increase of numbers in South Africa. Seven of the country’s nine provinces have been declared disaster areas. The government has channeled the equivalent of 55 million euros towards emergency aid. A country which normally produces so much corn that it can provide for the needs in neighboring Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland is now forced to import huge quantities.

Hunger in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe declared a state of emergency back in February. Owing to the drought, today almost one out of three Zimbabweans is dependent on aid. In the past twelve months, rain precipitation was about half that of the previous year.

The situation is particularly dire in the Mudzi district in northeastern Zimbabwe, on the border with Mozambique. Over 85 percent of the population there is dependent on food aid.

Malawi plagued by extreme drought

Malawi is also suffering from extreme drought. Prices for staple foods like corn, beans and rice, have risen steeply. People this year have less than five percent of the amount produced in recent years at their disposal. More than half of the country’s population of 15 million is now dependent on aid. Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika declared a state of emergency in April and called on the world to help.

Mozambique: Drought in the south, floods in the north

Most water sources in the country have dried up. Much of the water that can still be found is salty. Animals are dying and the harvest will be even more meager than last year. A total of 600,000 Mozambicans are dependent on emergency aid. Authorities expect the number to increase significantly in the next couple of weeks. Rita Namucho, spokesperson for the country’s national water utilities, is very worried about the situation in Combumune: “For the last few months it has been possible to cross the river on foot. This is unusual because we are still in the rainy season.”

Meanwhile, recent rains in the north have destroyed 3,500 houses. “Many people drowned in the floods,” director of the Mozambican Center for Civil Protection told DW. Mozambique is one of the ten countries of the world hardest hit by climate change.

Angola’s government ‘is looking away

In Angola, the areas most affected by drought are the southern provinces of Cunene and Huila. DW correspondents have reported about people dying of hunger in an area inhabited by some three million people.

Read more…

 

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Hyenas Attack Starving Women in Drought-Plagued Somaliland

Posted by feww on May 2, 2016

Somaliland facing wide-spread famine

The worst drought in living memory is killing humans and animals alike across the East African region.

Charity workers report cases of women collapsing from hunger and being attacked by starving hyenas. [Welcome to Planet Earth!]

“They fell down, malnourished, and we understand they were then set on by the animals,” said a charity representative.


Scores of goats, kettle, and even drought-resistant camels have already died in the drought-plagued Somaliland. More images…

“Malnourished mothers are unable to breastfeed their babies, and farmers are feeding cardboard boxes to their animals because there is no grass left for grazing,” said the report.

“I spoke to families who had 500 or more animals three months ago, and now are left with 20 or fewer,” said a British politician.

“For people who rely on their animals for meat, milk and trade, it’s the equivalent of losing your entire life savings.”

Drought conditions that previously hit every seven to 10 years are now an annual occurrence, she said.

A Relief spokeswoman said there was a “terrible sense of deja vu” after a drought killed more than 250,000 people in southern Somalia in 2011.

[Republic of Somaliland (pop: 4.5m) is a self-declared state internationally recognized as an autonomous region of the Federal Republic of Somalia (pop:11.5m).]

Read more…

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Deadly Forest Fires Plague Northern India

Posted by feww on May 2, 2016

Drought, heatwaves intensify forest fires in Uttarakhand, N. Indian

Hundreds of forest fires have killed at least a dozen people and consumed thousands of hectares (acres) of forest in the India’s northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.

About 430 separate fires have been burning simultaneously since Friday, according to local reports.

Fires have been widespread this year due multiple factors including record-breaking heatwaves, exceptionally dry forests and minimal rainfall.

National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) reported that 70% of the flames have been put out earlier today, according to satellite imagery.

‘Parched earth, broken promises’

Meanwhile, million of people hit by a third year of “epic drought” across India’s parched districts say the government is not doing nearly enough to help, said a report.

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300,000 Children in Somalia Suffering from Malnutrition

Posted by feww on May 1, 2016

Ongoing drought causing acute food insecurity in Somalia

Four successive seasons of below-average rains in parts of Somaliland and a below-average Deyr rainy season in Puntland have lead to severe drought.

