A powerful tropical storm made landfall near the central Mozambique city of Beira early on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and wind to an area devastated by Cyclone Idai nearly two years ago.
Beira, a low-lying coastal city of 500,000 people, is home to Mozambique’s second-largest port, which serves as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.
The government had asked people living in the path of tropical storm Chalane and near rivers to move to safer areas.
Chalane had maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h with gusts exceeding 120 km/h, according to an update issued by the French weather service’s regional cyclone centre in La Reunion.
“The storm is now tracking inland through central Mozambique and is moving towards Zimbabwe. Government and humanitarian partners hope to begin evaluating the first impacts of the storm as soon as this afternoon,” Helvisney Cardoso, United Nations Mozambique Communications Specialist, said in a statement.
International aid agencies say that tens of thousands of people are still displaced from Idai and living in camps.
The Mozambican government was meeting to assess the impact of the storm and how it would respond.
In Zimbabwe, the government had started evacuating people from eastern parts of the country, where thousands were displaced by Cyclone Idai.
Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department said there was high risk of flooding in the region.
Courtesy of in.reuters.com
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
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
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
Farmers in the Eastern Cape have been fighting for survival because of the drought that has gripped the area for the past couple of years.
Now, they are fighting a new battle as a brown locust plague threatens their crops.
The brown locust outbreak has been reported in the Sarah Baartman and Chris Hani districts of the Eastern Cape.
According to the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in the Eastern Cape, about 127 farms have been struggling with it.
The department’s entomologist, Nolitha Skenjana, said: “The outbreak is in the Karoo parts of the Eastern Cape, where the insects are competing with livestock for grass. But if they are not controlled they might migrate to crops and vegetables.” She said spraying had started at the affected farms.
According to the department, the brown locust is an agricultural pest that attacks all types of crops, but prefers maize, grass and cereal.
Yesterday, Eben du Plessis of Agri Eastern Cape said it was still too early to say what the impact would be.
“They are moving east. They come from the Northern Cape and hatch at a drier area and start moving east. At this stage there’s not a lot of damage. Locusts go through about five stages of development and are currently walking. They hatch and find each other and create swarms. They do eat, but the damage is minimal.”
He said early detection was important in stopping the outbreak. “What’s nice about them walking now is you can spray them quicker because they aren’t moving fast. When they start flying through the day and with the predominantly north-west wind they move west with it up to 50km away.
“It becomes difficult to locate them. You have to wait for the weather to cool in the late afternoon, and as it gets darker they settle down for the night. That’s when you spray them.
“When they settle down they’ve doubled in size, are hungry and need more energy, and that’s when they do a lot of damage,” du Plessis said.
He said the provincial government’s efforts to spray the brown locusts were helping.
“This is a developing crisis. You can only see the impact once it’s done because they are hatching as they go. The maize is only getting planted now and is very small. The locusts have not hit the irrigation areas yet. In the last report they were about 40km away from the nearest irrigation scheme, between Middelburg and Steenberg.”
He said farmers couldn’t do much to protect their crops. “They can be vigilant and look out for locusts and report them to make sure they are sprayed. That is basically all they can do. In the past farmers have tried to burn tyres and old motor oil to create a barrier, but that’s not really effective.”
In September, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN warned that migratory locusts threatened the food security of around 7 million people in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They said one swarm can contain tens of millions of adult locusts, and there were multiple swarms in the southern region.
A single swarm can eat as much in one day as 2500 people, demolishing crops and livestock pasture in a matter of hours.
Courtesy of iol.co.za
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
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
Souheil Dib was eagerly awaiting the harvest of olives from his farm in Tartus, in western Syria, but fires have destroyed entire areas of Syria in recent days, leaving the branches of his olive trees charred.
61-year-old Dib inspects each branch of these trees inherited from his father for the slightest sign of life, but they all snap in his hands.
“It had a hundred trees,” he says resigned. “I have never seen a fire like it in my life.”
Favored by high temperatures, some 150 fire outbreaks broke out at dawn on Friday in the coastal provinces of Tartus and Latakia (west) as well as Homs (center), destroying more than 9,000 hectares of agricultural land, forests, orchards and olive groves , according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).
Three people died in Latakia, according to the health ministry, and 25,000 people have been evacuated in the three provinces, according to Ocha.
Authorities announced Sunday that they had controlled the fire. On Monday, the layer of ash that covered the disaster area was still smoky and the surrounding mountains were huge charred surfaces.
With the economic crisis that the country is suffering after more than nine years of war, Souheil Dib had this year on the harvest to guarantee its needs for oil and olives.
“Our hopes were placed on this season to compensate for our successive losses (…) The olives were already ripe and fat and if it had not been for these fires we would be preparing today to harvest them”, laments this man who has spent his life taking care of these trees.
Courtesy of web24.news
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
Dinh Thi Huong, 37 and Dinh Hoang Yen, 6, in Ha Hoa District were killed by a landslide following heavy rains that lasted from Saturday night to Sunday morning, said Nguyen Viet Dung, chairman of the Ha Hoa people’s committee.
Seven others were injured and 14 houses, several streets and crops were damaged, he added.
“The rain was the heaviest in the last ten years. Huong’s and Yen’s houses stood right next to a hill, and the drenched soil slid onto the walls and crushed the victims,” Dung said.
Since Saturday night, northern Vietnam has experienced heavy rains and winds caused by cold air moving downwards from the north. Mountainous areas should expect rainfall of up to 120 mm within 24 hours, meteorologists said.
Natural disasters, mostly floods and landslides, killed 133 people in Vietnam last year and caused losses worth around VND7 trillion ($303 million), according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Courtesy of vnexplorer.net