Two days ago, in Valledupar, the capital of Cesar-, the highest temperature recorded across the country this month felt: 41 degrees centigrade in the shade.
Elsewhere as Codazzi, Cesar also, the thermometer marked 40 degrees. In Corozal (Sucre), 38 degrees, and Arjona (Bolívar), almost 37 degrees. But the heat has not been unique to the Caribbean. In Puerto Salgar (Cundinamarca) 39 degrees felt the weekend, and Merchants (Cauca), 36 degrees. ( See pictures of the terrible drought plaguing the country )
The feeling of intense heat, coupled with low rainfall, and established himself as a threat in the Caribbean and Andean regions.
In addition to Santa Marta (Magdalena), where water rationing is installed by the lack of rain, at least 117 other municipalities are vulnerable to a permanent shortage of drinking water for an increasingly dry climate, has just warned the Ombudsman.
Other departments are in crisis Santander, Boyaca, Huila and La Guajira. In the latter department have died about 15,000 cattle, and 10,000 hectares of land suitable for crops are now useless. And since there are 20 departments on red alert for forest fires, as Antioquia, where there have been 56 conflagrations in the last month.
Cultures were killed
Agriculture is one of the great survivors. Drought, the rice sector recorded 5.000 million in losses Cesar (in Valledupar have lost more than 1,000 acres).
In Sucre, in the region of Montes de Maria, about 80 percent of the crop was lost snuff. So say leaf growers in five municipalities, which are declared in ruin and specify that the 1,700 hectares planted, only recover about 20 percent.
“There are parts where there is no in-not only crops but other snuff products-anything, just ridden lots, and this is disastrous,” said Javier Villalba, president of the Sheep Growers Association.
This is the fact that in the Atlantic, a daily production of 30,000 liters of milk has fallen to 10,000, according to the report Asoganorte.
The picture has two causes, identified by meteorologists Ideam. The first is the usual and historic drought that occurs in much of the country at this time of year, but aggravated, in the case of the Caribbean, by a decrease in rainfall of at least 20 percent between April and May , which reduced the levels of some rivers that supply water systems, such as Piedras and Manzanares, which flows depends Santa Marta.
While for others the problem goes further and refers to an issue of land degradation and deforestation, as we explained Ricardo Lozano, geologist and expert on environmental issues, as well as the former Minister of Environment Manuel Rodriguez Becerra, for those who damage to ecosystems, aggravated by agriculture and livestock feed at key sites, have caused the basins, deserts and wetlands (many of which have been dried) are no longer regulating water resources as they should.
Omar Franco, director of Ideam says that these supply difficulties are occurring without having consolidated the El Niño phenomenon, which “is taking its first beats” he explains, but will be developed and definitely feel between October and November. “There is a 82 percent chance that the phenomenon is consolidated,” Franco says.
Contrary to what happens with some aqueducts, the country’s reservoirs are at acceptable levels, mainly those located in the Sabana de Bogotá, which have water levels above 80 percent. Only Honey I, Beaches, Porce II, Punchiná and pockets, in Antioquia, are below 50 percent.
Paradoxically, in the Orinoco red alert because there Guaviare, Inírida, Orinoco and Meta rivers threaten to burst, while in Yopal, Aguazul, and Nunchía Chámeza in Casanare, no alert landslides.
Insurance option to climate change
The Ministry of Agriculture announced that it will continue to promote agricultural insurance that allow producers to hedge risks caused by climate phenomena.
Deputy Minister of Agricultural Affairs, Hernán Román, said this is the tool that producers have to deal with the effects caused by drought, as next lashing several parts of the country, especially to the Atlantic coast.
He recalled that the ministry has made massive days for placement of weather insurance, subsidizing up to 80 percent of the policies.
According to the official, will take actions to increase the secured areas, encourage the entry of new companies to achieve greater choice and better policies and optimize the knowledge and use of this insurance.
In addition to the promotion and subsidies, it also has the approval of more resources to provide the incentive and the expanded use of the resources of the National Agricultural Risk Fund.
Francisco Solano, Director of Finance, explained that “these changes involve a significant advance and represent major challenges for mass use among producers.”
“We must find a solution to help us centralize information in a suitable source, but as there are many scattered and in many sources,” Solano said.
