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Major Drought Disaster Areas Named in 17 More Counties in Nebraska, USA

Drought Emergency Alert_2

More than a dozen Nebraska counties have been designated as disaster areas because of drought.

Over the past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued disaster declarations for 17 counties, mostly in northeast and western Nebraska, the two areas where drought conditions have been the worst.

The counties designated as primary natural disaster areas were: Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Deuel, Dundy, Garden, Hitchcock, Keith, Kimball, Madison, Morrill, Pierce, Perkins, Platte, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan and Wayne.

Lincoln saw one of its coldest Octobers ever

They join Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dodge, Stanton and Thurston counties, which were declared as disaster areas last month.

Counties with a disaster declaration are eligible for emergency loans for losses caused by drought, which can be used for purposes such as paying to replace equipment or livestock or refinancing debts.

That eligibility also extends to more than two dozen counties that are contiguous to the counties with disaster declarations.

6 Nebraska counties named disaster areas because of drought

Nebraska is seeing its worst drought conditions since 2013. As of Thursday, nearly 86% of the state was in some level of drought, with 12% — all in the Panhandle — in extreme drought.

Both severe and extreme drought can lead to lowered crop yields, scarce hay supplies and serious declines in groundwater levels.

The one thing the dry weather has helped with is harvest. As of Monday, the soybean harvest was essentially done in the state, while about 86% of corn had been harvested. That’s well ahead of the five-year average.

Drought tightens grip on Nebraska as hot, dry spell looms.

Courtesy of norfolkdailynews.com

https://tinyurl.com/y5wnab8v

Locusts Swarms Invade Warsheikh and Surrounding Areas in Somalia

Locust Alert

Locust swarms have invaded Warsheikh and surrounding areas in the Middle Shabelle region, residents told Radio Dalsan.

The swarms have also invaded farmlands in Bakaaroole, Shiiqyaale, Ruunsheegow and the neighbouring regions and were spreading fast.

Locals said it was the first time the locusts arrived in the area, though they previously had its presence in other parts of the country.

This comes days after locusts swarms destroyed farms Balcad and other Middle Shabelle towns.

Courtesy of allafrica.com

https://tinyurl.com/y6rz6px6

Worst locust outbreak in 25 years in Ethiopia

Locust Alert

At the end of a tough farming season, Ethiopian farmer Leila Mohammed was looking ready to harvest her millet crop with a sense of pride.

As she was drafting plans and calculating profits, she saw gigantic swarms of locusts like a cloud approaching the fields. All her efforts of waving a piece of cloth to beating steel plates to drive the swarm away failed. Within minutes all the hard labor of months and money she had invested to grow crops were ruined by little monsters.

Residing in Somali province, 50 kilometers (31 miles), north of the regional capital Jijjiga, Mohammed with his six children is looking at a bleak future and starving days ahead.

“They have destroyed my crop. I do not know what to do. We have lost food and battle against desert locusts,” she told Anadolu Agency.

She recalls that it was like a giant tornado flying high in the sky. Then they lost heights, starting descending and devastated crops.

The region has seen a second such attack from insects last weekend during the current farming season.

“Just last week, this area was sprayed with chemicals and the swarms got paralyzed. But look at them, they have come again to destroy whatever little had been left,” said Siba Aden Mohammed, a local official serving at Awbare district of Fafen zone.

While moving around, telling devastation is visible. Farms, where crops like millet, wheat, and chickpea were standing tall and awaiting harvest are empty, with farmers cursing their luck in desperation.

A vast blanket of dark brown winged insects has covered huge tracts of farmlands. As farmers try to remove them, they fly but soon return to sap the last grain of crop left in the field.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), since January, swarms of desert locusts have damaged over 200,000 hectares of cropland in Ethiopia affecting the food security of millions of people.

