IRI Climate Digest
East Africa Although its border war with Eritrea has displaced
some 350,000 people and there
are border clashes with Somali warlords, drought in the south and east of Ethiopia is
having by far the greatest human impact.
It has led to poor harvests in the 1998-1999 Meher growing season (Ethiopia's main
harvesting period) as well as a series of low-yielding secondary crops (during the
February-April Belg rains). The
Tigray and Amhara regions in east of Ethiopia, together with southern regions
Oromiya and Somali, face a severe food crisis.The late arrival of the belg rains
which contribute up to 50% of crop production in some
parts of the country, has allowed the planting of traditional crops in the regions of
Amhara, Oromiya, Southern Nations and Tigray. However, they will not be available
for consumption between June and August.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India
Severe drought is currently affecting vast areas of South Asia, and
the impacts on the livelihoods of inhabitants are particularly evident
in western India, southern and central Pakistan and southern
In India, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, are considered to be the
states most affected by the drought. Rainfall in Gujarat was almost
40% below average last year.
In Pakistan rain normally falls in October/November. If the rain
is insufficient this year the problem will become significantly more
serious. It is estimated that over one million people are currently
affected; if the October/November rains fail, that figure will rise to three million.
Drought is affecting the whole of Afghanistan, but its impacts are
being felt particularly in the southern regions of Zabul and Kandahar.
It is estimated that currently around 1.5 million people are seriously
affected and in need of urgent assistance.
Indonesia The flood situation in West Timor in Indonesia
has reportedly developed into the worst in a generation. Some 50,000 have been
affected by flooding in the Benanain River watershed which covers as much as
one third of the area of West Timor.
Colombia More than half of Colombia, or 22 of
its 31 Departments, has been
seriously affected by floods, landslides and avalanches
due to torrential rains on and off since October last year. The rains
have been caused by the Pacific Cold Phenomenon, or La Niña. In
addition, Hurricane Lenny hit Colombia's Atlantic coast, causing
damage in three departments. According to the Civil Defense this
is the worst flooding in Colombia in the last 25 years.
Argentina In mid-May, winds reached a speed of 100 km/h
and rainfall totals over 300 mm were seen in Buenos Aires, where the average
rainfall for the month of May is 74 mm.
The city of Parana received rainfall of 1,075mm (annual average is
994mm). The affected areas include, the
city of Buenos Aires, Provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa ( northern
part ), Paraná, La Córdoba ( some areas ), Entre Rios ( city of
Paraná). The storms have resulted in
four dead, 40 injured and some 30,000 evacuated from their homes.
China East-central China remained exceptionaly dry.
Anhui province is reported to be experiencing the worst
drought since 1950.
(In northern and northwestern China, 12
sandstorms have affected the region since spring, prompting government officials
to assess land-use
practicies in the area and discuss the problem of desertification.) (CNN)
Ethiopia In Ogaden, the southeastern region of Ethiopia, recent rains have
provided much needed moisture for next season's crops. However,
flooding has limited road access to many communities for the distribution of
food and aid, and has polluted some of the clean water supply, increasing
risk of disease. Mortality rates for children under 5, in camps for the
displaced, have been 15.9/10,000 per day, where 2.4/10,000 per day is
considered an emergency. Rates for the general population are 3.9/10,000
per day, compared to 1/10,000 per day in an emergency.
Russia Two people died and another 22 became ill with Crimean-Congo
Hemorrhagic Fever (C-CHF) in Stavropol, located about 1200 km south of Moscow.
Unusually warm weather is believed to have contributed to the increased activity of
ticks, the carriers of C-CHF.
Afghanistan The main water sources in southern Afghanistan lie in an arc
following the Arghandab and Helmand river systems: this year,
however, the surface water is drying up far sooner than usual and it
is estimated that river levels are no more than 25% of the seasonal
norm. The majority of kharezes (traditional well systems) and shallow
wells are also drying up. It has been estimated that there has been
an 80% to 90% decrease in the availability of water in
Sri Lanka Continued low water levels in reservoirs used to generate
hydro-electric power has led energy producers
to warn of possible power shortages. The Ceylon Electricity Board has urged the
public to conserve
energy due to the continued decline in available water resources. Heavy rains at the
end of the month
helped improve water levels in reservoirs, easing concerns of an impending power crisis. (CNN)
Brazil Sao Paulo state has being suffering the worst drought since 1890, with some areas
without rainfall for two months, as they are beginning the dry season.
The reservoir serving Itu city is at 30 percent of capacity and water levels in the reservoir
serving southern Sao Paulo city is sufficiently low that water rationing has begun.
(O Estado de Sao Paulo)
Southwestern Asia In Pakistan there have been almost no
rain-fed crops this year, and the lack of melt water from the
northern mountain ranges has led to a serious reduction in both the
areas under irrigation and actual irrigated crops.
Eastern Asia In the North China Plain, mostly dry
weather favored maturing winter wheat, but reduced
soil moisture for summer crop planting. (JAWF)
United States In the Corn Belt, rain significantly eased long-term drought and
aided corn and soybeans, but left standing water in
some low-lying areas and halted soybean and final
corn planting. (JAWF)
Peruvian catch of small pelagics for the month of May are estimated to be
over 1.3 million metric tons. Cumulative catch for 2000 is estimated to
exceed 4.5 million metric tons, compared to approximately 3 million metric
tons for the same period in 1999. A veda (temporary fishing ban) began on
May 27 and will remain in effect approximately one week. Catch is composed
almost exclusively of anchovy which is converted into fishmeal for export
(as opposed to sardine and mackerel which are frozen and canned for direct
human consumption). While the anchovy stocks have recovered since their
dramatic El Nino related decline in 1998, the high catches and fishmeal
production are contributing to low prices, and the fishmeal industry
continues to have difficulty repaying the massive debt accrued as a result
of the low 1998 catches.