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IRI Climate Digest   July 2001

Climate Impacts - June

Contributions to this page were made by IRI researchers
Dr. A. Amissah-Arthur (Agriculture),
Dr. M. Hopp (Health),Dr. B. Lyon (Energy), Dr. A. Seth (Hazards) and Dr. L. Zubair (Water Resources).


Uruguay  Very heavy rainfall over a two week period resulted in widespread flooding.  In the north, the department of Artigas was particularly hard hit as were the central and southern departments of Rivera and Durazno.  Over 6,000 people were evacuated with over 1,000 homes affected and 240 reportedly destroyed.  In Artigas, the Cuareim River reached a record level of over 14m.  The latest flooding follows an extended period of above average rainfall over the past several months in much of the region.   (OCHA)

Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana  Unusually heavy rainfall along the Guinea coast in West Africa resulted in flooding and extensive damage to buildings and roads.  In southeastern Nigeria in the Cross River State, losses were estimated at 5 million USD.  In Ghana, heavy rains in and around the capital city of Accra  caused tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes while 19 fatalities resulted from the intense rains and flooding in the coastal village of Limbe in Cameroon.  (OCHA, CIP)

The IRI  Net Assessment forecast  indicates above average rainfall has the greatest probability of occurrence along the Guinea coast in West Africa during the next 3 months.

India and Nepal  Reports indicate that over 100,000 people were displaced from their homes due to heavy rains and flooding in the northeastern state of Tripura.  More than 600,000 people were forced to evacuate their dwellings in the nearby state of Assam.  In Nepal, 35 people were reportedly killed in floods and landslides in Satya Devi village of Dhading district triggered by heavy monsoon rainfall.  (COMTEX)

China  Various media sources reported that at least 17 people have died and an estimated 78 million dollars in damage has occurred in Guangdong Province as a result of heavy rains during June.  The heavy rains reportedly began on June 2nd, and floods swept away 5,300 houses and affected at least 1.76 million people.  Flash floods in Zengcheng reportedly stranded more than 2,000 individuals. Approximately 470,000 hectares of cropland have reportedly been inundated, 200 enterprises have closed and a large number of highways, telecom and water conservancy facilities have been destroyed. The worst hit area is reportedly Yangjiang City in western Guangdong, where rainfall from late at night on June 7th through the evening of June 8th totaled 650 mm - a record high.  (From the CIP)


Colombia  Heavy rains in Atlantico province in coastal northern Colombia during the first week of June are aiding the spread of dengue fever according to reports from the International Red Cross.  Needs assessments were also taking place in remote rural settlements in  the  provinces  of  Sampués  and  Magdalena.   (IFRC,  WHO dengue fact sheet )

China  Intense rainfall in the southern Chinese province of Guongdong is believed to have contaminated the water supply resulting in more than 60 cases of possible cholera and several deaths.  (ProMED, WHO cholera fact sheet )

Water Resources/Energy

Iran  Three years of consecutive drought have adversely affected large regions of the country.  Water levels at three dams near the Capital city of Tehran are currently at 50% of last year's already low levels.  Water rationing was initiated in June due to increased stress on drinking water supplies.  Police reportedly arrested over 40 people in riots sparked by limited access to drinking water.  (Reuters, ReliefWeb )

India and Pakistan Early monsoon rains brought some immediate relief to drought-stricken areas of northern Pakistan and northwest India but longer term water shortages remain.  In a recent report by the Indian government, water levels in reservoirs within the drought region are as low as 5-10% of capacity.  According to the report, the Ministry of Railways is undertaking transportation of water and fodder without to the worst affected regions without charging any money to the States. (Report Summary )

Canada  Low water levels in British Columbia has led Alcan, Inc., an aluminum manufacturer, to announce it will reduce production at its smeltering operation by up to 50% to conserve water and energy.  The water level in some reservoirs is reportedly at record lows due to winter drought conditions.  Rainfall is usually at a minimum during summer with steadier precipitation returning in the fall.  (COMTEX)

Norway  Reuters reported that below average winter snowfall has reduced melt water flow into many reservoirs which is having an adverse affect on the hydroelectric industry where electricity prices have reportedly hit a five year high.  Norway depends almost exclusively on hydropower for its electrical generation.  (Reuters)

Sri Lanka  An extended drought has led to severe declines in streamflow over the last six months in the Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe rivers that host all the major hydropower plants on the island. The reservoir levels on the largest river basin (the Mahaweli) ranges from only 11 to 20% of capacity.  This shortfall led to load shedding with scheduled power cuts since May.  (Sunday Observer)


China  The severity of drought conditions across northern China are considered the worst in 10 years while the spatial extent of the drought is considered the second worst since 1949 (with 1978 being the most widespread).   Reports indicate that over 4.25 million hectares of cultivable land went unplanted due to drought while several hundred thousand planted hectares never germinated.  Over 15 million people are affected along with 11.4 million livestock. Many areas currently stressed have been experiencing drought conditions since 1999. (CIP, USDA)

Uzbekistan and Tajikstan  According to an OCHA report, drought conditions have led field crops production to be reduced by up to 50%.  In Tajikstan, wheat, oil seeds and legume crops have been especially stressed.  Livestock throughout the region has suffered as well owing to reduced feed supply.  (OCHA)

Korea  Persistent drought conditions have reportedly caused the failure of up to 80-90% of potato, wheat, barley and maize crops in some areas in North Korea.  In South Korea, drought conditions considered the worst in 90 years led the government to mobilize 20% of its total military force for drought assistance. The majority of the troops were assigned to irrigation efforts. (DRO, CIP,  ReliefWeb / AFP report )

Australia  According to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, all the states, except Queensland, are expected to decrease their total crop area due to drought conditions.  Southern Western Australia is especially affected with some locations having the driest June in 100 years.  Sections of southeastern New South Wales are greatly impacted as well. (COMTEX, CIP)

The IRI seasonal  precipitation forecast  shows a slightly enhanced probability of rainfall being below average in south-central Queensland and western New South Wales for the July-August season. 

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 (DRO), COMTEX, CNN, and the Power Marketing Association PMA

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