Policies are also reviewed to assess that meet the needs and be effective from a disaster.
A fisherman finds flocks of fish floating dead in Texas City. On a boat on Moses lake Mark Raby was fishing and suddenly, literally, ran into droves of dead fish drifting in the water. Raby and his wife were so alarmed they saved a bag of dead fish for future lab testing, if necessary, and to figure out if whatever killed the fish can also harm humans. “We saw a bunch of small dead fish but the thing that was so amazing there were millions of them. Acres and acres of dead fish,” explains Raby. Another resident says she has lived here six years and this is the largest fish kill she has ever seen.
So what is it? What killed the fish.
The guys over at Texas Parks and Wildlife have solved the mystery on Moses Lake for us. We’re told it’s likely a case of low dissolved oxygen in the lake. It’s something that tends to happen in the heat of summer and small fish such as Menhaden get trapped in that low oxygen zone and die.
According to the Parks and Wildlife folks larger fish can detect the lack of oxygen and swim away but I’m told state biologists are looking into the matter to be sure.
So has Raby been fishing here since spotting the streams of dead fish? “No I haven’t. I haven’t fished since that day but I probably will. We would be hesitant to eat them until we really got to the bottom of this,” adds Raby.
Whatever this is is clearly fatal to fish but is it harmful to humans? According to Texas Parks and Wildlife the fish are likely dying due to low oxygen in the lake and that isn’t anything that will be hazardous to humans.
On the last day of June, Roger Mangía Vega watched an oil slick and a mass of dead fish float past this tiny Kukama Indian community and into the Marañón River, a major tributary of the Amazon.
Community leaders called the emergency number for Petroperu, the state-run operator of the 845-kilometer pipeline that pumps crude oil from the Amazon over the Andes Mountains to a port on Peru’s northern coast.
By late afternoon, Mangía and a handful of his neighbors – contracted by the company and wearing only ordinary clothing – were up to their necks in oily water, searching for a leak in the pipe. Villagers, who depend on fish for subsistence and income, estimated that they had seen between two and seven tons of dead fish floating in lagoons and littering the landscape.
“It was the most horrible thing I’ve seen in my life – the amount of oil, the huge number of dead fish and my Kukama brothers working without the necessary protection,” said Ander Ordóñez Mozombite, an environmental monitor for an indigenous community group called Acodecospat who visited the site a few days later.
This rupture of Peru’s 39-year-old northern crude oil pipeline has terrified Kukama villagers along the Marañón River. People’s complaints of nausea and skin rashes are aggravated by nervousness about eating the fish, concerns about their lost income and fears that oil will spread throughout the tropical forest and lakes when seasonal flooding begins in November. Cuninico, a village of wooden, stilt-raised, palm-thatched houses, is home to about 130 families but several hundred families in other communities also fish nearby.
Three weeks after they discovered the spill, the villagers still have more questions than answers about the impacts.
“It sounds like an environmental debacle for the people and the ecosystem,” said David Abramson, deputy director of the National Center of Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York.
“There is a need for public health and environmental monitoring at a minimum of four levels – water, fish, vegetation and the population,” he said.
Company officials at Petroperu did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.
Government officials have not officially announced how much crude oil spilled. However, in a radio interview, Energy and Mines Minister Eleodoro Mayorga mentioned 2,000 barrels, which is 84,000 gallons.
Indigenous leaders noted that the pipeline, which began operating again July 12 after the repairs, has a history of leaks.
Leaders of at least four neighboring communities said masses of dead fish appeared in lagoons and streams in the week before the oil spill was reported, indicating that it could have been leaking for days before it was spotted.
Even fish that escaped the worst of the spill could be poisoned, experts said. Fishermen who traveled an hour or two up the Urituyacu River, a tributary of the Marañón, in search of a catch unaffected by the spill returned with fish that they said tasted of oil.
Some Amazonian fish migrate long distances, and ongoing monitoring will be important for determining how fisheries recover, said Diana Papoulias, a fish biologist with E-Tech International, a New Mexico-based engineering firm that advises indigenous Peruvian communities on oil-related issues.
Key concerns include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are classified as probable human carcinogens and can cause skin, liver and immune system problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to PAHs in the womb has been linked to effects on children’s brain development, including learning and behavioral changes.