The drought, exacerbated by El Niño conditions, has spread through Puntland and Somaliland, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, and compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation in the region. An estimated 385,000 people face acute food insecurity in Somaliland and Puntland, with an additional 1.3 million people threatened by acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance. (OCHA)

About 300,000 children in Somalia are suffering from malnutrition, with 60,000 under the age of five being in critical condition and in need of urgent therapeutic feeding, said reports.

Conflict and drought: Major drivers of acute food insecurity in East Africa

South Sudan

Conflict areas in Greater Upper Nile in South Sudan remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity through the spring and summer.

“Some smaller populations in central Unity State are expected to be facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Areas in Greater Bahr El Ghazal and Greater Equatoria that were less directly impacted by the Government and Opposition conflict are seeing their food security threatened by very high staple food prices, brought on by restricted trade and the depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound, in addition to sporadic violence/clashes.

Ethiopia

“In Ethiopia, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes continue in agricultural and agropastoral eastern areas of Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and SNNPR Regions, as well as in pastoral areas of Afar Region and Sitti Zone in the Somali Region. Following the 2015 El Niño-related drought, there has been a slow start to 2016 rains across much of central and eastern Ethiopia. More than 10 million people in central and eastern Ethiopia will be in need of emergency food assistance this year.”

Darfur – Sudan

“Conflict in has displaced approximately 130,000 people since January.Restricted access to humanitarian assistance, markets, and labor opportunities in Central and South Darfur and SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan is contributing to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes for many where availability of and access to food is extremely limited.

Yemen

Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue in most areas through September 2016 and beyond.

“Protracted conflict since early 2015 has contributed to eroding livelihoods and restricting market access for many. Household purchasing power will remain weak due to atypically high food prices and livelihood disruptions. While many households will attempt to cope by selling assets and reducing the quantity and diversity of meals, these efforts are not expected to enable households to meet basic food needs.” [http://www.fews.net/]

 

 

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Extreme Heat Kills Hundreds of People across South Asia

Posted by feww on April 30, 2016

Record temperatures reported in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam

Deadly heatwaves have scorched vast swathes of South Asia claiming hundreds of lives, exacerbating the drought and destroying or damaging crops in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The largest number of heat-related deaths have occurred in India, and weather forecasters have warned the recurring heatwave would persist and intensify into May, traditionally the hottest month in the sub-continent.

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Saving Energy: Venezuela Cuts Public Employees’ Work to Only 2 Days a Week

Posted by feww on April 27, 2016

Severe drought pushing water level to new lows at the Venezuela’s largest dam

Venezuela is cutting the workweek for public sector employees to just two days—Monday and Tuesday—to save energy, as a severe drought pushes the water to minimum operating level at the country’s largest hydroelectric dam.

Venezuela is currently experiencing its worst drought since 1969, analysts say. Severe drought is sharply reducing the electricity generating capacity of the hydroelectric dams, especially at the Guri Reservoir on the Caroni River in Bolivar State, the country’s largest dam, which supplies about 70% of the nation’s electricity. [Guri is the second largest hydroelectric plant in the world after the Tree Gorges Dam in China. ]

Rationing Electricity

“Beginning this week, the central government will start to ration electricity nationwide with the exception of Vargas, Nueva Esparta and the Caracas capital district, introducing daily four-hour suspensions of electrical service that will vary according to day and region,” said a report.

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Crop Disasters Declared in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Nevada and Hawaii

Posted by feww on April 22, 2016

Extreme weather and climatic events destroy crops in 39 counties across five U.S. states

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated the counties of  Hawaii, Kalawao and Maui in the state of Hawaii as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought.

Two separate designations have been issued since April 13.

USDA has also designated eight counties in two other states—Nevada and Utah—as crop disaster areas due to drought.  Those counties are:

  • Nevada. Elko, Eureka, Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine.
  • Utah. Juab, Millard and Tooel.

Excessive rain and moisture destroy or damage crops in Texas, Oklahoma

USDA has designated a total of 28 counties in Texas and Oklahoma as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain and moisture that occurred from Oct. 23, 2015, through Jan. 10, 2016. Those counties are:

  • Texas. Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Henderson, Hill, Hopkins, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Lamar, Montague, Navarro, Rains, Red River, Rockwall, Tarrant, Van Zandt and Wise.
  • Oklahoma. Bryan, Choctaw, Love and Marshall.

