Around the world in environmental news, newsreel-style
Gristmill News presents …
[beeping sounds] Environment News From Around the World [more beeping sounds]
Floods in the northeastern part of India have displaced nearly 1.5 million people.
“Eighteen of 27 districts of Assam have been hit by floods with 1.4 million displaced and 11 people drowned in separated incidents in the past week,” the Disaster Management agency said in a statement.
The floods, caused by relentless rains, marked the second round of massive flooding in two months to hit India’s impoverished northeast and come towards the end of India’s June-to-September monsoon season.
Nearly 130 people died and six million were displaced by floods in Assam state in July.
This is the region of the country that earlier this year saw a massive power blackout.
Forecasters warn that up to 102mm (4in) more rain could fall on top of the steady downpour that has topped September’s average rainfall in many areas in 24 hours, as a low front sticks stubbornly over the Pennines.
Parts of North Yorkshire have had 108mm (4.3in) since Sunday, compared with a usual total for the whole month of 47mm (1.9in).
The country has in effect, as of this writing, 147 flood alerts and 83 flood warnings.
Drought in the African nation has crippled its cocoa production.
After reaching a record of more than 1 million metric tons in the 2010-11 season, Ghana lowered its forecast to 900,000 tons in 2011-12 and 800,000 tons for the 2012-13 harvest, which starts next month, on concerns over poor weather, according to the Ghana Cocoa Board, the regulator. …
“This year is bad in terms of rainfall,” said Charles York, principal meteorologist at the Ghana Meteorological Service, in an interview in the capital, Accra, on Sept. 18. “The major rainy period of April to August remained cold but with no rains, there was less evaporation which inhibited rainfall.”
We should note: This was predicted.
The turmoil-wracked nation of Yemen is running out of water.
Water and sanitation are chronic problems in Yemen, where, on average, each Yemeni has access to only 140 cubic metres of water per year for all uses — the Middle East average is about 1,000m³ a person annually. In recent years, the government of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh had taken strides to improve water access in Yemen, but the political turbulence that arose from last year’s uprising has pushed water down the new government’s list of priorities, according to aid workers and a government employee. …
The spectre of a country run dry looms over Yemen’s nearly 25 million inhabitants. With its streams and natural aquifers shallower every day, Sana’a risks becoming the first capital in the world to run out of a viable water supply. The water table in the city has dropped far beyond sustainable levels, Shami said, because of an exploding population, lack of water resource management and, most of all, unregulated drilling. Where Sana’a’s water table was 30 metres below the surface in the 1970s, he said, it has now dropped to 1,200 metres in some areas.
There is some speculation that drought contributed to last year’s uprisings in Arab nations.
If you’re looking for Vunidogoloa, Fiji, on an iPhone 5, the reason the map is wrong isn’t Apple’s fault. The low-lying village has moved to avoid higher sea levels.
Throughout 2012, these Fijian villagers have been in the process of moving from their current home village — a tract of land overlooking Natawa Bay, the largest bay in the South Pacific, to their new home which they named Kenani, Fijian for Canaan, the biblical “promised land.” …
The Fijian government is contributing two-thirds of the capital for the move, which includes labor, materials, finances, and design work. When the elders of Vunidogoloa asked the government to move them, the government simply asked for the village to cover a third. In the end, the village provided local wood as building material and labor to the cause.
The United States
Still with the drought. Always with the drought.
Oh, but the USDA is holding a contest to develop an app to assist with drought relief. The person who makes an app that can retroactively generate massive amounts of rain will probably win.
Poland’s Vistula River is running at record lows due to a lack of rain, which has revealed works of art stolen more than three centuries ago.
A police Mi-8 helicopter hovered over a riverbed on Thursday, lifting ornaments such as the centerpiece of a fountain with water outlets decorated with Satyr-like faces.
For police, it was gratifying to provide the chopper and assist Warsaw University archeologists in “this very important mission of retrieving priceless national treasures,” said Mariusz Mrozek, a spokesman for Warsaw police.
Archaeologists have long known that such well-preserved treasures were located in the riverbed in the Warsaw area, but not exactly where.
And that’s the news of the world. Rain, floods, higher seas, drought, drought, sunken treasure. Thanks, climate. One out of six ain’t bad.
Anyway. Here’s your feature presentation.