“The rule of thumb is that during the spill it’s a horrible mess, and two or three years later it’s hard to find evidence.” –Edward Overton, Louisiana State University For pregnant women, the fish become a “double-edged sword,” Abramson said. “They need that protein source to enhance the neurological development of the fetus, but at the same time, you don’t want them ingesting things that have unknown impacts.”
Mothers said children and adults in their families are suffering from stomachaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, and small children have skin rashes after bathing in the rivers.
In this part of the Marañón valley, the nearest health center is more than an hour away by boat and does not have a doctor.
The government’s Environmental Evaluation and Oversight Agency (Organismo de Evaluación y Fiscalización Ambiental, OEFA) has taken no samples of fish tissue for testing, according to Delia Morales, the agency’s assistant director of inspection.
Much of the oil settled in pools along the pipeline during the flood season, creating a viscous soup where dying fish flopped weakly. Government officials said damage was limited to a 700-meter stretch along the pipeline. The ground and tree trunks in the forest on both sides of the pipeline were also stained with oil, in a swath local residents estimated at up to 300 meters wide. When that area begins to flood again in November, villagers fear that contamination could spread.
Petroperu hired men from the village of Cuninico to find the leak and raise the pipeline out of the canal to repair it. Several of the men said they were up to their necks in oily water, working in T-shirts and pants or stripped to their underwear. They said they received protective gear only when a Peruvian TV crew arrived more than two weeks later. The July 20 newscast led to a shakeup in Petroperu’s leadership.
Meanwhile, the workers’ wives wash their clothes in the Marañón River, squatting on rafts moored along the bank. Besides being the only transportation route in the area, the river is the source of water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.
Within a week after the spill, the local fish market had dried up. Women who normally sold 10 to 20 kilos of fish a day said their usual buyers shunned them. Children in Cuninico told a reporter from Radio Ucamara, a local radio station, that fish had disappeared from the family table and they were eating mainly rice and cassava, a root.
Abramson said the villagers’ mental health can be undermined by poor diet, income loss and conflicts between community members.
The pipeline has been repaired and the oil is flowing to the port again, but the long-term impacts of the spill are uncertain.
Light and bacteria help break down oil naturally, said Edward Overton, a chemistry professor in Louisiana State University’s Department of Environmental Studies who has studied the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Volatile substances in the oil, which dissolve readily in water, could have caused the fish kills if the pipeline had been leaking for a time before the spill was reported, he said.
“The rule of thumb is that during the spill it’s a horrible mess, and two or three years later it’s hard to find evidence,” Overton said.
But that may not be the case in Amazonian wetlands, where clay soil and high water limit the oxygen available to oil-eating microbes, said Ricardo Segovia, a hydrogeologist with E-Tech International.
The government’s environmental agency is expected to issue its report on the spill by the end of this month and could levy fines, Morales said.
Villagers are waiting to see whether the government will sanction its own pipeline operation and pay damages.
“It sounds as though the state is in a precarious position,” Abramson said. “It [the government of Peru] has to monitor and assure the health and well-being of the population, but it may be one of the agents that is liable [for the spill]. They have to monitor themselves and decide what is fair and equitable.”
The brown water is on the opposite end of Kailua Beach Park. For perspective it’s the side President Obama stays on vacation. He’s not here now but what is here is hundreds of dead fish and animals.
“It’s not the postcard water that you’re used to for Hawaii,” said Sean O’Malley, visitor for the East Bay Area.
The view of the Mokulua Islands is usually picture perfect, but today it was brown and dirty.
“I’ve never seen so much dead fish,” said Todd Mihara, Kailua resident.
Hundreds of fish and other interesting creatures lay dead on the shore.
“Unfortunately even though well meaning people were trying to throw the fish back in, the fish were trying to jump back out faster than they could be thrown back in,” said Susie Jannuzzi, Kailua resident.
We alerted the State Department of Health Clean Water Branch about the brown water and dead animals. It doesn’t appear to be from sewage. Instead it’s from runoff from the Kawainui marsh and canal. What people dump down storm drains is all flushing out and the huge volume of rain is pushing animals out to the ocean that aren’t meant to be there.