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on one or more crops.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

Previous Disaster Designations – 2016:

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Crop Disasters Declared in Montana; Wildfire Emergencies in Kansas, Oklahoma

Posted by feww on April 8, 2016

Drought continues to destroy or damage crops in Montana

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated seven counties in Montana as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought that occurred from March 1, 2015, and continues. Those counties are

Montana. Carter, Custer, Fallon, Garfield, Powder River, Prairie and Rosebud counties.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on April 6, 2016.

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on one or more crops.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

Previous Disaster Designations – 2016:

Major Fire Disasters Declared for

Kansas Burr Oak Fire (FM-5121)

Incident period: April 05, 2016
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on April 05, 2016

Oklahoma 350 Fire Complex (FM-5122)

Incident period: April 05, 2016
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on April 05, 2016

State of emergency declared at Children’s Hospital

“Severe cases of flu, respiratory distress syndrome and a spike in the number of newborns needing intensive care prompted the Health Sciences Centre to declare a state of emergency this week at Children’s Hospital,” said a report.

 

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Deadly Floods Plague Ethiopia, Fiji, Pakistan

Posted by feww on April 5, 2016

Death toll from Pakistan floods climbs to 71

Flooding in Pakistan’s northwest and in Kashmir has claimed more lives raising the death toll to at least 71 Tuesday, officials said.

“The number known to have died in rains so far in the northwest has now risen to 61 with over 350 houses damaged all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” the local officials said.

Severe flooding kills 28 in Ethiopia: Official media

At least 28 people have been killed in severe flooding in two remote regions of Ethiopia, reported the official news agency.

At least 23 people were killed and 84 others injured after a river that crosses Jigjiga, the regional capital of the Somali region, burst its banks on Sunday.

Extreme rain events flooded the drought-stricken region of Afar, causing severe flooding, and killing five people, AP reported.

Two tropical depressions continue to impact Fiji

The town of Nadi has been submerged under meters of floodwater since Sunday after heavy rain, and people throughout Fiji brace for even more flooding.

More than 3,500 people have fled their homes seeking shelter in about 80 evacuation centers in the north and west of the main island Viti Levu, as a double whammy of tropical depressions continue to impact the country, said a report.

At least one person was killed and another missing in weather related incidents.

Residents of Korociri cross the flooded Nadi Back Road. Photo: Fiji Government

Category 5, Severe Tropical Cyclone WINSTON struck the island nation on 20 and 21 February cutting a path of destruction across the country, wiping out entire communities/villages, and prompting the government to declare a state of disaster.

Drought-stricken Palau could dry up completely this month

Drought-stricken Palau could dry up completely this month, officials warned Monday as the Pacific island appealed for urgent international aid, including shipments of drinking water.

The tiny nation of 18,000 people declared a state of emergency in march, “the latest Pacific island nation to do so as one of the worst ever El Nino-induced droughts in the region worsens.”

“We’re still in the state of emergency, there’s a sense of urgency to address the crisis,” a government spokesman told AFP as the National Emergency Committee (NEC) met to discuss strategy.

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Heavy Fighting Flares in Nagorno-Karabakh

Posted by feww on April 2, 2016

Casualties reported in Karabakh amid escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan

“The Armed Forces of Armenia violated the truce along the line of contact 127 times over the past 24 hours,” Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday.

“Active combat is currently underway. The Armenian Army has launched a counterattack… There are victims on both sides but the opposing side has sustained huge losses in manpower and equipment, a [Azerbaijani] helicopter has been shot down,” the Armenian Defense Ministry’s spokesperson said.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan began in 1988, after the predominantly Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region announced its secession from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed its independence in 1991, prompting a war that lasted until a Russia-brokered ceasefire was signed in 1994.  http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160402/1037362816/armenia-azerbaijan-karabakh-violent.html

Other Significant Events

Drought Plagues Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam’s, largest and most fertile plain, has been plagued by once-in-a-century drought since late last year, seriously affecting people’s lives. The region extends more than 40,000 square kilometers covering 13 provinces and cities.

