IRI Climate Digest May
Climate Impacts - April
Contributions to this page were made by IRI researchers Dr. A. Amissah-Arthur (Agriculture), Dr. K. Broad (Fisheries), Dr. M. Hopp (Health), Dr. B. Lyon (Energy), Dr. A. Seth (Hazards) and Dr. L. Zubair (Water Resources).
The World Food Programme warned that
millions of poor Afghans are facing the spectre of another low
harvest this year as seed and water shortages left about 40 percent
of the usually cultivated land in the country fallow.
Persistent drought in the region and
political turmoil have resulted in food shortages and the displacement of
700,000 people since mid-2000. The region is entering its dry season in acute
drought conditions and the seasonal forecast
shows little hope for relief.
Heavy rains and flooding during the past several weeks have
further aggravated living conditions for many Angolans whose
lives have been already devastated by a protracted civil war. The flooding
caused extensive damage in southern Angola, particularly in the
provinces of Benguela, Cunene, Huila and Namibe. The media reported
that at least 48 people, including 18 in the capital Luanda and 20 in
Namibe province, have lost their lives due to the floods, quoting the
Reasonable levels of rainfall have been reported in most parts of
Kenya, but the food security of pastoralists remains precarious.
A total of 2,408,040 people are being targeted for the May
general distribution of food assistance. In Eritrea the dry season
continued in April with no
significant rainfall throughout the country, resulting in a rapid
deterioration of the condition of the livestock herds.
In Ethiopia rains resumed for a short period in parts of Amhara region, which
have eased the fear that the dry spell in early April would affect
An on-going drought has been a factor in the development of numerous wildfires. Through April 10, nearly
2,000 wildfires had burned more than 138,000 acres and damaged or destroyed 43 homes in Florida. ( DRO)
Repeated warm and snowless winters in the Stavropol area of Russia are believed
to have contributed to increased tick populations, the vector for Crimean
Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF).
So far this year 9 cases of CCHF have been reported including 1 death;
more than 400 people bitten by ticks are under medical observation.
In relation to the recent flooding in Mozambique, the Ministry of Health reported
that 110 cases of cholera in Nhamayabwe, the capital of Mutarara
district in Tete province, had not resulted in any deaths. Two new
cases a day were being reported, compared to a peak of 27 cases
in mid-April when the incidence of cholera began to fall
since measures to ensure clean/safe water supplies were introduced.
Cholera has been confirmed at Sena in Caia district in
Sofala province, on the south bank of the Zambezi River. By 25 April,
22 cases had been reported, with no deaths.
Several months of irregular rains have greatly reduced water levels in reservoirs that drive hydroelectric plants.
At the same time an economic recovery has raised the demand for electricity. Government officials in Brazil fear
there won't be enough energy. A a 60-day plan aimed at reducing energy consumption by at least 10 percent
was put into effect in early April. Southeastern Brazil is beginning its dry season
and with seasonal forecasts (Consensus, IRI) showing greater likelihood of normal or dry conditions, there is concern that the country could face energy rationing by June. (PMA)
The drought affecting large parts of the South Island in New Zealand
now ranks among the most severe in a century. Lakes are at half of
their normal levels and the South Island has been forced to buy electric power
from the North Island generators. The seasonal forecast shows slightly enhanced
probabilities of below-normal precipitation for the region.
(Waikato Times, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Western United States
Summertime heat in California is likely to exacerbate the energy problems faced by the state. A dry winter has left snow masses and reservoirs low in the northwest, a region
that normally supplies hydro-electric energy to California during peak summertime demands. In
addition, the seasonal forecast shows enhanced probabilities of above-normal temperatures for California. (AP)
Middle East Much-needed rain covered western
Turkey, but unfavorable dryness and warmth persisted
across Iran. (JAWF)
Southeast Asia Heavy showers in Java, Indonesia,
caused harvest delays of rice, while drier weather
eased wetness in Thailand and the Philippines. (JAWF)
Northwestern Africa Light showers provided no
relief to drought-stricken crops in Morocco and
Algeria, while continuing to stabilize winter grains
in Tunisia. (JAWF)