Courtesy of aa.com.tr

https://tinyurl.com/y25qz9wc

Floods, landslides affect 3.6M people in E. Africa

Disaster Alert

At least 3.6 million people were affected by floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains across East Africa since June, the UN humanitarian agency said in a report Saturday.

“Water levels of several lakes in Kenya and Uganda are rising, impacting thousands of people,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Some 856,000 people were affected by floods in South Sudan since June, including roughly 400,000 who have been displaced, it said.

The floods compounded an already difficult situation for people across the region, many of whom were already faced with conflict, violence, the desert locusts and COVID-19.

In South Sudan’s Jonglei area, which witnessed devastating violence earlier this year, was among the areas which were badly hit by floods.

According to the report, about 1.1 million people in Ethiopia have been affected by floods, with more than 313,000 of them were displaced.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, the water levels of several Rift Valley lakes, especially Baringo and Naivasha “are historically high,” following the highest seasonal rains which pounded the area from October to December 2019, the UN agency said.

The area also received above-average rains in 2020, displacing thousands of people and impacting livelihoods, schools and health facilities, according to the UN.

Courtesy of aa.com.tr

https://tinyurl.com/y479gwzz

Wildfires and droughts devastate South American biodiversities

Wild Fire Alert

Under stress from a historic drought, large swathes of forest and wetlands in central South America known for their exceptional biodiversity have been ravaged by devastating fires.

Experts on Friday said wildfires in a region that spans Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, especially the region between the Paraguay, Parana and Uruguay rivers, have become critical in 2020.

“There has been a dramatic increase in fires. In Argentina there has been an increase of around 170 percent, it’s very serious,” said Elisabeth Mohle, an environmental politics researcher at Argentina’s San Martin National University (UNSM).

She says it’s part of a wider problem affecting multiple regions around the world this year, including in Brazil’s Amazonas state, Australia, California, and the Gran Chaco, South America’s second largest forest after the Amazon.

The Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands that span Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, is experiencing its worst drought in 47 years.

The Parana river, one of the most powerful on the planet that originates in Brazil and empties into the River Plate estuary, is at its lowest level since 1970.

In August it was down to 80-centimetres in Rosario, eastern Argentina, rather than the usual 3-4 meters for that time of year.

It’s the same thing with the Paraguay river that is at its lowest level “in half a century,” according to Paraguay’s national weather center in Asuncion.

The fires are being fanned by ideal conditions, including strong winds, temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius and the dry season in which farmers use slash-and-burn techniques to try to regenerate the soil.

In Paraguay, “the fires … at the end of September and first week of October, broke all records,” Eduardo Mingo, a top official at the national weather center, told AFP.

The number of fires were up 46 percent in 2020, according to authorities.

Paraguay’s capital Asuncion and several towns in northeastern Argentina and southern Brazil spent days and even weeks submerged under a thick fog due to the intense fires.

And without the usual rainfall that moistens the soil, the wetlands have been particularly badly affected.

Images from the Brazilian Pantanal of the charred carcases of birds, snakes, caimans and trees have shocked the world.

A quarter of the area was devastated between January and September, while the Paraguayan Pantanal had already been badly affected by fires in 2019.

The Parana Delta that is home to species such as the jaguar, Pampas cat and several rodents, has been hit by fires of an unprecedented intensity since January, leaving a “desert of ashes” over tens of thousands of hectares of wetlands.

“Reptiles, migratory birds, small mammals and tortoises have died,” Cesar Massi, a naturalist in Argentina’s Santa Fe province, told AFP.

“I remember that during the last drought in 2008, there were fires. But this year they’ve been stronger, more intense and lasted longer.”

Agriculture is a massive source of income for the countries in this region but the slash-and-burn techniques used aggravate the situation.

In the north of Argentina “despite Covid-19 restrictions, between March 15 and September 30… twice the area of Buenos Aires was deforested,” according to Greenpeace.

The Mighty Earth NGO says that Paraguay’s dry forests are “one of the main sites of deforestation in the world, mostly due to the expansion of pastureland and more recently soyabean plantations.”