“The ongoing serious drought is damaging some 160,000 hectares of paddy rice in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, causing losses of some 5,000 billion Vietnamese dong (222.2 million U.S. dollars), and affecting about 290,000 hectares of fruit trees, local media reported Tuesday.” http://news.xinhuanet.com/

Hunger replaces war in Congo’s Katanga

Some 550,000 people have been affected by extreme rain events and flooding across the DRC between October and March.
http://www.irinnews.org/news/2016/04/01/hunger-replaces-war-congo’s-katanga

South Sudan: Between 20,000 and 50,000 people are now reported to have been displaced in Wau county, Western Bahr el Ghazal, since fighting escalated in February.

Sudan: 24,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Jebel Marra in the last month, bringing the total displaced since mid-January to over 129,000.

An additional 70,000 people are thought to have fled to Central Darfur, but access restrictions have made this impossible to verify.

Côte d’Ivoire: Clashes between Fulani herders and Lobi farmers in the northeastern town of Bouna have led to at least 20 dead and 39 injured. Around 1,200 people reportedly fled to Burkina Faso, while another 2,000 have sought refuge at the UN base in Bouna town.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

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Crop Disasters Declared in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Puerto Rico

Posted by feww on March 26, 2016

Extreme weather and climatic disasters destroy crops in multiple areas across two states and Puerto Rico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 13 counties in the states of Oklahoma as Arkansas as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by heavy rains, flash flooding and flooding that occurred from Dec. 26, 2015, through Jan. 5, 2016. 

Those counties are:

  • Oklahoma. Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, LeFlore, Latimer, McCurtain, Muskogee, Pushmataha and Sequoyah counties.
  • Arkansas. Crawford, Polk, Scott and Sebastain counties.

USDA has also designated 27 municipalities in Puerto Rico as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought.

Those municipalities are: 

  • Puerto Rico. Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Caguas, Canovanas, Carolina, Cayey, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Humacao, Juncos, Las Piedras, Maunabo, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, San Juan, San Lorenzo, Trujillo Alto, Vieques and Yabucoa municipalities.

All counties and municipalities listed above were designated crop disaster areas on March 23, 2016.

Previous Disaster Designations – 2016:

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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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Catastrophic Global Water Shortages Affecting Children Mostly —World Vision

Posted by feww on February 22, 2016

Six million people need clean water, sanitation aid: Ethiopian Government

Severe water shortages are putting millions of lives at risk and forcing mass migration as people search for water, says international humanitarian aid agency World Vision.

Life-threatening drought conditions persist globally, including in Central and South America, Southern and Eastern Africa and the Pacific Islands.

“In parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, water is in such short supply that villagers are abandoning their homes and migrating in search of water. Children are absent from school as they search for water or move with their families to find it,” says World Vision.

“Across Africa alone, at least seven million people are without clean water as a result of El Nino weather,” warns World Vision Ethiopia Country Director, who is also a water specialist. “The actual number of people suffering from acute water shortages is probably much higher,” he said. “We have heard a lot about the widespread food shortages, but water shortages caused by El Nino are just as catastrophic. A person can survive for much longer without food than they can without water,” he added.

“If El Nino isn’t causing drought, it is causing floods – either way, the result is unsafe water or no water…  Not only can a lack of water kill, but contaminated water can kill just as quickly. Diarrhea, which is often caused by unclean water and sanitation, can kill small children very quickly. The result is that water shortages hit children harder than anyone else.”

  • Zimbabwe. Water rationing is in effect in every city and town. 15, 000 boreholes have run dry and another 160 need to be drilled.
  • Lesotho. Rains have been delayed by more than two months and some rivers have completely dried up. The Ministry of Health reports that a number of elderly people have died from dehydration as they were less able to cart water from water points.
  • South Africa. Some 2.7 million households are facing water shortages – even hospitals are running out of water. Seven of the nine provinces have declared disasters and some have water rationing in place.
  • Honduras. World Vision staff report that desperate communities are digging wells in an attempt to find water, children are falling ill with diarrhea from drinking dirty water and villagers queue in the middle of the night at waterholes due to demand.
  • Papua New Guinea. Water supplies have been contaminated as people dig wells in order to find water and schools are also closing due to water shortages. An outbreak of typhoid and cholera in one area has killed at least 30 people.