“To see this many fish on the beach it gives the impression that the water is contaminated or that we’ve had some type of fungus or bacteria that has killed them off but it’s not,” said Jannuzzi.
“I think that with the kind of rain we’ve had lots of things are washing down the stream. I wouldn’t trust going in the water,” said Carri Morgan, Nuuanu resident who says she visits Kailua Beach weekly.
A few people actually did venture out in the water. The O’Malley family went in for a surf lesson.
“It didn’t really occur to us that there might be an issue with it,” said Brendan O’Malley, visitor from the East Bay Area.
They did get out after talking with us because if fish are dying you probably don’t want to be in the water.
“We’re on vacation. We’re just here for a week so the last thing we want to see is one of our kids get sick,” said Sean O’Malley.
The Department of Health is urging people to stay out of the brown water, not just because it’s disgusting but dead fish attract sharks. Also the poor visibility could increase the chances a shark could mistake a human for food.
“Storm water can carry various pollutants down watersheds through our streams and onto our beaches. When storm events cause our beaches to turn brown, the DOH may issue Brown Water Advisories. Rain events like the State experienced this past weekend highlight how important land management practices and proper storm water design and construction are to our fragile ecosystem and island way of life,” said Scott Miyashiro, State Department of Health, Environmental Health Specialist.
The Environment Agency believes a lack of oxygen caused by the hot weather is to blame for the death of hundreds of fish in the Victoria Dock basin, but is conducting further tests to rule out pollution as a factor.
The fish were found floating on the surface of the dock, in east Hull, earlier this week.
Peter Stevenson, environment manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We are investigating reports of dead fish at Victoria Dock in Hull.
“We attended the dock at the weekend and on Monday, when we estimated that 1,600 fish may have died.
“The fish were in a freshwater pond behind the old dock gates. The pond is believed to be fed from two surface water drains. The fish in the pond are coarse fish, mainly roach and rudd.
“At this stage we believe that the fish died because of changes in oxygen levels within the pond, caused by the hot weather.
“As a precautionary measure, we have collected a water sample to check that the kill was not related to a pollution incident.
“Hot summer weather can cause problems for fish in any watercourse, as water levels and oxygen levels may fall.”
Hull City Council posted a notice saying it was “aware of the problem”. It later removed the dead fish.
Bob Carter took photographs of the dead fish and was shocked by what he saw.
He said: “It is great to see wild fish in the basin so it was very sad to see all that.
“I’m not one to exaggerate but there were hundreds floating on the surface in different batches.”
The cows, calves and a prize bull were crowded together under some small crabapple trees when the lightning struck, said rancher Jean Taylor.
Urgent laboratory tests are taking place after dozens of birds were discovered dead in the lake of a popular park.
Visitors to Boggart Hole Clough in Blackley were greeted with the upsetting sight of the birds floating lifeless in the water yesterday.
Around a dozen of them could be seen in the lake at the park last night with other animals visibly hurt and distressed.
Regular visitors to the park believe dozens more animals been pulled from the lake over the past week.
Canadian Geese, Mallards, Coots and Tufted Ducks are among the species that reside in the lake, which is overlooked by a community cafe.
Signs have been placed around the Manchester council-owned park warning visitors to steer clear of the water and link the deaths to possible contamination by poisonous algae.
The signs state: “WARNING: the water has been contaminated with toxic algae which is harmful to health. Do not drink the water, swim, or allow pets in the water. Avoid contact with the algae.”
However, council officials have sounded a note of caution and say it is still too early to determine the exact the cause of birds’ deaths.
Samples from the lake have been taken and are currently being processed at a laboratory. Blood and tissue samples from some of the dead birds are also being analysed to determine what killed them.
One young mum who visits the park every day said the sight of the dead and dying birds had left her devastated.
Rebecca Atkinson, 28, from Moston, who regularly visits with her newborn daughter Sophia, said: “It’s so upsetting.
“I have been coming to this park since I was a little girl and I have never seen anything like this. It’s just so cruel.
“It’s such a slow death and you can literally see them dying in front of you. I just can’t understand it.
“Something needs to be done before any more are affected by it.”
And Marilyn Clarke, 58, who lives on nearby Grange Park Road, said: “The kids have just broken up for the school holidays so the park will be really busy.
