IRI Home
IRI Climate Digest  December 2000

Climate Impacts 


Mongolia Very low temperatures and snow forced one million head of livestock from Ovorkhangai Province to warmer regions. According to the head of the Mongolian National Emergency Committee, 90% of the territory in the western provinces is covered by 20-30cm of snow and nightime temperatures have dropped to as low as -39C. News reports indicate that the early snowstorms have killed almost 16,000 head of livestock and more losses are expected. Mongolia has seen drought conditions during the summer of 1999, followed by one of the worst winters in 30 years during the 1999-2000 winter season (over 2.4 million head of livestock were lost). During the summer of 2000 - the climatological rainy season - much of the area experienced drought. (OCHA, OCHA)

Indonesia  Heavy rain and mudslides in the North Sulawesi region of eastern Indonesia killed 4 people and forced 10 000 to evacuate the area. A tropical storm caused flash floods on Sumbawa island, also in eastern Indonesia early in the month. The Indonesian Red Cross distributed food and shelter materials to tens of thousands of flood and landslide victims following heavy rains in November and early December. (IFRC)

Southern Africa  Localized flooding was reported along the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe on 11 Dec 2000. Flood warnings were issued by the weather bureau for the Limpopo River. The Limpopo was one of the river valleys which experienced severe flooding during February 2000. The current flooding was minor in comparison. Mozambique also had some localized flooding during the month with 9 fatalities reported. (IFRC)

Europe  Sections of northwest France were inundated by flash floods near mid-month. Water levels in some areas were as much as 2 meters above normal near Brittany, along the coast. In Spain, at least 3 people were killed as very heavy rains and wind gusts up to 93 mph swept the Cantabria region. The torrential rains caused a number of rivers in the northern part of the country to burst their banks and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. The same storm impacted Potugal and the UK. (Reuters, DRO, CIP)


South Africa A cholera outbreak continues in Kwazulu-Natal with nearly 12,000 cases and 60 deaths since its start in mid-August. Heavy rains in the region have likely contributed to the high number of cases of this waterborne disease. (UNwire, WHO)

Water Resources

Tanzania Officials of the electricity industry indicated on Dec 3 that they were easing a 10-day old power rationing program by half, following good rains. Two years of irregular rainfall and drought had forced power rationing as water levels in the main reservoirs are near minumum levels for power production. Heavy rains in early Dec helped ease dry conditions - and in some areas in northwestern areas near Lake Victoria, produced flash floods. (Reuters, PMA)

Sri Lanka Anomalously low monsoon rainfall over Sri Lanka has led to receding water levels in reservoirs used for irrigation and hydro-power. Usually at the end of monsoon in December, the operators attempt to fill up the reservoirs, however, this year the storage is only 20% of capacity. (Ceylon Daily News)

Iran Two years of consecutive drought, considered the worst since 1964, has affected more than 37 million people - over half of the national population. The drought was especially harsh in 18 of the 28 provinces and crop yields were down significantly. Up to 80% of drinking water wells have failed in some areas, either drying up, or becoming contaminated with salt water. Recent rains, mainly in the northwest of the country and along the Caspian coast, have helped to ease conditions there, but water table levels still remain very low.

Pakistan Water levels remain at low levels in many irrigation reservoirs due to drought over the past 2 years and a lack of significant precipitation over the past few months. Unless recharged, the current low water levels will limit canal irrigation water availability, impacting the current growing season. (OCHA, CIP)


Kenya The widespread onset of the Oct-Nov "short rains" helped to boost tea production. Widespread failure of the "long rains" during the spring had caused numerous crop failures during the earlier growing season. Although the short rains were a boost to crops during the fall, water rationing remains in effect in Nairobi due to the previous drought conditions. Reports also indicate that the drought has resulted in a 40% loss to the nation's cattle with 10-20% losses to sheep and goat herds nationwide. (Reuters, CNN, CIP)

Middle East Significant rain increased moisture reserves in the eastern Mediterranean and Iran. (JAWF)

Argentina In central Argentina, flooding subsided and drier weather favored winter wheat maturation and harvesting. (JAWF)

Australia Drier weather allowed later winter crop harvesting to resume in the southeast, while beneficial rains covered Queensland's crop regions. (JAWF)


Peru Peruvian catch of small pelagics for the month of December remained low due to a combination of reduced fishing effort due to the holiday season and partial restrictions on fishing due to the small size of anchovy in the catch. There are expectations of continued partial bans on fishing in January while fish size remains small. The total cumulative catch of small pelagics for 2000 is approximately 9.7 million metric tons, compared with 8.1 million for 1999. (FEO)
Material for this portion of the IRI Climate Information Digest has been extracted from the UN/OCHA Reliefweb (RW), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Doctors Without Borders (DWB), Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) , USDA/NOAA Joint Agricultural Weather Facility (JAWF) and the Fishmeal Exporters Organization (FEO). Additional information was obtained from the NOAA/OGP Climate Information Program, Red Cross/CNN/IBM Disaster Relief, Earth Alert, CNN, and the Power Marketing Association PMA

Contents | Impacts | Climate | Forecast | Special