Read more…

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Drought, Rat Infestations to Plague 85% of Philippines

Posted by feww on February 21, 2016

Worst drought in memory spreading across southern Philippines

As of 31 January, about a quarter of the Philippines was experiencing drought, and the authorities forecast that drought would soon plague 85 percent of the country.

State of Calamity

Mindanao, the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines, which supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s food, is the worst affected area, reported the Food and Agriculture Organization, said a report.

The province of Maguindanao declared a “state of calamity” on 29 January, said UNOCHA, adding that 27,300 farmers in Mindanao are affected by drought and a rat infestation.

 

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Global Disasters/ Significant Events – Feb. 17, 2016

Posted by feww on February 17, 2016

One million children require treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa: UNICEF

Two years of erratic rain and drought have left about one million children in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF said today.

Across the region, millions of children are at risk from hunger, water shortages and disease. It is a situation aggravated by rising food prices, forcing families to implement drastic coping mechanisms such as skipping meals and selling off assets.

States of disaster have been declared in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and most provinces in South Africa due to the growing resource shortages.

“In Ethiopia, the number of people in need of food assistance is expected to increase from over 10 million to 18 million.”

UNICEF says:

  • In Ethiopia, two seasons of failed rains mean that near on six million children currently require food assistance, with school absenteeism increasing as children are forced to walk greater distances in search of water;
  • In Somalia, more than two thirds of those in urgent need of assistance are displaced populations;
  • In Kenya, El Niño related heavy rains and floods are aggravating cholera outbreaks;
  • In Lesotho, one quarter of the population are affected. This aggravates grave circumstances for a country in which 34% of children are orphans, 57% of people live below the poverty line, and almost one in four adults live with HIV/Aids;
  • In Zimbabwe, an estimated 2.8 million people are facing food and nutrition insecurity. The drought situation has resulted in reduced water yields from the few functioning boreholes exacerbating the risk to water-borne diseases, especially diarrhea and cholera;
  • Malawi is facing the worst food crisis in nine years, with 2.8 million people (more than 15 per cent of the population) at risk of hunger; cases of severe acute malnutrition have just jumped by 100% in just two months, from December 2015 to January 2016;
  • In Angola, an estimated 1.4 million people are affected by extreme weather conditions and 800,000 people are facing food insecurity, mainly in the semi-arid southern provinces.

Meanwhile, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) said up to 49 million people in southern Africa.

“It is estimated that 40 million rural people and 9 million poor urban people who live in drought-affected areas could be exposed,” the WFP said on Monday.

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‘State of Disaster’ Declared in Zimbabwe over Drought

Posted by feww on February 8, 2016

If humans had more time left, they would probably wipe out the population of Africa in 10 – 20 years

Southern Africa: 14 Million people face hunger due to the prolonged drought

A “state of disaster” has been declared in much of Zimbabwe’s rural areas plagued by a severe drought, with more than a quarter of the population facing food shortages, AFP reported.

A regional drought has affected South Africa, Malawi and Zambia and Zimbabwe, killing tens of thousands of cattle, drying up dams and destroying crops.

“Initial indications were that 1.5 million people were food insecure with all the 60 rural districts being affected,” said the Public Works Minister.

“Overall, the food insecure population has since risen to 2.44 million [or 26 percent of the population.]

More than 16,500 cattle have died in Zimbabwe, and 75 percent of crops have been abandoned in the worst-hit areas, said the report.

At least 14 million people across southern Africa face hunger due to the prolonged drought, WFP said.

Horn of Africa – Somali

An estimated 4.7 million people — nearly 40 per cent of the Somali population — are in need of humanitarian assistance. About 950,000 of them are acutely food insecure and struggle every day to meet their food needs, with internally displaced people accounting for 68 per cent of those who are are in dire need of assistance.

“The level of malnutrition, especially among children, is of serious concern, with nearly 305,000 children under the age of five years acutely malnourished. We estimate that 58,300 children face death if they are not treated. The drought could push these numbers higher in the months to come. We must act now. Partners are ready to scale up response, but funding is urgently needed to ensure this is done in a timely manner,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. [What happens to the vast sums of money given to the UN?]

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in decades, leaving 10.2 million people in need of emergency food aid.