“And this is a horrible sight for them.
“I used to feed the white Farmhouse Swan all the time, it’s really sad.”
The ancient woodland, which covers 190 acres, is a designated a local nature reserve and is used by sports clubs for boating and other activities.
Owners of three ponds located in the El Manantial in Girón (Santander), reported that in recent weeks has killed more than 10,000 fish as a result of the intense dry season and plugging the intake of old aqueduct that carried water in the sector. ( See pictures of the terrible drought plaguing the country )
Elite Environmental biologists group and the Water Resources Branch of the Regional Autonomous Corporation for the Defense of the Meseta de Bucaramanga (CMDB) went to the site to ascertain what happened and determine what actions to take to overcome the environmental emergency that occurs in region. (Also read: Van 117 municipalities in drought alert )
Nepomuceno Solano, manager of one of the ponds, said before closing the owner of a farm made of an old intake at the top of the village were forced to resort to cisterns that the drought were left without water.
“We are in crisis because we have no life without water. More than 10,000 dead fish and that súmele The intense heat that the fruit does not ‘take’ even 30% of what they produced in times of good water.”
In Santander the most affected municipalities with drought are Los Santos, Zapatoca, Cabrera and Lebrija.
For now two hypotheses are preferred by the association: it could be a consecutive pollution company fire Clement CIFC (Industrial Structures of Franche-Comté) located in Arbois, or to human action that has benefited from the weather and heavy precipitation to rid the water of toxic products. Logic ‘do what not taken. “
About fifty species ridley turtles woke up Friday on the beaches of Salinas, against Pemex buoys in Salina Cruz. The turtles were thrown by the decaying sea, sparking the curiosity among bathers and ferocity of the dogs and vultures feeding on the bodies.
On the sandbar across the beach from the section nine (opposite the buoy 3) to the last jetty, to the unwavering gaze of children and adults who swam a few meters from the decomposed bodies, we observed a flock of vultures peeling pack of dogs and the remains of turtles that are highly prized by fishermen predators of eggs and meat.
Despite the foul odors, service providers, fishermen and environmentalists did not want to bury the remains to prevent odor, “we want the federal authorities as Profepa do their jobs and determine what happened, what was the cause of death of turtles, have reported that Pemex is responsible, each to be connected to load a boat there and spill pollutes everything turtles might have died from pollution, “said Raul Gallegos, president of the environmentalist association Estero Las Salinas del Marqués.
This finding, says Raúl, is not the first thing that happens, “I remember that in 2008, 2010 in 2012 were 24 the most notorious for sinking the buoy 3 of Pemex, have appeared dead turtles, and to this 18 July 2014, no authority has ruled what caused the deaths of these turtles. ”
Just two weeks ago this newspaper reported that Open Beach, just two minutes from the downtown area, has become turtle graveyard without any federal authority dictates the causes or go to bury the bodies.
It is noteworthy that from June to September, this endangered species and protected by federal law arrive at the Oaxacan coast to spawn on beaches. This time the authorities can not blame the fishing boats are moored since the end of May.
Authorities can not say that the red tide has caused mass death, as health authorities said that there is no such phenomenon in our beaches. “The authorities do not go away, because the more time passes it is harder to determine the death of turtles also seen carrying several days and were partly eaten by fish and sea birds,” lamented the president of the association environmentalist.
Similarly, Luis Alberto Vásquez Osorio, fisherman in Las Salinas del Marques, insisted that Profepa and Navy, “do more research to tell what exactly killed the turtles, then say fishermen, as the situation is and hunger, we would not waste the meat if that is entangled in the net, now is not, is a shitload. ”
What was observed is that the bodies should not have traces of networks or are mutilated, the shell is intact, also appear to be males so they can not fall victim to predators of eggs.
“It is important to come the Profepa, tell why he killed, but they return to report, I assure you they will not come, do not want problems with Pemex, we will seek to determine what killed them, but it is necessary that the authority federal fulfill its obligations, “the environmental president Estuaries of Salinas, Raul Antonio Gallegos.
“We have reported that Pemex is responsible, the turtles may have died from pollution,” Raul Gallegos, president of the environmentalist association Estero de Las Salinas del Marques said.