Argentina’s government has accused cattle farmers of setting fires to “increase pastureland area” in the Parana Delta.

One problem is that NGOs don’t have the necessary funding from governments to enforce rules and instigate large restoration or protection projects.

“The provincial government has less and less of a budget for prevention, there are no surveillance posts, the environmental police have been disassembled,” Alfredo Leytes, a member of the Ambiente en Lucha environmental collective based in Cordoba, Argentina, told AFP.

In Brazil “there has been a 58 percent decrease in ‘Brigadistas’ contracts,” said Alica Thuault from the Centro de Vida institute, referring to the volunteers that mobilized to tackle fires. She attributes blame firmly at the feet of President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic.

Mohle wants different players, including farmers and ecologists, to work together “to regulate the use of land to ensure a more sustainable development than currently exists.”

Courtesy of trtworld.com

https://tinyurl.com/y5hqfr3b

Flood death toll rises to 18 in Cambodia as over 25,000 evacuated

Severe Flood Warning

Flash floods in Cambodia have so far left 18 people dead and forced the evacuation of 25,192 people, Seak Vichet, a spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), said on Friday.

Tropical storm-triggered rains caused floods in 19 of the kingdom’s 25 cities and provinces since the beginning of the month, he said, adding that 212,676 people have also been affected by the floods.

“By Friday morning, the floods have killed 18 people, including eight children,” Vichet told Xinhua, adding that the worst-hit provinces included Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Kandal as well as southwestern suburb of Phnom Penh.

The floods have also inundated 51,133 houses and 204,650 hectares of rice and other crops, the spokesman said. So far, 12,958 hectares of the affected rice and other crops have been destroyed.

Transportation has also been disrupted, as several major roads in the worst-hit provinces have been closed.

Water Resources and Meteorology Minister Lim Keanhor said on Thursday that further rain, wind and high waves are expected on Oct. 17-19 because the kingdom is suffering from the impact of tropical storm Saudel, which could lead to further flooding.

“People living in plains, along waterways and near mountains, fishermen and sea travelers should be extra-vigilant to avoid any possible dangers,” he said in a press statement.

Floods usually hit Cambodia between August and October. Last year, flash floods claimed 30 lives and storms killed eight people and injured 131 others, according to the NCDM.

Courtesy of xinhuanet.com

https://tinyurl.com/yxl3nvj7

Hailstorm ruins crops in the Riverina, Australia #Hailstorm #Crops #Riverina #Australia

Hail Alert

RIVERINA crops have been battered to the ground following a hail storm.

Wheat, canola and barely, that were showing promise of bumper yields, were not spared in the storm that swept through the region near Junee.

Tony Clough farms at “Windermere,” and “Brendon” and witnessed first-hand a storm that delivered a devastating blow.

He said 40mm of rain fell in quick succession and the hail that came with it bashed crops to the ground.

“It looks like I put 1000 wethers on the paddock and grazed it,” he said.

“There are two paddocks with nothing left,” Mr Clough explained.

He said wheat and canola was affected and to some extent barley was damaged to.

“We got absolutely smashed over a period of 20 minutes,” he said.

While the property “Brendon” was affected by the storm damage crops at “Windermere” largely escaped the storm which was estimated to come through in a strip spanning around two kilometres.

The damage has arrived at a time when crops in the region were looking fantastic due to good falls of rain.

NSW Farmers Wagga and district branch chairman Alan Brown said he had heard of large areas of crops being damaged by hail.

Mr Brown is also a crop insurance consultant. “The severity is high,” he said.

In addition to the Junee area Mr Brown said there were reports of damage coming in from Barellan and Weethalle as well.

“The damage is certainly there,” he said.

“And this is living proof as to why you should always insure for these events … it is sad for people who have been hit hard,” he said.

Mr Brown said the hail had come at the worst time because of the maturity of crops.

He said a storm like that meant there was nothing left.