Northeast Africa – South Sudan

South Sudan is facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity, as 2.8 million people — nearly 25 percent of the country’s population — remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe, three UN agencies warned today.

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14 Million Face Hunger in Southern Africa

Posted by feww on January 18, 2016

Southern Africa’s planting window closes with little or no prospect of rain

About 14 million people in southern Africa are facing hunger after a poor harvest last year caused by prolonged periods of drought.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says it is increasingly concerned about food security for an estimated 14 million people in southern Africa after prolonged periods of drought led to a poor harvest in 2015.

The window for the planting of cereals is closing rapidly, or already closed in some countries, with little or no rain falling in many areas, and the outlook is alarming, said WFP.

“Driving through southern Zambia, I saw fields of crops severely stressed from lack of water and met farmers who are struggling to cope with a second season of erratic rains,” said WFP Executive Director who recently visited to drought-prone southern Zambia. “Zambia is one of the biggest breadbaskets in the region and what’s happening there gives serious cause for concern not only for Zambia itself but all countries in the region.”

Worst affected in the region by last year’s poor rains are Malawi (2.8 million people facing hunger), Madagascar (nearly 1.9 million people) and Zimbabwe (1.5 million) where last year’s harvest was reduced by half compared to the previous year because of massive crop failure.

In Lesotho, the government last month declared a drought emergency and some 650,000 people – one third of the population – do not have enough food. In Lesotho as elsewhere, water is in extremely short supply for both crops and livestock. Also causing concern are Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland.

Food prices across southern Africa have been rising due to reduced production and availability. The price of maize – the staple for most of the region – is 73 percent higher in Malawi than the three-year average for this time of year.

“One particularly worrying symptom of southern Africa’s vulnerability to food and nutrition security is the alarming rate of chronic malnutrition. Levels of stunting among children in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia are among the worst in the world. This affects children’s physical growth, cognitive development, as well as their future health and productivity,” said the report.

 

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Ten Billion-Dollar Plus Weather, Climate Disasters Hit U.S. in 2015

Posted by feww on January 9, 2016

Record December elevated 2015 to 2nd warmest year for US 48  —NOAA

The 2015 annual average U.S. temperature was 54.4°F (12.4°C), 2.4°F above the 20th century average, the second warmest year on record.

  • Warmest year for U.S. was  2012  with an average temperature of 55.3°F.
  • 2015 was the 19th consecutive year the annual average temperature exceeded the 20th century average.

The average contiguous U.S. precipitation was 34.47 inches (87.55cm), 4.53 inches above average, and ranked as the third wettest year in the 121-year period of record.

  • Only 1973 and 1983 were wetter.
  • The national drought footprint shrank about 10 percent last year.

Ten weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each occurred  across the United States in 2015. These events included

  • Drought (1 event)
  • Flooding (2)
  • Severe storms (5)
  • Wildfire (1)
  • Winter Storm (1)

The 1980–2015 annual average is 5.2 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2011–2015) is 10.8 events (CPI-adjusted), said NCDC/NOAA.


Additionally, the U.S. experienced five distinct disaster event types in 2015. It is more common to observe three or four disaster event types in a given year. Five or more disaster event types exceeding $1 billion in the same year occurs less frequently (i.e., 2015, 2011, 2008, 1998, 1994 and 1989).

U.S. climate highlights: 2015

  • Florida, Montana, Oregon and Washington were record warm.
  • Alaska, California, and Idaho had their second warmest year.
  • Twenty-one other states were much warmer than average.
  • 14 States were much wetter than average.
  • Oklahoma and Texas were record wet for the year, and became drought free for the first time since 2010.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for 2015 was 70 percent above average, ranking as the fourth highest annual USCEI in the 106-year record and highest since 2012.

U.S. climate highlights: December 2015

  • December 2015 was record warm for the contiguous U.S., with a temperature of 38.6°F, 6.0°F above the 20th century average.
    • Previous record of 37.7°F was set in 1939.
    • 29 Eastern states had the warmest December on record.
    • No state was record cold.
  • The December precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 3.93 inches, 1.58 inches above the 20th century average, ranking as the wettest December on record.
    • Previous record of 3.76 inches was set in 1982.
    • Above-average precipitation occurred across the country
    • 23 States were much wetter than average.
    • Iowa and Wisconsin had a record wet December.

