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IRI Climate Digest   May 2001

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).


Afghanistan 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. (WFP; Relief Web)

Angola 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 Government's figures. (OCHA)

East Africa 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 Belg crops. ( WFP; FAO Report)

Florida, U.S.A. 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)


Russia  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.  ProMED

Mozambique 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. (OCHA; WHO).

Water Resources/Energy

Brazil 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)

New Zealand 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)

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.

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