The severity of losses in this area was expected to come to light in the next week or so as more people inspected crops.

Courtesy of therural.com.au

https://tinyurl.com/y6r5q224

Disaster declared due to extreme drought in Aroostook County, Maine, USA #Drought #AroostookCounty #Maine #USA

Drought Emergency Alert_2

The federal government has declared Aroostook County a “drought disaster” area as the region faces a prolonged dry spell.

This summer was one of the driest on record for The County — which has been placed under a severe drought status known as D2 — brought on by low soil moisture, lack of rainfall, drying vegetation and low stream flows.

The designation is given to areas experiencing severe droughts for eight consecutive weeks or a higher level drought intensity value for any period of time. Water levels in Aroostook and Penobscot rivers reached an all-time low earlier this year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The only other drought in Maine as severe as this was nearly 20 years ago — from 2001 to 2002.

“We have over 150 years of records at [the Penobscot water monitoring] location,” Nick Stasulis, the geological survey’s data section chief, told The Houlton Pioneer Times earlier this month. “So certainly that is a significant data set when you’re looking at the historical perspective.”

Due to the severe drought conditions, farmers in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties are eligible for emergency assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Farmers have eight months from the date of a disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans from the USDA. The Farm Service Agency considers the extent of production losses on the farm and the operator’s security and repayment ability in reviewing emergency loan applications.

These emergency loans can be used to restore or replace “essential property,” pay off production costs accrued during the disaster year, cover family living expenses, reorganize farming operations and refinance debts, the agency said.

Other services such as the Livestock Forage Program, Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, the Emergency Conservation Program and the Non-insurable Crop Assistance Program are also available to farmers in counties in a severe drought.

Farmers in need of hay for their livestock can use the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Hay Directory, too.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry also encourages farmers to plan for future droughts by upgrading their water supplies and improving soil. Farmers should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District or local Natural Resources Conservation Service for help with soil health practices.

Courtesy of bangordailynews.com

https://tinyurl.com/y59r456g

Storm ‘Noul’ causes flash floods, strong winds and landslides in Thailand #Storm #Floods #Landslides #Thailand

Storm Alert

People in 27 provinces have been affected by flash floods, strong wind and landslides caused by Storm Noul between Friday and Sunday.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Monday its assessment on the impacts of Noul in 27 provinces, mostly in the North and Northeast.

Flashfloods and landslides damaged infrastructures, farms, villages and other property. Nearly 2,000 households have been severely affected. One storm-related fatality and two injuries have been reported.

The storm has also brought flash floods and high tides in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea, according to the Meteorological Department.

Courtesy of pattayamail.com

https://tinyurl.com/y22pm795

Locust crisis worsens in Zambezi, Namibia #Locusts #Zambezi #Namibia #Africa

Locust Alert

The African migratory red locusts continue to destroy grazing areas and crops extensively in the Zambezi region and have now reportedly started to spread further to other areas.

The locusts were spotted early this month in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe North and South as well as Katima Rural.

However, Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu yesterday said more locusts are being reported in different areas and the situation is getting out of control.

He said while the matter has been reported to the agriculture ministry, they are still waiting for more manpower to contain the further spread of the outbreak.

“The situation is still the same. More locust swarms are being reported in different constituencies of Kabbe North and South, as well as Katima Rural. We are waiting for additional manpower,” Sampofu added.

The governor said although the ministry is busy spraying in some areas, they lack manpower and protective clothing.

He noted there is just one spraying team on the ground and it’s difficult to cover the three affected constituencies.

In August, another wave of African migratory red locusts outbreak was reported in the region and the agriculture ministry deployed a team of extension officials to spray the area.

The locusts’ outbreak in northeast Zambezi region was detected in August in the flood plains at Lusese, Nakabolelwa, Ibbu and the surrounding areas.

Courtesy of neweralive.na

https://tinyurl.com/y6s3yhhw