Source: NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Overview for December 2015, published online January 2016, retrieved on January 9, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/201512.

 

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Drought Affects nearly One Billion Trees in California

Posted by feww on December 31, 2015

Ecological catastrophe: 29 million trees dead, 58 million more on the brink

New research by a Carnegie research team has revealed that up to 58 million large trees in California has experienced “severe canopy water loss between 2011 and today due to the state’s historic drought.”

The U.S. Forest Service says more than 29 million trees in California forests have already died.

“In addition to the persistently low rainfall, high temperatures and outbreaks of the destructive bark beetle increased forest mortality risk.”

The team used laser-guided imaging spectroscopy tools that are mounted on the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) to measure the full impact of the drought on California’s forests, and combined the CAO data with satellite data starting 2011.

The team’s advanced tools showed that about 41,000 square miles (10.6 million hectares) of forest containing up to 888 million large trees experienced measurable losses of canopy water between 2011 and 2015.  Of this group, up to 58 million large trees reached water loss thresholds that the scientists deemed extremely threatening to long-term forest health.”

Should drought conditions persist, the team concluded, there would be substantial changes to already significantly weakened forest structures and ecosystems in the near future, given the severity of the exiting conditions.


Progressive forest canopy water stress in the state of California from 2011 to 2015. Credit: Greg Asner

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DISASTER DIARY – DECEMBER 31, 2015

Posted by feww on December 31, 2015

Major to record flooding continues over parts of Mississippi River Valley: NWS

Major flooding is occurring or forecast on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers & tributaries in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, with record flooding at several locations. Major flooding is also occurring on the Arkansas River & tributaries in Arkansas. Floodwaters will move downstream over the next couple of weeks, with significant river flooding expected for the lower Mississippi into mid-January. Read More…

More flooding is forecast for Missouri and Illinois were on Thursday as rain-swollen rivers overflowed their banks, inundating vast areas, washing out hundreds of homes and leaving thousands of people displaced.

Flood Warnings were in effect in at least 16 states, as of posting. The Mississippi River, North America’s third longest, is forecast to crest early next week in Thebes, Illinois, at 14.48 meter, more than 0.46 cm above the 1995 record, said NWS.

Tornadoes, flooding and extreme rain have killed dozens of peephole in the southern and central U.S. since last week.

Yemen: Humanitarian catastrophe worsens

Conflict continues to devastate the lives of men, women, and children in Yemen. Eighty-two per cent of Yemen’s population requires some form of humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs or protect their fundamental rights. After nine months of intensified conflict the severity of needs, among the most vulnerable populations, has deepened and the lack of a political solution will further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, UN said.

Ongoing air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition and conflict on the ground makes humanitarian activities, including the transportation of goods, difficult and, at times, dangerous.

Over one million migrant/ refugee sea arrivals reach Europe in 2015

Some 1,000,573 people have reached Europe across the Mediterranean, mainly to Greece and Italy, in 2015 including 3,735 who were missing, believed drowned, according to the latest figures released by UNHCR.

Mass evacuations in three Australian towns as bushfires reignite

Thousands of residents and tourists were evacuated on Thursday from three regions along the scenic Great Ocean Road in southern Australia as hot, windy weather reignited  bushfires that destroyed 116 homes on Christmas Day.

The fires, which started by lightning 12 days ago, have consumed more than 2,500 hectares, and threatened to re-intensify amid record warm temperatures and high winds.

“The local community has listened to the best of advice and will leave their homes because on such a challenging day, with that fire still active, so close to them, it’s not safe for them nor is it safe for those who have been called on to protect them,” Victoria state Premier said

Colombia issues ‘Red Alert’ over record low river levels

Colombia has issued a red alert after water levels dropped significantly in the Magdalena River, the country’s main waterway, and Cauca River, another key river, said a report.

Hundreds of towns and cities across the country rely on the two rivers for water.

“The Magdalena River presents the lowest levels since 1973. The level is 45 centimeters, when it should be 134 centimeters,” said President Santos.

Drought Plunges Lesotho into Emergency

More than 650,000 people face hunger in Lesotho’s worst drought in decades. Struggling from two successive crop failures, the mountain kingdom has been pushed into a state of crisis by low rainfall across much of southern Africa.

Impact of flooding in northern Argentina

The number of families impacted by the flooding in the north and central parts of the Argentina is growing.

  • More than 25,000 people have been affected by the overflow of the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers, according to the latest estimates.
  • At least 1,900 inhabitants of Concordia have been evacuated due to historic river flooding in the city.
  • Over 15,000 people have been affected in Concordia, a number that includes 2,000 evacuees and over 9,000 people that have abandoned their homes and are living with family or friends.

Hundreds evacuated from BP oil platforms in North Sea

Some 235 workers were evacuated from BP’s oil platforms in the Vallhall oilfield in the Norwegian North Sea after a 110-meter monster barge drifted near the major oilfield uncontrollably, local media reported.

Fatality on board COSL rig in North Sea

Statoil and COSL say one worker was killed an at least two others injured as a result of the “breaking wave” that hit the drilling rig COSL Innovator.

“COSL Innovator is under contract to Statoil at the Troll field in the North Sea, west of Bergen. The rig had been taken off the well as a result of the bad weather before the incident occurred. The breaking wave also caused some damage to the rig’s accommodation module.”

The rig is being evacuated, and the evacuees are being flown ashore, according to a statement posted on Statoil website.

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Crop Disasters Declared in Five U.S. States

Posted by feww on December 24, 2015

Drought destroys crops in 53 counties across five states

Drought has destroyed or damaged crops in at least 53 counties across five states: California, Maine, Massachusetts New Hampshire and Vermont.

Disaster Designation # 1

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of 33 counties in California as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a drought that occurred during the period of Jan. 2, 2015, and continuing. Those counties are:

California: Alameda, Fresno, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Los-Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Napa, San-Benito, San-Bernardino, San-Francisco, San-Luis-Obispo, San-Mateo, Santa-Barbara, Santa-Clara, Santa-Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura

Disaster Designation # 2

USDA has also designated a total of 20 counties across four states—New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont—as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought that occurred during the period of Jan. 2, 2015, and continues. Those counties are:

New Hampshire. Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan.

Maine. York County.

Massachusetts. Essex, Franklin, Middlesex and Worcester.

Vermont. Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Windham and Windsor.

All counties listed above were designated crop disaster areas on Dec. 23, 2015.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 4,017 counties and county equivalents across 46 States [as well as Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands]: Those states are Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

  • About 99 percent of the 2015 crop disaster designations have been due to drought so far this year.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

Related Links

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Crop Disasters Declared in Kansas

Posted by feww on December 3, 2015

7 Counties in Kansas designated as crop disaster areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared 7 counties in the state of Kansas as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain, high winds, and hail that occurred on Sept. 10, 2015.

Those areas are Barton, Ellsworth, Pawnee, Rice, Rush, Stafford and Russell counties.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Dec. 2, 2015.

Related Links

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Multiple Crop Disasters Declared in Michigan and Ohio

Posted by feww on November 26, 2015

68 Counties in two states designated as crop disaster areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared 68 counties in the states of Michigan and Ohio as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred during the 2015 crop year.

Disaster Designation No. 1

USDA has designated a total of 44 counties in Michigan and Ohio as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by extreme weather events including excessive rain, flooding, hail and high winds that occurred from April 1, 2015, through Aug. 17, 2015. Those counties are:

Michigan. Allegan, Arenac, Bay, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Monroe, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oakland, Ogemaw, Osceola, Ottawa, Roscommon, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Tuscola, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne.

Ohio. Fulton and Lucas.

Disaster Designation No. 2

USDA has also designated 24 counties in Michigan as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought, excessive rain, hail and high winds that occurred from April 1, 2015, through Sept. 10, 2015. Those counties are:

Michigan. Alcona, Alger, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Crawford, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Schoolcraft and Wexford.

All counties listed above were designated as crop disaster areas on Nov. 25, 2015.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 3,865 counties and county equivalents across 46 States [as well as Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands]: Those states are Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

  • About 99 percent of the 2015 crop disaster designations have been due to drought so far this year.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

Related Links

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